Month 12:13, Week 2:5 (Chamashee/Teruah), Year 5935:329 AM|
Gregorian Calendar: Monday 5 March 2012
II. The Testimony of Manna-Gathering
Continued from Part 1
Today we resume looking at the biblical evidence that the Sabbath starts at sunrise and not at sunset or midnight. During the desert wandering of the children of Israel in Sinai, Yahweh miraculously provided food in the form of manna that would be found on the ground. As gathering manna on the Sabbath would have constituted work and broken the Sabbath ordinance to desist from regular work, a double portion was provided on the sixth day or 'Sabbath Preparation Day' that would last a full 48 hours before going bad.
"And so it was, on the sixth day, that they gathered twice as much bread, two omers for each one. And all the rulers of the congregation came and told Moses. Then he said to them, 'This is what Yahweh has said: 'Tomorrow (machar) is a Sabbath rest, a set-apart (holy) Sabbath to Yahweh. Bake what you will bake today, and boil what you will boil; and lay up for yourselves all that remains, to be kept until morning' So they laid it up till morning, as Moses commanded; and it did not stink, nor were there any worms in it. Then Moses said, 'Eat that today, for today is a Sabbath to Yahweh; today you will not find it in the field. Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is the Sabbath, there will be none.' Now it happened that some of the people went out on the seventh day to gather, but they found none. And Yahweh said to Moses, 'How long do you refuse to keep My mitzvot (commandments) and My Torah (laws)? See! For Yahweh has given you the Sabbath; therefore He gives you on the sixth day bread for two days. Let every man remain in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.' So the people rested on the seventh day. And the house of Israel called its name Manna. And it was like white coriander seed, and the taste of it was like wafers made with honey" (Ex.16:22-31, NKJV).
What is interesting about today's passage of scripture is that Yahweh does not say that 'tonight' is the Sabbath rest to Yahweh but that "tomorrow (machar) is a Sabbath rest, a set-apart (holy) Sabbath to Yahweh", proving that the Sabbath did not begin at sundown. Machar means 'the morrow', that is, at sun-up.
All preparations for the Sabbath were to be made on Preparation Day, that included the evening and night, as required. They were to "cook as much as you want today, and keep what is left overnight" (v.23, LB), that is, "laid it up until morning" (NKJV). If a 24 hour day had begun at sunset, they would have been breaking the Sabbath.
However, nowhere does Yahweh express anger for the people having worked during the night "even until morning". Rather, His displeasure is over those who turned up on the morning of the seventh day Sabbath to collect manna only to find that there was none.
Thus the labour in preparing food for the Sabbath should be done on the sixth day, whether the evening before or early in the morning before sunrise. Perhaps this is one of the reasons the "virtuous wife" of Proverbs 31:10 who, "bringing her food from afar (shopping)" also "rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household, and a portion for her maidservants" (vv.14-15).
This appears therefore to have been the preferred time for food preparation, not only for the Sabbath, but for the other days of the week too, the Sabbath Mandate inspiring food preparation activity for the rest of the week and thus establishing an Israelite work-pattern or habit for the married women.
Continued in Part 3