Where did the food they were to prepare and set aside come from? It could not have been manna because manna spoiled within one day (Exodus 16:20). Besides, fresh manna continued to fall each day, except for Sabbaths, until the day following the First Day of Unleavened Bread in that year. God stopped providing manna because the Israelites now had complete access to the produce of the Promised Land, as well as because they were no longer wandering but were camped at a place from which they would launch their conquest of the land.
Considering the time of year (spring), the provision could not have come from fall harvests of fruits and vegetables. The fleeing Canaanites would have either consumed them themselves by this time or taken as much with them as they could. The provision came from a new spring harvest of grains either of winter wheat or barley or both. There was nothing to stop the Israelites from partaking of what was available because no law of God prohibited it; the offering laws applied only to what Israel had planted.
The command to set aside food was made because God knew He would stop sending the manna on Nisan 16. The stockpiled food would keep Israel fed until a much larger harvest could be made after the Passover events were completed, the holy day observed, and Israel was more settled in the land, preparing for the conquest of Jericho.
Israel crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land on Nisan 10 and immediately moved to set up camp that day in Gilgal. The mass circumcisions mentioned must have taken place on Nisan 11. As Nisan 13 ended and Nisan 14 began, they kept the Passover as commanded by God. The daylight portion of Passover day was spent preparing for the holy day on Nisan 15. They kept the Night to be Much Observed as the holy day began, eating unleavened cakes and parched corn from the already harvested Canaanite crops. During the daylight portion of the holy day, they ate of the same provisions that supplied their meal the previous evening because no manna fell on that Sabbath day. No manna fell the next day, Nisan 16, either.
The notation regarding "old corn" ("produce" in modern versions) is simply given to show where Israel's sustenance came from, since the manna stopped appearing. It is not given to prove that a wavesheaf offering was made because none was required'none could be made in the first place.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost, Consistency, and Honesty
In Joshua 1:11, just before crossing the Jordan into Canaan, Joshua commands the Israelites, "Prepare provisions for yourselves, for within three days you will cross over this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the Lord your God is giving you to possess." Where did the Israelites obtain these provisions? It could not have been manna because manna could not be stored. There is only one possibility: The Israelites were already gathering food, including grains (remember, it was the spring harvest season), in the area in which they were camped. This leads to the inescapable conclusion that the Israelites were no longer completely dependent on manna.
This is pertinent because Joshua 5:11 says, "And they ate of the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, unleavened bread, and parched grain on the very same day." If this took place on the fifteenth day of the first month, as is most likely, it was a high-holy-day Sabbath, so no manna would have fallen that day.
They did not go hungry because they had the produce of the land (at the very least the provisions of Joshua 1:11) to eat. They could eat it without restriction because it was produce that Gentiles had sown. If they had had to wait until the wavesheaf ceremony had occurred before they could harvest (Leviticus 23:14), thresh, winnow, and grind the grain into flour, then bake unleavened bread or parch the grain "the very same day," they really would have been pushing any Sabbath liberty (Exodus 16:23-24; 12:16)! Instead, their food preparation had been completed before the holy day arrived because they were not required to wait for a wavesheaf ceremony!
John W. Ritenbaugh
Pentecost Revisited (Part Two): Joshua 5
"Prepare food" - Where did this food come from? It could not have been manna, because manna could not be stored. They had to prepare foods that would last for a time. We can speculate. It could have included meat slaughtered from the herds and flocks they traveled with through the wilderness. This command could also be the first bit of evidence that the Israelites were already gathering and eating of the produce of the land that they were conquering. Which land? The narrative does not say. It could certainly include produce from the Promised Land because some Israelites (the tribes of Reuben, Gad, and half of Manasseh) were already taking up residence on the eastern side of the Jordan.
John W. Ritenbaugh
The Wavesheaf and the Selfsame Day
Where did this food come from? It could not have been manna because manna could not be stored. It could have included some meat they slaughtered from the herds and flocks traveling with them. It could also be evidence that the Israelites were already gathering and perhaps eating the produce of the lands they were conquering. The narrative does not say what lands, but it could include the Promised Land because people were already beginning to take up residence east of the Jordan.
John W. Ritenbaugh
Countdown to Pentecost 2001
Other Forerunner Commentary entries containing Joshua 1:11: