And remember that you were a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD your God brought you out there through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD your God commanded you to keep the sabbath day.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Exodus 23:12) is pointed by reminding the people that they too were formerly servants themselves. The bondage in Egypt and the deliverance from it are not assigned as grounds for the institution of the Sabbath, which is of far older date (see Genesis 2:3), but rather as suggesting motives for the religious observance of that institution. The Exodus was an entrance into rest from the toils of the house of bondage, and is thought actually to have occurred on the Sabbath day or "rest" day.Remember that thou wast a servant, and therefore art highly obliged both to serve that God who redeemed thee, especially upon his own day, and not to grudge thy servants their rest upon that day.
and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence, through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; signifying that their deliverance from their state of bondage was not owing to themselves, nor to any creature, but to the mercy and kindness of God, and to his almighty power; and therefore they were under the greatest obligations to observe any command and institution of his he should think fit to make; and particularly this of the sabbath, which was made on that account, as follows:And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the LORD thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm: therefore the LORD thy God commanded thee to keep the sabbath day.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)15. A different reason for the keeping of the Sabbath from that given in Exodus 20:11. It is relevant to D’s addition in the previous v., and at first seems intended only to enforce the extension of the Sabbath-law to slaves, remember thou wast a bondman in the land of Egypt and Jehovah thy God brought thee out; but before it closes it bases the whole observance of the Sabbath on the deliverance from Egypt as if the S. were a memorial of that event—wherefore Jehovah thy God hath commanded thee to keep the S. day. This historical reference and the humanity enforced by it are characteristic of D. But Exodus 20:11, under the influence of P, recites as the motive for the observance of the S. God’s rest on the seventh day from the work of creation. The influence of P on Ex. proves the D form to be the more original. Note that while it enforces the philanthropic motive for Sabbath-observance it is as theological as the other, and, like it, refers to God’s action as the ultimate sanction of the Sabbath.
remember that thou wast a bondman] The same motive is expressed for the laws enforcing liberality to slaves, Deuteronomy 15:15; the duty of sharing the joy of the feasts with needy dependents, Deuteronomy 16:12; and justice and generosity to the poor, Deuteronomy 24:18; Deuteronomy 24:22.
a mighty hand and … a stretched out arm] See on Deuteronomy 4:34.
to keep] lit. to do or make, i.e. to carry into effect; used by D also of the Passover, Deuteronomy 16:1; more frequently in P: of the Sabbath, Exodus 31:16; of the Passover, Exodus 12:47 f.; Numbers 9:4-6, etc.Exodus 20, with only a few variations, which have already been discussed in connection with the exposition of the decalogue at Exodus 20:1-14. - In Deuteronomy 5:22-33, Moses expounds still further the short account in Exodus 20:18-21, viz., that after the people had heard the ten covenant words, in their alarm at the awful phenomena in which the Lord revealed His glory, they entreated him to stand between as mediator, that God Himself might not speak to them any further, and that they might not die, and then promised that they would hearken to all that the Lord should speak to him (Exodus 20:23 -31). His purpose in doing so was to link on the exhortation in vv. 32, 33, to keep all the commandments of the Lord and do them, which paves the way for passing to the exposition of the law which follows. "A great voice" (Exodus 20:22) is an adverbial accusative, signifying "with a great voice" (cf. Ges. 118, 3). "And He added no more:" as in Numbers 11:25. God spoken the ten words directly to the people, and then no more; i.e., everything further He addressed to Moses alone, and through his mediation to the people. As mediator He gave him the two tables of stone, upon which He had written the decalogue (cf. Exodus 31:18). This statement somewhat forestalls the historical course; and in Deuteronomy 9:10-11, it is repeated again in its proper historical connection.
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