Numbers 11:7-9 – Bread from Heaven


Numbers 11:7-9


The manna that began to “rain” from heaven in the earliest days of the exodus (Exodus 16:4) continues to feed the people.


Here we find a fuller and somewhat different description of the manna, God’s provision of food in the desert. It is like coriander seed; it can be boiled, and cakes can be made from it that taste like “cakes baked with oil.” In other words, it is rich food, and the complaints of the people in the stories surrounding this text–especially of “the rabble”–are unjustified.

The “bread of heaven” lives on in Christian piety as a sign of divine grace and favor. It sustains a “pilgrim through this barren land” in William Williams’s hymn, “Guide Me, O Thou Great Jehovah”; a stained glass window in the 14th-century St. Jacob’s Church in Rothenburg, Germany, depicts the manna scene as a group of German peasants in medieval garb upon whom it is raining pretzels!