A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

Followup: not all manna became inedible after one day!

June 4, 1999

Dear Straight Dope:

This is in response to the article that said manna became inedible after one day. That is not entirely true. Before the Sabbath, the Hebrews were supposed to gather twice as much manna so that it would last them for Friday and Saturday (Sabbath) so that they wouldn't have to work on Saturday. So if God decided that they should always see what it looked like, the mana could have been preserved.

SDStaff CKDexterHaven replies:

Oh, please. My arguments against the manna being placed in the Ark and preserved there for several hundred years rest on the citation in Kings that there was nothing in the Ark except the Tablets, and on the citation in Exodus where the manna is clearly placed "before" the Ark, not "in" in the Ark. So the jar of manna didn't last more than a few hundred years, let alone letting them "always see what it looked like."

I accept your technical correction that the manna didn't rot on Sabbath. Sheeesh. Gets to the point that I can't make a statement without issuing eighteen footnotes, which makes for a borrrrrrring response. You want academia, go to any library with a sound theology department.

My comment about the manna rotting was gratuitous … it's called "humor." Trying to liven up an otherwise dry comment on the text.

BTW, I detest the answer "If God decided. … i " or "If God wanted. … i" and assume miraculous intervention to explain the text. That's the coward's way out.

Hey, Sir Isaac, why did that apple fall off the tree? Answer: Because God wanted it to. So much for the discovery of gravity. The "God wanted it to" answer limits thought, to my mind.

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