From time to time, you hear people who get unexpected help or something very good they didn’t expect say that it’s “Manna from Heaven.”
The reference is to the food God gave to the Israelites after the food they had brought with them out of Egypt had run out. In the Book of Exodus, the Israelites found it one morning after the dew had evaporated.
Upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground. (Exodus 16:15)
Manna was the name given by the Israelites to the food they found. In the Quran, the Arabic word for manna is “manna-o-salva.”
The Ark of the Covenant is believed to be the most sacred and revered object of ancient Israelite worship. Built under the direction of Moses, it is said to contain the original tables with the Ten Commandments written upon them, some of the Manna from Heaven sent to the Israelites as they fled Egypt, and the rod of Aaron.
Historical documents show that the Ark of the Covenant was installed in a Temple by King Solomon around 950 BC. After the dedication of the Temple by King Solomon, there are two references to the Ark of the Covenant in the entire Old Testament.
Put the holy ark in the house which Solomon the son of David, king of Israel, built; you need no longer carry it upon your shoulders. (II Chronicles 35:3)
And when you have multiplied and increased in the land, in those days, says the Lord, they shall no more say, “The ark of the covenant of the Lord.” It shall not come to mind, or be remembered, or missed; it shall not be made again. (Jeremiah 3:16)
A mural painting in All Saints Church, Friskncy, Lincolnshire, England painted around 1542 bears the title “The Descent of the Manna from Heaven.” This painting shows manna on a hill-side, the slope of ground being from the right to left of the picture. In strong relief against the distance, represented by a dark crimson background, a group of people is engaged in gathering the manna.
In a United Press International (UPI) article entitled “The Irish Famine: A Hunger For History” dated April 13, 2001, the author wrote:
Well written history is like manna from heaven, it is intellectual nourishment for the soul.
And so we can see how it is that the phrase “Manna from Heaven” now refers to something very good the person felt he or she needed that came to the person unexpectedly.