“The offence of Sabbath-breaking was one for which there could be no excuse….Transgression of it was therefore a presumptuous sin, and was punished accordingly” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Numbers 15:32]).

In those days I saw people in Judah treading winepresses on the Sabbath and bringing in grain and loading it on donkeys, together with wine, grapes, figs and all other kinds of loads. And they were bringing all this into Jerusalem on the Sabbath. Therefore I warned them against selling food on that day.  People from Tyre who lived in Jerusalem were bringing in fish and all kinds of merchandise and selling them in Jerusalem on the Sabbath to the people of Judah. I rebuked the nobles of Judah and said to them, ‘What is this wicked thing you are doing—desecrating the Sabbath day?  Didn’t your ancestors do the same things, so that our God brought all this calamity on us and on this city? Now you are stirring up more wrath against Israel by desecrating the Sabbath’” (Nehemiah 13:15-18 NIV).

“The desecration of the Sabbath is first brought into prominence among the sins of the Jewish people by Jeremiah (Jer 17:21-27). It could not but have gained ground during the captivity, when foreign masters would not have allowed the cessation of labor for one day in seven. On the return from the captivity, the sabbatical rest appears to have been one of the institutions most difficult to re-establish” Barnes’ Notes (ref#16, [Neh 13:15]).

“When evening shadows fell on the gates of Jerusalem before the Sabbath, I ordered the doors to be shut and not opened until the Sabbath was over. I stationed some of my own men at the gates so that no load could be brought in on the Sabbath day.  Once or twice the merchants and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem.  But I warned them and said, “Why do you spend the night by the wall? If you do this again, I will arrest you.” From that time on they no longer came on the Sabbath. Then I commanded the Levites to purify themselves and go and guard the gates in order to keep the Sabbath day holy….” (Neh 13:19-22 NIV).

Nehemiah “not only expressed his own dislike of it, but endeavored to convince them that it was a great sin….Those that are jealous for the honor of God cannot bear to see his Sabbath profaned” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]).

“If reformers will but put on resolution, more may be done towards the breaking of bad customs than they can imagine” Matthew Henry (ref#18, [Neh 13:15-22]). Are we willing to be reformers? Will we vow to not buy or sell on the Sabbath? Can we convince our local church to make that vow? Other churches? Our government representatives?

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