20:10 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God; on it 1 you shall not do any work, you, 2 or your son, or your daughter, or your male servant, or your female servant, or your cattle, or the resident foreigner who is in your gates. 3
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 4 may refresh themselves. 5
1 tn The phrase “on it” has been supplied for clarity.
2 sn The wife is omitted in the list, not that she was considered unimportant, nor that she was excluded from the rest, but rather in reflecting her high status. She was not man’s servant, not lesser than the man, but included with the man as an equal before God. The “you” of the commandments is addressed to the Israelites individually, male and female, just as God in the Garden of Eden held both the man and the woman responsible for their individual sins (see B. Jacob, Exodus, 567-68).
3 sn The Sabbath day was the sign of the Sinaitic Covenant. It required Israel to cease from ordinary labors and devote the day to God. It required Israel to enter into the life of God, to share his Sabbath. It gave them a chance to recall the work of the Creator. But in the NT the apostolic teaching for the Church does not make one day holier than another, but calls for the entire life to be sanctified to God. This teaching is an application of the meaning of entering into the Sabbath of God. The book of Hebrews declares that those who believe in Christ cease from their works and enter into his Sabbath rest. For a Christian keeping Saturday holy is not a requirement from the NT; it may be a good and valuable thing to have a day of rest and refreshment, but it is not a binding law for the Church. The principle of setting aside time to worship and serve the Lord has been carried forward, but the strict regulations have not.
4 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.
5 tn The verb is וְיִּנָּפֵשׁ (vÿyyinnafesh); it is related to the word usually translated “soul” or “life.”