Permanent committees on the "Sabbath and family religion," the "Bible cause" and "evangelistic work" report to the General Assembly annually.
SABBATH, the day of cessation from work,' which among the Hebrews followed six days of labour and closed the week.
The rules of the Scribes enumerated thirty-nine main kinds of work forbidden on the Sabbath, and each of these prohibitions gave rise to new subtilties.
The ideal of the Sabbath which all these rules aimed at realizing was absolute rest from everything that could be called work; and even the exercise of those offices of humanity which the strictest Christian Sabbatarians regard as a service to God, and therefore as specially appropriate to His day, was looked on as work.
Strictly speaking, therefore, the Sabbath was neither a day of relief to toiling humanity nor a day appointed for public worship; the positive duties of its observance were to wear one's best clothes, eat, drink and be glad (justified from Isa.'viii.
A more directly religious element, it is true, was introduced by the practice of attending the synagogue service; but it is to be The grammatical inflexions of the word "Sabbath" would show that it is a feminine form, properly shabbat-t for shabbat-t.
The grammatical form of shabbath suggests a transitive sense, "the divider," and apparently indicates the Sabbath as dividing the month.
From the Thirty-ninth was deduced the familiar "Sabbath day's journey" (Acts i.
Attitude of Jesus.--So far, therefore, as the Sabbath existed for any end outside itself it was an institution to help every Jew to learn the law, and from this point of view it is.
But this certainly was not the leading point of view with the mass of the Rabbins; 1 and at any rate it is quite certain that the synagogue is a post-exilic institution, and therefore that the Sabbath in old Israel must have been entirely different from the Sabbath of the Scribes.
Indeed, that the old Hebrew Sabbath was quite different from the Rabbinical Sabbath is demonstrated in the trenchant criticism which Jesus directed against the latter (Matt.
The general position which He takes up, that "the Sabbath is made for man and not man for the Sabbath," 2 is only a special application of the wider principle that the law is not an end in itself but a help towards the realization in life of the great ideal of love to God and man, which is the sum of all true religion.
But Jesus further maintains that this view of the law as a whole, and the interpretation of the Sabbath law which it involves, can be historically justified from the Old Testament.
3 seq.), and to the exceptions to the Sabbath law which the Scribes themselves allowed in the interests of worship (v.
Modern criticism of the history of Sabbath observance among the Hebrews has done nothing more than follow out these arguments in detail, and show that the result is in agreement with what is known as to the dates of the several component parts of the Pentateuch.
32-36); while the older laws only demand such cessation from daily toil, and especially from agricultural labour, as among all ancient peoples naturally accompanied a day set apart as a religious festival, and in particular lay weight on the fact that the Sabbath is a humane institution, a holiday for the labouring classes (Exod.
As it stands in these ancient laws, the Sabbath is not at all the unique thing which it was made to be by the Scribes.
So it was in old Israel: the Sabbath was one of the stated religious feasts, like the new moon and the three great .agricultural sacrificial celebrations (Hosea ii.
Volkes o), pp. 393 seq., where the Rabbinical Sabbath is well explained and illustrated in detail.
85b: "The sabbath is delivered into your hands, not you into the hands of the Sabbath" (cited by S.
Hosea even takes it for granted that in captivity the Sabbath will be suspended, like all the other feasts, because in his day a feast implied a sanctuary.
From this time forward the new moons, which till then had been at least as important as the Sabbath and were celebrated by sacrificial feasts as occasions of religious gladness, fall into insignificance, except in the conservative temple ritual.
The Sabbath did not share the same fate, but with the abolition of local sacrifices it became for most Israelites an institution of humanity divorced from ritual.
This attachment to the Sabbath, beautiful and touching so long as it was a spontaneous expression of continual devotion to Yahweh, acquired a less pleasing character when, after the exile, it came to be enforced by the civil arm (Neh.
- The Sabbath exercised a twofold influence on the early Christian church.
On the other hand, the Jewish Christians continued to keep the Sabbath, like other points of the old law.
27) remarks that the Ebionites observed both the Sabbath and the Lord's day; and this practice obtained to some extent in much wider circles, for the Apostolical Constitutions recommend that the Sabbath shall be kept as a memorial feast of the creation as well as the Lord's day as a memorial of the resurrection.
On the other hand, Paul had quite distinctly laid down from the first days of Gentile Christianity that the Jewish Sabbath was not binding on Christians (Rom.
The steps by which the practice of resting from labour on the Lord's day instead of on the Sabbath was established in Christendom and received civil as well as ecclesiastical sanction are dealt with under Sunday; it is enough to observe here that this practice is naturally and even necessarily connected with the religious observance of the Lord's day as a day of worship and religious gladness, and is in full accordance with the principles laid down by Jesus in His criticism of the Sabbath of the Scribes.
But of course the 3 In actual life the Sabbath was often far from being the burden which the Rabbinical enactments would have led us to expect.
- As the Sabbath was originally a religious feast, the question of the origin of the Sabbath resolves itself into an inquiry why and in what circle a festal cycle of seven days was first established.
1 i the Sabbath is declared to be a memorial of the completion of the work of creation in six days.
Unless the Sabbath was already an institution peculiarly Jewish, it could not have served as a mark of distinction from heathenism.
What is certain is that the origin of the Sabbath must be sought within a circle that used the week as a division of time.
They did not dedicate each day in turn to its astrological planet; and it is therefore precarious to assume that the Sabbath was in its origin what it is in the astrological week, the day sacred to Saturn, and that its observance is to be derived from an ancient Hebrew worship of that planet.4 The week, however, is found in various parts of the world in a form that has nothing to do with astrology or the seven planets, and with such a distribution as to make it pretty certain that it had no artificial origin, but suggested itself independently, and for natural reasons, to different races.
2 "The week, ended by the Sabbath, determined the ` days ' of creation, not the ` days ' of creation the week" (S.
At the same time, there was a peculiar appropriateness in associating the Sabbath with the doctrine that Yahweh is the Creator of all things; for we see from Isa.
That this doctrine was a mainstay of Jewish faith in those very days of exile which gave the Sabbath a new importance for the faithful.
From this point of view it is most significant that in the older parts of the Hebrew Scriptures the new moon and the Sabbath are almost invariably mentioned together.6 Nor are other traces wanting of the connexion of sacrificial occasions - i.e.
We cannot tell when the Sabbath became dissociated from the month; but the change seems to have been made before the Book of the Covenant, which already regards the Sabbath simply as an institution of humanity and ignores the new moon.
For it is obvious that if each 7th day during the year was observed as above, it would, like our Sunday or a Jewish Sabbath, fall on a different day of the month in different months.
Such business as did not profane the Sabbath according to Babylonian ideas cannot be quoted against their observance of their Sabbath.
As most of the records appealed to are from temple archives, it may be expected that the Sabbath days would show an increased number of records.
- The Jews under the second temple observed every seventh year as a Sabbath according to the (post-exilic) law of Lev.
The difference between this and the later law is that the seventh year is not called a Sabbath, and that there is no indication that all land was to lie fallow on the same year.
6) maintains that the Jews worshipped Dionysus, and that the day of Sabbath was a festival of Sabazius.
Luria afterwards gave to the Sabbath a mystic beauty such as it had never before possessed.
On Sabbath he dressed in white, wearing a four-fold garment to typify the four letters of the Divine Name.
The Sabbath was to him an actual cult.
Around Alexandria and in the Thebaid, he says, they hold services on the sabbath, and unlike other Christians partake of the mysteries (i.e.