Problem: God is tired and takes a rest
Verses: Exodus 31:17; Status: Unsure

God famously creates the universe in six days, and rests on the seventh. This is Genesis 2:2:

And on the seventh day God finished his work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all his work that he had done. (ESV)

However, "rest" can mean simply "do nothing", as in: "the moving object came to rest". That would be the end of the matter, if not for Exodus 31:17:

It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed. (ESV)

The most literal translations of the Bible such as the ESV and the NASB give the word "refreshed" here, which in English has definite connotations of recovering from tiredness. Still, it could be some sort of metaphor for "breathed it all in and took delight in it". Bible Contradictions Answered gives essentially this reply.

I just don't know how plausible this is in ancient Hebrew. This seems like a fairly technical translation issue that - uh - rests on the correct translation of a single word. I don't feel qualified to judge it.

Updated: Summer 2008

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