Sabbath Origins

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Sun Dec 5 02:08:07 EST 1999

At 22.50 04/12/99 -0500, you wrote:
>You have dated Chronicles after about 400-350 BCE (depends on how you 
>read the text!). You have provided no other evidence of dating of 
>anything before the 1st century BCE. 

After 330 BCE was one indication.

I also posted that Chronicles (1Chr24) has 24 priestly families whereas 1QM
col 2 talks of 26 heads of courses. The Mishmarot only have 24, so it would
seem that Chronicles was written sometime after 1QM.

Amongst the DSS there is no fragments of Chr. While there are some of both
Kings and Samuel, the omission of Chr is noteworthy, given the vast range
of literature available at Qumran. Yes, an argument from silence, which I
feel justified given the range of materials.

Given the Davidic line going down ten generations after the return, it is
noteworthy also that there is no Zadokite line going that far, indicating a
post-Zadokite period for the work.

>So how can you claim to date 
>anything in the 2nd century or earlier? (OK, I will allow that 1 
>Maccabees is probably a more or less contemporary and accurate record 
>for a snapshot from the 2nd century.) 

(1Macc is definitely from the end of the second if not beginning of the
first. 2 Macc is in substance -- leaving out the letters of introduction --
middle second century.)

>Even more so, how can you claim 
>that anything did NOT happen at the time that most scholars maintain? 

I don't accept their guesses -- only their evidence. I attempt to date
using what I can, not on their hopes. You're the punter who is putting your
hopes on their opinions. I prefer facts.

>You cannot prove them wrong any more than I can prove them right. The 
>most you can possibly argue is as follows:
>We don't know whether a lunar, solar or anything else calendar was at 
>use in any time before the 1st century BCE, and we have no way of 

Please at least look at the Enoch Astronomical book (Enoch is on my
website) and Jubilees before making such statements. These works, along
with the mishmarot are all solar calendar based. Would you like some more
information on the solar calendar based dates in Ezekiel? Would you like to
consider the solar based dating behind the flood story? You have ignored
this material. There is evidence for a solar calendar for cultic purposes
before and during the second century. Where is the evidence for the lunar
calendar? It just so happens to be the one that eventually was used by the
Jews, so people have consistently retrojected it into times where there is
no evidence for it. This retrojective process has happened so often the
retrojection of surviving ideas into the past, one should be sensitized to it.

>We don't know whether a seventh day, mid month or anything else 
>sabbath was celebrated at any time before the 2nd century BCE, and we 
>have no way of telling.

The evidence shows that the new moon was celebrated but has tended to lose
ground. The sabbath is mentioned in respect to the new moon in both Hosea
and Isaiah in a form parallelled by the full moon of Ps81:3. Amos (8:5)
also relates the new moon and the sabbath as on an equal footing (as it
seems 1Kgs4:23). I have pointed out that the order is important: the new
moon comes before the sabbath, as one would expect if the sabbath was the
full moon. However, as observed in Ezekiel 46, the mention of the sabbath
comes before the new moon, as would be expected if the sabbath was the
seventh day. (One should note Eze45:17 in which the whole late order is
reversed: feast days, new moons and sabbaths -- least frequent to most

As the shapattu was the fifteenth day, when the Mesopotamian gods needed to
rest, note not the fourteenth day, and the full moon was on the fifteenth
day, its not difficult to make the connection with the first day of
unleavened bread (Lev23:6) and of tabernacles -- remember fifteenth day,
not fourteenth. You can't fudge it. It is the fifteenth day that shall be a
sabbath, not the fourteenth. (But then what sort of lunar calendar were you
thinking of, a 28 day month job? The ones we know of are the 29/30 day
alternating calendars. With these obviously the seventh day sabbath changes
position with these.)

>Do you agree with these statements? If not, why not?

Responses given above.

So, how bout you? You wanna give some datable evidence for your
speculations on the lunar calendar? So far all I've noted from you are
other people's opinions. I have tried to work in a historical space, using
things that can in some way be verified. Without steps in that sort of
direction there can be no historically relevant statements regarding
biblical matters. 



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