Exodus 20:10

Exodus 20:10

But the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God
Not which he rested on, and ceased from the works of creation in, though he did rest on the seventh day of the creation, and so on every other day since, as well as that; nor does it appear, nor can it be proved, that this day appointed to the Jews as a sabbath was the seventh day of the week from the creation of the world; but was either the seventh day of the week from their coming out of Egypt, or from the raining of the manna: but this is called the Lord's sabbath, or rest, because enjoined by him to the people of Israel, and not to them until they were separated from other people, and were a distinct body of men under a certain meridian; for it is impossible that one and the same day, be it the seventh, or any other, should be kept to exactness of time by all the inhabitants of the earth; it being night with one part, when it is day with another, and not the same day to them all:

in it thou shall not do any work;
of a servile nature, exercise any trade or any hand labour, or any kind of work for pleasure or profit, only works of mercy and necessity. No labour or handicraft was to be exercised, according to the Jewish canons F6, until the going out of it, or the appearance of the stars:

thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter;
neither a man nor his children, male and female, such as were under age, and under the tuition, direction, and care of their parents, who were to instruct them in this kind, and not suffer them to work on this day, and much less oblige them to it; for as for those that were grown up, and no longer under the inspection of parents, and were heads of families themselves, they are included in the word "thou", and are in the first place charged in this command;

thy manservant, nor thy maidservant;
this is to be understood, according to the Jews, not of hired servants, concerning whose rest from labour a man was not bound F7, but of such as were born in their house, and bought with their money; and of such menservants as were circumcised, and in all things professed to be proselytes to the Jewish religion, and to conform to it; for as for one that only received the commands of the sons of Noah, and was not circumcised, he might do work for himself on the sabbath day, but not for his master; and no Israelite might bid him work on the sabbath day for the necessity of an Israelite, though he was not his master F8. If a servant does work without the knowledge of his master, and it is known to all that he does it without his knowledge, there is no need to separate him from it, or take him off of it F9: so maidservants, when they did things without the knowledge of their masters and mistresses, and without being bid to do it, they were free to do it: thus, for instance, they say F11,

``a cheese which maids make of themselves, of milk that belongs to an Israelite, is lawful when he does not bid them make it:''

nor thy cattle,
of any sort whatever that is used to labour, because if the cattle did not rest, servants could not, who are concerned in the care and use of them: in ( Deuteronomy 5:14 ) , the ox and the ass are particularly mentioned, because laborious creatures; the one were used in ploughing, and treading out the corn, and the other to ride upon, and carry burdens; and concerning the latter the Jews have this canon F12,

``he who is going in the way, (or on a journey,) and has sanctified for himself the day, and has money with him, and has an ass; and though he has with him an idolater, he may not put his bag upon his ass; because he is commanded concerning its rest; but he may give his bag to the idolater to throw it upon it; and at the going out of the sabbath he may receive it from him, and even may not give him a reward for it;''

but not only those, but all sorts of cattle were exempt from labour on this day, as horses, camels, mules which, according to the Jewish canons, as they were not to be employed in work by the Jews, so they were not to be let or lent out to an idolater F13: nor the stranger that is within thy gates: who was a proselyte of the gate, and not of righteousness; as for the proselyte of righteousness that was circumcised, and professed the Jewish religion, about him there could be no doubt concerning his rest on this day; but the proselyte of the gate, his case was not so clear, and therefore is particularly expressed; and by which description it should seem that he was not obliged by this law, had he not been within their gates, or a sojourner in anyone of their cities; since it was contrary to the laws and usages among whom they dwelt, and might be an offence to some, and a snare to others, and, as Grotius thinks, might be to their detriment, get their work and their gain from them, they are forbid to work; and yet, according to the Jewish writers F14, they might work for themselves, though not for an Israelite, as before observed.


F6 Schulchan Aruch, par. 1. Orach Chayim Hilchot Sabbat, c. 293. sect. 2, 3.
F7 Lebush, par. 1. c. 304. sect. 1.
F8 Schulchan Aruch, ib. c. 304, sect. 1.
F9 Lebush, ib.
F11 Schulchan, ib. c. 305. sect. 21.
F12 lb. c. 266. sect. 1.
F13 Ib. c. 246. sect. 3.
F14 Maimon. Hilchot Sabbat, c. 20. sect. 14.