R: Sabbath Origins

Giuseppe Regalzi regalzi at iol.it
Thu Dec 2 02:38:10 EST 1999

Ian Hutchesson wrote:

> I seem to be inexorably coming to the conclusion that the
> seventh day sabbath was instituted in the second century BCE.
> Notice the way that 1 & 2 Maccabees handles the sabbath as
> though the conflict of handling military problems on the sabbath
> hadn't been faced before.

Then what about Josephus, Contra Apionem I 205-11?

"I shall not think it too much for me to name Agatharchides, as
having made mention of us Jews, though in way of derision at our
simplicity, as he supposes it to be; for . . . he . . .  writes
thus: 'There are a people called Jews, and dwell in a city the
strongest of all other cities, which the inhabitants call
Jerusalem, and are accustomed to rest on every seventh day on
which times they make no use of their arms, nor meddle with
husbandry, nor take care of any affairs of life, but spread out
their hands in their holy places, and pray till the evening. Now
it came to pass, that when Ptolemy, the son of Lagus, came into
this city with his army, that these men, in observing this mad
custom of theirs, instead of guarding the city, suffered their
country to submit itself to a bitter lord; and their law was
openly proved to have commanded a foolish practice. This accident
taught all other men but the Jews to disregard such dreams as
these were, and not to follow the like idle suggestions delivered
as a law, when, in such uncertainty of human reasonings, they are
at a loss what they should do.'"


Giuseppe Regalzi

More information about the b-hebrew mailing list