We are studying Exodus 16:1-8, 13-15 for Sunday, September 15. About the manna in the wilderness. [Notes on the text are here.] Here are a few questions about the text we might want to consider before or during class:
The narrator (in vv1 & 2) describes the group of Israelites as “all the congregation.” The Israelites themselves (in v3) describe themselves as “this whole assembly.” Do those two different words mean different things to us? How are they different? What might be the significance of the difference, do we think? What does it tell us about the way the Israelites are thinking about themselves and their situation?
[More personal] If we ourselves used those words to describe groups we were part of, what would it indicate about our relationship(s) to the other people?
Why are the Israelites “complaining,” do we think? Why do we think that?
What are our thoughts and feelings about the Israelites’ complaints? (E.g., do we feel critical, sympathetic, or what?) Why is that, do we think? What does our response tell us about ourselves?
What does the Israelites’ complaining tell us about their relationship with Moses and Aaron? About their relationship with God? Why do we say that?
What is Moses’s and Aaron’s response to the Israelites’ complaints? What is God’s response to the Israelites’ complaints? Why is that, do we think? What does God’s response tell us about God?
[more speculative] Do we think the Israelites’ complaints changed God’s plans? If so, how? Why do we think that? Does our answer tell us anything about how we ourselves think about God? What do we think and feel about what we learned? Why?
[more personal] If we had been one of the Israelites, how would we have behaved – do we think? Why do we think that? What would that behavior indicate about our relationship with God? Why do we say that?
[a lot more personal] Have we ever been in a situation that is in any way similar to the Israelites’ in this story? What situation, and what was the similarity? How did we behave? Was it similar to the Israelites’ response, or different? How? Why was that, do we think?
What questions do we have about this story?
[Confession: I, personally, always wonder what manna really tasted like. Also, what its texture was. I understand that there’s no answer to this question this side of the world to come. That doesn’t make it any less one of my questions.]
Is there a “moral” to this story? If so, what do we think it is? Why do we think that?