Exodus 20:11
For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
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(11) For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth.—Comp. Genesis 2:2-3, and Exodus 31:17. It is not improbable that the work of creation was made to occupy six days because one day in seven is the appropriate proportion of rest to labour for such a being as man. God might have created all things on one day had He so pleased; but, having the institution of the Sabbath in view, He prefigured it by spreading His work over six days, and then resting on the seventh. His law of the Sabbath established a conformity between the method of His own working and that of His reasonable creatures, and taught men to look on work, not as an aimless, indefinite, incessant, weary round, but as leading on to an end, a rest, a fruition, a time for looking back, and seeing the result and rejoicing in it. Each Sabbath is such a time, and is a type and foretaste of that eternal “sabbatising” in another world which “remaineth for the people of God” (Hebrews 4:9). The secondary object of the institution of the Sabbath, assigned in Deuteronomy 5:15, is in no way incompatible with this primary one. The thought of God’s works in creation might well be associated in the mind of an. Israelite with the thought of His “wondrous works” in Egypt, and the recollection of the blessed peace and rest in which creation resulted, with the memory of the glad time of repose and refreshment which supervened upon the weary task work of the Egyptian bondage.

20:3-11 The first four of the ten commandments, commonly called the FIRST table, tell our duty to God. It was fit that those should be put first, because man had a Maker to love, before he had a neighbour to love. It cannot be expected that he should be true to his brother, who is false to his God. The first commandment concerns the object of worship, JEHOVAH, and him only. The worship of creatures is here forbidden. Whatever comes short of perfect love, gratitude, reverence, or worship, breaks this commandment. Whatsoever ye do, do all the glory of God. The second commandment refers to the worship we are to render to the Lord our God. It is forbidden to make any image or picture of the Deity, in any form, or for any purpose; or to worship any creature, image, or picture. But the spiritual import of this command extends much further. All kinds of superstition are here forbidden, and the using of mere human inventions in the worship of God. The third commandment concerns the manner of worship, that it be with all possible reverence and seriousness. All false oaths are forbidden. All light appealing to God, all profane cursing, is a horrid breach of this command. It matters not whether the word of God, or sacred things, all such-like things break this commandment, and there is no profit, honour, or pleasure in them. The Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain. The form of the fourth commandment, Remember, shows that it was not now first given, but was known by the people before. One day in seven is to be kept holy. Six days are allotted to worldly business, but not so as to neglect the service of God, and the care of our souls. On those days we must do all our work, and leave none to be done on the sabbath day. Christ allowed works of necessity, charity, and piety; for the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath, Mr 2:27; but all works of luxury, vanity, or self-indulgence in any form, are forbidden. Trading, paying wages, settling accounts, writing letters of business, worldly studies, trifling visits, journeys, or light conversation, are not keeping this day holy to the Lord. Sloth and indolence may be a carnal, but not a holy rest. The sabbath of the Lord should be a day of rest from worldly labour, and a rest in the service of God. The advantages from the due keeping of this holy day, were it only to the health and happiness of mankind, with the time it affords for taking care of the soul, show the excellency of this commandment. The day is blessed; men are blessed by it, and in it. The blessing and direction to keep holy are not limited to the seventh day, but are spoken of the sabbath day.The sabbath ... - a Sabbath to Yahweh thy God. The proper meaning of "sabbath" is, "rest after labor." Compare Exodus 16:26.

Thy stranger that is within thy gates - Not a "stranger," as is an unknown person, but a "lodger," or "sojourner." In this place it denotes one who had come from another people to take up his permanent abode among the Israelites, and who might have been well known to his neighbors. That the word did not primarily refer to foreign domestic servants (though all such were included under it) is to be inferred from the term used for "gates," signifying not the doors of a private dwelling, but the gates of a town or camp.

8. Remember the sabbath day—implying it was already known, and recognized as a season of sacred rest. The first four commandments [Ex 20:3-11] comprise our duties to God—the other six [Ex 20:12-17] our duties to our fellow men; and as interpreted by Christ, they reach to the government of the heart as well as the lip (Mt 5:17). "If a man do them he shall live in them" [Le 18:5; Ne 9:29]. But, ah! what an if for frail and fallen man. Whoever rests his hope upon the law stands debtor to it all; and in this view every one would be without hope were not "the Lord our Righteousness" [Jer 23:6; 33:16] (Joh 1:17). In six days, and neither in more nor less time, as he could have done.

Rested, i.e. ceased from his creating works; otherwise he worketh still { John 5:17} by his providence and grace; and neither is idle nor weary, Isaiah 40:28; but this rest is ascribed to him for our admonition and imitation.

The Lord blessed the sabbath day, i.e. made it a day of blessing; as well of receiving blessings and praises from men, as of conferring his blessings and favours upon those that religiously observe it. The day is said to be blessed when men are blessed by it, and in it, by a common metonymy, as a man’s field, Genesis 27:27, and basket and store, Deu 28:5, and the work of his hands, Job 1:10, are said to be blessed when a man is blessed in them. It is remarkable, the blessing and sanctification are not appropriated to the seventh day, but to the sabbath day, whether it should be the seventh day, as to the Jews it then was, or the first day, as to us Christians now it is, which change seems hereby to be insinuated.

Hallowed it, i.e. separated it from the rest of the days, and from all common employments, and consecrated it to his own holy service, and man’s holy use.

For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea,

and all that in them is, &c. And of which six days, and of the several things made in each of them, see the notes on the first chapter of Genesis:

and resteth the seventh day: which does not suppose labour, attended with weariness and fatigue; for the Creator of the ends of the earth fainteth not, neither is weary, Isaiah 40:28 nor ease and refreshment from it, but only a cessation from the works of creation, they being finished and completed, though not from the works of Providence, in which he is continually concerned: now this circumstance, before recorded in the history of the creation, is wisely improved to engage an attention to this command, and to the observation of it; there being an analogy between the one and the other, that as God worked six days, and, having done his work completely, ceased from it and rested, so it was fit and proper, that as the Israelites had six days allowed them to labour in, and do all their work, they should rest on the seventh, they and all that belonged to them, or had any connection with them:

wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath, and hallowed it: he separated it from all other days of the week, and set it apart for holy use and service, by obliging his people to cease from all work on it, and to give up themselves to the exercises of religion, as hearing, reading the word, prayer, praise, &c. and he blessed it with his presence, and with the communications of his grace, as he still continues to do, whatsoever day his people make use of for his worship and service. The note of Jarchi is,"he blessed it with manna, by giving double bread on the sixth, and sanctified it by manna, that it might not descend on it;''so that there was a provision made for it, which was blessing it; and it was distinguished from all other days, no manna falling on it, which was the sanctification of it; and all showed it to be a day the Lord had a particular regard to, and that it was to be a day of rest, and exemption from labour. (This verse shows that the days in the first chapter of Genesis were real twenty four hour days. For you compare like things to like. Just as God worked six days and rested on the seventh, so the Israelites were to do also. The comparison would make no sense if the days were "seven ages" or were "seven ages" that overlapped each other (Day Age Theory) or if there was a huge gap between the days (Gap Theory). These are modern compromises to accomodate the alleged geological ages with the Biblical account of creation.Further this verse allows one to determine the age of the universe. Using the biblical geneologies Bishop Ussher determined the date of creation to be 4004 B.C. Although this may be off by one or two percent, it is a very accurate estimate based on biblical revelation not man's speculation. Editor.)

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
11. Why the sabbath is to be observed. The reason is based upon Genesis 2:3, cf. Exodus 31:17 b (both P). The motive may have operated with the writer of the comment; but it cannot state the real reason for the observance of the sabbath. ‘P’s story of the Creation, with the six days followed by the sacred seventh, is not the cause of the Sabbath, but the result of the fact that the week ending with the Sabbath was an existing institution. P adjusts the work of creation to it’ (McNeile). Cf. the present writer’s Genesis, p. 35. On the different motive assigned for the observance in Deuteronomy 5:15, see p. 192.

rested] This is the word nûaḥ, meaning relaxation, referred to on v. 8: cf. Exodus 23:12 b, Deuteronomy 5:14 b; and for the thought Exodus 31:17 b (‘desisted, and was refreshed’). (In Genesis 2:2-3 the word used is ‘desisted.’)

blessed … hallowed] i.e. made it a day which would bring a blessing on those who observed it, and made it sacred to Himself.

It is impossible to consider here with any fulness the history and significance of the sabbath; and for a more detailed discussion the writer must refer to his art. Sabbath in DB. iv. It is not impossible that ultimately the institution was of Babylonian origin: in Babylonian there occurs (though rarely) the word shabattum, meaning day for propitiating a deity’s anger1[178], and in Babylonia also, especially in the earlier periods of the history, every seventh day of the month was marked by abstention from secular business2[179]: but even if that was the case (for connecting links are still wanting), it is certain that when adopted by the Hebrews, a new character was impressed upon it by the higher and purer religion of Israel. In the earliest legislation of the Hebrews, the sabbath appears as a day of cessation from (in particular) field-work, designed with a humanitarian end (Exodus 23:12 E; Exodus 34:21 J), and, to judge from the context, possessing already a religious character: in the Decalogue, in what is probably (see above) the oldest part of the Commandment, it is to be kept ‘holy’ by the Israelite: in the early historical books, it is associated with the ‘new moon,’ in a manner which implies that both were occasions of intermission from labour and trade (Amos 8:5), and holidays (2 Kings 4:22-23); Hosea (Exodus 2:11), and Isaiah (Exodus 1:13), both allude to it as a day of religious observance. In later times, both the religious observances and also the abstention from labour were increasingly emphasized. In H and Ezek. (see on Ezekiel 31:13) the observance of the sabbath is repeatedly insisted on: cf. a little later Isaiah 56:2; Isaiah 56:4; Isaiah 56:6; Isaiah 58:13 f., and (in the ideal future) Isaiah 66:23. Ezekiel, also, in his ideal legislation for the future (chs. 40–48), gives directions,—based, presumably, upon already existing usage,—respecting the sacrifices to be offered every sabbath by the ‘prince’ on behalf o the nation in the restored temple (Ezekiel 45:17, Ezekiel 46:4 f.). In the legislation of P, the regulations respecting the sabbath become both more numerous and more strict: its institution is thrown back to the end of the week of Creation (Genesis 2:2-3, Exodus 31:17); it is to be observed (Leviticus 23:3) by a ‘holy convocation,’ or religious gathering; additional sacrifice (viz. double those offered on ordinary days) are prescribed for it (Numbers 28:8 f.); and death is the penalty imposed (Exodus 31:15), and exacted (Numbers 15:32-36), for its non-observance, Thus in the priestly law, the original character and objects of the sabbath have receded into the background, and it has become more distinctly a purely ceremonial observance: Christ, in opposition to later Rabbinical exaggerations and refinements, brought men back to the great truth that ‘the sabbath was made for man, and not man for the sabbath’; and, transformed into the Christian Sunday, it has become in Christian countries a wonderful means both of securing rest from bodily toil, and of maintaining the life of a pure and spiritual religion.

[178] See DB. iv. 319a, adding the instance, discussed by Zimmern, ZDMG. 1904, p. 199 ff., in which shabattum is applied to the 15th day of the month, i.e. (see p. 201) to the day of the full moon.

[179] See DB. ibid., or the writer’s Genesis, p. 34. and esp. Johns, Expos. Times, Sept. 1906, p. 567 (with detailed statistics); and comp. McNeile, p. 122 f.

Verse 11. - For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth. Two reasons are assigned for the sanctification of the seventh day in the Pentateuch: -

1. The fact that the work of creation took six days, and that on the seventh God rested; and

2. The further fact, that God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, and gave them a time of rest after a time of labour and toil (Deuteronomy 5:15). It is not expressly said that the deliverance took place on the Sabbath, but such is the Jewish tradition on the subject. The reason here assigned must be regarded as the main reason, man's rest being purposely assimilated to God's rest, in order to show the resemblance between man's nature and God's (Genesis 1:27), and to point towards that eternal rest wherein man, united with God, will find his highest bliss and the true end of his being. "There remaineth a rest for the people of God." Exodus 20:11The Fourth Word, "Remember the Sabbath-day, to keep it holy," presupposes an acquaintance with the Sabbath, as the expression "remember" is sufficient to show, but not that the Sabbath had been kept before this. From the history of the creation that had been handed down, Israel must have known, that after God had created the world in six days He rested the seventh day, and by His resting sanctified the day (Genesis 2:3). But hitherto there had been no commandment given to man to sanctify the day. This was given for the first time to Israel at Sinai, after preparation had been made for it by the fact that the manna did not fall on the seventh day of the week (Exodus 16:22). Here therefore the mode of sanctifying it was established for the first time. The seventh day was to be שׁבּי (a festival-keeper, see Exodus 16:23), i.e., a day of rest belonging to the Lord, and to be consecrated to Him by the fact that no work was performed upon it. The command not to do any (כּל) work applied to both man and beast without exception. Those who were to rest are divided into two classes by the omission of the cop. ו before עבדּך (Exodus 20:10): viz., first, free Israelites ("thou") and their children ("thy son and thy daughter"); and secondly, their slaves (man-servant and maid-servant), and cattle (beasts of draught and burden), and their strangers, i.e., foreign labourers who had settled among the Israelites. "Within thy gates" is equivalent to in the cities, towns, and villages of thy land, not in thy houses (cf. Deuteronomy 5:14; Deuteronomy 14:21, etc.). שׁער (a gate) is only applied to the entrances to towns, or large enclosed courts and palaces, never to the entrances into ordinary houses, huts, and tents. מלאכה work (cf. Genesis 2:2), as distinguished from עבדה labour, is not so much a term denoting a lighter kind of labour, as a general and comprehensive term applied to the performance of any task, whether easy or severe. עבדה is the execution of a definite task, whether in field labour (Psalm 104:23) and mechanical employment (Exodus 39:32) on the one hand, or priestly service and the duties connected with worship on the other (Exodus 12:25-26; Numbers 4:47). On the Sabbath (and also on the day of atonement, Leviticus 23:28, Leviticus 23:31) every occupation was to rest; on the other feast-days only laborious occupations (עבדה מלאכת, Leviticus 23:7.), i.e., such occupations as came under the denomination of labour, business, or industrial employment. Consequently, not only were ploughing and reaping (Exodus 34:21), pressing wine and carrying goods (Nehemiah 13:15), bearing burdens (Jeremiah 17:21), carrying on trade (Amos 8:5), and holding markets (Nehemiah 13:15.) prohibited, but collecting manna (Exodus 16:26.), gathering wood (Numbers 15:32.), and kindling fire for the purpose of boiling or baking (Exodus 35:3). The intention of this resting from every occupation on the Sabbath is evident from the foundation upon which the commandment is based in Exodus 20:11, viz., that at the creation of the heaven and the earth Jehovah rested on the seventh day, and therefore blessed the Sabbath-day and hallowed it. This does not imply, however, that "Israel was to follow the Lord by keeping the Sabbath, and, in imitation of His example, to be active where the Lord was active, and rest where the Lord rested; to copy the Lord in accordance with the lofty aim of man, who was created in His likeness, and make the pulsation of the divine life in a certain sense his own" (Schultz). For although a parallel is drawn, between the creation of the world by God in six days and His resting upon the seventh day on the one hand, and the labour of man for six days and his resting upon the seventh on the other; the reason for the keeping of the Sabbath is not to be found in this parallel, but in the fact that God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because He rested upon it. The significance of the Sabbath, therefore, is to be found in God's blessing and sanctifying the seventh day of the week at the creation, i.e., in the fact, that after the work of creation was finished on the seventh day, God blessed and hallowed the created world, filling it with the powers of peace and good belonging to His own blessed rest, and raising it to a participation in the pure light of His holy nature (see Genesis 2:3). For this reason His people Israel were to keep the Sabbath now, not for the purpose of imitating what God had done, and enjoying the blessing of God by thus following God Himself, but that on this day they also might rest from their work; and that all the more, because their work was no longer the work appointed to man at the first, when he was created in the likeness of God, work which did not interrupt his blessedness in God (Genesis 2:15), but that hard labour in the sweat of his brow to which he had been condemned in consequence of the fall. In order therefore that His people might rest from toil so oppressive to both body and soul, and be refreshed, God prescribed the keeping of the Sabbath, that they might thus possess a day for the repose and elevation of their spirits, and a foretaste of the blessedness into which the people of God are at last to enter, the blessedness of the eternal κατάπαυσις ἀπὸ τῶν ἔργων αὐτοῦ (Hebrews 4:10), the ἀνάπαυσις ἐκ τῶν κόπων (Revelation 14:13). See my Archaeologie, 77).

But instead of this objective ground for the sabbatical festival, which furnished the true idea of the Sabbath, when Moses recapitulated the decalogue, he adduced only the subjective aspect of rest or refreshing (Deuteronomy 5:14-15), reminding the people, just as in Exodus 23:12, of their bondage in Egypt and their deliverance from it by the strong arm of Jehovah, and then adding, "therefore (that thou mightest remember this deliverance from bondage) Jehovah commanded thee to keep the Sabbath-day." This is not at variance with the reason given in the present verse, but simply gives prominence to a subjective aspect, which was peculiarly adapted to warm the hearts of the people towards the observance of the Sabbath, and to render the Sabbath rest dear to the people, since it served to keep the Israelites constantly in mind of the rest which Jehovah had procured for them from the slave labour of Egypt. For resting from every work is the basis of the observance of the Sabbath; but this observance is an institution peculiar to the Old Testament, and not to be met with in any other nation, though there are many among whom the division of weeks occurs. The observance of the Sabbath, by being adopted into the decalogue, was made the foundation of all the festal times and observances of the Israelites, as they all culminated in the Sabbath rest. At the same time, as an ἐντολὴ τοῦ νόμον, an ingredient in the Sinaitic law, it belonged to the "shadow of (good) things to come" (Colossians 2:17, cf. Hebrews 10:1), which was to be done away when the "body" in Christ had come. Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Matthew 12:8), and after the completion of His work, He also rested on the Sabbath. But He rose again on the Sunday; and through His resurrection, which is the pledge to the world of the fruits of His redeeming work, He has made this day the κυριακὴ ἡμέρα (Lord's day) for His Church, to be observed by it till the Captain of its salvation shall return, and having finished the judgment upon all His foes to the very last shall lead it to the rest of that eternal Sabbath, which God prepared for the whole creation through His own resting after the completion of the heaven and the earth.

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