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Sabbatical: Brief Old Testament Survey

Sabbatical: Brief Old Testament Survey

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Published by Chris Ryall
A very brief overview of 20 key passages from the Old Testament relating to Sabbaths.
A very brief overview of 20 key passages from the Old Testament relating to Sabbaths.

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Chris Ryall on May 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Is a Biblical principle
from Hebrew
, i.e., Sabbath, literally a "ceasing"The concept of a sabbatical has a source in several places in the Bible, where there is acommandment to desist from working the fields in the seventh year. In the strict sensetherefore, a sabbatical lasts a year.The foundational Bible passage is Genesis 2:2 and 3, in which God rested (literally, "ceased"from his labour) after creating the universe, and it is applied to people (Jew and Gentile, slaveand free) and even to beasts of burden in one of the ten commandments (Exodus 20:8-11).
Key Old Testament passages
God ceased from labour after creating the universe. (Genesis 2:2 & Genesis 3)A Sabbath year of rest is instituted after every 6 years of labour. This is to refresh theanimals, servants, families and other people. (Exodus 23:10-12, Leviticus 25:1-6)Sabbaths are a sign between us and God, for all generations, that it is God who sanctifies us.Sabbaths are holy and a covenant between us and God forever. This was spoken by God toMoses on mount Sinai. (Exodus 31:12-16)The day of atonement, in the seventh month, is described as a sabbath, a day of solemn restwhen we shall afflict (or humble) ourselves, remembering God's atonement for our sins. Thisis recorded as a statute forever. (Leviticus 16, especially verse 29-31)God instructed Moses to keep his Sabbath and reverence his sanctuary, because he is theLORD, and it is an expression of his holiness. (Leviticus 19:30)Keeping God's statutes allowed the Israelites to dwell in the land securely. God commanded a blessing on the sixth year that the crops would produce enough for three years. (Leviticus25:18-22)Part of God's punishments have been to enforce Sabbaths when people neglect to observethem. (Leviticus 16:34&35 and 2 Chronicles 36:20&21)For priests, Levites and guards the Sabbath was used as a marker for rotations which werestaggered, not all taking the Sabbath day at the same time. (2 Kings 11:5and 2 Chronicles23:4)

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