"And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark"
— Genesis 8:10



(a) The calendar and the flood
"In the six hundredth year of Noah’s life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights" (Gen. 7:11-12).

This is the first mention of the "month" in Scripture. Hitherto our attention has been confined to the day, to the week and to its sabbath, and to the year; but at this point a new element is introduced — the month.

What is the month? In ancient times, the (lunar) month was that period of time which elapsed between two new moons, i.e., approximately twenty-nine and one-half days. Hence the name of this period of time — "month" or "moonth" — the time when the moon "mooneth". [In Hebrew, as in many other languages, the word "yęrach" (lunar month) is derived from the word "yăreach" (moon).]

The year (i.e., the solar or "sun" year), on the other hand, is that period of time which elapses during which the earth makes one complete revolution round the sun; i.e., that period which elapses from the onset of one winter or summer to the next winter or summer respectively, being approximately three hundred and sixty-five days in duration.

The day is that period of time during which the earth turns one complete revolution on its own axis; i.e., the period elapsing between one sunset or midnight or dawn and the next sunset or midnight or dawn respectively.

The week, an arbitrary period of seven successive days, is the only period of time essentially independent of astronomical phenomena such as the earth, the moon and the sun, even though its formal commencement and termination is regulated by that of the (seventh or first) day.

As the solar year comprises three hundred and sixty-five days, and the (lunar) month twenty-nine and one half days [or twenty-nine and thirty days respectively each alternate month], it is clear that there are twelve new moons (or months) in a year (29! x 12 — 354 days), plus a remainder of about eleven days [the solar year of 365 days minus the lunar year of 354 days a difference of eleven days, or very slightly more than one-third of a lunar month of 291 days]. Hence, every third year, the year sees not twelve new moons, but thirteen. In other words, we may say that the discrepancy (= 11 days) between the solar year (365 days) and the lunar year (29˝ days x 12 = 354 days) amounts to approximately one lunar month (= 29˝ days) over a period of three solar years.

Today this calendar problem of reconciling the discrepancy between the lunar year and the solar year is solved by abandoning the lunar year and the lunar month altogether, and simply dividing the solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days into twelve solar months of approximately thirty and one-half days each. To obviate dealing with these half days, eleven alternate months of thirty and thirty-one days respectively are now used, together with February (and its twenty-eight days, but twenty-nine in each leap year), thus making twelve months in all, comprising each solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days.

In ancient times, however, each solar year of three hundred and sixty-five days was divided into twelve lunar months according to the appearance of the new moon, and an extra lunar month was added once every three years, called the intercalary month.

The above holds true of the ancient lunar calendar of alternating twenty-nine and thirty-day months. There is, however, another ancient calendar system which reckons the year in twelve uniform thirty-day months, making a three hundred and sixty day year, and adding the remaining five (or six in the leap year) after the last month of the year. This latter calendar is still in use in Ethiopia today1, and some have concluded that the months recorded in the Noachic account of the flood were also uniform thirty day months like this. This conclusion has been reached by supposing that the five months elapsing between the commencement of the flood (Gen. 7:11) to the resting of the ark on Mt. Ararat (Gen. 8:4) is identical to the one hundred and fifty days during which the waters prevailed upon the earth (Gen. 7:24) and after which they abated (Gen. 8:3). Hence, it is reasoned, if those five months comprised one hundred and fifty days, it is likely that each month there recorded consisted of an even thirty days.

Now regardless which of these two ancient calendars was actually used by Noah, the Flood account still reveals that he kept the weekly sabbath2.

There are, however, good reasons for rejecting this "Ethiopian" calendar theory3 of the Noachic Flood account.

The flaw in this "uniform thirty-day month" argument lies in identifying the one hundred and fifty days of Gen. 7:24 with the five months between Gen. 7:11 and 8:4. For:—

Firstly, it is highly likely that the period of days during which the waters prevailed is merely given in round numbers, whereas the date of the commencement of the flood (17th day of the 2nd month) and its resting on Ararat (17th day of the 7th month), is given with precision and exactness4.

Secondly, all events in the flood story are related to the month (and to the week) and not to the one hundred and fifty days.

Thirdly, if the Noachic months were uniformly thirty days long, they could not have been lunar months. But the only convenient means by which Noah could calculate time (apart from the week, of course, which was demarcated by a day of rest every seventh day), was by observing the sun in respect of the length of the day, and the new moon in respect of the month. The solar month as known in the modern calendar, difficult as it would have been for Noah to determine before the flood, would have been well-nigh impossible to determine during the flood, when for more than a year he saw no vegetation at all to mark the advent of the solar seasons; but only the water and the sky and the sun and the moon (whereby he could record the various events with the passage of the lunar months).

Fourthly, one may well ask why Noah should observe arbitrary periods of thirty days — periods helpful in computing neither the solar year nor the lunar month, and still less the seven-day week! What natural phenomenon or historical happening could have occasioned his commencing such a practice? And once embarked upon, how could such months be regulated? But if the Noachic months were lunar months of twenty-nine and thirty days alternately, such months regulate themselves.

Fifthly, if these months were all uniform months of exactly thirty days each, then they were incorrectly called "months". For, as has been seen, the word month ("mooneth") implies the new moon in Hebrew just as much as it does in English. But as the record calls these periods "months", one is persuaded that they can only refer to the lunar month.

Sixthly, it was noted above that the solar year (of three hundred and sixty-five days) is approximately eleven days longer than the lunar year (of three hundred and fifty-four days). The fact that precisely one year and eleven days elapsed between Noah’s entry of the ark before the flood (Gen. 7:11, 16) and his exit from the ark after the flood (Gen: 8:14-16) can only mean that although the period of confinement in the ark was precisely one solar year, nevertheless, it is recorded in terms of the lunar year5. Hence the years of Noah (as recorded in Genesis) were lunar years, conclusively proving that the months of those years (as recorded) were lunar months.

Finally, it is a well-established fact that the lunar calendar was in common use amongst the ancient Semites; so well established that many scholars have even (incorrectly) attempted to derive the origin of the week and its sabbath from the quartering of the moon. These scholars6 have insisted that the observance of the new moon was certainly in widespread use amongst the Israelites in the time of Moses, and — be it noted! — it was Moses who wrote the present and inspired account of the flood and who dated the episodes in that account in terms of the month. This can only mean the lunar month which he himself observed centuries later.

For all these reasons, one is not only fully justified in assuming, but even obliged to conclude that the Noachic months in the account of the flood were (exactly as the Israelitic months of its Mosaic chronicler) lunar months of twenty-nine and thirty days alternately. Consequently, one is in full agreement with Gray’s7 schematic chronological table of the account of the flood, in which he harmonizes the Noachic lunar month with the weekly seventh-day sabbath, and which is here reproduced in Diag. XII below:


Year of Noah, 600


Sacred Day


 (30 Days)





(29 Days)



 . . . Notice to embark, chap. 7:4
 . . . Shut in, chap. 7:11

40 day's rain
Ch. 7:12, 17


(30 Days)





 (29 Days)






(30 Days) 






(29 Days) 






 (30 Days)




 . . . Grounding of the ark, ch. 8:4



(29 Days) 






 (30 Days)




 . . . First mountain tops,



(29 Days) 



      Xth month, 1st day, chap. 8:5

40 days = 29+11
Chap. 8:6 = 39
days after 1st
of Xth month.


 (30 Days)



 . . . Raven, chap. 8:7
 . . . Dove 1st, chap. 8
 . . . Dove 2nd, chap. 8:10


 (29 Days)



 . . . Dove 3rd, chap. 8:12


Year of Noah, 601


Sacred Day


(30 days)



 . . . Uncovering, chap. 8:13



(29 days)



 . . . Exit and sacrifice, chap. 8:14-20. From the day of




shutting in to the day of exit, 52 weeks. Prevalence of
waters, 150 days indefintie time. Chaps. 7:24; 8:3

In this calendar the first month has been taken as one of thirty days and the second month at one of twenty-nine days. But the hypothesis would not be in the least affected, were the first month to be taken as of twenty-nine days and the second month as of thirty. And when it is found that by taking the first month as of thirty days all the events of the story fit into their proper places, it cannot be doubted8 but that this hypothesis is true.

(b) The sabbath during the flood
Attention has previously been drawn to the relationship between the Adamic covenant of works and its moral law (and therefore its sabbath day) before the fall, and also to certain definite traces9 of the seventh-day sabbath being kept as a day of rest and religious observance after the fall by God-fearing men in terms of the covenant of grace. In the light of this, one would expect to find evidence of the continued observance of the sabbath in the lives of Noah and the seven10 with him in the ark with whom God established (or renewed) His covenant (Gen. 6:18), and whom alone God had chosen to survive the terrible catastrophe of His judgment on the sin of the world in the waters of the flood. This expectation is more than adequately realized in the abundant proof of sabbath observance in the ark during the flood, as summarized in the above table and as detailed below.

Of course, not all the fifty-two sabbaths covering the time of the flood witnessed some tremendous and extraordinary event on that day, but some did. All fifty-two sabbaths were no doubt spent in communion with God, "walking with God" and "calling upon the Name of the Lord", as was the case before the flood (Gen. 4:26; 5:22.) Yet it appears from the record to have pleased God to bring to pass some or other event of great significance to Noah’s redemption on no less than nine of those fifty-two sabbaths, to a consideration of which nine sabbath days one now proceeds.

1. On the tenth day of the second month of the six hundredth year of Noah (Gen. 7:4,11), almost certainly a sabbath day (see above table), the Lord enjoined Noah: "Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before Me in this generation. Of every clean beast thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female . . . of fowls also of the earth by sevens . . . For yet seven days and I will cause it to rain upon the earth . . ."11

2. On the seventeenth day of the second month, one weekly sabbath later, were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. And the rain fell upon the earth forty days and forty nights"12.

3. For the next five weeks, it rained continually, Then it suddenly ceased raining, but for the next fifteen weeks, the ark drifted apparently aimlessly, poised between an endless sea below and sky above. Noah no doubt held general family devotions each day and special sabbath devotions each sabbath during those twenty long, uneventful weeks, but his heart must at times have sunk in doubt as to his ultimate deliverance, even though he renewed the covenant13 with God every sabbath day. But the God of the covenant was faithful! On the twenty-first (seven x three!) sabbath, a momentous event happened — ". . . the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat"14 — the ark had come to rest15 on the day of rest, the sabbath day.

4. "And it came to pass at the end of forty days, that Noah opened the window of the ark which he had made; and he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth" (Gen. 8:6-7).

Here it should be observed that the raven was sent forth on the sabbath day. This can be calculated as such from the mentioned fact that the raven was sent forth "at the end of forty days", i.e., forty days after the appearance of the mountain tops, which took place on the first day of the tenth month, Gen. 8:5. Hence it necessarily follows (see Diag. XII, pp. 108-9) that the raven was sent forth on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, being forty days later; that is, on the sabbath day16.

5. "Noah . . . sent forth a raven, . . . also he sent forth a dove from him, to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground; but the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot, and she returned unto him into the ark . . . And he stayed yet other seven days; and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark . . ." (Gen. 8: 6-10).

Here the following should be noted in connection with the first journey of the dove. From the words "yet other seven days"17 in connection with the second journey of the dove, it necessarily follows that Noah had previously also waited seven days before sending the dove out on her first journey. On enquiring after what event Noah waited for seven days before despatching the dove for the first time, it is observed that that event was the despatch of the raven, which, as has been seen, took place on the eleventh day of the eleventh month, a sabbath day. Hence it necessarily follows that the dove’s first journey commenced one week later on the eighteenth day of the eleventh month, again on the sabbath day18.

6. After his first despatch of the dove, Noah waited or stayed "yet other seven days"; " . . . and again he sent forth the dove out of the ark"17

It should be noted here that Noah waited. He did not send out the dove again immediately, on any day of the week, but he waited "yet other seven days", that is, until the next sabbath, the twenty-fifth day of the eleventh month before despatching the dove on her second journey. For not only did Noah wait seven days, but he waited for the return of that one day of the seven which throughout this story is the hallowed day19.

7. After Noah’s second despatch of the dove, "he stayed yet other seven days; and sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more" (Gen. 8:12).

Noah waited another "seven days". As before, he waited patiently as the week days passed by, until the arrival of the second day of the twelfth month, again the sabbath day, before he acted again. As Gray20 has remarked in respect of the four consecutive sabbath days on which Noah sent forth the raven and the dove respectively: "The repetition of Noah’s act after each sacred interval plainly lifts that act to the level of faith . . . he waited for the return of that one day of the seven which, all through this story, is the hallowed day".

8. "In the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and behold, the face of the ground was dry" (Gen. 8:13.)

This was again the sabbath day. From the olive leaf brought back by the dove at the end of her second journey, it was clear that she had at last found a resting place and food, from which Noah could reasonably expect that there might also be a resting place and food for man. Yet Noah waited with great patience for yet another four weeks until this same sacred day had returned yet again. Then on that sabbath day he removed the covering and saw the dry land, perhaps in obedience to a divine command21.

9. ". . . in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried. And God spake unto Noah, saying, ‘Go forth of the ark’ . . . And so Noah went forth, . . . And Noah builded an altar to the Lord, and took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. And the Lord smelled a sweet savour; and the Lord said in His heart, ‘I will not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake; for the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter and day and night, shall not cease’" (Gen. 8:14-22).

Here there are many points to be noted.

Firstly, the day of this "exodus" from the ark, the twenty-seventh day of the second month, was a sabbath day, taking place eight weeks to the very day since Noah first beheld that the face of the ground was dry, and today perhaps also suggests Christ’s "exodus" on the day of His resurrection, the first day of the week, with death behind Him and a new life before Him (cf. I Pet. 3:18-22).

Secondly, the exodus was eight weeks after the first sight of the dry land, thus indicating a new beginning, as symbolized by the figure eight22.

Thirdly, it is to be noted that Noah built an altar to the Lord and offered burnt offerings to Him on that sabbath day, just as Abel had done on what was almost certainly that previous sabbath, "at the end of days"23.

Fourthly, it is remarkable that the name of the Lord, the redeeming "Yăhvęh", is used in connection with Noah’s sabbath offering, clearly indicating the connection between the sabbath as a reminder of finished creation and as a foreshadow of certain if ultimate re-creation or redemption.

Lastly, the Lord’s favourable reaction to Noah’s sabbath offering was to swear [cf. Hebrew "nishba'" "to swear" with the same root word "shęba'" = "seven"] a threefold oath on that sabbath day.

Firstly, God swore that He would "not again curse the ground any more for man’s sake," thus assuring Noah that there would be no increase in his toil (as had been the case with Cain), whereby Noah could thenceforth confidently labour six days and rest on the sabbath.

Secondly, God swore "neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done" — on the seventeenth day of the second month in the six hundredth year of Noah, a sabbath day, God sent the flood to destroy in sabbath judgement every living creature save those in the ark; and then, fifty-two sabbaths or one solar year later, again on the sabbath day, God swore that He would never again destroy every living creature — just as He created all creatures in six days, sustaining them from their realization onwards and resting in His enjoyment thereof on the very first sabbath, so too did God swear to sustain them thenceforth on the first sabbath on which they left the ark.

Thirdly, God swore that "while the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease". This means that man could henceforth depend upon seedtime and harvest and summer and winter not ceasing. Consequently, he could cease from his work every six days, confident that the Lord of the harvest would prosper his seed. Now man could henceforth observe the sabbath, confident that the ordinances of nature would not "sabbath"24 and destroy his labours.

Finally, the narrative closes in Genesis chapter nine with a renewal of God’s blessing to man, provision for his food, his dominion over the animals (cf. Gen. 1:28-30), and the confirmation of the covenant (cf. Gen. 2:1-3, 17 and Hos. 6:7). It may be questioned as to whether these matters recorded in the ninth chapter of Genesis were dealt with by God on the same "exodus sabbath" as that recorded at the end of chapter eight; or, indeed, whether these words of God in chapter nine were spoken on the sabbath at all. There is little doubt, however, that these data in chapter nine belong to the flood narrative, and indeed to the "exodus sabbath". For firstly, the commandment to be fruitful and multiply (Gen. 9:27) is merely an echo of the same words spoken on the "exodus sabbath" (Gen. 8:17); and secondly, the covenant confirmed (Gen. 9:8-17) with Noah and all his descendants and all living creatures [notwithstanding its future general scope in respect of "every living creature" (Gen. 9:16)] is substantially the same covenant25 as that announced to Noah before the flood (Gen. 6:18-7:3) and involving the (particular) redemption of the same subjects from the flood, as also shown by the words of God spoken on the "Exodus Sabbath" (Gen. 8:16-22). It is concluded, then26, that the narrative concerning the "exodus sabbath" does not end at Gen. 8:22, but continues right up to the giving of the rainbow as the sign of the covenant of redemption from the flood, Gen. 9:17.

Just as Adam received the seventh-day sabbath as the sign of the covenant of works which he transgressed, so too did Noah and all those with him receive the seven-coloured rainbow as the sign of the covenant of redemption or re-creation, probably again on the seventh day, the weekly sabbath27. And so, as before the flood, traces of the sabbath (however deformed they may be) will be found after the flood and especially after the Babylonian dispersion (Gen. 11:1-9) even amongst those heathen peoples29 who have transgressed the covenant. But amongst God’s covenant-keeping people, the sabbath was kept as divinely enjoined, and its observance was conceivably enforced and its desecration even more probably punished by law and human government (cf. Gen. 9:5-6).

It may not be amiss at this stage to mention an interesting numerical correspondence between the Genesis of the Old Testament and the genesis of the New Testament, i.e., the four Gospels. In Genesis, five days30 are specifically mentioned (all in the flood narrative) as the boundaries of human weeks31, and in the Gospels, five times32 the day of the Lord’s resurrection is specifically mentioned as being the first day of the week33 — in Greek, "mia tőn sabbatőn". When we take this Greek expression literally, it means "the first of the sabbaths"34, and indeed, in the light of all the Noachic foreshadows thereof described above, one may with complete propriety regard that blessed first Sunday, the day after the floodwaters35 of Calvary’s judgement on a sinful world, as the "first of the New Testament sabbaths"36, the first Lord’s day of a new weekly series, looking back to the finished work of the Lord of the Sabbath Himself, and commemorating His entry into His sabbath rest, and looking forward to His coming again on the Day of the Lord37.

(c) The sabbath from the flood to the tower of Babel
"And the sons of Noah, that went forth of the ark, were Shem, and Ham, and Japheth: and Ham is the father of Canaan. These are the three sons of Noah: and of them was the whole earth overspread" (Gen. 9:18-19).

As a result of Ham’s vile sin of gazing on the nakedness of his father Noah and publicizing this to his brothers, Ham’s fourth son Canaan was cursed by Noah, and Ham himself forfeited the spiritual blessing which Noah pronounced on his other son Shem, as well as Noah’s petition concerning Japheth, namely that he should be enlarged, and dwell in the tents of Shem (Gen. 9:20-28). Henceforth Shem and his children were to be the guardians of the true faith, which included the ordinance of the sabbath, which faith and which sabbath blessing Japheth too might share, on condition that he dwelt in the tents of Shem38.

After the flood, at the very least39 two hundred and ninety years [probably lunar years40] elapsed before the call of Terah and his son Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees. During that time, the descendants of Shem, Ham and Japheth moved away from the mountains in the vicinity of Ararat in the Caucasus range (where the ark had come to rest), down into the lowlands in a south-easterly direction, towards the fertile land between the rivers Tigris and Euphrates, towards Mesopotamia in the Middle East.

"And the whole earth was of one language, and of one speech. And it came to pass, as they journeyed from the east, that they found a plain in the land of Shinar; and they dwelt there" (Gen. 11:1-2). This settlement in Shinar near Babel or Babylon, was in direct defiance of the divine command of the covenant of works first given in Eden (Gen. 1:28) and repromulgated after the flood (Gen. 9:1): "Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth". Men refused to do this. Instead of leaving their fathers and mothers (Gen. 2:24) and moving away and settling elsewhere, they clung together (Gen. 11:1-4). Shem’s descendants, the "Shem-ites" or Semites, by and large forgot the blessing of their forefather Noah: "Blessed be the Lord God of Shem, and Canaan shall be his servant" (Gen. 9:26). To a great extent, the Semites, while continuing to observe the sabbath for their own purposes, forgot the Lord of the sabbath, and instead of remaining distinct from and masters of and examples to the descendants of Canaan and the other Hamites, they began to follow their example and accept their leadership. Just as the Sethites had submitted to the ways and leadership and city life of the wicked Cainites before the flood, so too did the Semites submit to the ways and the leadership and city life of the wicked Hamites after the flood41. The devilish spirit of the murderous Lamech the Cainite flared up anew in the power-drunk hunter and empire-builder, Nimrod the Hamite, of whom it is stated, "the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar" (Gen. 10:10). Just as Cain before him had built the first city in defiance of his curse whereby he was required to wander the face of the earth, so too did Nimrod the Hamite, the first imperialist, stir mankind up against God in the following words: "Go to, let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth" (Gen. 11:4).

The tower of Babel which they built was a monument to the success of man’s first ecumenical movement for world unity — one language, one country, one city, one people, one world, one humanistic world-religion. But this ecumenical unity was a unity of men outside the blessing of the redeeming Lord, "Yăhvęh". Instead of exclaiming "blessed be the Lord" as doubtless did the more primitive sabbath-keeping Semites and their father Noah, instead of humbling themselves "to call upon the name of the Lord" as the even more ancient sabbath-keeping Sethites did before the flood, this unholy ecumenical conglomeration of debased Semites and indifferent Japhethites under the evil leadership of Nimrod and his Hamites raised their voice against the Lord God of heaven and earth, the Lord of the Sabbath, and declared: "Come, let us make a name for ourselves".

"Babylon at this day", writes Jordan42, "offers not a vestige of information. The Birs Nimrod (= tower of Nimrod! —N.L.) stands a blackened and mouldering heap . . . but Babylon and the temple of Belus were visited by the father of profane history, Herodotus, while yet it stood in primeval glory to tell its own tale, and he has left us a most memorable description of it, which runs thus: — "The temple of Jupiter Belus . . . is a square building, . . . in the midst rises a tower . . . upon which, resting as upon a base, seven other lesser towers are built in regular succession."

In the days of the Semite Peleg43, at least five generations after Noah, the Lord came down to see the city and the tower which the sons of men had built. The "sons of God", the true believers, like the early Sethites and the very ancient Semites, had, it would appear, become an insignificant minority. The tower of Babel was built by the "sons of men", by mighty men like Nimrod (cf. Gen. 10:8 and 11:5 with 6:1-4!). "And the Lord said, ‘Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin (i.e., this is only the beginning of what they will begin) to do; and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do. Go to, let Us go down, and there confound their language, that they may not understand one another’s speech’. So the Lord scattered them abroad from thence over the face of all the earth: and they left off to build the city. Therefore is the name of it called Babel; because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth; and from thence did the Lord scatter them abroad upon the face of all the earth" (Gen. 11:6-9).

Man had forgotten the Lord of the Sabbath. Nevertheless, it is not to be supposed that men in general had forgotten the idea of the weekly sabbath as such at the time when the Lord "scattered them abroad". All indications from secular historical sources, which will be referred to later, suggest that this was not as then the case. It is quite possible that no more than five generations lay between Noah and Peleg, in which latter’s "days was the earth divided"44 after the destruction of the city and the tower of Babel. Hence the memory of Noah’s and Shem’s observance of the sabbath, if not the reason for and the nature of their observance, was probably still comparatively clear in the days of Peleg. Moreover, God still had His loyal Semites who kept the sabbath even in the days of the city and tower of Babel; and, seeing that "the whole earth" (including those loyal Semites) then dwelt together in that city, their sabbath observance could not have passed unnoticed by the debased Semites, nor even by the Japhethites and the Hamites. It may very well be that even the latter two groups only worked for six days, keeping the seventh as a day of rest for themselves and their own pleasure, but not for God, much as does the non-Christian gentile world today. The week may still have been recognized as a measurement of time even by the most wicked and totally ungodly. If so, they must have been conscious of the last day of the week, which had hitherto historically demarcated one week from the next.

After the destruction of the tower of Babel and the division44 of mankind into languages and nations in the days of Peleg, "the Lord scattered them abroad from thence upon the face of all the earth" — the "great dispersion". In this process, the sabbath-desecrating Hamites and Japhethites were separated from the Semites and to some extent the ungodly Semites again from the godly Semites. Divorced from the sabbath-keepers, all the other nations, some to a greater extent than others, began to forget the idea of the weekly sabbath. As Kuyper45 records: "A division of days remained, but that lapsed and became distended. The blessing of the Sabbath was imbibed no longer. The nations sought their festive-day in pleasure more than in spiritual refreshment. To an increasing extent did man fall away from the living God to the worship of nature and her forces in his imitation of her forms and statures. Thus God disappeared from the festive day. It was no longer the Sabbath of the Lord".


(a) The great dispersion and the sabbath
In the last section, the following words were written in respect of the division and dispersion of mankind after the destruction of the tower of Babel: "In this process, the sabbath-desecrating Hamites and Japhethites were separated from the Semites, and to some extent the ungodly Semites again from the godly Semites. Divorced from the sabbath-keepers, all the other nations, some to a greater extent than others, began to forget the idea of the weekly sabbath".

"Some to a greater extent than others."

In the dispersion of mankind, it was the Semites who moved the least distance from Babel, many of whom continued to dwell there and others of whom moved north-westwards and southwards into the relatively neighbouring territories of Mesopotamia and Arabia respectively. Of course, even apart from this geographical factor, the sabbath-keeping Noah had blessed "the Lord God of Shem", Gen. 9:26, whence one would expect the blessing of the sabbath tradition to live on particularly amongst the children of Shem. Hence, for both spiritual and geographical reasons, namely in their remaining near to the cradle of the various nations of the human race, it is amongst the Semites that the sabbath tradition is most purely preserved.

The Hamites travelled further afield to the south-west and possibly to the far south-east, inhabiting Canaan, Egypt, Africa and possibly South-India and the East Indies respectively. Here the sabbath tradition suffered more, most of the peoples of Hamitic descent merely having a vague recollection of a distended week in a nebulous and legendary past.

The Japhethites travelled even further, inhabiting North-India, Persia, Russia and Northern and Southern Europe respectively. Truly, God did "enlarge" Japheth (Gen. 9:27), from whom "the isles of the Gentiles divided in their lands" (Gen. 10:5). Amongst the early Japhethites, it would appear, notwithstanding their far-flung distance from the tower of Babel and hence from the pure Noachic-Semitic sabbath tradition, some sort of sabbath tradition nevertheless continued. And this too could almost be expected from the words of Noah’s blessing of Japheth in Gen. 9:27, "he shall dwell in the tents of Shem", in the tents of the sabbath-conscious Semites.

By intermixture between these three basic stocks and further intermixture with and of the resulting stock, all the various races of man were produced, and still continue to be produced, spreading over the face of the earth throughout the many centuries even to this day; and many of them [on account of God’s common grace46] observing feast day or rest day institutions47 which, however corrupted, point back to a common Noachic-Semitic ancestor before the destruction of the tower of Babel and the great dispersion.

(b) Heathen Hamitic and Japhethitic "sabbaths"
The sabbath suffered most amongst the HAMITES. Yet some of their descendants preserved traces of the institution, particularly in Africa48.

The Egyptians apparently long knew of the seventh day49, as also witnessed by their seven pyramids50, seven castes, worship of seven planets51, and their method of counting by sevens52; but they ultimately lapsed into calculating time by ten-day periods53. In Guinea the population rested from their occupations every seventh day throughout the year54, the Fantees and the Wassows wore white garments on their weekly rest day and abstained from labour on pain of being punished by their devil-god Titish, the Ashanti observed every Tuesday55, and the Ethiopians also knew of the seventh day56.

Elsewhere, the natives of Pegu assembled together for weekly devotions57, and in Borneo work was forbidden on certain harvest days58. In China the seventh day was originally known59, as also evidenced by the Chinese belief in the seven material souls of man51, and by the seven storey pagoda of Teen-fung-tah at Ningpo60; and the women of the Lob’s in South-Western China refrained from washing and sewing every sixth day for religious reasons61; whereas some scholars62 believe the Israclitic sabbath to have been borrowed from the Kenites63.

In ancient America, the seventh day was also known64, particularly amongst the ancient Peruvians65. And even in Hawaii, it was unlawful on certain days to light fires (cf. Ex. 35:3) or to bathe, at which times the king would withdraw into privacy and give up his ordinary pursuits66.

Amongst the JAPHETHITES the sabbath also degenerated, but perhaps not quite so badly, particularly to the extent to which they continued to "dwell in the tents of Shem" (Gen. 9:27). The ancient Aryans of India knew the seven-day week67 and are the source of the "lunar-weekly" rest day68 known as the "Uposatha" in Buddhist lands, for the Brahmins69 of ancient India, even in the region of the Ganges70, knew the seventh day, and the figure seven was prominent in Indian mythology71 and architecture72. Amongst the ancient Persians73, the seventh day was also known.

The ancient Greeks knew the seven-day week too74. Almost a thousand years before Christ, Homer refers to "the seventh day, which is sacred or holy"75; as did Hesiod, who also called it: "the illustrious light of the sun"76; and later Plato wrote of travellers who remained in a meadow for seven days77. This knowledge of the hebdomadal week no doubt also explains the use of the figure seven in Greek literature78. However, in later times the seven-day week was replaced by the "ten-day week" and other festive periods such as the Thesmophoria, Scyrophoria, Panathenaca, Eleusian mysteries, Olympic games and other feasts79.

The seven-day week was also apparently originally known to the Romans80, but was ultimately replaced by the "nundinae", a period of nine days consisting of two market days with seven days intervening81. However, the Roman year terminated with the seven days’ feast of "Saturnalia"82.

The Saxons named the seven days of the week83, and the week was also known amongst other Germans84, the Norsemen85, the Gauls86 and the Britons86. And centuries later, atheistic Japhethites were unable to replace the seven-day cycle with a week of ten days for more than a decade after the French revolution87, and even the later French88 and Russian89 Communists have not been able to abolish it.

(c) Post-dispersional Semitic sabbaths
From the pre-Semitic Sumerians [with their creation and flood sagas90, their "sa-bat" or "day of ceasing of the heart (of the gods)"91, and their abundant employment of the number seven to represent completeness92], who lived in Babylonia, the early SEMITES (who also lived in Babylonia) took over many traditions.

The Semitic Accadians, for example, have left behind them a tablet which declares: "On the seventh day He appointed a Holy Day and to cease from all business He commanded"93, and their records teem with references to the sanctity of the number seven94. The Babylonian reference to the sabbath as "the day of completion" is considered by some to be an allusion to Gen. 2:395, and the Assyrians called it "the Day of Rest"95. Truly, in spite of perversions, the early Semites, living not far from Babylon’s broken tower in the heart of Asia, were far closer to the true divine revelation than were the Japhethites and the Hamites96.

Previously it was seen that the Birs Nimrood or tower of Nimrod at Babylon was surrounded by seven smaller towers. References to this sacred number also abound in that part of the Babylonian Gilgamesh Epic known as the "Great Flood of Enlil" (based on even earlier Accadian and Sumerian traditions). There it is recorded that the hero Gilgamesh explained to the immortalized Utnapishti how he had bewailed his brother "for six days and seven nights". (X:15). Utnapishti then comforted Gilgamesh by telling him how he himself had been granted immortal life: how at the instruction of the gods he had built a huge ship ("Six decks I laid into her, did thus sevenfold divide her" — (XL:60) and loaded it "with the seed of all creatures" (XI :25); how the flood broke ("for six days and [seven] nights the wind blew . . . but the seventh day arriving did the rain storm subside" — (XI:l15); how, after the ship had grounded on Mount Nisir, "on the seventh day’s arriving, I freed a dove . . . there was not yet a resting place then I set free a swallow" (XI:145); how he "poured a libation and scattered a food-offering on the height of the mountain. Seven and seven did I lay the vessels, and the gods smelled the sweet savour" (XI:155), as a result of which Utnapashti was granted everlasting life (XI:190)97.

Of even more significance, however, was the discovery of a Mesopotamian calendar tablet98 proving the sacredness of the seventh, fourteenth, nineteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth days of the month99, showing that the weekly sabbath was there held in esteem. The sanctification of the nineteenth day seems to destroy the harmony of the series at first glance, but it has been pointed out100 that this nineteenth day is in fact the forty-ninth (or seven times seventh day) from the first day of the preceding month.

The tablet’s description of the seventh day [a similar formula of practically identical wording being used in respect of the subsequent seventh days (the fourteenth, twenty-first and twenty-eighth days), as well as in respect of the nineteenth day] runs as follows:— "The seventh day is a fast-day, (dedicated) to Merodach and Zarpanit. A lucky day [= a wicked day? — thus Aalders]. A day of rest (Sabbath). The shepherd of mighty nations [= the officiating priest — N.L.] must not eat flesh cooked at the fire (or) in the smoke [cf. Ex. 16:23 and 35:3 — N.L.]. His clothes he must not change. White garments he must not put on. He must not offer sacrifice. The king must not drive a chariot. He must not issue royal decrees. In a secret place the augur [= diviner, soothsayer — N.L.] must not mutter. Medicine for the sickness of his body he must not apply. For making a curse it is not fit. During the night the king makes his free-will offering before Merodach and Istar. He offers sacrifice. The lifting up of his hands finds favour with the god101".

In spite of all the differences102 between this profane Babylonian rest day and the Biblical sabbath, the points of resemblance all plead for a common ancestor of both103.

There are also old Assyrian texts from Cappadocia mentioning the institution of a fixed period of days known as "hamuštum"104, while according to Porphyry: "The Phoenicians consecrated one day in seven as holy"105. Then again, the Arabs also knew the week106 [but some think only after contact with the Jews107].

Coming to the Biblical evidence of the knowledge of the sabbath amongst non-Abrahamic post-dispersional Semites, one instantly thinks of Melchizedec, Jethro, Balaam and Job. Vincent on the Westminster Assemblies' Shorter Catechism teaches concerning the sabbath that "Shem, who lived to Abraham’s time, and is supposed to be Melchizedec, in all probability did deliver this Precept successively unto him in the new World"108. Jethro may also have known the sabbath, for he was a "priest of Midian" and offered [on the sabbath? !109] "a burnt offering and sacrifices for God" (Ex. 18:1, 12). Balaam, who lived in Petor in the eastern mountains of Aram in Mesopotamia, commanded that seven oxen and seven rams be prepared for seven altars to be built on top of Mt. Pisgah110, which doubtless indicates some mystical reverence for the sabbath number seven111; but the case of Job merits special consideration, to which case attention will now be given.

(d) The sabbath in the life of Job
Surprisingly little is known of Job’s background. Regarding the time at which he lived, although unknown112, many conservative scholars designate him as a contemporary of the patriarchs [on account of his great age and the general content of the book bearing his name113]. The land of Job’s residence, Uz114, appears to have been near (cf. Job 1:15, 17) to the land of Babylon, the cradle of the nations at the time of the dispersion, which circumstance would also help to explain the purity of Job’s religion. An early date is also to be claimed on the ground of the primitive pastoral and religious background of the book Job, and its total silence of God’s covenant people’s sojourn in Egypt, and even of their existence. Job’s doctrine of God seems to derive almost entirely from the paradise tradition and the doctrines of divine Providence and Creation115. And even if Job cannot be included inside the Abrahamic covenant116, he can hardly be totally excluded therefrom, either117.

Job was a religious man, and, together with Noah and Daniel, was regarded as exemplary in this respect by Ezekiel (c. 14:14, 20), who wrote of him many centuries later. Writing later still, in the Christian era, the Apostle James regarded him as a prophet and monument of patience (c. 5:10-11). Indeed, the book of Job itself, written by an unknown author, regards Job as a man "perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil"(c. 1:1). This being the case, in view of his nearness to the erstwhile great city of Babylon and its tower in respect both of time and of locality, the overwhelming presumption is that he kept the true sabbath, even as the profane Babylonians kept at least a perverted form thereof. Moreover, when his seven sons feasted and wined on certain set days (or sabbaths?!), the fact that Job sent to sanctify the seven, and continually (or: "all the days" — Job 1:5 marg.) rose early in the morning to offer burnt offerings for them in the event of their having sinned against God [by feasting and wining and desecrating the sabbath?!] (Job 1:4-6, 13; cf. n. 118), probably indicates sabbath offerings or sacrifices too118.

"Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord" [which "day" Jamieson120 and Thompson121 consider to be the sabbath], "and Satan came also among them"119, and persuaded the Lord to allow him to test Job’s faith. So, to vindicate Job’s righteousness against the unfounded allegations of the devil, the Lord permitted Satan to destroy all Job’s children and all his possessions, and later still [after another such day similar to the first119] to afflict Job himself "with sore boils from the sole of his foot unto his crown". But when Job’s three friends heard of all this evil that had come upon Job, they "made an appointment together to come to mourn with him and to comfort him. And . . . they lifted up their voice, and wept; and . . . sprinkled dust upon their heads towards heaven. So they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights . . ." (c. 2:11-13).

Firstly, it is stated here that the three friends "made an appointment" to come and mourn with and comfort Job, the nature of which appointment patently involved their sitting with him on the ground "seven days and seven nights". This clearly implies their recognition of an appointed period of seven days and seven nights in duration, i.e. of the week (and hence of the weekly sabbath as its demarcator!). Hence it seems clear that the observation of the sabbath, after the destruction of the city and tower of Babel and the dispersion of the nations, had been carried into the territories of the Temanites, Shuhites and the Naamathites, at least in respect of the ancestors and descendants of Job’s three friends Eliphar and Bildad and Zophar respectively.

Secondly, it is written that "they lifted up their voice, and wept; and . . . sprinkled dust upon their heads toward heaven". Here it is as though the three friends are silently entreating the Lord of the Sabbath to restore Job’s health and restful peace, or otherwise to put him out of his weary misery and take him unto his eternal sabbath rest.

And thirdly, it is stated that: "they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights". This certainly suggests the bond of fellowship of the believers, the communion of the saints, albeit in silence. It is possible that this phrase points back to the ancient communal observance of the sabbath, such as was seen when Noah and all his family (as then the total church militant in all the world) congregated together to bring an offering unto the Lord on the sabbath day. Perhaps the four friends sat from one sabbath to the next, or perhaps they waited for the hebdomadal crisis in Job’s illness, but however that may be, the phrase probably has some sabbatical connotation122.

But Job’s suffering became unbearable. "Why died I not at the womb?", he complained, "for now should I have lain still and been quiet . . . then had I been at rest.., there the weary be at rest. There the prisoners rest togther . . . And where is now my hope? . . . our rest together is in the dust"123.

Yet in the very midnight of his suffering and restlessness, his faith in the Lord of the Sabbath rest breaks through! "I know that my Redeemer liveth", He exults in triumph, "and that He shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God" (c. 19:25-26).

Ultimately, in spite of allegations by Job’s three friends that he must have sinned against God to have merited all his suffering, God vindicated his servant and restored him to health. Whereupon "the Lord said to Eliphaz the Temanite: ‘My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends; for ye have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job hath. Therefore, take unto you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering" (Job. 42:7-8).

It will be remembered that the offerings of Adam, Abel and of Noah were probably all brought on the seventh-day sabbath. In this offering of Job’s three friends, the concept of seven is very striking in the objects which the Lord expressly stipulated were to be burned, namely seven bulls and seven rams and it is very possible that this too was a sabbath offering124.

The relationship of these various post-dispersional sabbath traditions to one another may perhaps be represented as in the following diagram:


From the above diagram, the close relationship between the profane Babylonian sabbath tradition and the true Babylonian sabbath tradition can clearly be seen. For both had their origin in the Paradise tradition125. Precisely from the existence of the Babylonian sabbath may it be deduced"126 that the Hebrews Terah and Nahor and Lot and Abraham and Sarah, who went forth from the Babylonian region called Ur of the Chaldees, were thoroughly acquainted with the week and with its sabbath.



  1. Thus Grim (article in "Heart", Môrester Drukkery, Potgietersrus, SOUTH AFRICA, Jan-Feb., 1963).
  2. Cf. Gen. 8:6-12.
  3. Jordan: op. cit., pp. 3 9-43.
  4. Thus Gray: op. cit., pp. 95-7, cf. pp. 97-101. Gray has pointed out in respect of the 150 days that: "(1) . . . there could be no precise statement of the time during which the waters prevailed. Who could fix the height which was to be taken as the level of their prevalence? . . . They sent out the birds to gather information of that . . . (2) Moreover, the identification of these 150 days with the 5 months involves the absurdity of supposing that the flood rose to a vast height over the whole region on the very day when it began to rain [— for the water prevailed 150 days — N.L.] . . . (3) According to the Hebrew idiom, . . . if these 150 days are to be taken precisely, then we must count the starting point (Gen. 7:10 has "after seven days", of which seven the 10th day of the 2nd month was the first), the 17th day of the 2nd month, as the first of them, leaving only 149 days to the 5 months." Furthermore (4), it was only on the 25th of the 11th month, more than four months later, that "Noah knew that the waters had subsided from the earth", Gen. 8:11b.
  5. Higher critics may use such perfect chronological symmetry to suggest human fabrication of the flood account, but the same applies to Gen. 5:23’s statement that Enoch lived on earth for three hundred and sixty-five years, "one year for every day of our year" (thus Kuyper: "Enoch" [in "Patriarchen" etc., p. 32]. But the faithful Kuyper rather regards "this time determination" as an example of "the completeness which characterizes all God’s acts" — as it indeed is.

    The question still remains, though, as to why the flood which lasted precisely one solar year, is measured in lunar months. Was this eleven day discrepancy between the solar year and the lunar year unknown before the flood, and a consequence of the flood? Did the solar year and the lunar year coincide before the fall, or before its consequence, the flood? Was the tidal wave (which reached its peak about one hundred and fifty days after the flood commenced) and the earth’s tilted axis the result of some extraordinary extra-terrestrial solar or lunar astronomical event? If so, this may explain a possible etymological connection between the seven-daily Hebrew "shabbăth" and the half-monthly Assyrian "shabattu" and the earlier half-monthly Sumerian "sa-bat". Cf. supra, Chapter II, notes (58) and (123), and Prof. McCready Price’s "The New Geology", Pacific Press Pub. Assoc., Mountain View, CALIF., 1923, pp. 682-6.
  6. Cf. supra. p. 59f.
  7. Gray: op. cit., pp. 102-3.
  8. Ibid. The Noachic sabbath is taught, amongst others, by Hodge, Gray, Strong, Cilliers, Jordan, Wilson, W. Thompson, Emmerson, Andrews and Conradi. Yost and Jamieson (all: opera citata, in locis).
  9. Gen. 4:3 marg.; cf. Gen. 5:22 with 6:9.
  10. Cf. Rordorf: op. cit., p. 275.
  11. Gen. 7:1-4. From the description of the above commands given on that sabbath day, the following points may also be noted: Firstly, Noah was commanded to enter into the ark on the sabbath day, cf. Heb. 4:9-11: "There remaineth therefore a keeping of a sabbath to the people of God; for he that is entered into His rest, he also ceased from his own works, as God did from His. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest." Secondly, Noah was commanded to take seven pairs of all clean animals and seven pairs of the birds of the air into the ark with him on that seventh day sabbath. Thirdly, God gave the prophecy that He would send the rain of judgement seven days later. Finally, after the next six days of preparation for the flood, God would end "every living substance that I have made" on the seventh day (Gen. 7 :4), — ostensibly on the next sabbath — just as in creation, after six days of preparation, God ended His work and rested "from all His work which He had made" (Gen. 2:1-31).
  12. Gen. 7:10-6, in connection with which the following may also be noted: Firstly, God executed His judgement on the sabbath day, just as He executed His judgement on sin in the death and burial of His Son as "the sabbath drew on" (Luke 23:54; John 19:30-1); and just as He may execute judgement at the time of His second coming, possibly also on a sabbath day, for one reads in Christ’s sermon on the signs of the times, "But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter neither on the sabbath day . . . as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be." (Matt. 24:20, 37). Secondly, Noah and all with him entered the ark for the last time on that sabbath day. It is true that he was told on the previous sabbath to enter the ark, but he was not told to enter the ark on that previous sabbath, but merely told that the flood would commence the next sabbath, seven days later, at which time he must enter the ark. So too does the believer enter God’s sabbath rest at his conversion, and thereafter make preparation in his sanctification for his ultimate entry at death (cf. the death of all flesh in Noah’s time) into the full realization of the eternal sabbath rest of God. Just as present day believers enter a church on the sabbath day, so too did the believer Noah enter the ark on that day. Thirdly, one reads, "the Lord shut him in" (Gen. 7:16b). So too, as the believer obeys God and keeps His day holy, does He shut him in His safe keeping. This the believer cannot do himself; he must rest in the finished work of the Lord of the Sabbath. Man can neither open the door nor shut it. The Lord of the Sabbath does. "The Lord shut him in". Finally, this shutting in on the sabbath day separated Noah and his family from that sabbath-breaking generation, just as sabbath-keeping today still separates the children of God from the children of the devil. Commencing that sabbath day, the flood waters of judgement rained steadily for forty days and forty nights, "and every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground" (Gen. 7 :23). How vivid this sabbath day would remain in the memory of Noah and the seven with him, as a permanent memorial to the inflexible justice and mercy of the Lord of the Sabbath!
  13. Gen. 6:18. Cf. 7:4, 10; 8:6-12; Ex. 31:13, 16-7; Ezek. 20:12, 20; Hos. 6:7; Gen. 2:1-3; 4:3 marg.
  14. Gen. 8:4, cf. Gray: op. cit., p. 105.
  15. "The ark rested" "waththănach", from the same verb ("nooch") as used for "God rested" ("wayyănach") in the Exodus Decalogue (Ex. 20:11). Cf. too the noun "Noah" ("nôach") and the verb "comfort" ("yenachc~m~noo") in Gen. 5:29.
  16. It is also stated (Gen. 8 :6) that Noah opened the window on this sabbath (cf. God’s opening the windows of heaven on the sabbath day, Gen. 7:11). This opening of the window was suggestive of Noah’s longing for freedom. For the last four months prior to that seventh day sabbath, Noah and the seven people with him and all the sevens of the animals and all the sevens of the birds had been safe in their ark grounded on Mount Ararat, on solid rock, but nevertheless still in prison as it were. "How intense was their craving for some intelligence of the lost world, for some news of the shore invisible to them," writes Gray op. cit., pp. 106-7: ‘At last an experiment was made. A raven was allowed to fly away, ... The day chosen for this act was the same day of the week whose association with divine revelation and interposition has been already noted." Henceforth the raven, despatched on the sabbath day, was to fly to and fro in freedom until the waters were dried up from the earth, and Noah and the rest of the living creatures in the ark were free too.
  17. Gen. 8:10 — "wayyăchel 'ôd shive'ath yămim’’.
  18. The text (Gen. 8:9) also states that "the dove found no rest ("mănôach" for the sole of her foot. This word "mănôach" is subsequently often used in respect of the sabbath idea (cf. Deut. 28:85: Ruth 3:1; I Chr. 6:31; Ps. 116:7; Lam. 1: 3), and the related "menoochăh" is even more frequently employed in this respect (cf. Gen. 49:15; Deut. 12:9; Ruth 1:9; I Kgs. 8:56 and esp. Ps. 95:11 (cf. Heb. 4:1-11), etc. Both words are related to and derived from "nooch", so see too note 15 supra. The dove leaving the ark and finding no "rest" surely speaks symbolically of the Lord of the Sabbath, Jesus Christ, Who left His heavenly rest to come and toil in our stead on this restless earth, where "the Son of Man had nowhere to lay His head" (Matt. 8:20). The text is very suggestive of the substitutionary Christ, for while Noah rested in the providence of God on the sabbath day, the day of rest, "the dove found no rest for the sole of her foot." Then again, it is also stated that the restless dove returned to the ark, to the place of rest, which surely foreshadows Christ’s return to His eternal sabbath rest on the first day of the New Testament week after His earthly life’s work was done.
  19. Thus Gray: op. cit., p. 107. It is also stated that "the dove came back to him in the evening" (Gen. 8:11), perhaps foreshadowing the risen Lord of the Sabbath, Who came back to His disciples "the same day at the evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled" (John 20:19). Again, the returning dove brought "in her mouth an olive leaf pluckt off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth" (Gen. 8:11). From this it was clear to Noah that the dove had now finally found a resting-place, even as Christ finally entered into His rest again on the first day of the New Testament week centuries later. Hence, the dove and the olive leaf also spoke to Noah of the reassurance and the hope that he too would find food and a resting-place. It also speaks to Christians today of the Holy Spirit, Who at the time of Christ’s baptism (which corresponds to the saving ark amid the flood waters: thus Kuyper: "Noach" (in "Patriarchen", pp. 34f)] descended like a dove, and alighted on Him, and Who was later breathed out on the disciples by the risen Lord of the Sabbath on the evening of His Resurrection Day, the first day of the new week, and still later poured out from on high on the day of Pentecost (also the first day of the weekly cycle), to bring new assurance and hope to the believers as their Comforter (cf. Noah = "rest", "comfort", Gen. 5:28, 29. Cf. Luke 3:21-2; John 20:19-22; 15:26; Acts 2:1-4; 33 cf. Lev. 23:15-6; 1 Pet. 3:18-21! [q.v.]).
  20. Gray: op. cit., pp. 106-7. It is also recorded (Gen. 8:12) that on that seventh day Noah "sent forth the dove; which returned not again unto him any more". Hereby Noah had reason to believe that the dove had found its customary home and rest again. This probably speaks too (symbolically) of the risen Lord of the Sabbath, Who rose on that first day of the New Testament week, presently ascended into heaven, and did not return to earth any more, having entered anew into His glory, entered into His divine rest anew.
  21. Cf. Gray: op. cit., p. 107. One should note the new creation which Noah surveyed on this day. It has been noted earlier (p. 90 that "one" is the figure symbolizing newness. How significant it is then, that Noah removed the covering of the ark on the first day of the first month of his six hundred and first year! "This is the picture of a new beginning", comments Atkinson (op. cit., p. 86). It should also be observed that only "the face of the ground was dry" as then. This text is brought into connection with the period elapsing between the resurrection of Christ and the final resurrection of the believers by Atkinson (op. cit., in loco). Cf. too Gray: op. cit., in loco.
  22. One also reads in Gen. 8:14-22 that the earth was dry, i.e., completely dry. in contradistinction to the (sur)face of the ground which alone had been dry eight weeks previously. And now, eight weeks later, the earth was completely dry, just as on the eighth day of the week, the day of Christ’s resurrection, the earth had been completely redeemed. Further, one should also note the command to go forth and multiply upon the earth in respect of the whole creation, and note its connection with the words of that Second Noah the risen Saviour on Resurrection Sunday: "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature (Mark 16:15).
  23. "A sweet savour’’ ‘‘reach hannichôach" where "nicchôach" is probably a word-play on the dominant "nooach" or rest-idea throughout the flood story. Cf. supra, notes 15 and 18). Thanks to common grace, a remarkably accurate record (relatively speaking) of Noah’s sacrifice is preserved in heathen Babylonian sources, in which the "sabbath-figure" seven prominently features in his offerings [Cf. De Vaux: "Studies in Old Testament Sacrifice", University of Wales Press, Cardiff, WALES, 1964, p. 40: "The Babylonian Noah says: "I offered sacrifice, I poured out a libation on the top of the mountain. Seven and seven cult-vessels I set up. Upon their plate-stands I heaped cane, cedarwood and myrtle. The gods smelled the savour . . ."."]. [See further especially supra, p. 116. and n. 94-102, infra].
  24. Cf. Gen. 8 :22: ". . .day and night shall not cease" "' yishbôthoo", from "shăbath"!
  25. Even Aalders ("Het Verbond Gods’, pp. 48-51), who denies this, admits that most theologians teach the identity of the two covenants. But Murray ("The Covenant of Grace", The Tyndale Press, LONDON, 1956, pp. 12-16) apparently agrees with Aalders. See also, Ridderbos, "Het Verbond der Genade" (in "Het Dogma der Kerk", pp. 293-4).
  26. Apparently too with Bavinek: "Geref. Dogm.", III, p. 198.
  27. Cf. W. Thompson: op. cit., p. 25. This further development of the sabbath idea and the covenant idea takes us yet another step nearer to their eschatological fulfilment and fullest realization [as the cosmic sabbath (cf. Ex. 20:l0b) and the cosmic covenant] in the Lord God Almighty seated on His throne surrounded by a rainbow (cf. Isa. 54:9-12) and by the four beasts who "rest not day and night" praising God; and the Lamb of God standing as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth. (Rev. 4:3, 8; 5:6). Cf. Calvin: Inst. IV:XIV: 18.
  28. none
  29. See infra, p. 115f.
  30. Viz.: Gen. 7:4; 7:10; 8:10; 8:12; ("yet other) [= six days, if the raven was sent out one week before the dove]. (N.B.: These specific instances naturally exclude indirect instances, such as perhaps Gen. 29:27-9).
  31. Cf. Kuyper: "Tractaat" etc., pp. 29, 30, 19; cf. Gen. 4:3 marg.
  32. Viz.: Matt. 28:1, 6; Mark 16:2, 6; Luke 24:1, 7,46; John 20:1, 9; 20:19 [= six times, if the last verses of Mark (16:9, 14) are accepted as canonical].
  33. Thus Gray: op. cit., pp. 92-3.
  34. Pink: op. cit., in loco.
  35. Cf. I Pet. 3:18-22; Ps. 69.
  36. "Mia tőn sabbatőn" = "the first (day) of the week" or (semantically) "the first of the sabbaths". The Greek word "Sabbatőn" = genitive plural of "sabbaton" (nominative plural "sabbata"). Both the nominative or accusative neuter singular "sabbaton" and the nominative or accusative neuter plural. "sabbata" may be translated by "a week" (or "the week") singular]. Hence the word "sabbatőn" (gen. p1.) in the above expression, can (at least semantically) mean either: "of the week" or "of the sabbath(s)".
  37. Cf. perhaps I Pet. 3:18-22; II Pet. 2:1-5; 3:1-10.
  38. See too Kuyper: "Sem" and "Japhet" (in "Patriarchen").
  39. Massoretic text, 290 years; Samaritan Pentateuch, 940 years; Septuagint, 170 years.
  40. Lunar years. Cf. supra, p. 106f.
  41. Gen. 4:16-24; 6:1-5; cf. Gen. 9:25-7; 10:6; 8-12; 11:1-8.
  42. Jordan: op. cit., p. 55.
  43. Peleg. Gen. 10:25; 11:8, 9, 17. The verb "pălag" means: "divide".
  44. Gen. 10:25; cf. 11:7-9.
  45. Kuyper: "Tractaat" etc., p. 24.
  46. Cf. supra, p. 40.
  47. Detailed particulars of such "heathen sabbaths" are given in Grotius ("De Vent. Relig. Chr.", I, 16; Opera, III, p. 16); Winer ("Realwörterbuch", art. "Sabbath"); Selden ("Jus Nat. et Gent."); Spencer ("Legg. ritual."); Eichhorn ("Urgesch."); Hebenstreit ("De Sabb. ante legg. Mos. existente"); Michaelis ("Mos. Recht") [all referred to in Hodge ("Syst. Theol.", III, pp. 327-8]; as well as in Yost ("Doctrine" etc.) and (in Keil: op. cit., I, pp. 462-3), Ideler ("Handb. d. mathemat. u. techn. Chronologie") and Schrader ("Der babil. Urspr. d. siebentagige Woche". Cf. too Van der Leeuw and Bleeker: "De Godsdiensten der Wereld", Meulenhoff, AMSTERDAM, 1955 (list under "feest" in II, p. 525; and under "rust", II, p. 547).
  48. Thus Cilliers: op. cit., p. 166.
  49. Thus Cilliers: op. cit., p. 166; Wilson: op. cit., p. 18; Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; Home: "Introduction", Spottiswoode, LONDON, 1825, I, p. 163; Keil: op. cit., I, pp. 460, 3; Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2.
  50. Jordan: op. cit., pp. 57-8.
  51. Cf. Zockler: op. cit., pp. 2164-5.
  52. Cf. perhaps (with Ps. 105:23) Gen. 41:17,25-30, 34, 36, 38(!), 47-8, 53-4.
  53. Eloff: op. cit., p. 24; Meesters: op. cit., p. 203.
  54. Thompson: op. cit., p. 21.
  55. Jordan: op. cit., p. 58.
  56. Keil: op. cit., I, pp. 460, 3.
  57. Thompson: op. cit., p. 21.
  58. Hastings’ Bible Dictionary, IV, p. 319, art. "sabbath".
  59. Thus Home (op. cit., I, p. 163); Keil (op. cit., I, pp. 460, 3); Gray (op. cit., p. 79) and Laplace [quoted in Gilfillan: op. cit., pp. 364-5 (quoted in Branson: op. cit., pp. 92-5)].
  60. Jordan: op. cit., pp. 53-8.
  61. Thus De Vaux: "Hoe Oude Israel Leefde", II, p. 423.
  62. Thus Eerdmans (according to Meesters: op. cit., p. 203); cf. Koole: "De Tien Geboden", p. 74.
  63. Kenites. Cf. Gen. 15:18-21 (cf. 10:6, 15-20); Ex. 18?; Ex. 35:3?; Nu. 15:32?; Judg. 4:17,21.
  64. Thus Cilliers: op. cit., p. 166 (quoting from the Encyclopaedia Brittanica); and Branson: op. cit., pp. 92-5 (quoting from Gilfillan: op. cit., pp. 264-5).
  65. Thus Keil: op. cit., I, pp. 460. 3; Gray: op. cit., p. 79.
  66. Thus Hastings’ Bible Dictionary, IV, p. 319, art. "sabbath".
  67. Thus Wilson: op. cit., p. 18; Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; Home: op. cit., I, p. 163. Jordan: op. cit., pp. 53-8.
  68. Yost, op. cit., p. 34 (quoting from the Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, X, p. 885, art. "sabbath"): "In Buddhist lands, the Uposatha, which usually falls in the day of the full moon, and in the two days which are eighth from new and full moon, is marked by fasting and the cessation of secular activities", having "its origin amongst the Aryans of ancient India . . ."
  69. Thus Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2.
  70. Thus Gray: op. cit., p. 79.
  71. E.g., the seven-stringed world-lyre. See n. 51.
  72. E.g., the seven square enclosures of the pagoda of Seringham, and others, such as that at Mavalipuram (thus Jordan: op. cit., pp. 53-8).
  73. Thus Wilson: op. cit., p. 18. Herodotus (i. 98) also described Ecbatana as built by the Medes in seven circles with walls of seven different colours (thus Jordan: op. cit., p. 54).
  74. Thus Cilliers: op. cit., p. 166; Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; and Home: op. cit., I, p. 168. Geesink ("Ordinantiën" etc., III, p. 505), however, insists to the contrary, maintaining that the Greeks only knew a "ten day week". Perhaps this was a later perversion, cf. Egypt, n. (49) and (53) supra.
  75. Thus Thompson: op. cit., p. 20; cf. Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2; and Wilson: op. cit., p. 19.
  76. Thompson: op. cit., p. 20; cf. Hewitt: op. cit., p. 3; Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2; Wilson: op. cit., p. 19.
  77. Thus Clement of Alexandria: "Stromata", V, ch. 14, quoted in Yost: "Doctrine" etc., p. 122.
  78. Such as the seven reeds in the pipes of Pan, the seven strings in the Lyre of Helios, and the poets’ mention of the sevenfold warrior’s shield, sevenfold coils of the serpent, etc. Cf. n. 51, supra, and Jordan: op. cit., in Noël: op. cit., p. 52.
  79. Cf. Geesink in n. 74 supra; and Koole: "Liturgie" etc., pp. 16-7.
  80. Thus Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; Home: op. cit., I, p. 163. Cf. perhaps Callimachus (in Thompson, pp. 20-1, asserting that on the seventh day "all things were finished"; cf. Wilson: op. cit., p. 19). Lucian declares that "the seventh day is given to the schoolboys as a holiday" (thus Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2). Cf. the poets’ references to the seven hills of Rome, etc. [cf. n. 78, supra].
  81. Thus Gray: op. cit., pp. 38, 69, 79; Eloff: op. cit., p. 24; Meesters: op. cit., p. 203; Geesink: "Ordinantiën" etc., III. p. 505.
  82. Thus Koole: "Liturgie" etc., p. 17.
  83. Thus Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2; Thompson: op. cit., p. 20.
  84. Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; Gilfillan: op. cit., pp. 364-5 in Branson: op. cit., pp. 92-5.
  85. Gilfillan: op. cit., pp. 364-5 in Branson: op. cit., pp. 92-5.
  86. Ibid.; Thompson: op. cit., p. 19.
  87. See Schaff-Herzog: op. cit., IV, p. 2260; and Legerton: "Why Infidels Hate the Lords Day", p. 5.
  88. Cf. ch. II. n. 124. supra.
  89. Cf. Legerton: ibid., p. 6.
  90. Cf. Winton Thomas: "Documents from Old Testament Times", Thos. Nelson, EDINBURGH, 1958, pp. 14, 104.
  91. Thus Sayce: "Monuments" etc.. p. 74: cf. Hewitt: op. cit., p.3 ("yum nuk libbi"); and see supra, p. 2.
  92. Seventh-day Adventist Bible Dictionary, Review and Herald Pub. Assoc., Wash. D.C., 1960, VIII, p. 986. Cf. Sayce: "Monuments" etc., p. 75.
  93. Thus Hewitt: op. cit., p. 3.
  94. Thus Sayce: "Monuments" etc., p. 75: "In the exorcisms of the Accado-Sumerian population of primaeval Chaldaea, references to the number seven are frequent. There were seven evil spirits who had been born in the watery deep of chaos and who laid siege to the moon at the time of its eclipse, the dragon of darkness was endowed with seven heads, and the magical knots which should free the sick man from his pains were required to be twisted seven times seven." Cf. the remarks on the nexus between seven and physical well-being, supra p. 7.
  95. Thus Sayce ("Verdict of the Monuments"), quoted in Hewitt: op. cit., p. 3.
  96. Thus Kuyper: "Tractaat" etc., p. 18: "In nearly all nations certain traces are to be discovered of the celebration of a day more particularly dedicated to sacred things. It has appeared from the more recent Assyriological studies in particular, that, amongst those nations who inhabited the heart of Asia where the oldest traditions of humanity were kept the longest, the celebration of a sacred day, and particularly of one of the seven days, is as old as their recollections stretch back. The fact that amongst other nations this celebration of a sacred day appears less sharply defined and deviates from the cyclic seven, is adequately explained from the bastardization, which caused the sacred tradition to change increasingly in its nature, and which applies to every point of this tradition. Conversely rather, the fact that the celebration of such a day existed fairly universally, and that the nearer one approaches the heart of Asia, the more this day tends towards the seventh day, points to a common origin of this custom, which can only be explained by an original unity of usage amongst the first children of men."
  97. Text in Winton Thomas: op. cit., pp. 19-24. A perverted parallel to Gods monopleuristic (seven-coloured) "rainbow covenant" with Noah is also found in the Gilgamesh Epic. XI: 160-5: "Then, as soon as the Mother.goddess arrived, she lifted up the great Jewels . . .: "O ye gods here present, as I still do not forget these lapis stones of my neck, so shall I remember these days — shall not forever forget them!"
  98. See supra, p. 2.
  99. The tablet discovered only deals with the three-yearly inter-calary month "Elul II" (cf. the Hebrew "We-Adar"), but this neither proves nor disproves that a similar calendar applied in respect of the other months. See Sayce: "Monuments", pp. 74-5; "Lectures on the Origin and Growth of Religion as Illustrated by the Religion of the Ancient Babylonians", 1898, pp. 69-77 (quoted in Yost: "Doctrine" etc., pp. 34, 40); Strong: op. cit., p. 408; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, X, pp. 889-90, art. "sabbath"; Aalders "Genesis Een tot Drie" etc., pp. 132-4; Eloff: op. cit., p. 23; Smeenk: op. cit., I, p. 247; Gispen: "Exodus II" etc., p. 69; Noordtzij: "Ezechiël I" etc., pp. 220-1; cf. his "Gods Woord en der Eeuwen Getuigenis", in loco.
  100. Thus Prof. Jensen [in Sayce: "Monuments" etc., p. 76 footnote (who, however, considers this explanation "doubtful")].
  101. Text in Yost "Doctrine" etc., p. 37. Sayce (‘Lectures" etc., pp. 69-77 — quoted in Yost, p. 34) has shown "every day is dedicated to one or other of the gods". But all these days can be reduced to four basic types:—
    1. The initial day: "The month of the second Elul. The first day (is dedicated) to Anu and Bel. A day of good luck! When during the month the moon is seen, the shepherd of mighty nations (shall offer) to the moon as a free-will offering a gazelle without blemish . . . he shall make his free-will offering to the Sun the mistress of the world, and to the Moon the supreme god. He offers sacrifices. The lifting up of his hand finds favour (magir) with the god."
    2. Other "lucky days" (the vast majority): "The second day (is dedicated) to the goddesses [the two Istars]. A lucky day. The king makes his free-will offering to the Sun the mistress of the world, and the Moon the supreme god. Sacrifices he offers. The lifting up of his hand he presents to the god".

    (A similar formula is used in respect of the 3rd-6th, 5th-l3th. l5th-l8th, 20th, 22nd-27th and 30th days of this inter-calary month, which days are dedicated to Merodach, Zarpanit, Nebo, the Lord of the lower firmament, Rimmon. Nin-lil, Adar, Gula, the Mistress of the lower firmament, the divine Judge, Tasmit, Bel, Beltis, the Moon the supreme god, the (Sun the) Lady of the House of Heaven, Sin, Samas, the (Sun the) mistress of the Palace, the Lord of the Palace, Ea the supreme god, Nergal, Zikum and Anu, respectively.)
    3. A "day of resting": "The 29th day (is) the day of the resting of the Moon-god. The day when the spirits of heaven and earth are adored. A lucky day. The king presents his free-will offering to Sin the supreme god. He offers sacrifice. The lifting up of his hand finds favour with the god."
    4. The so-called "sabbath days" (as in this work on p. 116f).
  102. Among the other points of difference, are: —
    1. The name. The Biblical rest day is called "shabbăth", whereas the Mesopotamian rest day is called "u-hal-gala" (Sumerian); "udu-khylgal" (Accadian); "u-h ul-zallum" (Babylonian) and "sulum" (Assyrian) [thus Sayce and Encyclopaedia of Ethics, quoted in Yost: "Doctrine", pp. 34, 40].
    2. The variability. The Biblical rest day never varied, but the Mesopotamian was adjusted to fall on the first day of the lunar month (Sayce: "Monuments" etc., p. 76).
    3. The deity. The Biblical rest day is in honour of "Yăhwęh", the Babylonian is dedicated to various astrological idols (Yost: "Doctrine", pp. 37-9).
    4.The character. The Biblical rest day is a positive "delight" (Isa. 58:13) for all the people; the Babylonian is a negative "evil day" for the king, physician and soothsayer (Meesters: op. cit., p. 202).
    [See further: Gispen: "Exodus II", p. 69; Noordtzij: "Exechiël I", p. 221; Encyclopaedia of Religion and Ethics, art. "Sabbath"; Eloff: op. cit., II, pp. 22-3; Koole: "De Tien Geboden", p. 74].
  103. Thus Wilson: op. cit., p. 18; Thompson: op. cit., p. 19; Jordan: op. cit., pp. 50-2; Hewitt: op. cit., p. 3.
  104. Koole "Geboden" etc., p. 74, describes this institution as a "five or six day week"; Lewy argues that the period includes a pentecontad; Tur Sinai regards the duration of the "hamuštum" as six days; Brinkman, ten days (all referred to in Meesters: op. cit., pp. 203-4, who regards it as "probably a period of five days").
  105. Thus Thompson: op. cit., p. 20. Cf. Cilliers: op. cit., p. 166.
  106. Thus Wilson: op. cit., p. 18; Thompson: op. cit., pp. 19, 21; Jordan: op.cit., pp. 50-2,
  107. Thus Keil: op. cit., I, pp. 460, 463.
  108. The Westminster Assemblies’ Shorter Catechism, Q. 59; as explained by Rev. Thomas Vincent in his Question 5 [Vincent: op. cit., in loco]. Whereas it is problematic whether Melchizedeck was the same person as Shem (for cf. Gen. 9:18 with Heb. 7:1-3), as the "King of Peace" (cf. "shălôm"; "nooach"), a type of Christ the Lord of the Sabbath, he probably did know about the sabbath (cf. Heb. 4:3-14 with 7:1-4).
  109. On the nexus between the sabbath and the offering, cf. Gen. 2:1-3; 4:3; 8 :21-2; Nu. 28:10, and see supra, pp. 78f, 80f, 83f, 84f, 110f.
  110. Nu. 22:5; 23:1,7, 14, 29; Deut. 23:4.
  111. Cf. Jordan: op. cit., p. 49.
  112. Kroeze: "Commentaar op het Oude Testament — Job", Kok, Kampen, NETHS., 1961, p. 16, describes Job as "practically supratemporal": Rabbi Eleazar believed Job lived in the age of the Judges; Rabbi Joshua ben Karka in the age of Ahasveros (sic!); Baba Bathra 1, V: "Moses wrote his book and part of Balaam and Job". Rabbi Levy ben Lachna: time of Moses, cf. Job 1:1 "'oots" with Nu. 13:20 "'ts"; Job 2:10; Gen. 34:7. Kroeze considers the matter a "non liquet" (p. 16).
  113. Thus A.B.V.A., II, p. 1012; Bakker: op. cit., p. 154; Sillevis Smitt: "Handboek voor de Heilige Gesehiedenis", Kok, Kampen, NETHS., I, p. 106; Ussher: Oxford Bible, marginal dates.
  114. Cf. Gen. 10:23 or perhaps 22:21.
  115. Cf. Job 10:8-9; 14:1-4; 15:14f; 25:4; 31:33-4; 33:4b, 14-7; 37-41, etc. Cf. Kroeze: op. cit., p. 352.
  116. Certainly Job was inside the Adamic and Noachic covenants — as are all men, but he was no more inside the visible Abrahamic particular covenant of grace (Gen. 17; Gal. 3:27-9) than was Ruth (initially) or Naaman — which is not, of course, tantamount to denying his eternal election or even his convertedness at the time of his life that he is first described in the Scriptures — rather is the contrary true, Job 1:1; 19:25f; Jas. 5:11.
  117. Apart from the fact that the covenant idea is known to Job (cf. Job 31:1; 41:4; 5:23), and possibly the Adamic covenant too (cf. Job 31:1, 32 with Hos. 6:7 marg.), he is also cited by inspired covenantal writers as an example of godliness to the covenantal people (Ezek. 14:14, 20; Jas. 5:11), and the book bearing his name and describing his life is undisputed in the canon of the covenantal people.
  118. Cf. Wilson: op. cit., p. 20; and see n. 109 supra. Kroeze: op. cit., p. 49, refers here to Gen. 8:20, q.v. Job is also said to have offered according to the number of his seven sons (Job 1:2, 4-5), thus constituting seven offerings on their behalf: either all the offerings being simultaneous (cf. Job 42:8; Nu. 23:1, 14, 29), or otherwise the offerings being according to a predetermined cycle, such as one day for each son, making seven days, (cf. perhaps Nu. 7 and 29). Some consider these seven days to have been the birthday anniversaries of the seven sons concerned, others consider them to have been successive weekdays (thus all together constituting a seven-day week — one day for each son), and yet others consider them to have been sabbaths (whether successive or not). In any of these cases, it is indeed remarkable that we here have seven days for the seven sons of Job. However, that the days were sabbaths appears likely from comparing Job. 1:2,4-6,13 and 2:1, 13; 3:1.
  119. Job 1:6; cf. 2:1.
  120. Jamieson: op. cit., in loco (in Eloff: op. cit., II, p. 2), at Gen. 4:3: —"The first recorded act of worship . . . is considered by many as done on some anniversary Sabbath (see on Ch. 4:3 — cf. the patriarchal book of Job 1:6; 2:1, where in both places the Hebrew text has the definite article, the day) . . .["hayyôm" — N.L.]." It is, indeed, perhaps significant that we are twice told (see n. 119) that "there was a day" (specifically?!) on which "the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord" — perhaps pointing to a regular (sabbath?!) day of worship of the sons of God (the "sons of God" probably meaning the angels, cf. Job 38:7). Again, in Job 1:6-7 (q.v.), the fallen angel Satan’s answer to God’s question is most instructive. God, perhaps filled with righteous indignation on account of Satan’s devilish intrusion into the angelic gathering on the "day" on which "the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord", demanded of the evil one: "Whence comest thou?" And Satan’s reply, namely: "From going to and fro in the earth, and walking up and down in it", was "characterized by the sob of a weird unrest" (thus Campbell Morgan: "The Analyzed Bible — Job", Revell, NEW YORK, p. 20). Clearly, Satan as a restless fallen angel (cf. Isa. 14:12f; 57:20-1; Ezek. 28:13f) was not welcome in God’s sight on that first-mentioned "day" (Job. 1:6), nor on that subsequent "day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord." (Job 2:1). This opens up interesting speculation as to whether Satan himself first fell into sin on the very first sabbath day, "when the sons of God came to present themselves before the Lord", "when the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy", when "the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them" when "on the seventh day God ended His work which He had made" (cf. Gen. 2:1-3; Job 38:7; 1:6; 2:1; Isa. 14:13; Ezek. 28:16), and as to whether Satan immediately thereafter caused Adam to fall, also on the sabbath (cf. p. 79-81, supra). If so, the parallel between Satan’s temptation of Adam and Satan’s temptation of Job is extremely striking (cf. Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6,13; 3:1; and n. 115 supra). But this cannot be gone into any further here. See too, however, n. 118. Per contra, see ch. II, n. 113, supra.
  121. W. Thompson: op. cit., pp. 25-6: "The allusions in the book of Job to "a day" [= "the day", N.L.!], as one fixed and known, and to "seven days and seven nights" (chapter i, ii) seem to be in corroboration of a weekly Sabbath."
  122. Thus Thompson [see supra, n. 121]; Wilson: op. cit., p. 20; cf. Andrews and Conradi: op. cit., p. 43.
  123. Job 3:11, 13, 17, 18; 17:16. Cf. too Job 7:21; 14:6; 30:27.
  124. Cf. Jordan: op. cit., p. 49.
  125. Cf. thus Geesink, "Ethiek", I, p. 350.
  126. Gen. 11:1-9; cf. 10:21, 25; 11:16-31, esp. vv. 28 and 31. Cf. Geesink: "Ordinantiën", III, p. 440; Smeenk: op. cit., I, p. 247; Kuyper: "Tractaat" etc., p. 24.


Return to the Main Highway

Chapter IV

Return to Calvinism and the Reformed Faith Index