The fourth commandment in God’s moral law stated, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. 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 20:8-11).
The prohibition of commerce on the Sabbath, though not specifically mentioned in the fourth commandment, is implicit in it, and is certainly included in regulations pertaining to that day. All man’s work that is to be done should be performed on the first six days of the week, so that the Sabbath, which comes on the seventh day, may be free for the worship and service of God. The Lord prohibited working, carrying burdens, selling or buying on the Sabbath.
The disobedient Israelites asked, “When will the New Moon be past, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may trade wheat?” (Amos 8:5).
“Thus says the Lord: “Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the Sabbath day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem; nor carry a burden out of your houses on the Sabbath day, nor do any work, but hallow the Sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers” (Jeremiah 17:21,22). In order to buy or sell, people had to carry their products to the market.
Nehemiah the prophet, instructed the people: “if the peoples of the land brought wares or any grain to sell on the Sabbath day, we would not buy it from them on the Sabbath, or on a holy day” (Nehemiah 10: 31).
For those that obeyed the Sabbath commandment, the Lord promised great blessings: “If you turn away your foot from the Sabbath, from doing your pleasure on My holy day, and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy day of the Lord honorable, and shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own pleasure, nor speaking your own words, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; and I will cause you to ride on the high hills of the earth, and feed you with the heritage of Jacob your father. The mouth of the Lord has spoken” (Isaiah 58:13,14).
In His service,