Exodus 16:27 Nevertheless, some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather it, but they found none. 28Then the Lord said to Moses, “How long will you refuse to keep my commands and my instructions? 29 Bear in mind that the Lord has given you the Sabbath; that is why on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.” 30So the people rested on the seventh day.

God said:
Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day;

As if that wasn't enough. God repeated: no one is to go out.

Were they allowed to visit their neighbors?

  • [Exodus 16:29] was intended to forbid anyone from going out into the field to gather the Manna, since nothing would be outside the camp to sustain them [Exodus 16:22]. – חִידָה Feb 24 at 1:13
  • The question hinges on the meaning of 'his place'. no one doth go out from his place on the seventh day [Young's Literal Translation]. And since the whole question of the sabbath is a matter of representing an eternal rest in Christ, the concept of 'his place' becomes crucial to the meaning of 'going out'. Up-voted +1. Excellent Question. – Nigel J Feb 24 at 4:36

Exodus 16:29c Everyone is to stay where they are on the seventh day; no one is to go out.

There are a number of interpretations:

  1. Strictly stay in position all day. This is an extreme view.

  2. Stay inside one's tent. Do not visit neighbors.

  3. Stay inside the Israelite camp. This is the traditional view. Do not travel more than six stadia, a sabbath day's journey.

The first two were refuted by Jesus in Luke 13:15

The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie your ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water?

The last one is supported in Acts 1:12

Then the apostles returned to Jerusalem from the hill called the Mount of Olives, a Sabbath day's walk from the city.

How to interpret Exodus 16:29?

Exodus 16:29c sounds like an over-correction when taken out of context. It needs to be checked by Deuteronomy 5:14 where the emphasis is on rest and not on distance:

but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God, on which you must not do any work--neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox or donkey or any of your livestock, nor the foreigner within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest as you do.

Note that at one time, the tent of meeting was outside the Israelite's camp.

Ex 33:7 Now Moses used to take the tent and pitch it at a distance outside the camp. He called it the Tent of Meeting, and anyone inquiring of the LORD would go to the Tent of Meeting outside the camp.

  • Excellent answer +1 – snoopy Feb 25 at 2:12

The first quoted verse says "went out", while the last says "go out".

These parallel expressions, differing only in tense, almost certainly refer to the same thing.

The first one explicitly says they went out "to gather [manna]", so there's no reason to think the second doesn't also mean "no one is to go out [to gather manna]", and even less reason to think it means they must remain inside for the entire day.

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