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Exodus 20:8 NASB

8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,

God had made reference to the rest on the seventh day earlier on during creation though its not clear whether it was ordained here as law.Again during the exodus he did actually give the Sabbath rest to the Israelites as they came out of Egypt.

Genesis 2:2 NASB

2 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts. 2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. 3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created [a]and made.

Exodus 16:22-23 NASB

22 Now on the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. When all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses, 23 then he said to them, “This is what the Lord [q]meant: Tomorrow is a sabbath observance, a holy sabbath to the Lord. Bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over [r]put aside to be kept until morning.”

So when God said remember was he actually referring to the rest at creation or what he had just ordained some days back?

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  • Deuteronomy 5 seems to split the commandment into two parts, guard (not remember) the Sabbath (11), and remember that you were a slave in Egypt (14). So another possibility is that remembering the Sabbath is to remember the exodus from Egypt – b a Aug 30 '19 at 9:05
  • Remembrance here means (religious) observance (namely that one should be mindful of the Sabbath, by constantly keeping track of weekdays, and not allow the weekly cycle to fall into disuse due to disinterest or forgetfulness); it has nothing to do with remembering the events described in previous biblical chapters (!). – Lucian Sep 8 '19 at 6:00
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“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (Exodus 20:8) [ESV]
זכור את־יום השבת לקדשו

The Qal form of the verb זָכַר in this verse means to remember or recall. An example of an nearly identical use is found when Moses restated the command to observe the Passover:

Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten. (Exodus 13:3)
...ויאמר משה אל־העם זכור את־היום הזה

The people were to remember something they had experienced.

The Ten Commandments were given at Mount Sinai in the third month (19:1). The command to observe the Sabbath by not gathering manna had been given on the 15th day of the second month (16:1). Therefore the people would have observed at least two Sabbaths (on the 22th and 29th) before receiving the Ten Commandments: they were to remember that which they experienced.

Their experience with the Sabbath began with the manna, which was given to test if they would walk in the law of the LORD (16:4). In conjunction with the quail, the people would know it was the LORD who brought them out of Egypt (16:6) and He was the LORD their God (16:12). On the seventh day the people were to eat the manna they had gathered and prepared on the sixth day because it was a day of solemn rest, a Sabbath to the LORD (16:23):

27 On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. 28 And the LORD said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commandments and my laws? 29 See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.” 30 So the people rested on the seventh day. (Exodus 16)

The Sabbath the people were observing was a specific day of the week. The command at Sinai was not a principle of working six days and resting one; it was a command to remember the specific day of the week they had been resting. They were to continue to keep it holy (set apart). For those who the LORD brought out of Egypt, the Sabbath day was a practice of not working on the specific day the LORD demonstrated by not giving manna.1

The command at Sinai does three things. First, it memorializes a specific day of the week. Second, it adds the element of corporate rest. Where the command on gathering the manna might be construed as applying to individual action, the command at Sinai requires the head of household to ensure rest for all, including animals. Third, it gives the reason for choosing a seven-day period composed of six days of work: that is how the LORD created.

Thus, the command at Sinai illuminates the command to observe the Passover:

On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you. (Exodus 12:16)

The people were already familiar with a seven-day period. However, unlike the Sabbath, the seven-days to remember the Exodus adds a day of rest at the start. With the creation cycle in view, the day of rest at the beginning of the seven-days of Unleavened Bread is a remembrance the LORD freed them from bondage.


1. For those brought out of Egypt, the Sabbath was observed on the day which no manna fell. Unlike some contemporary interpretations of the Sabbath command, it could not be obeyed on a day of their choosing.

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  • ,wish i could upvote and accept this answer twice,thank you – collen ndhlovu Oct 23 '20 at 9:44
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It is a reference to Creation as three verses following says

“For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.” ‭‭Exodus‬ ‭20:11‬ ‭

Hence therefore the implication is that however long one is the other is also. If Creation was in six literal days and the seventh day one literal day that is a sabbath day too, one day long. And vice versa if the sabbath is one day long, the Creation rest day was also one literal day and the six days, literal six days.

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Exodus 16:22–23 is simply a reference to how extra bread should be gathered on the sixth day and saved for the seventh. It is an illustration of observing the weekly Sabbath (not labouring to gather food that day), but is hardly a major part of the fourth commandment itself.

It is Genesis 2:2, "God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it", that defines what the Sabbath day is.

Exodus 20:8–9 defines proper behaviour on that day. Its "Remember the sabbath day" should be thought of more along the lines of "Be mindful of what day it is." or "Don't forget to respect the Sabbath.".

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  • @ Ray Butterworth -Paul wrote:" So then, a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God; 10 for those who enter God’s rest also cease from their labors as God did from his." (Hebrews 4:9-10 NRSV) From his writings we note that "a sabbath rest still remains for the people of God" and he urges fellow Christians "to enter into the rest". This shows that the seventh day which started about 4.000 earlier was still in progress then, and will continue until God fulfills his purpose. Revelation 21:1-4, and 20:1-6 – Ozzie Ozzie Aug 30 '19 at 20:04
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When God said remember in Exodus 20:8 was he referring to Genesis 2:2 or Exodus 16:23?

The fourth commandment stated:

Exodus 20:8-10 (NASB)

8 “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. 9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 10 but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you."

Sabbath, the seven day ,was to be kept by the Israelites as a holy day to "Lord their God," it was a day to rest,relax including slaves and animals, but also a day to focus on spiritual matters.

Exodus 20:8 refers to Exodus 16:23, 31:13-14 and Deuteronomy 5:12-14. He was not referring to Genesis 2:2

Exodus 16:23 (NRSV)

23" He said to them, “This is what the Lord has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy sabbath to the Lord; bake what you want to bake and boil what you want to boil, and all that is left over put aside to be kept until morning.’”

Exodus 31:13-14 (NRSV)

13 "You yourself are to speak to the Israelites: “You shall keep my sabbaths, for this is a sign between me and you throughout your generations, given in order that you may know that I, the Lord, sanctify you. 14 You shall keep the sabbath, because it is holy for you; everyone who profanes it shall be put to death; whoever does any work on it shall be cut off from among the people."

Deuteronomy 5:12-14 (NRSV)

12 "Observe the sabbath day and keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work. 14 But the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God; you shall not do any work—you, or your son or your daughter, or your male or female slave, or your ox or your donkey, or any of your livestock, or the resident alien in your towns, so that your male and female slave may rest as well as you."

After reviewing his creative work, God rested from further creative works on the earth and so blessed the seventh day . This is what the Sabbath day was, God's day of rest, the commandments were given to Moses many generations later.

Genesis 2:2-3 (NRSV)

2 "And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done.3 So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation."

Unlike the preceding six creative days, his day of rest has not been announced "and god saw that it was good" for it has not yet ended. (Hebrews 4:9-10)

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  • Are you saying the seventh day has not ended or that there is rest even after the fall or that it’s a perpetual seven day sabbath everyday? What do you mean IT hasn’t ended? “But Jesus answered them, “My Father has been working until now, and I have been working.”” ‭‭John‬ ‭5:17‬ – Nihil Sine Deo Aug 31 '19 at 2:01
  • @Nihil Sine Deo : Yes ,the Bible shows that God proceeded to rest from his earthly creative work about 6.000 years ago,(Gen. 2:3) and declared the seventh day "holy". Paul shows in his writings that the seventh day as being still open for people that exercise faith and obedience, can enter into its rest. Read Hebrews 4:3-11. With regards to John 5:17 , I ask you why did God "sanctified" the Sabbath, read Gen.1:28 It is toward the realization of that purpose that both God and Jesus , the “Lord of the sabbath,” have “kept working until now.” Matt. 12:8 , so in Jesus day S. had not ended – Ozzie Ozzie Aug 31 '19 at 8:40

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