Ian Charles Hutchesson MC2499 at
Thu Dec 2 09:39:02 EST 1999

> ==========================
> From: peter_kirk at
> Date: Wed, 01 Dec 1999 23:44:09 -0500
> To: Biblical Hebrew <b-hebrew at>
> Subject: Sabbaths
> ==========================
> Watch out for circular argument here!

What on earth are you talking about circular arguments again for, Peter? Why are you ever so ready to accuse other people of circular arguments? Have I given you a circular argument regarding the dating of Chr? When? Have you read earlier posts by me about Chr that have mentioned the sabbath? I have talked about the late dating of Chr before though, haven't I? So, what's this stuff about circular arguments???

> What grounds do you have for considering Chronicles to be later 
> than
> other books, if you reject the dialect arguments as in another 
> post?
> So, Chronicles is late because it mentions the Sabbath and other
> cultic changes; and the Sabbath is late because it is mentioned 
> in
> Chronicles.
> See the circle? Where's the way out?

It's your creation. I need no way out because I'm not in there. This is boring, Peter. Sorry, but this is only one of your stock ploys, still unjustified. Consider this for example: how many generations of of the Davidic line are there after the return from exile in 1Chr?

> Also don't forget that the seventh day sabbath is clearly stated 
> in Exodus 16, 20:8-11, 23:12, 31:12-17 and 35:2-3, not generally
> considered especially late.

By whom? The Aaronid content in Exodus is clearly later than the non-Aaronid Deuteronomy. Deuteronomy argues for the admission of the Levites into the temple -- coming in from the local shrines -- on a par with the Jerusalem priesthood.

Incidentally, the only place in Deuteronomy that mentions the sabbath is in the decalogue. This is not strange if I am correct that Deuteronomy is generally the oldest of the five -- the one "book of the law" as mentioned in MMT.

> Indeed 23:12 is part of the Book 
> of the Covenant which is generally considered rather early, and in 
> which the principle of six periods of labour followed by a seventh
> period of rest is deeply embedded - see 21:2, 23:10-11, also 22:30
> mentions the eighth day.
> Alternative suggestion: the seventh day sabbath was instituted 
> early, but was rarely observed outside the sanctuary, except by a
> few who tried to enforce it more widely e.g. Nehemiah (13:15-22) 
> and the Maccabees. See also 2 Kings 4:23, a rare mention in the 
> historical books.

The sabbath is mentioned in late books like Kings and Chronicles (though it seems to me that Chr is later than Kings -- it epitomizes both Sam & Kings, with its own spin, naturally). The probable reason for Kings and Chr not having been translated into Greek by the time of Josephus (see the intro to AJ) was because they hadn't been written long enough before to have developed any cultic importance.

If we read what Josephus knew of Nehemiah we find that the book he epitomized was only the first half of Nehemiah, but not exactly that which we now have. The Ezra material in the latter part of Nehemiah is located where the late editor of Nehemiah found it -- in the Hebrew source of 1 Esdras, for Josephus didn't have the book of Ezra, but only 1 Esdras. It is extremely difficult to imagine that Josephus didn't have all the books available at that time or any incomplete books when you look at the vast range of Hebrew texts he does quote from.

The problem I find is the lack of presence of the sabbath in the prophetic books. It's there in the late works (eg Ezekiel, and you will remember, before running to the circularity stuff yet again, that I have already talked about this books lateness as wll), but is there any way to determine the significance of sabbath in Isaiah 1:13? The parallel between Hos2:11 and Ps80:3 (sorry, I'm away from a Bible, it might be Ps81:3 -- a search for "new moon" will find it) shows the sabbath as the full moon -- as can also be derived by the importance of the middle of the month for feast days. (And I'll ask again, why are two major feasts at the full moon of the first and seventh months, ie six months apart, if they are supposed to be commemorative? Obviously the full moon was important, don't you think?) As already mentioned there is a a clear linguistic connection between the Babylonian shapattu, midmonth, fifteenth day, and the Hebrew sabbath.

I'll give up here: I can no longer concentrate in the computer room I'm in.

Cheers all,


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