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A Battle March on the Sabbath???

     Have you ever wondered how the children of Israel could have marched around Jericho without marching on the Sabbath? Maybe you have, maybe you have not. Maybe you have thought that it was simply allowed by Yahweh, and is a case of exemption in battle. What ever you have previously understood concerning this colossal event, here is something to consider.

     Let me point out that those who believe the Sabbath to be a reoccurring seven day count, have to admit that Israel marched around the city of Jericho on the weekly Sabbath day. This is seen in the book of Joshua 6:2-4.

     And Yahweh said unto Joshua, See, I have given into thine hand Jericho, and the king thereof, and the mighty men of valor. And ye shall compass the city, all ye men of war, and go round about the city once. Thus shalt thou do six days. And the seven priests shall bear before the ark seven trumpets or rams’ horns: and the seventh day ye shall compass the city seven times, and the priests shall blow with the trumpets.

     Seeing that the march was commanded by Yahweh to last for seven consecutive days, a weekly Sabbath would definitely fall within the period of the seven day march; at least for those who hold to a continuous seven day count, not anchored in any way by nature.

     Upon realizing this, we should notice what Yahweh has revealed to us, in His holy word, concerning travel on the weekly Sabbath day. Is travel allowed on the Sabbath? Or does Yahweh explicitly condemn travel on the Sabbath?

     In Exodus 16 we find the account of the giving of the manna by Yahweh to the children of Israel. He makes it known to them (in verses 4-5 of this account) that they will be receiving manna for six straight days, but one the seventh day they will find none. On the sixth day of this particular week Yahweh commands them to bake that which they will, and seethe that which they will (vs. 23). Food preparation is also found in verse 5 of the chapter. We do however find that immediately after Yahweh instructs Israel in that there would be no manna found on the Sabbath day, we find that they simply did not hearken.

     And it came to pass, that there went out some of the people on the seventh day for to gather, and they found none [manna]. Exodus 16:27

     Upon the children of Israel’s venture Yahweh was very displeased. We see this in His statements to Moses in Exodus 16:28-29.

     …Yahweh said unto Moses, How long refuse ye to keep my commandments and my laws? See, for that Yahweh hath given you the Sabbath, therefore he giveth you on the sixth day the bread of two days; abide ye every man in his place, let no man go out of his place on the seventh day. So the people rested on the seventh day.

     Yahweh here specifically condemns their traveling on the Sabbath. This was merely traveling a short space to gather manna, much less instigating an attack through a battle march. Obviously Yahweh does desire us to travel to our places of worship on Sabbath, but something unnecessary, such as gathering manna or traveling for our own personal edification is something altogether different.

     We also see that limited travel on the Sabbath was understood by the believers of the 1st century A.D. This can be seen in the book of Acts 1:12.

     Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey.

     Here we see that there was a specific distance that was considered to be a Sabbath day’s journey. The King James Study Scriptures states, “A Sabbath day’s journey was the distance a Jew was allowed to travel on the Sabbath (about 2/3 mile).” Smith’s Scriptures Dictionary has somewhat to add on the passage in Acts as well.

     …The Sabbath day’s journey of 2000 cubits, Acts 1:12, is peculiar to the New Testament, and arose from a rabbinical restriction. It was founded on a universal application of the prohibition given by Moses for a special occasion: ‘Let no man go out of his place on the seventh day.” Ex. 16:29. An exception was allowed for the purpose of worshipping at the tabernacle…[1]

     Although Mr. Smith’s opinion leans toward this being an application by man, I think we can see from the passage in Exodus 16:29 that no unnecessary travel was to be done on the Sabbath. Acts 1:12 simply shows us that this is what was understood by Israelites living in the 1st century A.D

     So, did Yahweh command a battle attack consisting of a march to take place on the Sabbath? Well, once again, for those insisting on a continual unbroken seven day count for the Sabbath, the answer would have to be yes. And I’m sure one could give a few answers to why Yahweh seemed to allow this to take place. However, is there any possibility that Yahweh did not command a march to take place on the Sabbath? Yes, there certainly is.

     According to the teaching which claims the Sabbath to be fixed in the heavens according to the moon and its phases, a Sabbath falls out to be on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th days of each and every lunation. Reason being is that the day of the New Moon is not counted as one of the six working days (Ezekiel 46:1-3) thus the Sabbath count stops once each month at the day of the New Moon. If the march of Jericho started on the day of the New Moon then it would have ended on the 7th day of that month! This would allow for Israel to not have traveled on the Sabbath! However, we do face a dilemma; the book of Joshua does not give us any conclusive evidence that the march began on the New Moon. This is why I would now like to direct your attention to what is known as the book of Jasher.

     The book of Jasher is mentioned twice in the holy scriptures, and was considered as an honorable source of information. This is seen by noticing the context in which it was mentioned.[2]

For more information you may call or write to:
Bro. Arnold Bowen
3466 Hightower Tr.
Conyers, Georgia 30012 USA
Or call (770) 483-8542
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