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therefore called the sabbath, that is, a day of rest.
The observation of the sabbath began with the world. God, after He had employed six days in making the universe out of nothing, rested the seventh day; and therefore appointed it to be a day of rest." But this term sabbath is likewise sometimes taken for the whole week. And from hence it is, that the Pharisee, when he would express his fasting twice in a week, says, that he fasted twice
The days of the week have no other names but those of their order, the first, second, third, &c. from the sabbath ; and therefore, as the Hebrews express one and the first by the same word, una sabbati is with them the first day of the week. But nevertheless, the Hellenist Jews have a particular name for the sixth day, that is, for the vigil of the sabbath ; and call it, paraskeue, that is, the preparation.
But, besides this week of days, the Hebrews had another week, which consisted of seven years; the last of which was a year of rest, and was called the sabbatical
The earth rested on this year, and no one was suffered to cultivate it. And at the end of seven weeks of years, that is, after fortynine years, the forty-ninth year was called the year of jubilee. Some think it was the fiftieth year, but they are mistaken. It is true that,
Gen. ii. 2, 3.
Η Luke xviii. 12. νηςευω δις το σαββατο. * Μark XV. 42. Παρασκευη, ο εςι προσαββατον.
according to the common manner of speaking in the Scripture, the year of jubilee is the fiftieth year: as the sabbath-day is called the eighth day, that is, reckoning from one sabbath to another, inclusively of both. And in the same manner the Olympiads, which contained the space of four years, are called quinquennium, the space of five years ; because by one Olympiad was ordinarily understood the space contained between the two Olympiads, that with which it began, and that with which it ended, reckoning the beginning of the latter as included in the former.
Thirdly. It is certain that at first the months were regulated by the moon ; because the intervals of time are most easily distinguished by the course of this planet. When it is before the sun, it is as it were swallowed up in its rays : but as soon as it begins to separate from it, its crescent begins to shew itself, and increases insensibly, till at last its whole disk becomes luminous, and then it is full; after which its light diminishes, and returns through the same phases to its first crescent, and then it re-enters the rays of the sun.
And as the moon regulates the months, so does the sun the year; and the division which we make of the year into twelve months has no relation to the motion of the moon. But it was not so with the Hebrews : their months are lunar; and their name sufficiently she'ws it. They call them yarchin, which comes from yarac, which signifies the moon. It is disputed, whether the antediluvian months were not rather regulated by the sun ; that is,
whether they were not all equal, so that each contained the twelfth part of a year: but learned men are agreed, that from the time of Moses the Jewish months have been lunar. They do not reckon the beginning of them from the time that the moon joins the sun, because that planet then disappears ; but they begin it, at her first phasis, as soon as upon her separation from the sun, she first shews herself in the west, after sun-set. And for this reason they call the beginning of the month the new moon; though the Latin interpreter, to accommodate himself to the Roman style, calls it the calends. The moment in which this conjunction between the sun and moon is made can only be known by an astronomical calculation, because she does not then appear; and because the Hebrews were little skilled in this science, especially at the first forming of their republic, God therefore commanded them to begin their months at the first phasis, or first appearance of the moon, which required no learning to discover it. And because this first appearance of the moon was of importance in their religion, God having commanded that the new moon should be a festival, and that they should offer a particular sacrifice to Him on that day ;' it cannot therefore be improper to give some account here of the care the Hebrews took to discover this new moon.
” Numb. x. 10. Siquando habebitis epulum el dies festos et calendas, &c. See the Vulgate.
4 Nunb. xxviii. 11.
And in the first place, this was an affair in which the great Sanhedrin was concerned: there were always some of that body who applied themselves to astronomy, and the different phases of the moon were likewise painted upon the hall in which the Sanhedrin assembled. And in the second place, it belonged to them to choose men of the strictest probity, who were sent to the tops of the neighbouring mountains at the time of the conjunction ; and who no sooner perceived the new moon, than they came with all speed, even on the sabbath-day itself, to acquaint the Sanhedrin with it. It was the business of that council to examine whether the moon had appeared, and to declare it; which was done by pronouncing these words, The feast of the new moon, The feast of the new moon; and all the people were informed of it by the sound of trumpets. To which ceremony David alludes, when he says, Blow the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast-day. The air is so serene in Judea that it seldom happened that the clouds hid the moon : but when it did so happen, the error it occasioned was immediately rectified, and not suffered to pass into the next month. The decrees of the Sanhedrin on this as well as on other occasions, were so revered, that the Jews say they ought to be obeyed, even when they are mistaken.
From what has been said of the course of the moon, it appears that there are two sorts of months;
4 Psalm 1xxxi. 3.
the one, which is regulated by the circle the moon describes, and takes up twenty-seven days, seven hours, and some minutes, and is called the periodical month; and the other, which is measured by the space between two conjunctions of the moon with the sun, which is called the synodical month, and consists of twenty-nine days, twelve hours, forty-four minutes, and some seconds. This last is the most popular, and only one in use ; because the phases of the moon are most proper to distinguish the beginning, middle, and end of it. The hours which exceed twenty-nine days make the months alternately one of twenty-nine days, and one of thirty. Formerly the Sanhedrin settled the number of days in each month; but now the Jews follow the common calculation, and their months are one of nine and twenty days and another of thirty
Fourthly, Nothing now remains upon this subject, but to speak of the Jewish year ; concerning which I shall not enter into the dispute whether they used the solar or the lunar one, because it is certain that they were both in use among them. I only observe that they took a very particular care that the first month of their sacred year, that is, of the year whereby their festivals and religion were regulated, did never expire before the equinox; and that, without this precaution they would have solemnized the same festivals twice in the same solar year. So that the equinox was a fixed point, which the Jews made use of to regulate their years by ; and they did it in this manner :