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Exodus 23:10-12

Context
Sabbaths and Feasts

23:10 1 “For six years 2  you are to sow your land and gather in its produce. 23:11 But in the seventh year 3  you must let it lie fallow and leave it alone so that the poor of your people may eat, and what they leave any animal in the field 4  may eat; you must do likewise with your vineyard and your olive grove. 23:12 For six days you are to do your work, but on the seventh day you must cease, in order that your ox and your donkey may rest and that your female servant’s son and any hired help 5  may refresh themselves. 6 

1 sn This section concerns religious duties of the people of God as they worship by giving thanks to God for their blessings. The principles here are: God requires his people to allow the poor to share in their bounty (10-11); God requires his people to provide times of rest and refreshment for those who labor for them (12); God requires allegiance to himself (13); God requires his people to come before him in gratitude and share their bounty (14-17); God requires that his people safeguard proper worship forms (18-19).

2 tn Heb “and six years”; this is an adverbial accusative telling how long they can work their land. The following references to years and days in vv. 10-12 function similarly.

3 tn Heb “and the seventh year”; an adverbial accusative with a disjunctive vav (ו).

4 tn Heb “living thing/creature/beast of the field.” A general term for animals, usually wild animals, including predators (cf. v. 29; Gen 2:19-20; Lev 26:22; Deut 7:22; 1 Sam 17:46; Job 5:22-23; Ezek 29:5; 34:5).

5 tn Heb “alien,” or “resident foreigner.” Such an individual would have traveled out of need and depended on the goodwill of the people around him. The rendering “hired help” assumes that the foreigner is mentioned in this context because he is working for an Israelite and will benefit from the Sabbath rest, along with his employer.

6 tn The verb is וְיִּנָּפֵשׁ (vÿyyinnafesh); it is related to the word usually translated “soul” or “life.”



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