Sabbath Origins

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Thu Dec 2 02:02:42 EST 1999

At 14.32 02/12/99 +1100, George Athas wrote:
>> This doesn't reflect the situation as I understand it. Jerusalem had
>> suffered a number of sieges. Remember for example Dan11:14, and note the
>> importance of the walls in Ben Sira50:2-4. I think classical authors allude
>> to various sieges. There were many occasions in which Jerusalemites had to
>> defend themselves.
>Siege isn't the same as direct attack.

Irrelevant, George. One has to defend against attempted breaches.

>> >> So if sabbath originally meant full moon to the Hebrews, it would
>> >> follow new moons in a list of cultic occasions, but if it meant the
>> >> day, being more frequent one would expect it to precede new moons. We
>> >> late works such as Chr which gives Sabbaths, New Moons and Feast
days. If
>> >> the logic here is correct then the seventh day sabbath is a good dating
>> >> indication for relative chronology of the development of biblical texts.
>What, though, is the connection between Sabbath and New Moon? Is there a
>link you can find?

As I have pointed out, the order in Hosea is new moons, sabbaths and feast
days. In Chronicles it is sabbaths, new moons and feast days. Chronicles
changes this order because it was written after the move from the full moon
sabbath to the seventh day sabbath and because of frequency it is more
logical to place sabbaths before new moons (see 2Chr2:4, mornings and
evenings, sabbaths, new moons, feasts). (Note also the reverse order in
Eze45:17, feasts, new moons and sabbaths.) This is not the case with Hosea
which reflects the order of Ps81:3 which places "full moon" in the place
where Hosea has "sabbath".

What about Amos 8:5 --

When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath,
that we may set forth wheat,... ?

Does a seventh day sabbath make sense here? Or is it the sabbath's relation
to the new moon?

Do you not find that two of the three major feasts are on the full moon of
the first month of that half of the year? The fifteenth is an important
day, yet we don't have much mention of it in lists of cultic days unless
Ps81:3 and Hos2:11 reflect it.

The new moon actually does interest me because its institution is found in
Numbers 28:11ff, though I can't find any mention in the other Pentateuchal
books (which is strange, but maybe someone might find an appropriate
verse...), but it could be that it is tied to temple sacrifice while temple
sacrifice was giving way to different forms of worship, post hellenistic



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