Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/354

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moon-substance, or moon-stone. Here, then, are cases of a moon sabbath recurring every seventh day, or four times in a lunar month. Similarly, the first day of the Ibo week of four days is a day of rest, on which no regular work may be done. The first day of the Yoruba five-day week is called Ako-ojo, "first day." It is considered unlucky, and no business of importance is ever undertaken on it. On Ako-ojo all the temples are swept out, and it is, properly speaking, a general day of abstention from work, while the other days of the week are only sabbaths for the followers of the gods to which they are dedicated.

When a sabbath recurs every fourth, fifth, or seventh day, the day on which it falls naturally comes in course of time to be called the fourth, fifth, or seventh day, though really properly the first day of the week. Thus Ako-ojo is always called the fifth day, though the words themselves mean "first day." The same change seems to have taken place among the Israelites. On the twenty-ninth day of the moon 'they began to watch for the new moon, and the day after its appearance was the first day of the new moon or month. Supposing them to have had a seven-day week and a moon sabbath on the day of the new moon, the sabbath would have fallen on the first day of the week, but as people would naturally count from one sabbath to the next, the day after the sabbath would be termed the first day the next, the second, and so on, so that the sabbath itself would come to be called the seventh day. This is, no doubt, the explanation of the sixth-seventh day being sacred to the new-moon festival, as stated in the hymn to Amen-Ra, for the day of the new moon must have been the first day of the lunar month, and also the first day of the week, or subdivision of the lunar month.

Though it is quite possible that the Israelites may have invented a seven-day week and a weekly sabbath spontaneously, like the Tshi and Gã tribes, yet the evidence of the books of the Old Testament goes to show that they borrowed both these institutions from the Babylonian Assyrians during the captivity, and that prior to that epoch they had, like the Mendis, Bechuanas, and Sofalese, only a monthly sabbath, which was the festival of the new moon. No mention of a weekly sabbath is to be found in Joshua, Judges, the books of Samuel, or the first book of Kings. After Deuteronomy, v, 15, no mention of a weekly sabbath is found till we reach II Kings, iv, 23,[1] and the word sabbath does

  1. In only two other places in the second book of Kings is it mentioned, viz., xi, 5, and xvi, 18; and, since the older books show that Saul, David, and Solomon knew nothing of a weekly sabbath, we must regard these as interpolations. In II Kings, iv, the Shunamite woman asks her husband to get ready one of the young men and one of the asses, so that she may go to ihe man of God; and her husband replies (v, 23): "Wherefore wilt thou go to him