Posted in Sabbath, Torah

Evolution of Sabbath Part 1

In doing a quick review of the word Sabbath in scripture we see what might be an interesting pattern of evolution. Looking at scripture chronologically seems to reveal an ever increasing intensity and application of Sabbath.


Transliterationshabbath Pronunciationshab·bäth’ (Key)
Part of Speechmasculine/feminine noun Root Word (Etymology)Intensive from שָׁבַת (H7673)
Dictionary Aids

TWOT Reference: 2323b

Outline of Biblical Usage

  1. Sabbath
  2. sabbath
  3. day of atonement
  4. sabbath year
  5. week
  6. produce (in sabbath year)

From Root

Transliterationshabath Pronunciationshä·vath’ (Key)
Part of Speechverb Root Word (Etymology)A primitive root
Dictionary Aids

TWOT Reference: 2323, 2323c

Outline of Biblical Usage

  1. to cease, desist, rest
  2. (Qal)
  3. to cease
  4. to rest, desist (from labour)
  5. (Niphal) to cease
  6. (Hiphil)

.                to cause to cease, put an end to

  1. to exterminate, destroy
  2. to cause to desist from
  3. to remove
  4. to cause to fail
  5. (Qal) to keep or observe the sabbath

Occurrences of English word Sabbath

Version # of occurrences OT NT
NKJV 135 78 47
NASB 138 78 50

Occurrences of H7676 word without English translation

Version # of occurrences
NKJV 108
NASB 109

Occurrences of H7673 word without English translation

Version # of occurrences

The first mention of Sabbath is implied in Gen 2:1-3 where Yah rested. and sanctified the 7th day.

Gen 2:1 NKJV – Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished.

Gen 2:2 NKJV – And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.

Gen 2:3 NKJV – Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.

This is not called Sabbath, nor is it named. Only after it is a directive to people is it called by the term. But it is instituted by the Creator as an intentional action. However it is the ROOT of Sabbath both literally in Hebrew, but also in behavior. The term for resting used in the verse is the H7673 Strongs word, which then gets developed into the word Sabbath H7676.

Just the concept itself gives a hint at something that is provocative. Is resting something complete or just temporary? To be more direct, did Yahweh stop creating and making things completely, and is now simply enjoying it all?

If this premise has any application, then that would mean that everything that is happening currently, as well as future, was already made and done. It is all a work set in motion, and nothing is “new” (under the sun?) or being made.

This doesn’t take away anything from the idea of God being creative. What it could mean is that all the elements, rules, boundaries etc… are finished, and Yah is not creating something literally NEW (i.e. never been created) but is doing something new WITH what was already created.

Does it matter? It is an intriguing way to image creation itself, rest itself, and many ideas we see communicated in subsequent parts of scripture. It also has interesting implications when we think about what is going to happen in unfulfilled scripture

  1. If there was a lamb “slain from the foundation of the world” this would be very consistent. It’s an already done thing, not something new, but something revealed. A finished work, yet something we are only catching up with.
  2. If the this lamb has secured total forgiveness from all trespass, this was already done, and something we are only beginning to experience, yet it occurs totally in fullness before the one who accomplished it.
  3. Ecclesiates so easily states “What has been will be again, what is done will be done again, there is nothing new under the sun” this would agree with the concept that Yah has already established things, yet we experience them as something new to us, something seemingly creative.
  4. Isaiah 46:9-10 mentions how God “declares the end from the beginning” and that “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all MY Pleasure” meaning it is GOING to manifest, its already been decided.

If this is the case, then the rest that Yah initiated means our end is already determined. Nothing can literally change it. To go even further, perhaps nothing will be new until the end when there is a new heaven and new earth created.


2 thoughts on “Evolution of Sabbath Part 1

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