Leviticus 23:3 MEANING

Leviticus 23:3
(3) Six days shall work be done.--Recurring every week, and being the most important as well as the oldest of all festivals, the sabbath introduces the holy seasons. Hence, during the second Temple it was declared that "the sabbath is in importance equal to the whole law; he who profanes the sabbath openly is like him who transgresses the whole law." The hour at which it began and ended was announced by three blasts of the trumpets.

Ye shall do no work therein.--Better, ye shall do no manner of work, as the Authorised version renders this phrase in Leviticus 23:31 of this very chapter. (See Leviticus 16:29.) Whilst on all other festivals servile work only was forbidden (see Leviticus 23:7-8; Leviticus 23:21; Leviticus 23:25; Leviticus 23:35-36), and work connected with the preparation of the necessary food was permitted (see Exodus 12:16), the sabbath and the day of atonement were the only days on which the Israelites were prohibited to engage in any work whatsoever. (See Leviticus 23:28; Leviticus 23:30; Leviticus 16:29.) Though manual labour on the sabbath was punished with death by lapidation (see Exodus 31:14-15; Exodus 35:2; Numbers 15:35-36), and though the authorities during the second Temple multiplied and registered most minutely the things which constitute labour, yet these administrators of the Law have enacted that in cases of illness and of any danger work is permitted. They laid down the principle that "the sabbath is delivered into your hand, but not you into the hand of the sabbath." Similar is the declaration of Christ (Matthew 12:8, Mark 2:27-28).

Verse 3. - The seventh day is the sabbath of rest. This is a very strong expression, literally, the sabbath of sabbatism, which doubles the force of the single word. Ye shall do no work therein. The sabbath and the Day of Atonement were the only days in which no work might be done, whereas on the other festivals it was only no servile work that might be done. It is not to be observed solely where the tabernacle is pitched or the temple is built, but in every town and village of Canaan - in all your dwellings. In the sanctuary itself the peculiar characteristics of the sabbath were a holy convocation, the renewal of the shewbread, and the burnt offering of two lambs with their meat and drink offerings (Numbers 28:9, 10); elsewhere it was observed only by the holy convocation and rest from all labour. It commenced at sunset on Friday evening, and continued till sunset on Saturday evening. In later days the hour at which it began was announced by three blasts of the priests' trumpets, immediately after which a new course of priests entered on their ministry.

23:1-3 In this chapter we have the institution of holy times; many of which have been mentioned before. Though the yearly feasts were made more remarkable by general attendance at the sanctuary, yet these must not be observed more than the sabbath. On that day they must withdraw from all business of the world. It is a sabbath of rest, typifying spiritual rest from sin, and rest in God. God's sabbaths are to be religiously observed in every private house, by every family apart, as well as by families together, in holy assemblies. The sabbath of the Lord in our dwellings will be their beauty, strength, and safety; it will sanctify, build up, and glorify them.Six days shall work be done,.... Or may be done by men, any sort of lawful work and honest labour, for the sustenance of themselves and families:

but the seventh day is the sabbath of rest; from all bodily labour and work of any kind; typical of rest by Christ and in him:

an holy convocation; when the people were called to holy exercises, to pray and praise, and hear the word, and offer sacrifice:

ye shall do no work therein; not any at all, see Exodus 31:15,

it is the sabbath of the Lord in all your dwellings: other feasts were kept in the sanctuary, in the tabernacle or temple, or where they were; but this was not only observed there and in their synagogues, but in their private houses, or wherever they were, whether, travelling by sea or land; and so the Targum of Jonathan and Aben Ezra interpret it.

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