Joshua 5:12: The Manna Ceases, Part 2

Verse 12:[1] And (Ex. 16:35) the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.

[And it failed[2]] The Vulgate follows the Septuagint, as it is wont to do. It is rather to be translated, it ceased (Masius, Vatablus), that is, it ceased to fall like rain (Masius).

[After they ate, מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת בְּאָכְלָם֙] Verbatim: from tomorrow, in the eating of them (Vatablus); on the next day, after which they ate (Jonathan); on the following day while they were eating (Vatablus, Pagnine), or, after they had begun to eat (Munster, similarly Tigurinus); after this day, when they had eated (Syriac); on that day, because they had eaten (Arabic); on this day, after they consumed (Septuagint). Question: On what day? Response 1: Some understand it of the same day as the preceding verse, whether it was the fifteenth, or the sixteenth. Concerning this I have no doubt (Masius, thus Tostatus in Serarius). But the Jews maintain that it was the day following the day mentioned above: For the Manna did not cease on the day that the sheaf was offered: For the people had need of it at that time also, since they had not yet harvested any crops. But in an exceedingly fruitful region the old grain was not able to be wanting, and perhaps they carried some with them from the plains of Moab (Masius). Response 2: Others say that the Manna ceased on the seventeenth day (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Vatablus and the Rabbis in Serarius). 1. For the Manna did not cease before they began to eat of the produce of the land: This was not before the ears were offered to God: These were not offered before the customary hour of the daily sacrifice, that is, a little before the peak of the day: But the Manna was falling at night, and was gathered in the morning:[3] Therefore, the Manna had still come down on the sixteenth day. 2. It does not say, as previously, the day following the Passover; but, the day following, namely, following that day of which it is said, the day following upon their eating[4] (Serarius). God withdraws the Manna, 1. Because now there was an abundance of other food (Serarius, Bonfrerius, Menochius, Masius): lest the heavenly gift should be held in contempt by ungrateful men, because even in their very necessity they did not esteem it with a sufficiently grateful soul (Masius). Extraordinary things cease, when there is a place for the ordinary things, say the Jurisconsults (Grotius). 2. So that all might understand that Manna did not fall by the natural climate of the air, like hail, etc., but from the mere generosity of God (Masius).

God now withheld the manna, 1. To show that it was not an ordinary production of nature, as by the long and constant enjoyment of it they might be prone to think; but an extraordinary and special gift of God to supply their necessity. 2. Because God would not be prodigal of his favours, nor expose them to contempt by giving them superfluously, or by working miracles where ordinary means were sufficient. On the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn, that is, on the seventeenth day.

[Of Canaan] Here it is named, because in verses 10 and 11 he speaks of the fruits carried from Gilead. Thus many interpreters (Masius).

[1] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁבֹּ֙ת הַמָּ֜ן מִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת בְּאָכְלָם֙ מֵעֲב֣וּר הָאָ֔רֶץ וְלֹא־הָ֥יָה ע֛וֹד לִבְנֵ֥י יִשְׂרָאֵ֖ל מָ֑ן וַיֹּאכְל֗וּ מִתְּבוּאַת֙ אֶ֣רֶץ כְּנַ֔עַן בַּשָּׁנָ֖ה הַהִֽיא׃

[2] Hebrew: וַיִּשְׁבֹּת. שָׁבַת signifies to cease.

[3] See Exodus 16.

[4] Joshua 5:12a:  “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eatenמִֽמָּחֳרָ֗ת) בְּאָכְלָם֙) of the old corn of the land…”

2 thoughts on “Joshua 5:12: The Manna Ceases, Part 2

  1. A fragment from ancient Irenaeus: “‘Take unto thee Joshua (᾽Ιησοῦν) the son of Nun.’ For it was proper that Moses should lead the people out of Egypt, but that Jesus (Joshua) should lead them into the inheritance. Also that Moses, as was the case with the law, should cease to be, but that Joshua (᾽Ιησοῦν), as the word, and no untrue type of the Word made flesh (ἐνυποστάτου), should be a preacher to the people. Then again, [it was fit] that Moses should give manna as food to the fathers, but Joshua wheat; as the first-fruits of life, a type of the body of Christ, as also the Scripture declares that the manna of the Lord ceased when the people had eaten wheat from the land.”

  2. William Jay, “Evening Exercise”:

    “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.—Josh 5:12

    This cessation of the manna is one of the several remarkable occurrences at the crossing of the river Jordan. God is every thing to his people. In the wilderness they had no pathway, but he led them in a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night. They were in danger, but he was their defence. They had no abode, but he was their dwellingplace. They had no water, but he gave them streams in the desert [Isa 35:6]. They had no provisions, but he rained down manna around their tents. So that what nature refused, Providence furnished; and what could not be derived from the ground, came from the clouds.

    When the supplies they brought with them from Egypt were spent, they feared they were going to perish. They forgot the hand that had dried up the sea, and said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness [Ps 78:19]? But he gave them bread from heaven, and for forty years they did eat angels’ food [Ps 78:25]. What an abundance was necessary for such a multitude! And what a display of divine power was here witnessed!

    Nor less was it a proof of divine mercy. Had he dealt with them after their desert, fire would have come down from heaven, instead of food; but as the mother silences the fretful, angry child by giving it not the rod, but the breast, so did his gentleness indulge them. Hence, when they despised the manna as light food, it might have been suspended, and they might have been left to learn the worth of it by the want; but day after day, year after year, it continued to attend them, and ceased not till the day after they had taken possession of their inheritance, and they had eaten of the old corn of the land.

    At length it did cease, and wisely too. What was necessary before, became needless now; and what want had endeared, abundance would have despised. This teaches us not to look for extraordinary supplies when relief is to be had in an ordinary way. He who sustained Israel is as almighty as ever; but we must plough, and sow, and gather into barns. He who fed Elijah by ravens [1 King 17:4] commands us to labor, working with our hand the thing that is good. If a man neglects the means of subsistence, he is not trusting providence, but tempting it, and is likely to be reminded, by something more than Scripture, that if any man will not work, neither shall he eat [2 Thessalonian 3:10]. Even in miraculous achievements, what human agency could do, was not done supernaturally. When Peter was in prison, the angel of the Lord opened the door, and broke off his fetters, for this Peter could not have done; but he did not take him up in his arms, and carry him out, but said unto him, ‘Bind on thy sandals and follow me’ [Acts 12:8]. Miracles were never needlessly employed. Had they been common, they would have ceased to be marvellous; the exceptions would have become a general rule, and the whole system of nature and providence have been deranged.

    The manna was typical. ‘I am,’ said Jesus, ‘that bread of life.’ As the manna came down from heaven, and preserved the Israelites from famine, ‘God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life’ [John 3:16]. And the Saviour surpasses the emblem. The manna was for the body; he saves the soul. The manna could not preserve from death always; but they who partake of him live for ever. The manna was confined to one people; he gave his flesh for the life of the world. He, therefore, is the true bread.

    And shall this cease? Far from it. You shall live by him, as well as with him, for ever.

    Yet there will be a great difference between your present and your future experience. Many things now necessary will then be done away. Conjecture, opinion, reasoning, will give place to knowledge. Now we walk by faith; then we shall walk by sight [2 Corinthians 5:7]. Now we are saved by hope [Romans 8:24]; then hope will cease in fruition. Love will continue for ever; but charity and mercy can have no object, no exercise there. We shall be still praising him; but prayer and preaching, and baptism and the Lord’s supper, will have no place. We can dispense with the channels when we are at the fountainhead, and with the types when we have the reality. We are now glad when they say unto us, ‘Let us go into the house of the Lord’ [Psalm 122:1]; but says John, ‘I saw no temple there; but the glory of God and of the Lamb were the light thereof’ [Revelation 21:23]. When that which is perfect is come, that which is in part will be done away [1 Corinthians 13:10]. The fare of the wilderness will be superseded by the produce of Canaan.”

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