Exodus 31:15
Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
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(15) Six days.—Comp. Exodus 20:9.

The sabbath of rest.—Rather, a sabbath of rest, or a complete rest. The repetition (sabbath sabbâthôn) gives an idea of completeness.

31:12-17 Orders were now given that a tabernacle should be set up for the service of God. But they must not think that the nature of the work, and the haste that was required, would justify them in working at it on sabbath days. The Hebrew word /shabath/ signifies rest, or ceasing from labour. The thing signified by the sabbath is that rest in glory which remains for the people of God; therefore the moral obligation of the sabbath must continue, till time is swallowed up in eternity.See Numbers 15:32-36. The distinction between the meaning of the two expressions, "to be cut off from the people", and "to be put to death", is here indicated. He who was cut off from the people had, by his offence, put himself out of the terms of the covenant, and was an outlaw. On such, and on such alone, when the offence was one which affected the well-being of the nation, as it was in this case, death could be inflicted by the public authority.12-17. Verily my sabbaths ye shall keep—The reason for the fresh inculcation of the fourth commandment at this particular period was, that the great ardor and eagerness, with which all classes betook themselves to the construction of the tabernacle, exposed them to the temptation of encroaching on the sanctity of the appointed day of rest. They might suppose that the erection of the tabernacle was a sacred work, and that it would be a high merit, an acceptable tribute, to prosecute the undertaking without the interruption of a day's repose; and therefore the caution here given, at the commencement of the undertaking, was a seasonable admonition. The sabbath of rest, Heb. the sabbath of sabbaths, or, of sabbaths, i.e. the great and chief sabbath, as the song of songs is the most excellent song, the holy of holies is the most holy, &c. The Jews had many sabbaths or days of rest, but this is here preferred before them all, by this emphatical repetition of the same word; and by this argument the foregoing duty is pressed upon them.

Six days may work be done;.... Allowed to be done by an Israelite, if he would; for this is not a command to work, but a permission or grant to do it; and therefore, seeing they had so many days granted them for their use, it could not be thought hard and unreasonable that God should claim one day in seven for his own use and service, and oblige them to refrain from work on it:

but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest; from worldly labour, and was typical of spiritual rest here, and eternal rest hereafter:

holy to the Lord; separated from other days, and entirely devoted to the worship and service of God, and to be kept holy to the Lord in all holy and religious exercises, as hearing and reading the word, praying, praising, &c.

whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death; the Targum of Jonathan adds, by casting stones, and so we find that the first transgressor of this law we read of was stoned to death, Numbers 15:35.

Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to the LORD: whosoever doeth any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death.
15. How the sabbath is to be observed, viz. by cessation from work. Cf. Exodus 20:9 f.

a sabbath of entire rest] So Exodus 35:2, Leviticus 23:3 al.: see on Exodus 16:23.

Verse 15. - The sabbath of rest. Rather, "a sabbath." There were other sabbaths besides that of the seventh day (Exodus 23:11; Leviticus 25:2-12; etc.). By the expression, "a sabbath of rest" - literally, "a rest of resting" - the idea of completeness is given. Perhaps the best translation would be - "in the seventh is complete rest." Exodus 31:15(cf. Exodus 35:2-3). God concludes by enforcing the observance of His Sabbaths in the most solemn manner, repeating the threat of death and extermination in the case of every transgressor. The repetition and further development of this command, which was included already in the decalogue, is quite in its proper place here, inasmuch as the thought might easily have occurred, that it was allowable to omit the keeping of the Sabbath, when the execution of so great a work in honour of Jehovah had been commanded. "My Sabbaths:" by these we are to understand the weekly Sabbaths, not the other sabbatical festivals, since the words which follow apply to the weekly Sabbath alone. This was "a sign between Jehovah and Israel for all generations, to know (i.e., by which Israel might learn) that it was Jehovah who sanctified them," viz., by the sabbatical rest (see at Exodus 20:11). It was therefore a holy thing for Israel (Exodus 31:14), the desecration of which would be followed by the punishment of death, as a breach of the covenant. The kernel of the Sabbath commandment is repeated in Exodus 31:15; the seventh day of the week, however, is not simply designated a "Sabbath," but שׁבּתון שׁבּת "a high Sabbath" (the repetition of the same word, or of an abstract form of the concrete noun, denoting the superlative; see Ges. 113, 2), and "holy to Jehovah" (see at Exodus 16:23). For this reason Israel was to keep it in all future generations, i.e., to observe it as an eternal covenant (Exodus 31:16), as in the case of circumcision, since it was to be a sign for ever between Jehovah and the children of Israel (Ezekiel 20:20). The eternal duration of this sign was involved in the signification of the sabbatical rest, which is pointed out in Exodus 20:11, and reaches forward into eternity.
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