|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
56:1,2 The Lord tells us what are his expectations of duty from us. Be honest and just in all dealings. Also strictly observe the sabbath day. To have the blessing of God upon employments all the week, make conscience of keeping the sabbath holy. Have nothing to do with sin. Blessed is the man that keeps his hand from all things displeasing to God and hurtful to his own soul. Those who, through the Spirit, wait for the hope of righteousness by faith, will be found walking in ways of holy obedience.
Verse 2. - That doeth this... that layeth hold on it; i.e. that doeth according to the exhortation in ver. 1. That keepeth the sabbath. The prominent place assigned to this duty by the evangelical prophet is remarkable. We may observe, however,
(1) that the spirit of obedience is better tested by a positive than by a moral ordinance; and
(2) that as, probably, there could be little outward keeping of the sabbath by the captives, it would have had to be kept inwardly by spiritual exercises, by silent prayer and praise, together with prolonged meditation upon holy things. In the absence of all the ordinary aids to devotion, the religious condition of the people must have depended very much on their keeping up the recollection of the sabbath, and hallowing it so far as was possible; e.g. doing no work for themselves, neither buying nor selling, making their devotions longer, and keeping God in their thoughts throughout the day.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Blessed is the man that doth this,.... That does justice, and keeps judgment; he hereby exercises a good conscience both towards God and men; he enjoys communion with God in his ways, worship, and ordinances, he attends unto, and has an evidence of his right to eternal happiness:
and the son of man that layeth hold on it; on the salvation of Christ, and his righteousness; which supposes a sense of the insufficiency of a man's own righteousness, a view of the excellency and suitableness of Christ's righteousness; and is expressive of a strong act of faith upon it, embracing and retaining it as a man's own:
that keepeth the sabbath from polluting it; by doing any servile work on it, and attending to all religious duties, private or public. This is put for the whole of instituted worship under the Gospel dispensation, and for any day or time in which the church of Christ meet together for religious worship:
and keepeth his hand from doing any evil; committing any sin against God, or doing injury to the persons or properties of men, including the whole of moral duty.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. (Lu 12:43).
the man—Hebrew, enosh, "a man in humble life," in contradistinction to Hebrew, ish, "one of high rank." Even the humblest, as "the stranger" and "the eunuch" (Isa 56:4, 6), are admissible to these privileges.
this … it—what follows: "keeping the Sabbath," &c. (Isa 58:13, 14; Eze 20:12). A proof that the Sabbath, in the spirit of its obligation, was to be binding under the Gospel (Isa 66:23). That gospel times are referred to is plain, from the blessing not being pronounced on the man who observed the sacrificial ritual of the Jewish law.
layeth hold—image from one grasping firmly some precious object which he is afraid of having forcibly snatched from him. The "Sabbath" here includes all the ordinances of divine worship under the new gospel law.
keepeth … hand … from … evil—The observance of the second table of the law; as the "Sabbath" referred to the first table. Together, they form the whole duty of man, the worship of God and a holy life.
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