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So without seeking to derive the Jewish sabbath from any Babylonian institution, for which there is certainly no warrant, we may note that the new moon and the 7th, 15th, and 22nd seem to have been regarded among the Babylonians as times for propitiating the gods and unlucky; the result being that on these days no new work was begun and affairs of importance were suspended.In the Christian system the day of rest has been transferred from the Sabbath to the Sunday.What more nearly concerns us here is the Jewish calendar, outlined in Leviticus 23.The computation of time among the Jews was based primarily upon the lunar month.The Day of Atonement fell on 10 Tishri and the Feast of Tabernacles extended from the 14th to the 21st, with a sort of octave day on the 22nd, but these had no direct bearing on the calendar of the Christian Church.The same may be said of the minor Jewish festivals, e.g. John, which were, for the most part, of later institution.Beginning on the first day with the planets in order, the first hour would be Saturn's, the second Jupiter's, the seventh the Moon's, the eighth Saturn's again, and so on. the first hour of the second day, and consequently the second day itself, would belong to the Sun; and the forty-ninth hour, and consequently the third day, to the Moon.Following always the same plan the seventy-third hour and the fourth day would fall to Mars, the fifth day to Mercury, the sixth to Jupiter, the seventh to Venus, and the eighth again to Saturn.
"The Greeks and barbarians", says Strabo (X, 39), "have this in common that they accompany their sacred rites by a festal remission of labour".This made it necessary to delay the Pasch (14 Nisan) until the corn was in ear and the lambs were ready, and the rule was accordingly established that 14 Nisan must fall when the sun had passed the equinox and was in the constellation of Aries (--Josephus, Ant., I, i, 3).Down to the time of the destruction of Jerusalem in A. 70, it would seem that in the insertion of this intercalary month the Jews followed no fixed rule based on astronomical principles, but that the Sanhedrin decided each time whether the year should be embolismic or not, being influenced in their decision not by astronomical considerations alone, but also, in some measure, by the forwardness or backwardness of the season.The arrangement seems to have been astrological in origin and to have come to Rome from Egypt.The seven planets, as then conceived of--Saturn, Jupiter, Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, and the Moon, thus arranged in the order of their periodic times (Saturn taking the longest and the Moon the shortest time to complete the round of the heavens by their proper motion)--were supposed to preside over each hour successively, and the day was designated by that planet which presided over its first hour.