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Bible Commentaries

Sermon Bible Commentary

Exodus 31

Verses 12-13

Exodus 31:12-13

From the moment in which He created man, God required that one day in seven should be consecrated to Himself; and however this requisition may have formed the basis for much that is peculiar in the Jewish economy, the requisition itself must belong to all ages.

I. The Fourth Commandment differs from every other in the Decalogue in that it is not the authoritative publication of a law which might have been ascertained by natural religion. It is a sign, high, clear, and beautiful as the rainbow, that God is not unmindful of this earth, and has made known to it His will, and watches over its history.

II. The keeping of a Sabbath was a sign or symbol by which the Israelites might know what God they worshipped, even a God that could sanctify His worshippers.

III. The commandment decides the proportion of time that we are to devote to God. After every six days of labour there is to be a solemn rest.

IV. By keeping the Sabbath the Israelites acknowledged Jehovah as Creator, and commemorated their deliverance from Egypt. We do the same in keeping the Christian Sabbath. As amongst the Jews the Sabbath was made to fall on the day of their deliverance from Pharaoh, so amongst the Christians it should fall on the day when their redemption was completed. With the Jews the Sabbath was a sign that their God had vanquished the Egyptians, divided the Red Sea, and led the nation to Canaan; with us it is a sign that our God hath defeated Satan, cleft the waters of death, and opened a way to the heavenly Canaan.

H. Melvill, Penny Pulpit, No. 2461.

References: Exodus 31:16 , Exodus 31:17 . S. Cox, Expositions, 3rd series, p. 366. Exodus 31:18 . Parker, vol. ii., p. 258.

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Bibliographical Information
Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Exodus 31". "Sermon Bible Commentary".