Exodus 20:8-11


  1. Background

    1. This is the first of two positive commands.

    2. This is the first commandment that has significant variation in Deuteronomy 5.

    3. The Deuteronomy parallel is obviously meant to be the same as Exodus 20, as is seen clearly in Deut. 5:1-11.

    4. It is significant that the VERB, Shema (BDB 1033), which means "to hear and do," is in both Deut. 5:1 and 6:4). Also, the aspect of parents passing on their trust in God, found in Deut. 6:6-9, is significant for later generations.

    5. The focus of the Sabbath observance in Exod. 20:8-11 is creation, while in Deut. 5:12-15 it is the exodus. These two aspects of the name of God as Elohim (i.e., creator) and YHWH (i.e., savior) are also significant.

  2. Word Studies of Significant Terms

    1. "Sabbath" (BDB 992), see SPECIAL TOPIC: SABBATH (OT), Exod. 20:8

    2. Possible roots
      1. cease, desist, rest
      2. cessation

    3. Various usages
      1. Sabbath, Exod. 16:25; 20:10; Deut. 5:14
      2. Day of Atonement, Lev. 16:31; 23:32
      3. Sabbath Year, Lev. 25:4; 26:34,43; 2 Chr. 36:21

    4. Translation variations
      1. "Sabbath"

    1. Kadosh = "Holy" = separated for God's use (see SPECIAL TOPIC: HOLY), Exod. 20:8

    2. Special usages
      1. apartness, sacredness, holiness of God (see SPECIAL TOPIC: THE HOLY ONE)
      2. places set apart as sacred by God's presence
      3. things connected to holy places
      4. persons holy by their connection to holy places or things
      5. times set apart for worship, Gen. 2:3; Exod. 20:8,11
      6. things and persons which were ceremonially clean

    3. Related terms
      1. sacred, holy
      2. be set apart or consecrated
      3. sanctuary
      4. sacred (used in Exod. 20:8 only)
      5. sacred place
      6. set apart (Daniel 4 and 5 only)

    4. Translation variations
      1. "holy"
      2. "hallow"
      3. "sanctify it"
      4. "withdrawn from common employment and dedicated to God"

    1. "Sojourner" (BDB 158, Exod. 20:10)

    2. Usages
      1. temporary dweller with limited rights
      2. same as #1 but within covenant community

    3. Translation variations
      1. "sojourner"
      2. "stranger"
      3. "alien"
      4. "house guest"

    1. "Shall not do any work" (BDB 793, KB 889, Qal IMPERFECT)

    2. Usages
      1. Qal stem
        1. rest, settle down and remain
        2. repose, be quiet, have rest
      2. Hiphil stem
        1. cause to rest or give rest
        2. cause to settle down
        3. deposit
        4. let remain
        5. leave
        6. abandon
        7. let alone
        8. hpermit
      3. Hophal stem
        1. no rest is granted
        2. space left open

    3. Related to use of Sabbath (cf. Gen. 2:2,3; Exod. 16:30; 23:12; 31:17; 34:32; Lev. 26:34,35)

  3. Historical Development

    1. The Sabbath
      1. It has been proposed that it is related to the Babylonian moon festival, Shapattu ("day of full moon"). Yet, in the Bible, a seven-day division is not related to the lunar calendar. Besides, in Babylon, the 7th, 14th, 19th, 21st, and 28th days were considered unlucky, which caused the populous to abstain from all activities.
      2. It has been proposed that it is related to the taboo day of the Kenites. Again, this is an evil day, not like the biblical festival Sabbath. This Kenitic theory has little or no evidence, either to YHWHism or the Sabbath.

    2. Seven day week
      1. In Egypt the 30-day cycle was divided into three tens.
      2. The lunar calendar has roughly 29½ days. A division into sevens is not natural or easy. Although the full moon falls about 15 days into a month, and in Assyria and Babylonia it was called Shapattu; for Israel her major feast days were on the 19th or 14th day, not the 15th.
      3. The emphasis of Genesis 2 asserts the extreme antiquity of the seven-day division. Unfortunately, it is lost in the past, along with the origins of sacrifice and of circumcision.
      4. The concept of a seven-day week was first recorded in Exod. 16:22ff.

  4. Relation to the New Testament

    1. The Jewish trend toward legalistic literalism turned this, as all OT legislation, into hard and fast rules. The very absence of OT specificity militates against this. Jesus, in Mark 2:27 and Matt. 27:8 focuses on man, not on rules!

    2. The church was never commanded to emphasize Sunday over the Sabbath. It seems to have developed along these lines:
      1. the growing division between the Synagogue and the Church
      2. Jesus' precedent of appearing in the upper room several Sunday evenings in sequence (cf. John 20:19,26)
      3. the significance of the resurrection pulled worship to a new theme on a new day (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2)
      4. the concept of 1 day in 7 is retained

Copyright © 2016 Bible Lessons International