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Start and end of a weekly Sabbath day

A Sabbath day is from dawn to sunset. 12-day Click

Have you never wondered why there are many examples of people celebrating Sabbath day, but a Sabbath night is never mentioned?

What exactly is a Sabbath?

For proper understanding of many things on this site and the Bible, it’s important to know how Father and Son defined day, night, etc

“Eve has come” = past sunset = night. Not evening as we know it.
For an detailed explanation click here.

"Day" (Hebrew, "yom"):  In the Bible, the season of light (Gen. 1:5), lasting "from dawn (lit. "the rising of the morning") to the coming forth of the stars"..."
The Jewish Encyclopedia, p. 475

Gen 1:5 And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.

The second part of the verse, about evening, is discussed here - click-.
Right now read the bold text again. It’s a very simple text. Not lengthy, and not difficult words. The hardest part is stop  reading what you are taught it says.
God says: Day = Light.
Because the night isn’t light it’s not part of God’s definition of day.

Sabbath does      mean: Rest, cease, desist, etc.
Sabbath does not mean: A 12 or 24 hour day.

Sabbath is not a duration.

Proof for that is that a duration isn’t part of it’s definition and when duration is of important it’s added by an extra word.
Sabbath day: A Sabbath with the duration of the daylight hours.
Sabbath year: A Sabbath with the duration of a year.

Lev 25:4 But in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest to the land, a Sabbath for the LORD: you shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard.

Gen 2:3 And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested (Hebrew: Sabbath) from all his work which God created and made.

The weekly Sabbath mentioned below obviously doesn’t last a whole year like the Sabbath mentioned above.

Exod 20:8 Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
Exod 20:9 Six days shall you labor, and do all your work:
Exod 20:10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:

So above we saw a Sabbath lasting 12 hour and a whole year. The next section starts with a Sabbath lasting 24 hours.


Example #1 - Atonement day

Lev 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
Lev 23:32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.

Please first read the Atonement day example. Click here.

As seen on the other page, the Atonement day Sabbath is different from all other Sabbaths because it falls on 2 calendar dates. It proves a regular 24-day is dawn-dawn. That also proves a dawn-dawn Sabbath day because  there is no way a sunset-sunset Sabbath day can fit within one dawn-dawn calendar day. Strictly speaking this gives not enough information to conclude when the real Sabbath day is. 12-day? Night? 24-day? But it must be noted this a annual Sabbath not a regular weekly Sabbath. It must also be noted it’s defined in great detail. But in greater detail than the weekly Sabbath? Not if we simply accept that day in ‘Sabbath day’ really means the daylight portion.
Lev 23:27-32 isn’t a definition of a day but of a Sabbath.
The Day of Atonement itself lasts 12 daylight hours.
Sunset-sunset annual, debunking a sunset-sunset weekly Sabbath day.

Example #2 - Leaving Egypt

Num 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.

Deut 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.

Exod 20:10 But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates:

Israel left Egypt during the night of the 15th. It can be argued they left Egypt just 5 minutes before dawn and that way they didn’t exceed their Sabbath walk distance. But it still means man or beast, likely both were carrying all sorts of things like food, water, clothing, cooking vessels, gold, silver, etc.
Sabbath ends at dusk.

Example #3 - Nehemiah’s gates

Neh 13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.

That verse seems to say Nehemiah ordered the gates to be closed because Sabbath began at darkness. When reading this verse in context it actually proves a dawn-dawn day.

Neh 13:6 But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I to the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king:
Neh 13:7 And I came to Jerusalem, and understood of the evil that Eliashib did for Tobiah, in preparing him a chamber in the courts of the house of God.
Neh 13:8 And it grieved me sore: therefore I cast forth all the household stuff to Tobiah out of the chamber.
Neh 13:9 Then I commanded, and they cleansed the chambers: and thither brought I again the vessels of the house of God, with the meat offering and the frankincense.
Neh 13:10 And I perceived that the portions of the Levites had not been given them: for the Levites and the singers, that did the work, were fled every one to his field.
Neh 13:11 Then contended I with the rulers, and said, Why is the house of God forsaken? And I gathered them together, and set them in their place.
Neh 13:12 Then brought all Judah the tithe of the corn and the new wine and the oil to the treasuries.
Neh 13:13 And I made treasurers over the treasuries, Shelemiah the priest, and Zadok the scribe, and of the Levites, Pedaiah: and next to them was Hanan the son of Zaccur, the son of Mattaniah: for they were counted faithful, and their office was to distribute to their brothers.
Neh 13:14 Remember me, O my God, concerning this, and wipe not out my good deeds that I have done for the house of my God, and for the offices thereof.
Neh 13:15 In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals.
Neh 13:16 There dwelled men of Tyre also therein, which brought fish, and all manner of ware, and sold on the sabbath to the children of Judah, and in Jerusalem.

In v6 Nehemiah explains he arrived much later in Jerusalem as the other Jews. When he arrived he was furious with the unlawful behavior he found in Jerusalem.
v7 Problem: Tobiah illegally was allowed to stay in God’s house.
v8-9 Solution: Throw Tobiah’s stuff out and start cleaning.
v10 Problem: The Levites had not received their legal portion due to corruption.
v11-14 Solution: Hold a meeting and appoint new uncorrupted people.
v15-16 Problem: People working in the field during Sabbath. Fish sold during Sabbath.
v19 Solution: Close the gates to keep people leaving the city to work in the fields and stop the salesmen from entering to sell fish on Sabbath.

Neh 13:19 And it came to pass, that when the gates of Jerusalem began to be dark before the sabbath, I commanded that the gates should be shut, and charged that they should not be opened till after the sabbath: and some of my servants set I at the gates, that there should no burden be brought in on the sabbath day.
Neh 13:20 So the merchants and sellers of all kind of ware lodged without Jerusalem once or twice.
Neh 13:21 Then I testified against them, and said to them, Why lodge you about the wall? if you do so again, I will lay hands on you. From that time forth came they no more on the sabbath.

The gates were closed shortly before dark before the Sabbath started.
That verse does not say Sabbath starts at dark. It just says the gates were closed at dark to keep the salesmen out. Sometime after that gate was closed the salesmen arrived and lodged near the wall. So the gates just as well could have been closed 12 hours before Sabbath to keep out those arriving at night.
The better safe than sorry principle.

It’s unlikely that the people working in the fields left the gates in the evening and then camped in the fields to start working at dawn. They would have slept in their own house, because until Nehemiah arrived they could go to the fields any time they liked. Regardless if the Sabbath started at sunset or dawn they wouldn’t have gone to the fields before (near) dawn.

Neh 13:22 And I commanded the Levites that they should cleanse themselves, and that they should come and keep the gates, to sanctify the sabbath day.  Remember me, O my God, concerning this also, and spare me according to the greatness of your mercy.

Cleanse themselves points to Sabbath. Of course it can be argued the Levites were on duty after dawn, but because no other group is mentioned it’s likely they did all the guarding. And that started at sunset. But that fact on itself doesn’t prove Sabbath started at that time because the traders very likely entered the city a while before dawn so they had time to unpack the stuff they wanted to sell.
The better safe than sorry principle.

Example #4 - Crucifixion day

Matt 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
Matt 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
Matt 27:59 And when Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth,
Matt 27:60 And laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn out in the rock: and he rolled a great stone to the door of the sepulcher, and departed.

Joseph Arimathea arrived after sunset, went to Pilate to request His body wrapped it in a cloth and put Him in the tomb. All those things were done after sunset.

Luke 23:53 And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulcher that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
Luke 23:54 And that day was the preparation, and the sabbath drew on.
Luke 23:55 And the women also, which came with him from Galilee, followed after, and beheld the sepulcher, and how his body was laid.
Luke 23:56 And they returned, and prepared spices and ointments; and rested the sabbath day according to the commandment.

It was already dark quite a while and it’s still called preparation day. The Sabbath still hasn't started because it “drew on” (=grow light). The woman even prepared spices before they kept their Sabbath rest. Sound like an all-nighter to me.
Sabbath starts at dawn.

Example #5 - Waiting until sunset

Luke 13:11 And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

Luke 13:12 And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said to her, Woman, you are loosed from your infirmity.

Luke 13:13 And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.

Luke 13:14 And the ruler of the synagogue answered with indignation, because that Jesus had healed on the sabbath day, and said to the people, There are six days in which men ought to work: in them therefore come and be healed, and not on the sabbath day.

→ Jesus healed during the Sabbath day, which did upset the leader of the synagogue.

→ A working day and the Sabbath day are linked. A working day was daytime. So, that at least hints toward, the healing taking place at daytime.

Luke 4:40 Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.

Again people waited until sunset.

Mark 1:21 And they went into Capernaum; and straightway on the sabbath day he entered into the synagogue, and taught.

Mark 1:32 And at even, when the sun did set, they brought to him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.
Mark 1:33 And all the city was gathered together at the door.

People saw (and heard about) Jesus preaching and healing in the synagogue of Capernaum during Sabbath. All were very impressed and clearly wanted to meet Him. But they waited bringing the sick until after sunset because they were wrongly taught (Mark 3:1-6) by the Pharisees that healing isn’t allowed on Sabbath day. They waited because Sabbath ends at sunset.

They  did not wait because the sunset-sunset Sabbath ended at that time; but nevertheless this verse is often wrongly used as proof for a sunset-sunset day.
Sabbath ends at sunset.

Example #6 - Troas

Acts 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.
Acts 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

The feast of Unleavened Bread is from the 15th until the 21st of the month. They left after midnight on the day after the feast which is the 22nd. Sailing is both traveling and work which are both illegal on Sabbath day.

Acts 20:5 These going before tarried for us at Troas.
Acts 20:6 And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came to them to Troas in five days; where we stayed seven days.
Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

This count only works with a 12-day Sabbath (and a new moon day).

Sabbath ends at sunset.

Example #7 - The voice of silence

Not a single verse states Sabbath was kept during the dark hours. Yes, it can be reasoned Sabbath was (also) kept at night but there is no verse directly stating so. But verses do for example state people were in a synagogue during the daylight hours of a Sabbath day.
Sabbath is only mentioned as being during daylight hours. Never during  dark hours.

Proof 8 - Havdalah

Havdalah, separation, is a Jewish religious ceremony that marks the symbolic end of Shabbat and Jewish holidays, and ushers in the new week… Shabbat ends on Saturday night after the appearance of three stars in the sky. Click
Sabbath ends at sunset.

Example #9 - Adding

"We should always increase what is holy by adding to it some of the non-holy."  But no illustration of the observance of the Sabbath after it has gone is given in the Mekilta.  Such an illustration, however, is furnished elsewhere in the statement that the Jewish women refrained from work on Saturday night even after the Sabbath had gone.
p. Pes. 4.1 (30c,dl).  

Deut. 4:2 "Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you."
Sabbath ends at sunset.

Example #10 - Oral law

"The Observance of the day before the not mentioned in the written law and shows the development of the oral law..."
The Interpreter's One - Volume Commentary on the Bible, p. 539

The present day Jews observe a sunset-sunset Sabbath. That’s it. No day before it. So that must mean the day before is referring to part of the sunset-sunset Sabbath day they keep. And that seems to be the case because they keep a Sabbath that spans 2 calendar dates. It starts Friday at sunset and ends Saturday at sunset. It looks exactly like Atonement day in Example #1
Sabbath ends at sunset.


The examples shown above show us 3 things:

  1. The proof is inconclusive/neutral. So it’s can’t be used to prove anything.
  2. Sabbath day starts at dawn.
  3. Sabbath weekly day ends at sunset.

From that it’s proven that the Sabbath rest is:


The lengthy quote below gives a fair overview how the Sabbath changed from God’s definition to man’s definition.

This, approximately, is the picture we have of the Sabbath in those very old days, when both kingdoms, Judah and Israel, still existed. It was a festival on which there was a cessation of daily work, and the people assembled in the sanctuary to celebrate the day. The strict rest of later days was not yet a part of the Sabbath.
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. p6
At any rate, beginning with the Babylonian exile, we find the Sabbath attaining a new significance, and a deeper spiritual the Babylonian exile.
The Sabbath attained a higher state of development among the exiled Jews in Babylonia, and it was these exiled Jews who enforced on Palestine their Sabbath, with its stricter observance and its universal rest.
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. p7
he Jews in Palestine, about a century after the Babylonian exile, did not as yet know the strict Sabbath of the Babylonian Jews.
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. p8
At The Beginning of The Common Era...In order to assure against profanation of the Sabbath the Jews added the late Friday afternoon hours to the Sabbath.
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. p13
The Sabbath in general, thus attained its peak in the first two centuries of the Common Era, the age of the Tannaim (70 AD-200AD), as the Jewish teachers and sages of that period were called. However, there were no Friday night services as yet. This most beautiful part of the Sabbath observance developed somewhat later in the age of the Amoraim (350 AD-500 AD), as the sages of the Talmud from the third century on were called, and it did not attain its highest peak until much later, at the very threshold of modern times. In the time of the Tannaim there was no Friday night service in the synagogue.
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. p14
it became customary to hold communal services in the Synagogue ON FRIDAY NIGHT..."
The Jewish Festivals: History & Observance. P15

"Moon-worship was dominant in the Mesopotamian world from which the patriarchs emerged, around 1800 B.C.E., with Abraham the key Bible figure. At that time and in succeeding centuries, moon-worship in Mesopotamia centered on a large pantheon of assorted gods whose images proliferated in the temples
Myths die hard, and the Bible is full of graphic detail showing how the ancient Hebrews slipped readily from time to time into celebrations that bore the mark of the original pagan practices
Many hitherto puzzling aspects of the Jewish tradition were illuminated in this process. a notable example is the way in which all festivals, including the Sabbath, start with moon-rise on the night before. The reason is an echo of the way the Babylonians and the Assyrians assigned the respective roles of the two great luminaries, the sun and the moon.
Festival Days: A History of Jewish Celebrations. P55-58

Strictly speaking, the Sabbath day was just that - the Sabbath day. It began at sunrise and ended at sunset. the idea that work was restricted for a 24 hour period may be a later assumption. for instance, it is stated by rabbi juda ben bathyra: "(from the wording of the commandment, 'observe) the (sabbath) day', it follows that it applies to the day only. whence therefore (do we include) the night? this is taught by (the additional phrase) 'to keep it holy.' why does it say the day?' because the day commands more respect than the night.
Mechilta of Rabbi Simeon ben Yohai, xx, 8, ed. Epstein, (Jerusalem, 1955)

'From dawn to dark'...was the ancient and ordinary meaning of a day among the Israelites; night, as being the time ' when no man can work ' John. 9:4
Encyclopedia Biblica, pp. 1035-1036