Ellen G. White Writings

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Patriarchs and Prophets, Page 757

Appendix

Note 1. Page 258. In the command for Israel's release, the Lord said to Pharaoh, “Israel is my son, even my first-born.... Let my son go, that he may serve Me.” Exodus 4:22, 23. The psalmist tells us why God delivered Israel from Egypt: “He brought forth His people with joy, and His chosen with gladness: And gave them the lands of the heathen: And they inherited the labor of the people; that they might observe His statutes, and keep His laws.” Psalm 105:43-45. Here we learn that the Hebrews could not serve God in Egypt.

In Deuteronomy 5:14, 15 we find special emphasis given to that portion of the fourth commandment which requires the manservant and the maidservant to rest, and the Israelite was told to remember that he had been a servant in the land of Egypt. The Lord said, “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, nor thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thine ox, nor thine ass, nor any of thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates; that thy manservant and thy maidservant may rest as well as thou. And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and by a stretched-out arm: Therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day.” In Exodus 5:5 we learn that Moses and Aaron made the people “rest from their burdens.”

From these facts we may conclude that the Sabbath was one of the things in which they could not serve the Lord in Egypt; and when Moses and Aaron came with the message of God (Exodus 4:29-31), they attempted a reform, which only increased the oppression. The Israelites were delivered that they might observe the statutes of the Lord, including the fourth commandment, and this placed upon them an additional obligation to keep the Sabbath strictly, as well as to keep all the commandments. Thus in Deuteronomy 24:17, 18 the fact of their deliverance from Egypt is cited as placing them under special obligation to show kindness to the widow and the fatherless: “Thou shalt not pervert the judgment of the stranger, nor of the fatherless; nor take a widow's raiment to pledge: But thou shalt remember that thou wast a bondman in Egypt, and the Lord thy God redeemed thee thence: Therefore I command thee to do this thing.”

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