XLVII. (258) This is the beginning and preface of the prophecies of Moses under the influence of inspiration. After this he prophesied about the first and most necessary of all things, namely, food, which the earth did not produce, for it was barren and unfruitful; and the heaven rained down not once only, but every day for forty years, before the dawn of day, an ethereal fruit under the form of a dew very like millet seed. (259) And Moses, when he saw it, commanded them to collect it; and being full of inspiration, said: “You must believe in God, inasmuch as you have already had experience of his mercies and benefits in matters beyond all your hopes. This food may not be treasured up or laid up in garners. Let no one leave any portion of it till the morning.” (260) When they heard this, some of those who had no firm piety, thinking perhaps that what was now said to them was not an oracle from God, but merely the advice of their leader, left some till the next day. And it putrified, and at first filled all the camp around with its foul smell, and then it turned to worms, the origin of which always is from corruption. (261) And Moses, when he saw this, was naturally indignant with those who were thus disobedient; for how could he help being so, when those who had beheld such numerous and great actions which could not possibly be perverted into mere fictitious and well contrived appearances, but which had been easily accomplished by the divine providence, did not only doubt, but even absolutely disbelieved, and were the hardest of all man to be convinced? (262) But the Father established the oracle of his prophet by two most conspicuous manifestations, the one of which he gave immediately by the destruction of what had been left, and by the evil stench which arose, and by the change of it into worms, the vilest of animals; and the other demonstration he afforded subsequently, for that which was over and above after that which had been collected by the multitude, was always melted away by the beams of the sun, and consumed, and destroyed in that manner.
XLVIII. (263) He gave a second instance of his prophetical inspiration not long afterwards in the oracle which he delivered about the sacred seventh day. For though it had had a natural precedence over all other days, not only from the time that the world was created, but even before the origination of the heaven and all the objects perceptible to the outward senses, men still knew it not, perhaps because, by reason of the continued and uninterrupted destructions which had taken place by water and fire, succeeding generations had not been able to receive from former ones any traditions of the arrangement and order which had been established in the connection of preceding times, which, as it was not known, Moses, now being inspired, declared to his people in an oracle which was borne testimony to by a visible sign from heaven. (264) And the sign was this. A small portion of food descended from the air on the previous days, but a double portion on the day before the seventh day. And on the previous days, if any portion was left it became liquefied and melted away, until it was entirely changed into dew, and so consumed; but on this day it endured no alteration, but remained in the same state as before, and when this was reported to him, and beheld by him, Moses did not so much conjecture as receive the impulse of divine inspiration under which he prophesied of the seventh day. (265) I omit to mention that all such conjectures are akin to prophecy; for the mind could never make such correct and felicitous conjectures, unless it were a divine spirit which guided their feet into the way of truth; (266) and the miraculous nature of the sign was shown, not merely in the fact of the food being double in quantity, nor in that of its remaining unimpaired, contrary to the usual customs, but in both these circumstances taking place on the sixth day, from the day on which this food first began to be supplied from heaven, from which day the most sacred number of seven begun to be counted, so that if any one reckons he will find that this heavenly food was given in exact correspondence with the arrangement instituted at the creation of the world. For God began to create the world on the first day of a week of six days: and he began to rain down the food which has just been mentioned on the same first day; (267) and the two images are alike; for as he produced that most perfect work, the world, bringing it out of non-existence into existence, so in the same manner did he produce plenty in the wilderness, changing the elements with reference to the pressing necessity, that, instead of the earth, the air might bestow food without labour, and without trouble, to those who had no opportunity of providing themselves with food at their leisure. (268) After this he delivered to the people a third oracle of the most marvellous nature, namely that on the seventh day the air would not afford the accustomed food, and that not the very slightest portion would fall upon the earth, as it did on other days; (269) and this turned out to be the case in point of fact; for he delivered this prediction on the day before; but some of those who were unstable in their dispositions, went forth to collect it, and being deceived in their expectations, returned unsuccessful, reproaching themselves for their unbelief, and calling the prophet the only true prophet, the only one who knew the will of God, and the only one who had any foreknowledge of what was uncertain and future.