The next mention of Sabbath is in the giving of the first 10 commands to Moses. He says them to the people as a community.
We are now in a totally different application, as this is the words spoken by Yahweh to Israel. This was a terrifying and intense experience. This is Yahweh speaking without mediation to the people who said “All that Yahweh has spoken we will do”. This is tied to a promised goal, therefore this is conditional. If they obey the voice they will shortly hear, and keep the covenant that is coming, Israel will be unique among the Earth, being the priests and set apart people.
Exd 19:3 NKJV – And Moses went up to God, and the LORD called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
Exd 19:4 NKJV – ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and [how] I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself.
Exd 19:5 NKJV – ‘Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth [is] Mine.
Exd 19:6 NKJV – ‘And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These [are] the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”
Exd 19:7 NKJV – So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the LORD commanded him.
Exd 19:8 NKJV – Then all the people answered together and said, “All that the LORD has spoken we will do.” So Moses brought back the words of the people to the LORD.
Within the 10 forthcoming commands is this statement about Sabbath
Exd 20:8 NKJV – “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exd 20:9 NKJV – Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
Exd 20:10 NKJV – but the seventh day [is] the Sabbath of the LORD your God. [In it] you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who [is] within your gates.
Exd 20:11 NKJV – For [in] six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that [is] in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
It is a very simple and direct statement, almost deceptively simple. The key pieces appear to be:
- Holy: literally applied this mean set apart, dedicated, separate.
- Labor: Tis is work for ANOTHER in its primary usage. This is clearly tied to a “job” but also more deeply, someone other than Yahweh. This day is for YAHWEH alone, not for the work for another.
- Work: This is different than labor above. The word above is almost totally tied to working for someone else, but this is occupation or business, property etc…
- Sabbath of Yahweh your God: This is not OUR Sabbath, we are invited into Yahwehs Sabbath, and it is clearly every 7 days.
- Universally applied to all. Even a slave or a servant or visitor is required to do this. This sets Israel apart from any people anywhere.
- Yahwehs blessing: Yahweh blessed this day,a nd set it apart. We are invited into what Yahweh has already done.
Work and Labor are clear. Things that earn income, create provision etc… and the definition of this to be all people within the nation, whether slave or free, Jew or Gentile etc… results in there being no commerce at all. For example, going to the store and buying something isn’t a problem with buying, it is a problem that someone is working to SELL you something.
Work and Labor are NOT activity in general. There is no direct requirement to abstain from activity, but simply activity under the application of Labor or Work.
At this point the experience of Sabbath (objectively) is now not just something externally imposed (i.e. manna rots day to day, but doesn’t on Sabbath), but shifts to something we participate in. We are invited into something, and we make adjustments in our actions to be involved. Our involvement is in response to Yahwehs literal voice, and is part of our agreement to be Yahwehs special people.
This now makes our involvement in Israel conditional. If you are part of Israel, you MUST do this. If you aren’t part of Israel, it is irrelevant. As well, if you don’t do this, you ARE NOT part of Israel.