Sabbath Origins

peter_kirk at peter_kirk at
Mon Dec 6 17:18:18 EST 1999

The nouns "shabbat" and "shabbaton" and the verb "shabat" are used in 
several cases with references to festivals other than the weekly (as I 
understand it) Sabbath. The following references come from BDB:

Referring to the Day of Atonement: shabbat shabbaton Lev 16:31, 23:32
                                   shabat (verb) Lev 23:32
Referring to the sabbath year:     shabbat shabbaton Lev 25:4
                                   shabbat Lev 25:2,4,6, 26:34,34,43,
                                           2Ch 36:21
                                   shabbaton Lev 25:5
                                   shabat (verb) Lev 25:2
Referring to other festivals:      shabbaton Lev 23:24,39,39

The common feature with all of these is that of stopping work. But 
there seems to have been no link with the full moon. Yes, the 
fifteenth day of the seventh month was "shabbaton", but so were the 
first, tenth and twenty-second days of the same month.

BDB quotes an Assyrian parallel between "shabattum" and "um nukh 
libbi" ("day of rest of heart"). This suggests that the common feature 
between the Hebrew Sabbath (and the other festivals mentioned above) 
and the Assyrian Shapattu was not the timing but it being a day of 

Peter Kirk

______________________________ Reply Separator _________________________________
Subject: Re[3]: Sabbath Origins
Author:  <gathas at> at Internet
Date:    06/12/1999 02:19


> >Isn't 'stopping' part of all festivals? Yet, the terminology at least 
> >suggests that 'Sabbath' is an explicitly stop-oriented festival or
> week-oriented festival,
> >not a lunar-oriented festival.
> Could you explain this (stopping) for me? (Ta.)

'Shabbat' means the 'stop', or something akin to it. Why refer it to only one 
festival (the full moon festival) if all the other festivals involved a stopping
of work
also? It seems to make more sense that the term be applied to a festival that wa
explicitly about stopping work rather than the full moon phase.


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