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Second-First Sabbath

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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Σάββατον δευτερόπρω τον ; Vulg. Sabbatum secundum primum; A. V. "second Sabbath after the first") is an expression occurring only in Luke 6:1, and apparently coined for the occasion, as the compound adj. δευτερὀ πρωτος is found nowhere else in all the range of Greek literature. The learned have therefore been greatly divided, or, rather, in doubt, as to its meaning, since it is in itself quite vague and ambiguous. The earliest opinion is that of Epiphanius (Haeres. i, 30, 51), followed by Isidore of Pelusium (iii, 110), Suidas (s.v. Σάββατον,) Theophylact (ad loc.), and cited among later writers by Petavius (i, 61) and Scal-iger (Emend. Temp. 6:551), viz. that the Sabbath thus indicated was that which immediately succeeded the Paschal festival; for (argue they) the "morrow after the Sabbath" [i.e. Passover] (מִמָּחַרַת חַשַׁבָּת, i.e. ἀπὸ δευτέρας τοῦ δράγματος ) is the point from which the law orders the seven weeks to be reckoned till Pentecost.

Hence all the weeks and Sabbaths of that interval are designated from this name (ספירת העומר, ἀριθμὸς τοῦ δράγματος numerus manipuli, i.e. the number of the omer, or first-fruits presented as a wave-offering). This is the view embraced by most moderns, quoted in detail by Wolf (Curae in N.T. i, 619 sq., where several arbitrary opinions by various authors are likewise enumerated); see also Kocher (Analect, ad lot.), Russ (Harmon. Evangel. p. 639 sq.), Marsh (Notes to Michaelis's Introd. ii, 61 ). The circumstances of Luke's narrative indicate that the day in question was not (as usually reckoned) the first Sabbath after the second day of unleavened bread, for that usually fell within the Passover week; whereas our Lord, on the occasion referred to, had evidently left Jerusalem at the close of the entire festival, and was on his way back to Galilee. Nor would this have been a natural and appropriate term for such a day, since that would rather have been a "first after the second" (πρωτο δεύτερος ), if, indeed, it could have been called second at all, seeing it either was simply, or else preceded, the first Sabbath Of the series of seven between Passover and Pentecost. It seems rather to have been the first of that series, but the second after the beginning of the Paschal week; which circumstance affords a simple and apposite explanation of the compound name. That the incident in our Lord's history occurred at that season is evident from the fact that the grain stood ripe, but unreaped, in the fields; and a comparison of the evangelical narratives makes it apparent likewise that the "feast" which John states (v, 1) that Jesus attended that year at Jerusalem was the Passover. If this collocation is correct, the Sabbath in question could not well have been the one occurring during the Paschal week, as that is preoccupied by John's account (in the same chapter) of the cure at the pool of Bethesda. The only mode of escaping this conclusion is by the unnatural supposition that the former "Sabbath" was merely the Passover-day itself, which, as some claim, is metaphorically thus named in a few cases (Leviticus 23:11; Leviticus 23:15; comp. Joshua 5:11). See Mayer, Commetar, ad loc., Hase, Leben Jesu, p. 142; Methodist Quarterly Review, 1850, p. 492; also the monographs De Sabbato Deuteroproto, by Muller (Rust. 1665), Goloner (Viteb. s. a.), Van Til (L. B. 1708). (See PASSOVER); (See PENTECOST); (See SABBATH).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Second-First Sabbath'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​s/second-first-sabbath.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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