Exodus 35:3
You shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations on the sabbath day.
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Exodus 35:3. Ye shall kindle no fire — For any servile work; throughout your habitations — No, not for the service of the tabernacle, as for the heating of tools, or the melting of metals, or other things belonging to it; which being made for God’s service, and deserving and requiring all expedition, they might probably conceive that such work might be done upon that day. And here also, as often elsewhere, under one kind of work, lighting a fire, every other kind is comprehended and forbidden. It is justly observed by Mr. Scott here, “If the kindling of fires in general on the sabbath days be here understood to be prohibited, it must either be viewed as a mere temporary institution, to continue only during the time when the people were miraculously provided for in the wilderness; or that some exceptions were allowed in favour of the sick, infirm, and children, who must suffer extremely, at some seasons, even in warm climates, for want of fire; or that a fire which was burning might be kept up, though a fresh one might not be kindled.” It is remarkable that “the subsequent parts of Scripture give no light on this subject,” further than that, “among the various instances recorded of the Israelites being reproved, and individuals punished, for neglecting to sanctify the sabbath, this is not once mentioned. The modern Jews understand the prohibition literally, yet they use fires in various ways on the sabbath, but employ other persons to kindle them, or to keep them up.”35:1-3 The mild and easy yoke of Christ has made our sabbath duties more delightful, and our sabbath restraints less irksome, than those of the Jews; but we are the more guilty by neglecting them. Surely God's wisdom in giving us the sabbath, with all the mercy of its purposes, are sinfully disregarded. Is it nothing to pour contempt upon the blessed day, which a bounteous God has given to us for our growth in grace with the church below, and to prepare us for happiness with the church above?This prohibition is here first distinctly expressed, but it is implied Exodus 16:23. CHAPTER 35

Ex 35:1-35. Contributions to the Tabernacle.

1. Moses gathered all the congregation of the children of Israel, &c.—On the occasion referred to in the opening of this chapter, the Israelites were specially reminded of the design to erect a magnificent tabernacle for the regular worship of God, as well as of the leading articles that were required to furnish that sacred edifice [Ex 35:11-19]. (See on [29]Ex 25:1-40; [30]Ex 27:1-21; [31]Ex 30:1-31:18).

This command seems to be only temporary and extraordinary during the present season and condition, and not extending to succeeding generations. For,

1. There are instances of temporary precepts both in the Old and New Testament, which yet are not in their places said to be so. Such were some of the precepts concerning the passover, Exodus 12:11, as is confessed. And such was that law of abstaining from things strangled, and blood, Ac 15.

2. This precept is nakedly proposed, and not called a perpetual statute, nor enjoined to be observed in their generations, as other precepts are, to whom those, or some like clauses, are frequently added.

3. The sabbath is rather a feast day than a fast day. And the Jews did make feasts, and invited guests upon the sabbath day, which could not probably be without kindling a fire. And, which is more considerable, Christ himself, who fulfilled all righteousness, and therefore would not have joined in the violation of the sabbath, went to one of those feasts, Lu 14. And the Corinthians, as they received the Lord’s supper upon that day, which none question, so they had their feasts, as is confessed and apparent from 1 Corinthians 11:21,22, &c.

4. The kindling of a fire was no greater hinderance to the religious observation of the sabbath, than other things which were allowed upon that day, such as the washing and dressing of themselves, eating and drinking, &c.

5. This prohibition doth not seem to concern the dressing of meat, as many understand it, by comparing this with Exodus 16:23, (which place I humbly conceive is misunderstood, as I have there intimated, for that was lawful to be done upon, their most solemn days, Exodus 12:16) but the service of the tabernacle, which is the subject of this chapter, and the occasion of these words; and the sense seems to be this, You shall kindle no fire for any handiwork throughout your habitation, no, not for the service of this tabernacle, for the heating of any tools, or the melting of any metals, or other things belonging to it, which being to be made for God’s service, and deserving and requiring all expedition, they might probably conceive that such work might be done upon that day. And here also, as oft elsewhere, under one kind, all the rest are comprehended and forbidden. Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day. This law seems to be a temporary one, and not to be continued, nor is it said to be throughout their generations as elsewhere, where the law of the sabbath is given or repeated; it is to be restrained to the building of the tabernacle, and while that was about, to which it is prefaced; and it is designed to prevent all public or private working on the sabbath day, in anything belonging to that; having no fire to heat their tools or melt their metal, or do any thing for which that was necessary; for it can hardly be thought that this is to be taken in the strictest sense, as an entire prohibition of kindling a fire and the use of it on that day, which is so absolutely useful, and needful in various cases, and where acts of mercy and necessity require it; as in cold seasons of the year, for the warming and comforting of persons who otherwise would be unfit for religious exercises, and on the account of infants and aged persons, who could not subsist without it; and in cases of sickness, and various disorders which necessarily require it; and even for the preparation of food, which must be had on that day as on others, the sabbath being not a fast, but rather a festival, as it is with the Jews; and yet this law is interpreted by them in the most rigorous sense: they put kindling a fire among the principal works forbidden on that day (x), and that not only to bake bread and boil flesh, as Aben Ezra interprets it here, but to warm themselves with; nay, they think it unlawful to touch an hearth, or a coal of fire, or a firebrand, or anything that may give them any warmth in a cold season; and if, for the sake of infants or aged persons, there is need of a fire or heating a stove, they hire a Christian to do it, or so prepare and order matters the day before that it kindle of itself (y); and so Leo Modena (z) says,"they do not meddle with any fire, nor touch any wood that is on fire, nor kindle any, nor put it out; nor do they so much as light a candle on the sabbath day: and if the place be cold where they dwell, except they have any stoves, or hot houses, or else have some one that is no Jew to kindle a fire for them; or had so ordered the matter before hand that the fire should kindle of itself at such a time; they must even be content to sit in the cold all that day:''but here they nicely distinguish and observe, that it is said:

throughout your habitations; their private dwellings, but not the habitation of the Lord, or the house of the sanctuary; and on this score they allow of kindling a fire in Beth Moked (a), an apartment in the temple, where a fire was constantly kept for the priests that kept watch to warm themselves at.

(x) Misn. Sabbat, c. 7. sect. 2.((y) Buxtorf. Synagog. Jud. c. 16. p. 361. (z) History of the Rites, &c. of the Jews, par. 3. c. 1. sect. 3.((a) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 20. 1.

Ye shall kindle no fire throughout your habitations upon the sabbath day.
3. An addition to the law of Exodus 31:12-17. The explicit prohibition is not found elsewhere in the OT.; but it is implied in Exodus 16:23.

in all your habitations] see on Exodus 12:20.Verse 3. - Ye shall kindle no fire. The kindling of fire in early times involved considerable labour. It was ordinarily affected by rubbing two sticks together, or twisting one round rapidly between the two palms in a depression upon a board. Fire only came after a long time. Moreover, as in the warm climate of Arabia and Palestine artificial warmth was not needed, fire could only have been kindled there for cooking purposes, which involved further unnecessary work, and had already been forbidden (Exodus 16:23). The Karaite Jews still maintain the observance of this precept to the letter, even in cold climates, as in that of the Crimea, and allow neither fire nor light in their houses on the sabbath day; but the Jews generally view the precept as having had only a temporary force, and have lights and fires, like other persons, even in Palestine. Strict Jews, however, still cook no food on the sabbath day.

CHAPTER 35:4-20 The sight of the glory of Jehovah, though only of the back or reflection of it, produced such an effect upon Moses' face, that the skin of it shone, though without Moses observing it. When he came down from the mountain with the tables of the law in his hand, and the skin of his face shone אתּו בּדבּרו, i.e., on account of his talking with God, Aaron and the people were afraid to go near him when they saw the brightness of his face. But Moses called them to him, - Viz. first of all Aaron and the princes of the congregation to speak to them, and then all the people to give them the commandments of Jehovah; but on doing this (Exodus 34:33), he put a veil upon (before) his face, and only took it away when he went in before Jehovah to speak with Him, and then, when he came out (from the Lord out of the tabernacle, of course after the erection of the tabernacle), he made known His commands to the people. But while doing this, he put the veil upon his face again, and always wore it in his ordinary intercourse with the people (Exodus 34:34, Exodus 34:35). This reflection of the splendour thrown back by the glory of God was henceforth to serve as the most striking proof of the confidential relation in which Moses stood to Jehovah, and to set forth the glory of the office which Moses filled. The Apostle Paul embraces this view in 2 Corinthians 3:7., and lays stress upon the fact that the glory was to be done away, which he was quite justified in doing, although nothing is said in the Old Testament about the glory being transient, from the simple fact that Moses died. The apostle refers to it for the purpose of contrasting the perishable glory of the law with the far higher and imperishable glory of the Gospel. At the same time he regards the veil which covered Moses' face as a symbol of the obscuring of the truth revealed in the Old Testament. But this does not exhaust the significance of this splendour. The office could only confer such glory upon the possessor by virtue of the glory of the blessings which it contained, and conveyed to those for whom it was established. Consequently, the brilliant light on Moses' face also set forth the glory of the Old Covenant, and was intended both for Moses and the people as a foresight and pledge of the glory to which Jehovah had called, and would eventually exalt, the people of His possession.
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