Verses 1 – 21 describe the Israelites’ journey in the wilderness from Elim to Sinai and the conflict over a lack of food.
The second section of chapter 16 (vv. 22 – 30) is the provision of rest based upon the observance of the Sabbath.
The last section of chapter 16 (verses 31 – 36) describes how the LORD commanded Moses to keep a measure of the manna as an everlasting memorial to His constant provision for His people while they were in the wilderness.
The book of Exodus is the second book of the Torah (“law”). It continues the story of Genesis concerning the migration of the family of Jacob (the Israelites) to Egypt (Genesis 50). It describes the commissioning of Moses and Aaron as God’s representatives on earth to accomplish God’s deliverance of His people from slavery in Egypt and lead them to the Promised Land (the land of Canaan). It also relates the miraculous deliverance from Egypt beginning with the plagues on Egypt and the crossing of the Red Sea. It then describes the journey to Mount Sinai and the establishment of the Mosaic covenant with the Israelites. The last part of the book involves the specifications and building of the tabernacle – the place where the Lord Himself dwelt amongst His people.
In the book of Exodus, the focus shifts to the deliverance of God’s people.
Chapter 16 continues the account of the Israelites’ travels from Egypt to Mount Sinai (15:22 – 18:27). In the first part of the journey, the Israelites’ faith was tested by the LORD concerning their need for water (15:22 – 27). In the first part of this chapter, they are tested concerning their need for food, and the LORD provides manna and quail. Then the people are introduced to the Sabbath and what was necessary to observe it. Lastly, the LORD told Moses to keep an omer of the manna as a memorial of the LORD’s gracious provision in the wilderness for all generations.
Chapter 16 can be outlined as follows: