By September 7, 2008 0 Comments Read More →

Sabbath Ostraca, c. 475 BCE

Sabbath OstracaAn extra-biblical reference to the observance of the Sabbath

According to the Bible, the origin of the Sabbath is the creation of the world-

“And God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, because on it God ceased from all the work of creation that He had done.” (Genesis 2-3)

The Bible proscribes observance of the Sabbath-

“Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy.” (Exodus 20-8)

The observance of the Sabbath is reported-

“And the Children of Israel observed the Sabbath, to make the Sabbath for their generations an eternal covenant. Between Me and the Children of Israel it is a sign forever…” (Exodus 31-16)

The text of the Sabbath Ostraca is as follows-

Greetings, Yislah!

Look, I’m sending you the vegetables tomorrow. Get there before the boat comes in – on account of the the Sabbath – so they won’t be spoiled. I swear to God, if you don’t, I’ll kill you! Don’t trust Meshullemet or Shemayah to take care of it.

Trade the barley for me. Try to get a lamb… I swear to God, if you don’t, you’ll have to… yourself.

As for the… you sent in exchange for the wine, I have sent it all on to them (?). If Meshullemet doesn’t get here, what will you say?

May we see each other soon!

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