Our next look at the Sabbath is when we have the Sabbath given in the 10 Commandments by the hand of the Lord upon the stone tablets. Here the Lord points back to the creation wherein He rested from creating upon the seventh day.
Exodus 20:9-11 (KJV)
9 Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work:
10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates:
11 For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
We have instructions about how long the Sabbath should last.
Exodus 31:16-17 (KJV)
16 Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant.
17 It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed.
Key phrases are “the children of Israel”, “throughout their generations” and “perpetual covenant”.
For an explanation of the “children of Israel” see Children of Israel verses Children of Abraham.
But “throughout their generations” means what?
That phrase is one word in the Hebrew l’dorotaam from the root word dowr.
dowr – properly, a revolution of time, i.e. an age or generation; also a dwelling:
KJV – age, evermore, generation, [n-] ever, posterity.
The word “perpetual” can have several meanings.
`owlam – (properly, concealed, i.e. the vanishing point; generally, time out of mind (past or future), i.e. (practically) eternity; frequentatively, adverbial (especially with prepositional prefix) always:
KJV – alway (-s), ancient (time), any more, continuance, eternal, (for, [n-]) ever (-lasting, -more, of old), lasting, long (time), (of) old (time), perpetual, at any time, (beginning of the) world (+without end).
But that doesn’t really get us much further in understanding because those two phrases are used so much in the Scripture it would take a book to look at all the instances.
But notice that the Sabbath is a sign between the Lord and the “children of Israel” forever; “me and the children of Israel for ever” Exodus 31:17.