|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
2:1-3 After six days, God ceased from all works of creation. In miracles, he has overruled nature, but never changed its settled course, or added to it. God did not rest as one weary, but as one well pleased. Notice the beginning of the kingdom of grace, in the sanctification, or keeping holy, of the sabbath day. The solemn observing of one day in seven as a day of holy rest and holy work, to God's honour, is the duty of all to whom God has made known his holy sabbaths. At this time none of the human race were in being but our first parents. For them the sabbath was appointed; and clearly for all succeeding generations also. The Christian sabbath, which we observe, is a seventh day, and in it we celebrate the rest of God the Son, and the finishing the work of our redemption.
Verse 2. - And on the seventh day God (Elohim) ended his work which he had made. To avert the possibility of imagining that any portion of the seventh day was consumed in working, which the English version seems to favor, the LXX., the Samaritan, and Syriac versions insert the sixth day in the text instead of the seventh. Calvin, Drusius, Le Clerc, Rosenmüller, and Kalisch translate had finished. Others understand the sense to be declared the work to be finished, while Baumgarten and Delitzsch regard the resting as included in the completion of the work, and Von Bohlen thinks "the language is not quite precise." But calah followed by rain signifies to cease from prosecuting any work (Exodus 34:33; 1 Samuel 10:13; Ezekiel 43:23), and this was, negatively, the aspect of that sabbatic rest into which the Creator entered. And he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. Shavath, the primary idea of which is to sit still, depicts Elohim as desisting from his creative labors, and assuming a posture of quiescent repose. The expression is a pure anthropomorphism. "He who fainteth not, neither is weary" (Isaiah 40:28), can be conceived of neither as resting nor as needing rest through either exhaustion or fatigue. Cessation from previous occupation is all that is implied in the figure, and is quite compatible with continuous activity in other directions. John 5:17 represents the Father as working from that period onward in the preservation and redemption of that world which by his preceding labors he had created and made.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And on the seventh day God ended his work, which he had made,.... Not that God wrought anything on the seventh day, or finished any part of his work on that day, because he could not then be said to rest from all his work, as be is afterwards twice said to do; and because of this seeming difficulty the Septuagint, Samaritan, and Syriac versions, read, "on the sixth day". The two latter versions following the former, which so translated for the sake of Ptolemy king of Egypt, as the Jews say (a), that he might not object that God did any work on the sabbath day: and Josephus (b) observes, that, Moses says the world, and all things in it, were made in those six days, as undoubtedly they were; and were all finished on the sixth day, as appears from the last verse of the preceding chapter; and yet there is no occasion to alter the text, or suppose a various reading. Some, as Aben Ezra observes, take the sense of the word to be, "before the seventh day God ended his work", as they think may be rendered, and as it is by Noldius (c): or the words may be translated, "in the seventh day, when God had ended", or "finished his work" (d), which he had done on the sixth day, then
he rested on the seventh day from all his works which he had made: not as though weary of working, for the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, nor is weary, Isaiah 40:28 but as having done all his work, and brought it to such perfection, that he had no more to do; not that he ceased from making individuals, as the souls of men, and even all creatures that are brought into the world by generation, may be said to be made by him, but from making any new species of creatures; and much less did he cease from supporting and maintaining the creatures he had made in their beings, and providing everything agreeable for them, and governing them, and overruling all things in the world for ends of his own glory; in this sense he "worketh hitherto", as Christ says, John 5:17.
(a) T. Bab. Megilla fol. 9. 1. & Gloss. in ib. (b) Antiqu. l. 1. c. 1. sect. 1.((c) Concord. part. Eb. p. 144. No. 1007. Perfecerat. "ante diem septimum"; some in Yatablus. (d) "et compleverat", Drusius; "quum perfecisset", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "had finished", Ainsworth.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Ge 2:2-7. The First Sabbath.
2. and he rested on the seventh day—not to repose from exhaustion with labor (see Isa 40:28), but ceased from working, an example equivalent to a command that we also should cease from labor of every kind.
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