Monday, December 21, 2015

About Manna and Value of an Omer

Here is a little bit about Manna, Omer and Shew-bread, all of which are related and important because they define units of measure.

Let's take a look at Manna first. Its Exodus 16.
YLT Ex 16:14 and the lying of the dew goeth up, and lo, on the face of the wilderness a thin, bare thing, thin as hoar-frost on the earth. 
YLT Ex 16:15 And the sons of Israel see, and say one unto another,  'What is it?'  for they have not known what it is; and Moses saith unto them,  'It is the bread which Jehovah hath given to you for food. 
YLT Ex 16:16  'This is the thing which Jehovah hath commanded: Gather of it each according to his eating, an omer for a poll; and the number of your persons, take ye each for those in his tent.'
I could not White Coriander(Ex 16:31) at my local store, but I found brown. Its the same size and everything but a different color.

Torah says to gather an Omer of Manna per person. What is the Omer? It is very simple...

1 Omer = 1 Handfuls

Here is the picture. This is a handfuls or 1 Omer of Coriander. 

As you can see from pictures below, 1 Handfuls or 1 Omer of an average male adult is about 1 US Cup or 236g or 8oz assuming 1:1 Manna grain to flour ratio. This is about how much Manna was kept in the Holy of Holies (Ark Room) of the Tabernacle as Exodus 16:33 states. This was Aaron's Manna Omer - an omer of Priestly Moshiach(anointed one).

My 1 Omer = 236g. Yours will be different. Omer is a variable value but Aaron's value was taken as standard. This value is lost to us because the jar of manna that was in the Tabernacle has not survived.

1 Omer = 8oz
1 Omer = 1 US Cup

Handfuls of barley is the same:

As you can see from pictures above, this was the daily allowance of bread (Manna) of Hebrews during the desert wanderings.

The next two verses are very important. Let's take a look:
YLT Ex 16:17 And the sons of Israel do so, and they gather, he who is gathering much, and he who is gathering little; 
YLT Ex 16:18 and they measure with an omer, and he who is gathering much hath nothing over, and he who is gathering little hath no lack, each according to his eating they have gathered.
This basically is the proof of the fact that 1 Omer = 1 Handfuls. As far as I understand this passage, it means that children and women would gather less Manna because their hands and thus handfuls are smaller. This is why "he who is gathering much hath nothing over, and he who is gathering little hath no lack"

Now, let's see how much actual bread could be made out of 1 Omer of Manna.

According to this and this web sites average Bread to Flour ratio is 176%. Assuming consistency of Manna = Wheat, and simple Bread Recipie (Wheat Floor, Water, Yeast, Salt) we would get 176% of 236g = ~ 415g or ~15oz of Baked Bread. This is about 1100 calories (according to USDA), while according to this web site, the recommended daily bread intake is 250g. 

This means that Manna was at least 50% of daily diet of Hebrews in the desert and it was more than sufficient. 

This is of'course is based on the assumption that Hebrews ate other things as well. They definitely had flocks and money to trade since different produce was required for Tabernacle offerings, so they must have eaten something else besides Manna. Perhaps little vegetables and little meat. 

However, according to this web site, a minimum number of calories that is required not to starve is 1200, so as you can see, even if Hebrews ate only Manna, daily allowance of 1 Omer was sufficient to survive.

Just like Cubit, Omer is also based on dimensions of human body parts. Cubit is defined by forearm, Omer is defined by handfuls.


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