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By the Fourth Commandment humans are allowed to participate in the imago Dei (p. 59) either from the Creation saga in the JEP strands or the Exodus from Egypt in Deuteronomy. Unfortunately the text does not specify the exact parameters of what is meant by "work", though the Qumran Scrolls give us an unique perspectives on the  matter ca. 100 BCE. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem on the Sabbath in 597 BCE and Jerusalem fell on the Sabbath, so it would appear that the Jewish Sabbath observance was well known to the ancient world.

Jesus' teaching was concerned with the Sabbath. The Rabbis had created thirty nine activities that could  not be performed on this day, though circumcision and child birth were allowed !  Mk 2:25-26 shows that Jesus taught that the Sabbath was meant to benefit humanity not burden it, just as did Rabbi Shimmon ben Menasia.

The Fifth Commandment marks the transition from laws about YHWH to laws about ones' neighbours and families - the moral demands for individuals arising from the Covenant. While Israel had a corporate personality,  this was a covenant of human personal obligation, despite "the rise and fall of empires, the vast social and economic changes, and political and diplomatic shifts" (p 162). This is seen in the length of the commentary on the Fall of Samaria in 722 BCE; it was not the Assyrians who really caused this irreversible disaster but YHWH punishing his own people (2 Kgs 7: 5-17). One hundred and thirty five years later the Babylonians did the same for YHWH to Jerusalem.

The final redaction of the Torah and Former Prophets was made on a master plan with a visible structure of the making and breaking of the Sinai/Horeb covenant and the dire consequences of defection. Read in the Exile this interpretation of Israel's history was real, direct even cruel.

David Noel Freedman has been General Editor and a contributing co-author of the Anchor Bible series since its inception in 1956. He is a professor of Hebrew Bible at the University of California, San Diego.

A profound yet simple book.