A word meaning cessation (from work) and so the weekly day of rest, fundamental in Israelite life, sanctioned by God's rest from the work of creation (Gen. 2:1–3) and accepted as such in all parts of the OT (though not mentioned in the Wisdom literature). Legislation for the Sabbath is outlined in Exod. 20:8–11; 31:12–17; 34:21; Deut. 5:12–15. It was a day for rejoicing (Hos. 2:11) and for visiting the Temple (Isa. 1:13). Before the Exile the discipline was not absolute, and it is recorded (2 Kgs. 11:5–9) that Athaliah was arrested and executed on a sabbath. Indeed the regulations could hardly go back to the time of Moses, since they assume an agricultural society, not a heterogeneous collection of nomads. The prophets Jeremiah and Ezekiel insisted on strict observance of the Sabbath (Jer. 17:19–27; Ezek. 20:11–24) and it was an important aspect of Nehemiah's discipline after the Return (Neh. 13:15–23). From then on it was an increasingly visible part of the Jewish sense of national identity. Early in the Maccabean struggle, Jews preferred to die rather than fight (1 Macc. 2:38), but they recognized that if they continued that policy they would become extinct (1 Macc. 2:41), and they therefore resolved to defend themselves on the Sabbath.
A Sabbatical Year was ordered every seventh year when the land was to lie fallow (Lev. 16:31; 26:34, 43) and ‘enjoy’ its rest. It deserved and needed a period of recovery after the strain on it through the people's sins.
Jesus worshipped in the synagogue on the Sabbath (Luke 4:16) but the tradition of his ambivalent attitude to the Sabbath (Mark 2:28), combined with the belief in his resurrection on the third day (our Sunday), soon turned the first day of the week instead of the last into the Christians' day of liturgical observance (1 Cor. 16:2), which George Herbert (d. 1632) celebrates in his poem Sunday:
As Sampson bore the doors away,
Christ's hands, though nailed, wrought salvation,
And did unhinge that day.
Nevertheless in modern popular non-Jewish usage ‘Sabbath’ is often made to refer to Sunday rather than Saturday.

Dictionary of the Bible.

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  • SABBATH — (Heb. שַׁבָּת; Shabbat; related to the verb shavat, cease, desist, rest ), the seventh day of the week, the day of rest and abstention from work. In the Bible The etiology of the Sabbath is given in Genesis 1:1–2:3, although the name of the day… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • Sabbath — • The seventh day of the week among the Hebrews, the day being counted from sunset to sunset, that is, from Friday evening to Saturday evening Catholic Encyclopedia. Kevin Knight. 2006. Sabbath     Sabbath …   Catholic encyclopedia

  • Sabbath — Sab bath, n. [OE. sabat, sabbat, F. sabbat, L. sabbatum, Gr. sa bbaton, fr. Heb. shabb[=a]th, fr. sh[=a]bath to rest from labor. Cf. {Sabbat}.] 1. A season or day of rest; one day in seven appointed for rest or worship, the observance of which… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • sabbath — ► NOUN 1) (often the Sabbath) a day of religious observance and abstinence from work, kept by Jews from Friday evening to Saturday evening, and by most Christians on Sunday. 2) (also witches sabbath) a midnight pagan ritual held by witches.… …   English terms dictionary

  • Sabbath — [sab′əth] n. [ME sabat < OFr & OE, both < L sabbatum < Gr sabbaton < Heb shabat < shavat, to rest] 1. the seventh day of the week (Saturday), set aside for rest and worship and observed as such by Jews (from Friday sunset to… …   English World dictionary

  • Sabbath — (neujüdisch Schabbes), 1) Ruhetag, der siebente Wochentag vom Sonnenuntergang am Freitag an gerechnet bis ebendahin am nächsten Tage, welchen die Hebräer durch Enthaltung von aller Arbeit, Unterlassung aller Speisebereitung (daher selbst des… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Sabbath — Sabbath, Ruhetag, nach dem mosaischen Gesetze der siebente Wochentag, der Ruhe und der Verehrung des Höchsten gewidmet, wie bei den Christen der Sonntag. Diesen Tag feiern die Juden am Sonnabend. –s …   Damen Conversations Lexikon

  • Sabbath — d.h. Ruhetag, Schabbes, der 7. Wochentag od. Sonntag der Juden, dauert vom Sonnenuntergang am Freitag bis dahin am Samstag, ist das älteste der gesetzlich vorgeschriebenen Feste und erinnert an das Ruhen Jehovas nach den 6 Schöpfungstagen sowie… …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • Sabbath — O.E. sabat Saturday, observed by the Jews as a day of rest, from L. sabbatum, from Gk. sabbaton, from Heb. shabbath, prop. day of rest, from shabath he rested. The Babylonians regarded seventh days as unlucky, and avoided certain activities then; …   Etymology dictionary

  • Sabbath — Contents 1 Jewish tradition 1.1 Weekly Sabbath 1.2 Weekend Sabbath …   Wikipedia

  • Sabbath — Sabbathless, adj. Sabbathlike, adj. /sab euhth/, n. 1. the seventh day of the week, Saturday, as the day of rest and religious observance among Jews and some Christians. Ex. 20:8 11. 2. the first day of the week, Sunday, similarly observed by… …   Universalium

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