Why did God rest on the 7th day (Genesis chapter 2)?
In Genesis 2:1-3, we read that God rested on the seventh day. Did God rest because He was tired? It cannot be because we know that God will never be tired (Isaiah 40:28). So why did He rest?
We shall search the answer base on the context of Genesis chapter 2:1-3 and the original text (Hebrew) meaning for rest:
The context of Genesis 2:1-3
Genesis 2:1-3 is about the 7th day from the start of creation. We have learned in Genesis 1 that after God had created Adam and Eve on the 6th day, God blessed them to be the master of all His creation. It was like a father holding his newborn child, full of joy and pride and wanting his child to inherit the kingdom he had built.
If you are a parent, you will remember the time you had your newborn baby. The first thing you (and even your family members, relatives and close friends) would do was to take leave from your jobs and enjoy your newborn baby.
While you spend time with your baby, what would you be doing? You will likely be feeding him, cleaning him, clothing him, talking to him and doing everything to make him comfortable. You will cuddle and kiss him.
Likewise God stopped work to enjoy the time with Adam and Eve. In God’s presence, Adam and Eve were blessed. In other words, we can imagine that the 7th day was a joyous day where Adam and Eve was enjoying all that God lavished on them, all His provision and the kingdom that God had created for them. It pleased God greatly to see Adam and Eve celebrating and resting in His perfect love.
The original Hebrew meaning of “rest“
Next, let’s understand it from the original Hebrew meaning of “rest“. There are two main Hebrew words for the word “rest” in the Bible. The first is shabbat which means to stop working. That is the root word that transate to the English word Sabbath day.
The other Hebrew word for rest used in the Hebrew Scriptures is nuakh. This means to “dwell” or “settle.” It refers to spending time with a loved one. In this article by BibleProject, the author provides the following two good examples to explain nuakh —it is the type of rest like sitting in front of a fire with a loved one or unpacking a suitcase to stay at grandma’s house for the holidays.
Conclusion : God rested to be with Adam and Eve
Hence, this confirms our analysis in paragraph 1 above, that on the 7th day, God rested from work (shabbat), and then He dwelt (nuakh) and enjoyed the time with Adam and Eve. It was not because God was tired. Rather, God set apart the 7th day, stopped His work for the universe and enjoyed the time with Adam and Eve.
Isn’t it so awesome? That Almighty God, Creator of heavens and earth should stop work to enjoy the time with mankind?