Let’s read Exodus 12:35-38, “And the children of Israel did according to the word of Moses; and they borrowed of the Egyptians jewels of silver, and jewels of gold, and raiment: And the LORD gave the people favour in the sight of the Egyptians, so that they lent unto them such things as they required. And they spoiled the Egyptians. And the children of Israel journeyed from Rameses to Succoth, about six hundred thousand on foot that were men, beside children. And a mixed multitude went up also with them; and FLOCKS, AND HERDS, EVEN VERY MUCH CATTLE.”

Certainly, the greatest part of the cattle already belonged to the children of Israel, whose cattle were not destroyed when those of the Egyptians were (Read Exodus 9:18-21).  The rest might possibly be the cattle of some Egyptians who feared and regarded the word of God, and took their cattle into their houses at the time of the plague of hail, whereby they were preserved.  That might have encouraged them to take their herds and their flocks, and go along with the children of Israel, who left with “a mixed multitude.”

Let’s jump ahead and read Exodus 16:1-4, “And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. And the whole congregation of THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL MURMURED against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness: And the children of Israel said unto them, Would to God we had died by the hand of the LORD in the land of Egypt, when we sat by the flesh pots, and when we did eat bread to the full; for ye have brought us forth into this wilderness, to kill this whole assembly with hunger. Then said the LORD unto Moses, Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a certain rate every day, that I may prove them, whether they will walk in my law, or no.”

We are not really told why the Lord had to provide food for the Israelites to eat.  One reason could have been the influence of the “mixed multitude” that left Egypt with the Israelites.  Animal worship was part of the Egyptian way of life and they may have talked the Israelites out of eating their cattle.  The influence of the mixed multitude was manifested when they tired of the manna as we read in Numbers 11:4-6, “And the mixt multitude that was among them fell a lusting: and the children of Israel also wept again, and said, Who shall give us flesh to eat? We remember the fish, which we did eat in Egypt freely; the cucumbers, and the melons, and the leeks, and the onions, and the garlick: But now our soul is dried away: there is nothing at all, beside this manna, before our eyes.”

Although the Lord doesn’t tell us specifically why the Israelites ran out of food to eat, He did manifest Himself as the God that supplies.  We read in Philippians 4:19, “But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”  Nehemiah speaks of God’s supply to the Israelites in Nehemiah 9:21, “Yea, forty years didst thou sustain them in the wilderness, so that THEY LACKED NOTHING; their clothes waxed not old, and their feet swelled not.”  In spite of their constant murmuring and unfaithfulness, the Lord continued to supply all the needs of His people.  In forty years, their clothes didn’t even wear out!  What a loving and gracious God we have.  (352.6)