Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions

By Roland De Vaux ; John McHugh | Go to book overview

CHAPTER SIXTEEN
THE SABBATH DAY

WE have already studied the week, in the chapter on divisions of time1; here we are concerned with the religious institution which marked the seventh day of the week, the sabbath day.


I. The name: its etymology

The English word 'sabbath' is a transcription of the Hebrew shabbath. This noun is used only in religious contexts: it is used for the seventh day of the week (frequently), for the entire week (once, in Lv 23: 15, though this instance is itself doubtful) and for the sabbatical year which occurred every seven years ( Lv 25: 2, 8, 34, 35, 43). A longer form (shabbathôn) is used for certain feast days and days of rest, but these days did not necessarily fall on a sabbath.

Some ancient writers ( Theophilus of Antioch and Lactantius) say that the Hebrew word is derived from sheba', meaning seven; but 'ayin is a strong consonant, and this etymology is therefore impossible. A number of modern writers have put forward a corrected version of this hypothesis: they, too, maintain that shabbath is derived from 'seven', but via the Akkadian. In Akkadian, 'ayin was not pronounced; shibittu means 'sevenfold, seven', and shapattu (which means, as we shall see, the day of the full moon) is said to be a dual form, meaning 'twice seven'. The latest suggestion is that a hypothetical Akkadian form shab'atâni ('twice seven') gave rise to the Hebrew shabbathôn, and that this Hebrew word was afterwards shortened to shabbath. But, as we shall show, it is most unlikely that the Hebrew institution was adopted from Mesopotamia, and the form shabbathôn is derived from shabbath, not vice versa.

The simplest etymology is from the Hebrew verb shabath, which often means 'to cease working, to rest', and which may therefore be rendered 'to keep a sabbath'. The basic meaning of this verb is, however, quite independent of the institution of the sabbath, and is simply 'to stop (intransitive), to cease' ( Gn 8: 22; Jos 5: 12, etc.); in the active form, it means 'to make to cease, to stop (transitive)' ( Ex 5: 5; Is 13: 11; Jr 7: 34, etc.). This is the etymology which the Bible itself puts forward in Gn 2: 2-3. Nevertheless, if the

____________________
1
Cf. pp. 186-188.

-475-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Ancient Israel: Its Life and Institutions
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen
/ 594

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.