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§ 348. Things To BE omitted on THE SABBATH DAY. 441
12:1, and in Mark 2:23, simply the Sabbath. What this secondfirst Sabbath is, is somewhat difficult to be explained.
The majority of criticks suppose, it was that, which immediately succeeded the second day of the Passover. For, since the Jews numbered their days from the Passover to the Pentecost, (Deut. 16:9.) the first Sabbath after the second day from the Passover, seems to have been properly enough termed secundo-PRIMUM, the second-first. The word oaffgorov, in the phrase ustašv Gaffgotov, (Acts 13:42,) is nothing else than the week itself, which, as has been elsewhere observed, is sometimes designated by the customary Greek word for Sabbath.
§ 348. CoNCERNING Those THINGs which were To be oMITTED on THE SABBATH.
The name of the Sabbath itself, nzo, which signifies rest, is an intimation, that the labours, in which men ordinarily engaged, should be intermitted on that day; and we very frequently meet with express commands to that effect, Exod. 20:10. 31: 14—17. 35; 1–3. Deut. 5: 12–14. A particular specification, however, or enumeration of what night, and what might not be done, is no where found, and we can only say, that, before the promulgation of the Law on mount Sinai, the gathering of Manna was one of those things, upon which, we are assured, labour could not be expended, and that, subsequently to its promulgation, the making of a fire, was another, Exod. 16:22–30, 35:3. Num. 15:32, 36. What other things there were, which were expressly prohibited, we have no means of ascertaining.
We are at liberty to say, nevertheless, on the other hand,
I. That the use of arms was not interdicted, as the more recent Jews supposed, 1 Macc. 2:31, et. seq.
II. The healing of the sick also was not forbidden, nor the taking of medicines, as was dreamt by some of the Jewish teachers in the time of Christ, and by some of the writers in the Talmud, nor, in truth, a journey or walk of more than a thousand geometrical paces, nor the plucking of a few ears of corn to appease one's hunger, nor the performance of any acts of necessity, as feeding cattle, or plucking them from the ditch, if they had fallen into 442 $ 348. Things to be omitted on the sabbath day.
one, Matt. 12: 1–15. Luke 6: 1–5. 13:10–17. Mark 3: 2. John 5: 1. 9: 1–34. The Talmudists, (Shabbath VII. 2.) reckoned up thirty six disferent instances of labour, which were interdicted on the Sabbath, and among others, that of making or kneading dough. This accounts for the circumstance of the Jews considering it a crime in the Saviour, that he mingled his spittle with the dust, and anointed the eyes of the blind man, John 9:1–34. III. Furthermore, certain duties of a religious nature were not prohibited, such as circumcision on the eighth day, the slaughtering and burning of victims, and the labours in general, which were connected with the observances, practised in the Tabernacle and Temple, Lev. 6:8, et seq. Num. 28: 3, et seq. Matt. 12. 2. John 7: 23. In consequence of the circumstance, that the kindling of a fire was interdicted on the Sabbath, whatever cooking was necessary in making preparation for the supper of Friday evening, was to be attended to before sunset. Hence the afternoon of that day (Friday) was denominated j tragaoksvn, the preparation, and, in the Aramean, (xat' oozny, by way of distinction or emphasis.) Noroo: the evening. On the noon of the Sabbath, the Jews took a slight dinner, as at other times, but they deferred, till after sunset, the preparations for supper. IV. There was no Law in respect to the Sabbath, which commanded the observance of what may be termed an Ante-Sabbath; which the Jews after the Captivity were in the habit of commencing a number of hours before the setting of the sun. As, however, the provisions for the Sabbath were to be prepared at this time, the PRo-SABBATHUM or Ante-Sabbath may be considered, as a necessary result of the Law, which rendered it necessary to make such preparation, but it was too scrupulously defined and insisted on by the more recent Jews, Mark 15:42.
§ 349. Things PERMITTED on The sabbath. 443
§ 349. Concerning those things, which were permitted to be DONE ON THE SABBATH.
The duties, that were appropriate to the Sabbath, appear to have been learnt from custom. Hence there were no precepts on the subject, with the exception, that the priests, beside the daily victims, were to offer up on that day two other lambs of a year old, together with two tenth deals of flour mingled with oil, and a drink-offering, and were also to change the shew-bread, Lev. 24: 8. Num. 28: 9, 10. From the general design of the Sabbath, and from Genesis 2: 3, where God is represented as blessing the seventh day, i. e. pronouncing it a joyful and propitious one, it is evident, that the day was to be considered a cheerful one, that the people were to contemplate, with emotions of a glad and grateful kind, on God, As The creaton and governoun of the Universe, which is intimated also in Isaiah 58: 13. Accordingly sorrow on the Sabbath day was an indication of some great calamity, Hos. 2: 11. Lam. 2:6. 1 Macc. 1:41. The Hebrews, therefore, spent the Sabbath in rest and in a decent cheerfulness, and did not deem it inconsistent with its sacredness, to dance, sing songs, and play on instruments of musick, Exod. 15:20, 21. 32: 6, 7.2 Sam. 6: 14. Ps. 68: 25–27. 149: 3. 150: 4. [By consulting these passages, it will appear, that the songs, musick, and dances here mentioned, were of a religious nature, or were expressive of religious emotions.] In a word, they spent the Sabbath, as far as the external acts were concerned, nearly in the same way, that other nations spent their festival days. It was peculiar, however, to the Hebrews, to gather on this day around their prophets, and to receive instructions from them, 2 Kgs. 4:23. Religious parents were in the habit of instructing their children, on this day in particular, in the doctrine of God, as the creator and governor of all things; and in the wonderful providences both of mercy and punishment, which he had shown ; and those, who were not far distant, visited the Tabernacle or Tem
444 § 351. on The YEAR or JubileE.
§ 350. ConceRNING THE SABBATICK YEAR.
As a period of seven days was completed by the Sabbath, so was a period of seven years by the Sabbatick year, Jinzo, no, no Hoop. It seems to have been the design of the Sabbatick year to afford a longer opportunity, than would otherwise be enjoyed, for impressing on the memory the great truth, that God, THE CREAToR, is ALONE TO BE worshipped.
The commencement of this year was on the first day of the seventh month or Tishki (October.) It is proper to remind the reader, that we have already, in a former section, (79,) remarked on the subject of the ground being left fallow during this year. See Exod. 23: 10, 11. Lev. 25: 1–7. 26: 33–35.
During. the continuance of the Feast of Tabernacles this year, the Law was to be publickly read for eight days together, either in the Tabernacle or Temple, Deut. 31: 10–13. Debts, on account of their being no income from the soil, were not collected, Deut. 15: 1, 2. They were not, however, cancelled, as was imagined by the Talmudists; for we find in Deuteronomy 15:9, that the Hebrews are admonished not to deny money to the poor on account of the approach of the Sabbatical year, during which it could not be exacted, but nothing further than this can be educed from that passage. Nor were servants manumitted on this year, but on the seventh year of their service, Exod. 21:2. Deut. 15: 12. Jer. 34: 14.
§ 351. OF THE YEAR of JubileE.
The Jubilee, oi", followed seven Sabbatick years, i.e. was on the 50th year, Lev. 25: 8–11, Josephus, Antiquities III. 12:3. Philo DE CARITATE p. 404. DE septenario p. 1187, 1188.
To this statement the Jews generally, their Rabbins, and the Caraites agree, and say further, that the argument of those, who maintain, that it was on the 49th, for the reason, that the omission to till the ground for two years in succession, viz. the 49th and 50th, would produce a famine, is not to be attended to. It is not to be attended to, simply because these years of rest, being known long beforehand, the people would of course lay up pro§ 351. ON THE YEAR or Jubilee. 445
vision for them. It may be remarked further in reference to this point, that certain trees produced their fruits spontaneously, particularly the fig and sycamore, which yield half the year round, and that those fruits could be preserved for some months; which explains at once, how a considerable number of the people might have obtained no inconsiderable portion of their support. We have already remarked, in a preceding section, that the observance of the Sabbatick year, as far as the cultivation of the soil was concerned, was not always practised. The return of the year of Jubilee was announced on the tenth day of the seventh month or Tishki (October,) being the day of propitiation or atonement, by the sound of trumpet, nī-enus, jo :31", Lev. 25: 8–13. 27: 24. Num. 36: 4. Isa. 61: 1, 2. Beside the regulations, which obtained on the Sabbatick year, there were others, which concerned the year of Jubilee exclusively. I. All the servants of Hebrew origin, on the year of Jubilee, obtained their freedom, Lev. 25 : 39–46. comp. Jer. 34: 7, et seq. II. All the fields throughout the country, and the houses in the cities and villages of the Levites and priests, which had been sold on the preceding years, were returned on the year of Jubilee to the sellers, with the exception of those, which had been consecrated to God, and had not been redeemed before the return of said year, Levit. 25: 10, 13–17, 24–28. 27:16–21. III. Debtors, for the most part, pledged or mortgaged their lands to the creditor, and left it to his use, till the time of payment, so that it was in effect sold to the creditor, and was, accordingly, restored to the debtor on the year of Jubilee. In other words, the debts for which land was pledged, were cancelled ; the same, as those of persons, who had recovered their freedom, af. ter having been sold into slavery, on account of not being able to pay. Hence it usually happened in the later periods of Jewish history, as we learn from Josephus, that, at the return of Jubilee, there was a general cancelling of debts, Antiquities III. 12, 3.