The notes to the New Jerusalem Bible include the following comment on Exodus 16:15: “Manna is an insect secretion found on tamarisks.”
This is one of the more unfortunate and absurd notes in the NJB. The editors apparently think it’s credible to think the following:
- Insect secretions could be collected in sufficient quantity to fill 6 bushels each for 600,000 men without anyone noticing or mentioning the presence of the bazillion insects that would be necessary to produce such a volume. A single bushel is about 9 gallons. That means there would have been 54 gallons of insect secretions each: more than 32 million gallons total. Every night for forty years. Is it even remotely plausible to believe that such a volume could be produced by insects on a nightly basis without anyone bothering to mention them?
- The insect secretions would rot overnight…except on Friday nights. For forty years.
- Twice as much insect secretions appeared on Friday mornings, and none on Saturdays. For forty years.
- The insect secretions stopped when Israel was able to eat from the produce of the Promised Land.
Is it more reasonable to believe in unmentioned insects achieving these remarkable things, or to believe that God miraculously fed His people?