In Exodus 16:33 (NASB)

33 And Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put a full omer of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept safe throughout your generations.” 34 As the Lord commanded Moses, so Aaron placed it before the Testimony, to be kept.

What happened to this jar and its content?

2 Answers 2


There are two questions that arise from Ex 16:33 -

1. What does "before the Testimony" mean?

The "Ark of the Covenant” (Num 10:33, 14:44, Deut 10:8, 31:9, 25, 26, Josh 3:3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, 4:7, 9, 18, 6:6, 8:33, etc), is also known as the “Ark of the Testimony” (Ex 25:22, 26:33, 34, 30:6, 26, 31:7, 39:35, 40:3, 5, 21, Lev 16:13, Num 4:5, 7:89, Josh 4:16, etc) is described thus precisely because it contained the stone tablets inscribed by the finger of God (Ex 31:18, Deut 9:10) with the Israelite Covenant of the 10 Commandments. 1 Kings 8:9, 2 Chron 5:10.

Thus, of "Aaron placed it before the Testimony", this means it was placed inside the Ark of the Covenant also known as the “Ark of the Testimony”. This is confirmed by Heb 9:4 -

Inside the ark were the gold jar of manna, Aaron’s staff that had budded, and the stone tablets of the covenant.

In Ex 16:34 we also read - And Aaron placed it in front of the Testimony, to be preserved just as the LORD had commanded Moses.

2. What Happened to the Jar of manna?

Assuming the above information is correct, we presume that the fete of the jar of manna was the same fete as the Ark of the covenant, which cannot be known for certain. The closest we get is the uninspired record in 2 Macc 7:1-9 where the prophet Jeremiah ordered the Ark hidden before the Babylonia capture of Jerusalem. However, many dispute this.


2 Chronicles 5:10 says that "only the tablets which Moses put therein at Horeb" were inside the Ark. It's possible that it was lost (or destroyed) when the Ark was captured by the Philistines in 1 Samuel 4-7. Since the word used to describe their association can be interpreted as "before" and not necessarily "inside", technically speaking the jar of manna as well as Aaron's rod may have been placed "before" the Ark and not actually inside it.

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