The question of the Hebrew Sabbath is still one of the more complicated problems of the Old Testament study, in spite of Langdon's statement that "the origin and meaning of the Hebrew Sabbath are philologically and historically clear" (Psalms and Babylonians, XXIII) .
It was Zimmern, in 1904, in the "Zeitschrift der Deutschen Morgenlandischen Gesellschaft," who first suggested in the press that Saturday was originally the day of the full moon. Mein-hold followed him in 1905 with a more elaborate treatment of the thesis, Sabbat und Woche im AT, and again in 1909, at the "Zeitschrift fur Alttestamentliche Wissenschaft". The hypothesis was accepted by Beer (Sabbath: Der Mishna-tract Sabbat) and by Marti (Religion Geschichte der Israelitischen, etc.).
In fact the hypotheses are defined without taking into account the explanation of the Sabbath's unique concepts, including the seven-day characteristic, and forcing a cycle of 29 to 30 days for a system of 7 when the Babylonian system bound 15 days.
Saturday in Babylon
The origin of the Sabbath certainly does not meet with the Hebrews themselves. Ultimately, it is "to be traced to the nomadic ancestors of the Hebrews and Canaanites, who have paid homage to the moon, whose benign light guided them on their nocturnal journeys through the plains of northern Arabia" (Kent, Laws of Israel and Legal Precedents , 257). The Sabbath probably dates back to the earliest Semitic antiquity and, as a taboo, sacrifice, worship of ancestors and the like, was evidently an institution shared by all. But it could still have come from something even more remote.
The name, Sabbath, appears for the first time in Babylon and, as an institution, can in fact be traced back to the earliest pre-Semitic inhabitants of that land, the Sumerians. On a bilingual tablet,
K. 6012 + K. 10684, containing a list of days of the month, the equation U-XV-KAMI = sa-bat-ti (line 13) appears, ie the 15th day of the month was known in Babylon as sabattu and, in addition, it is the only one of the month that is so called (see Pinches, PSBA, 1904, pp. 51 et seq.). Now the Babylonian month was a lunar month of about 30 days and the 15th day, or the middle of the month, would be the day of the full moon. We would infer, then, that the sabattu was identical to the day of the full moon and with it alone. Notably the months were counted by the lunar cycles, archaeologists suppose the semen as coming from the lunar cycles, even knowing that the week does not correctly determine the lunar cycle. For a lunar cycle takes 29 to 30 days. What would define weeks of 15 days would be more logical than 7 days.
This is suggested by all the Sabbath references in Babylonian literature that are currently known. In another bilingual text, CT XII, 6, 24, we have the equation U (sumer for "day") = sa-bat-tu, ie the Sabbath was for the Babylonians "the day par excellence, one of the great feast days of In the history of creation, Tablet V 18, signs, XXXXX are of course with Pinches and Zimmern, to be read sa-bat-tu instead of [a] u XIV-tu as formerly The usual determinant after numerals in this tablet , as elsewhere, is not kam tu (cf. History of Creation, Tablet V 17, VII-kam, Gilgames Epic, Tablet X, col. 111 49, umu XV-kam, etc.) With this line of restoration 18 would read: "In [Sa] bbath thou (the moon) shall be equal (in both halves)." Similarly in the Epic of Gilgames, Tablet X col. Day 15 or Saturday is evidently the day of the full moon. In fact, this type of analysis can manage the idea that the week is an old historical concept, not a mere vision of the moon. Generating the idea that the week came before the connection with the lunar systems.
The sabattu was not a day of rest, in which work was forbidden, since many contract tablets are dated that day (Kuchler, Die Christliche Welt, 1904, 296, Johns, Exhibitor, November 1906, Wilson, Princeton Theological Review, 1903, 246). In CT XVIII 23 it is called a nuh libbi, that is, a day for the pacification of the wrath of the deity, a day suitable for penance. We see that penance develops the concept of sacred day, linked with the concept of Gilgamesh, and creation has the idea of a very remote concept, which may have appeared from stories told before Babylon. That would define the Sabbath as a sacred day, dedicated to actions linked to divinity.
The Sabbath used to be, and by many scholars still is, identified with the "favorable and unfavorable days" of Babylon, which for the intercalary month of Elul fell on days 7, 14, 19, 21 and 28, (IV R. 32f.), But there is absolutely no evidence that they have any connection with sabattu. Indeed, as we have already seen, there is as yet no evidence anywhere that sabattu has been applied to any day other than the 15th, and to attribute that term to other days, as Jastrow1 and many scholars do, is the purest assumption and is based on a preconceived idea about what the Sabbath was. Nor is there any evidence that the terms sabattu and nubattu have any connection to each other.
With the Babylonians, the Sabbath was manifestly a full-moon festival, and the etymology of the word seemed to confirm this. The root sabatu in V R. 28 is equated with gamaru, "to complete, to fulfill, to put an end," or intransitively "to be complete." Sabattu, then, could mean the day the moon was full or full. In fact as the lunar cycles are from 29 to 30 days, 15 days would be the closest to the separation of the lunar cycles, not 7 days. In the biblical texts he defines that Abraham came from Ur of the Caudeus, and acquired the ancient information about such relays, linked both to creation and to the flood. There is, therefore, a great possibility that if Abraham existed he has obtained much older information than we can now obtain.
Still, to use that full or full moon, and not the ethology of the word, would generate a purely imaginative concept. For the word ceases or completes, it is not bound to the moon, but may be linked to the term seven (Saturday (שבת) and seven (שבע) and satisfaction (שבע) H7646). Thus the patriarch of the Semites Sete (שת), come from the same root of the Sabbath. Notice that Seven is the third son of Adam (1Ch 1: 1) and not the seventh, and his ethology defines it as something done. It would therefore be irrational to say that Sete would have been made by the moon, ie the Sabbath's foundation is in the conclusion, or satisfaction of the conclusion. In fact the foundation is in the term of the Semitic people, that is previous to the Babylonians. In fact, the question of the moon to the Sabbath system is a conjecture that tries to ignore an earlier possibility, linked to creation.
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