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tion of the sabbath is couched in terms of censure, without the most distant allusion to the tables of stone or to the account of the creation of the world, neither of which could at that time have been present to the prophet, nor could they have given their solemn sanction to the holiness of the day.
This view is further confirmed by a subsequent passage in Jeremiah', although in his day the sabbath was already set apart for worship. The other passage from the Chronicles, and the superscription of Psalm xcii., which are adduced by Jahn?, are of much too recent a date to lend any support to his argument.
On the observance of the sabbath were founded what was called the sabbatical year and also the year of jubilee,
-institutions which astonish Gatterer with the astronomical knowledge of Moses. The first of these was celebrated every seventh year, and during it every kind of work with the exception of agriculture was forbidden, and produce which grew of its own accord belonged to the slaves4. The opinions entertained of this law have been
new moons, and her sabbaths, and all her solemn feasts.”—-Hosea ii. 11.
“Saying, When will the new moon be gone, that we may sell corn? and the sabbath, that we may set forth wheat, making the ephah small, and the shekel great, and falsifying the balances by deceit?”- Amos viii. 5.
1 “ Thus saith the Lord; Take heed to yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath-day, nor bring it in by the gates of Jerusalem.”Jeremiah xvii. 21.
2 Introd. ii. 29. [A psalm or song for the sabbath day, Ps. xcii.] 3 Abriss der Chronologie (Sketch of Chronology), p. 150.
4 “ Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the Lord.”—Lev. xxv. 2.
“And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the
THE SABBATICAL YEAR.
remarkably different;—Tacitus was acquainted with it, and he ascribes it to mere indolencel Michaelis traces an economical purpose in this law, that the land might be allowed to lie fallow, whilst Hug would persuade us that a problem has here been solved which has baffled the wisdom of all the greatest lawgivers?. We must not, however, allow ourselves to be misled by opinions such as these, which proceed from a veneration for everything Jewish; and we must recollect that in a land like Palestine, which only yields a return to the most untiring industry and so frequently suffers from scarcity, such a law as this, however favoured by the aversion of the Israelites to husbandry, could not possibly have been observed. History too assures us that this ideal extension of the sabbath to the sabbatical year, which may safely be ascribed to the priests, was wholly unknown down to the time of the Captivity, and we are told by Jeremiah that the emancipation of the slaves was first practised in his time. It was enjoined that during this solemn year the law should be
fruits thereof : But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still ; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy olive-yard.”—Exod. xxiii. 10,11.
1 « Septimo die otium placuisse ferunt; quia is finem laborum tulerit; dein, blandiente inertiâ, septimum quoque annum ignaviæ datum. Alii, honorem eum Saturno haberi : seu principia religionis tradentibus Idæis, quos cum Saturno pulsos et conditores gentis accepimus, seu quod e septem sideribus, quîs mortales reguntur, altissimo orbe et præcipuâ potentiâ stella Saturni feratur ; ac pleraque coelestium vim suam et cursum septimos per numeros conficiant. Hi ritus, quoquo modo inducti, antiquitate defenduntur.”—Tacitus, Hist. v. 4.
2 Zeitschrift für die Geistlichkeit des Erzbisth. Freiburg (Journal for the Clergy of the Archbishopric of Freiburg), i. 1.
3 “ This is the word that came unto Jeremiah from the Lord, after that the king Zedekiah had made a covenant with all the people which were at Jerusalem, to proclaim liberty unto them.”—Jerem. xxxiv. 8.
THE SABBATICAL YEAR.
publicly read', and yet this injunction was never complied with until the time of Nehemiah?; and finally, the period of the exile is considered as a sabbatical year, during which the land enjoyed its rest, because it could not rest when the people dwelt upon it. Under Antiochus the law of the sabbatical year was actually put into practice; but it is added, that the inhabitants of Bethsura could not remain in the land on account of the famine 4.
After the expiration of seven sabbath years, or, in other words, every fiftieth year, the whole land was to enjoy a sabbath of a still more solemn kind, which was called the jubilee (probably from the jubilee trumpets), and at this period all labour would have been suspended for two whole years in successions. At this time also all hereditary pos
I“ And Moses commanded them, saying, At the end of every seven years, in the solemnity of the year of release, in the feast of tabernacles, when all Israel is come to appear before the Lord thy God in the place which he shall choose, thou shalt read this law before all Israel in their hearing.”-Deut. xxxi. 10, 11.
2 “Also day by day, from the first day unto the last day, he read in the book of the law of God. And they kept the feast seven days; and on the eighth day was a solemn assembly, according unto the manner.” - Nehem. viii. 18.
3 “ As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest ; because it could not rest when you should have let it rest, when you dwelt upon it.” [Luther's translation.]-Lev. xxvi. 35. [Esher lo shabetha beshabbethotheykem beshibthekem "aleyha.]
“ As long as she [the land] lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil three-score and ten years.”--2 Chron. xxxvi. 21. The comparison of these two passages together will supply the best commentary on each of them.
4 “But with them that were in Bethsura he made peace : for they came out of the city, because they had no victuals there, to endure the siege, it being a year of rest to the land.”—1 Maccabees vi. 49.
5 “And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years.”—Levit. xxv. 8.
sessions were to revert to the original families, so that the chief object here, as in the system of Lycurgus, would seem to have been to establish the impracticability of the permanent alienation of land; but in this case it was founded on a theocratical principle, for Jehovah was considered to be the owner of the soil, and the Israelites were regarded as if they were only his tenants! Yet the sale of land is frequently mentioned?, and the law of the year of jubilee was never put in forces.
Before the Babylonish exile, the simple lunar year was adopted by the Hebrews, as by most other Semitic nations, and the time of the barley harvest, in the month Abib, or April, was fixed by the law for its commencement even whilst they were in Egypt4; but it is probable that this law was itself first made in Palestine, where the barley comes
1 “The land shall not be sold for ever; for the land is mine; for ye are strangers and sojourners with me.”—Levit. xxv. 23.
2. “And Ahab spake unto Naboth, saying, Give me thy vineyard, that I may have it for a garden of herbs, because it is near unto my house : and I will give thee for it a better vineyard than it ; or, if it seem good to thee, I will give thee the worth of it in money.”1 Kings xxi. 2.
“Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!”—Isaiah v. 8. See Gesenius.
3 See Michaelis, Mos. Recht (Law of Moses), ii. $ 76, p. 68,&c. Winer, Dict. of Bible, art. Jubeljahr (year of jubilee.)
4 “This month shall be unto you the beginning of months : it shall be the first month of the year to you.”—Exod. xii. 2.
“This day came ye out in the month Abib.”—Exod. xiii. 4.
“ Thou shalt keep the feast of unleavened bread: (thou shalt eat unleavened bread seven days, as I commanded thee, in the time appointed of the month Abib; for in it thou camest out from Egypt: and none shall appear before me empty.”—Exod. xxiii. 15.
“ The feast of unleavened bread shalt thou keep. Seven days thou shalt eat unleavened bread, as I commanded thee, in the time of the
to maturity at the beginning of April". The regular solar year of 365 days necessarily presupposes considerable progress in astronomy, and only makes its first appearance in history among the Chaldæans, after the æra of Nabonassar (B.C. 746). It is however a remarkable fact, that this solar year lies at the very foundation of the Scriptural account of the deluge, and forms one of the many inconsistencies into which the narrator has been betrayed ?.
Finally, the Pentateuch appoints three principal feasts», the least important of which is the feast of the first-fruits of the field, called also the feast of weeks, or the Pentecost. The Passover was celebrated on the fourteenth day of the first month, Abib, and the feast of Tabernacles on the fifteenth day of the seventh month, Tisri; and these two feasts will require our particular attention, for they are uniformly found in all the Sabæan religions, as a part of their primitive calendar, and as instituted originally in honour of the Sun at his passage through the vernal and autumnal equinox4, and both of them were converted by the Hebrews into memorials of national events. Both
month Abib : for in the month Abib thou camest out from Egypt.”Exod. xxxiv. 18.
“Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover unto the Lord thy God : for in the month of Abib the Lord thy God brought thee forth out of Egypt by night."-Deut. xvi. l.
I See Ideler, Handb. der Chronol. p. 487. : ? See concluding observations on Genes. vi.
3 “ Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year.”—Exod. xxiii. 14.
“ In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the Lord's passover.”—Lev. xxiii. 5.
“Thou shalt observe the feast of tabernacles seven days, after that thou hast gathered in thy corn and thy wine.”—Deut. xvi. 13.
4 See Böttiger, Andeutungen zu einer Kunstmythol. (Hints on the Mythology of Art), p. 148.