How many are the prohibitions on the keeping of the Sabbath?

Posted by on May 12, 2019

Question: How many are the prohibitions on the keeping of the Sabbath?

Answer: At the head of YHVH’s appointed times, the Sabbath Day stands as the day which the Creator had already set apart from the creation, as a day of rest for His people, by His own rest on the seventh creation-day (Gen 2:3, Exo 20:8-11).

Gatherings are not prescribed for the Sabbath in the list of festive sacrifices in Num 28 and 29. Yet, the Sabbath is called mikra, convocation or rehearsal, which comes to tell us that the people of YHVH have a meeting with Him.

“Sabbath” is not a name of a day, namely the seventh day of the week, but a day of rest or literally: a day of cessation of any work. Hence, not only the seventh day of the week (the weekly Sabbath), but the Day of Atonement (the annual Sabbath), is called “Shabbath” and “Shabbath Shabbathon“.

While the Rabbinic Judaism is filled with innumerous man-made prohibitions on the keeping of the Sabbath (Hebrew: Shabbat), no specific rules are laid down for the observance of the Sabbath.

There are only seven prohibitions (note: seven prohibitions after the seventh day of the week) concerning the Sabbath. Below are the Scriptural references for each prohibition.


1. Cease any labor on the Shabbat                  Exo 20:9-10, Exo 31:15, Exo_34:21, Deu 5:14.

2. Do not cause anyone to labor for you         Exo 20:10, Exo 23:12, Deu 5:14.

3. Do not cook                                                Exo 16:23, Exo 16:4-5, Exo 16:29, Exo 35:3.

4. Do not sell or buy                                       Exo 16:25-30, Amo 8:4-5, Neh 10:31, Neh 13:15-21.

5. Do not go out of the city*                           Exo 16:29-30, Neh 13:15-22, Act 1:12.

6. Do not take a burden out of the house        Jer 17:21-27, Neh 13:15-22.

7. Do not cohabit                                            Isa 58:13-14, Leviticus 15.               

*See also Antiquities 13:8:4 … And truly he did not speak falsely in saying so; for that festival, which we call Pentecost, did then fall out to be the next day to the Shabbat. Nor is it lawful for us to journey, either on the Shabbat day, or on a festival day.

For more on the Sabbath and the rest of the set-apart days of the Creator, please, visit The Appointed Times of YHVH.