Exodus 23:12
Six days you shall do your work, and on the seventh day you shall rest: that your ox and your ass may rest, and the son of your handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
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(12) The law of the weekly Sabbath is here repeated in conjunction with that of the Sabbatical year, to mark the intimate connection between the two, which were parts of one and the same system—a system which culminated in the Jubilee year (Leviticus 25:8-13). Nothing is added to the requirements of the fourth commandment; but the merciful intention of the Sabbath day is more fully brought out—it is to be kept in order that the cattle may rest, and the slave and stranger may be refreshed.

Exodus 23:12. The seventh day thou shalt rest — This command is here repeated lest any should think the weekly rest might cease when the whole year was consecrated to rest. There were three sorts of sabbaths to the Jews, 1st, Of days: 2d, Of years, namely, the seventh year: 3d, Of weeks of years, namely, the jubilee. And all these are types of the eternal rest in heaven, where pain and sorrow shall never enter.23:10-19 Every seventh year the land was to rest. They must not plough or sow it; what the earth produced of itself, should be eaten, and not laid up. This law seems to have been intended to teach dependence on Providence, and God's faithfulness in sending the larger increase while they kept his appointments. It was also typical of the heavenly rest, when all earthly labours, cares, and interests shall cease for ever. All respect to the gods of the heathen is strictly forbidden. Since idolatry was a sin to which the Israelites leaned, they must blot out the remembrance of the gods of the heathen. Solemn religious attendance on God, in the place which he should choose, is strictly required. They must come together before the Lord. What a good Master do we serve, who has made it our duty to rejoice before him! Let us devote with pleasure to the service of God that portion of our time which he requires, and count his sabbaths and ordinances to be a feast unto our souls. They were not to come empty-handed; so now, we must not come to worship God empty-hearted; our souls must be filled with holy desires toward him, and dedications of ourselves to him; for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.May be refreshed - Literally, "may take breath." 12. Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest—This law is repeated [Ex 20:9] lest any might suppose there was a relaxation of its observance during the sabbatical year. This command is here repeated, lest any should think the weekly rest might cease when the whole year was consecrated to rest. There were three sorts of sabbaths to the Jews:

1. Of days.

2. Of years, to wit; the seventh year.

3. Of weeks of years, to wit, the jubilee; and all these are types of the eternal rest in heaven. Six days thou shalt do thy work,.... That is, they might do what work they would on the six days of the week:

and on the seventh day thou shall rest; from all the work and labour done on other days, and give up themselves to religious exercises:

that thine ox and thine ass may rest; and so every other beast, as horses, camels, &c.

and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed; the former, the Targum of Jonathan, and so Jarchi, interprets, of one uncircumcised, and the latter, of a proselyte of the gate: this law is here repeated, partly to show that it is of the same kind with the former, namely, ceremonial and temporary; and partly, as Jarchi observes, lest it should be said, since all, the year is called the sabbath, there was no need to observe the weekly sabbath.

Six days thou shalt do thy work, and on the seventh day thou shalt rest: that thine ox and thine ass may rest, and the son of thy handmaid, and the stranger, may be refreshed.
12. The sabbath, treated here as a day of cessation from (in particular) field-labour, designed with a humanitarian end.

thy work] The word (ma‘ǎseh),—which is not the same as the one (melâ’khâh) rendered ‘work’ in Exodus 20:10,—though in itself a general one, seems rather from the context to suggest work in the field: cf. v. 16, where it is twice rendered ‘labours’; also Deuteronomy 14:29; Deuteronomy 16:15; Deuteronomy 24:19; Deu Exo 28:12 (note in each case the context).

rest] desist (from work), or keep sabbath (RVm.): see on Exodus 20:8.

and thine ass may rest] as Exodus 20:11. This is the word that expresses the positive idea of rest (Job 3:13; Job 3:17). (‘Have rest’ in RV. is intended for distinction from ‘rest’ just before; but it is better to be express the distinction by giving a more exact rendering of shâbath.)

the son of thy bondwoman] i.e. a slave ‘born in the house’ (cf. on Exodus 12:44), of parents who were themselves slaves—intended, it must be supposed, to represent slaves in general (cf. Deuteronomy 5:14 end): as Di. remarks, most slaves were probably of this kind. Bertholet (Die Stellung der Isr. u. der Juden zu den Fremden, p. 55) and Bä. think ‘the son of thy concubine’ to be meant (cf. the sense of ’âmâh in Exodus 21:7 [see note]); but there seems no sufficient reason for this limitation.

the sojourner] the sojourner in thy employment (Exodus 20:10).

be refreshed] properly, get breath: so Exodus 31:17, 2 Samuel 16:14†.Verse 12. - Law of the Sabbath, repeated. Nothing is here added to the teaching of the Fourth Commandment; but its merciful character is especially brought out. Men are called on to observe it, in order that their cattle may obtain rest, and their servants, together with the stranger that is within their gates, may find refreshment. It is to be borne in mind that the foreign population of Palestine was mostly held to hard service. (See 2 Chronicles 2:17, 18.) Verse 13 contains two injunctions - one general, one special: -

1. "Be circumspect" (or cautious, careful) "in respect of all that I command you."

2. "Do not so much as utter the name of any false god." Not even to mention their names, was to show them the greatest contempt possible; and, if followed out universally, would soon have produced an absolute oblivion of them. Moses, it may be observed, scarcely ever does mention their names. Later historians and prophets had to do so, either to deliver the true history of the Israelites, or to denounce idolatries to which they were given. There are many words one would wish never to utter; but while wicked men do the things of which they are the names, preachers are obliged to use the words in their sermons and other warnings. The warning against unkindness towards an enemy is followed by still further prohibitions of injustice in questions of right: viz., in Exodus 23:6, a warning against perverting the right of the poor in his cause; in Exodus 23:7, a general command to keep far away from a false matter, and not to slay the innocent and righteous, i.e., not to be guilty of judicial murder, together with the threat that God would not justify the sinner; and in Exodus 23:8, the command not to accept presents, i.e., to be bribed by gifts, because "the gift makes seeing men (פּקחים open eyes) blind, and perverts the causes of the just." The rendering "words of the righteous" is not correct; for even if we are to understand the expression "seeing men" as referring to judges, the "righteous" can only refer to those who stand at the bar, and have right on their side, which judges who accept of bribes may turn into wrong.
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