New European Commentary


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35:3 It has been widely noted that many elements of the ten commandments are to be found in the legislation of Mesopotamia. Thus there are references to the Sabbath being kept as a monthly festival; and later "the name Shabattu was applied by the Babylonians and Assyrians to the day of the full moon, the fifteenth of the month, which was especially dedicated to the worship of the moon-god... the days of the full moon were considered days of ill luck... the Israelite sabbath was instituted, it seems, in antithesis to the Mesopotamian system" (Umberto Cassuto, A Commentary On The Book Of Exodus (Jerusalem: Magnes, 1997) p. 244). Thus most pagan festivals of the time were begun by the lighting of a candle in the home; but a candle was not to be kindled on the Sabbath (Ex. 35:3). See on Ex. 20:11.



35:14 We read in 1 Jn. 2:20,27 that we have each been anointed. The idea of anointing was to signal the initiation of someone. I'd therefore be inclined to see 1 Jn. 2:20,27 as alluding to baptism; when we become in Christ, in the anointed, then as 2 Cor. 1:21 says, we too are anointed in a sense. We're given a specific mission and purpose. "The anointing that you received" would therefore refer to our commissioning at baptism. It seems to imply a one time act of being anointed / commissioned / inaugurated for service. Baptism isn't therefore merely an initiation into a community; it's a specific commissioning for active service, in ways which are unique to us. We do well to bring this point out to those we prepare for baptism. The words for 'anointing' are unique to 1 John but they occur in the LXX to describe the anointing / initiation of the priests, and of the tabernacle / dwelling place of God (e.g. Ex. 29:7; 35:14,28). John sees us as the dwelling place / tabernacle of the Father.