Do not walk outside the city boundary on the Sabbath

The Literal Commandment

"See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day." (Exodus 16:29)

 

The literal commandment is every man [person] should remain in their place on the seventh day.

 

Messiah Says

Messiah implicitly affirmed this commandment when He spoke about the Law:

"Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill. For truly I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:17-19)

 

Pictures of Messiah

The Sabbath is meant to be a time distinct from the other six days of the week. We labor, work, and toil for six days and should be able to focus on our work and be successful. On the seventh day, however, work is prohibited to allow us to focus on G-d, to rest near to Him, and to study His Word. Although technically not "work", travelling can be a distraction from our time with G-d so He places a limit on that possible distraction. In a similar way, G-d has placed boundaries in our lives to prevent us from becoming distracted in our walk with Messiah.

 

How Messiah Fulfilled

Messiah fulfilled the commandment by remaining in His place on the Sabbath.

 

Traditional Observance

The Sages examined this commandment that every man should remain in "his place" and the question arose: what does "his place" mean? The explanation was given that "his place" meant whatever is no more than three parasangs away from the city. A parasang is four mils, and a mil is 2,000 cubits. The distance was measured from the edge of the furthermost house of the city, even if it is as large as Nineveh- this was the law of the [Written] Torah.1

2,000 cubits is a bit more than 0.5 miles or 0.9 kilometers so the total distance of "his place" was 2,000 cubits x 4 mils x 3 parasangs = 24,000 cubits (about 6.8 miles or almost 11 kilometers)!

In order to prevent accidental transgression of the commandment, the Sages placed a "fence" around the law and limited the distance to only 2,000 cubits.

 

Other Notes

We are able to fulfill this commandment today and should remain in our place on the Sabbath.

 

In Acts 1:12, we see the disciples travelling a distance described as "a Sabbath day's journey" from the Mount of Olives to Jerusalem. The 2,000 cubit interpretation was commonly known and accepted in the first century.

 

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Footnotes

1. Charles Wengrove, trans., Sefer HaChinuch (Jerusalem:Feldheim Publishers, 1984), vol 5, p137 & 139 [back]

Commandment Details

  • Mishneh Torah # 90
  • Mishneh Torah Book # 3
  • Mishneh Torah Book Times
  • Mishneh Torah Category 12- Shabbat
  • Reference Exodus 16:29
  • Scripture Book Exodus
  • Chapter 16
  • Verse 29
  • English See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.
  • Hebrew כט רְאוּ, כִּי-יְהוָה נָתַן לָכֶם הַשַּׁבָּת--עַל-כֵּן הוּא נֹתֵן לָכֶם בַּיּוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי, לֶחֶם יוֹמָיִם; שְׁבוּ אִישׁ תַּחְתָּיו, אַל-יֵצֵא אִישׁ מִמְּקֹמוֹ--בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי.
  • Greek 29 ἴδετε, ὁ γὰρ κύριος ἔδωκεν ὑμῖν τὴν ἡμέραν ταύτην τὰ σάββατα· διὰ τοῦτο αὐτὸς ἔδωκεν ὑμῖν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἕκτῃ ἄρτους δύο ἡμερῶν· καθήσεσθε ἕκαστος εἰς τοὺς οἴκους ὑμῶν, μηδεὶς ἐκπορευέσθω ἐκ τοῦ τόπου αὐτοῦ τῇ ἡμέρᾳ τῇ ἑβδόμῃ.
  • Parashah 16- B'shalach
  • Positive/Negative Negative
  • Sefer Hachinuch # 24
  • Sef. Hach. Command Not to go beyond permitted limits on the Sabbath
  • Category Appointed Times
  • We can fullfill today Yes

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