What is an…

Hebrew: עֹמֶר (noun) —transliteration: omer —meaning: a handful; a sheaf (a bundle of cut grain); a the measure of a small drinking cup or bowl

An omer is an ancient Hebrew dry measurement which is mentioned 6 times in Scripture. It is one-tenth (⅒) of an ephah (Exodus 16:36) = “tenth deal” in the King James Version.

This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Everyone gather as much as he will eat; you shall take an omer apiece according to the number of people each of you has in his tent.’”

…When they measured it [the manna] by the omer, the one who had gathered much did not have too much, and the one who had gathered little did not have too little; everyone gathered as much as he would eat. —Exodus 16:16-18 NASB excerpt

Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread [manna], two omers for each one. … —Exodus 16:22 NASB excerpt

Then Moses said, “This is what the Lord has commanded, ‘Let an omerful of it [manna] be kept throughout your generations, that they may see the bread that I fed you in the wilderness, when I brought you out of the land of Egypt.’”

Moses said to Aaron, “Take a jar and put an omerful of manna in it, and place it before the Lord to be kept throughout your generations.” —Exodus 16:32-33 NASB

There are various other estimates. The Jewish Study Bible (2014) claims that the omer is about 2.3 liters.1

The word omer is sometimes translated as sheaf, referring to an amount of grain large enough to require bundling.

  1. Adele Berlin, Marc Zvi Brettler, The Jewish Study Bible: Second Edition (Oxford University Press: 2014). p. 381.

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Article Version: July 29, 2021