Is the word "Shabbat" in Scripture, or anywhere really, ever translated as anything but "Sabbath" by Jews? IF so, what?

Based on the Tanakh, that says to "Remember the Sabbath day and keep it holy," would Jews translate something holy like "Shabbat" as merely "seven" or "week," something common?

  • Related: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/q/4182/208 – Monica Cellio Feb 18 '13 at 1:23
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    The words have two distinct roots. The root for Sabbath (שבת) means "rest". It is not directly etymologically related to the root for seven (שבע) in either language. However, the notion of some distant etymological relationship has occurred to me; see for example the entry for "seven" in this Akkadian dictionary. (I don't know much about Akkadian, so it could be that the "t" or "s" in some variants of the word are not derived from the root). – Fred Feb 18 '13 at 1:36
  • Because most of the comments here pertained only to an older version of the question, I've deleted them to reduce clutter. – msh210 Feb 18 '13 at 5:04
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    Sarah, I'm not sure exactly what you're getting at. Are you objecting to something you've seen? Are you asking for what the correct translation of "Shabbat" is, and suggesting a reason why it oughtn't be these two candidates? Please consider fleshing out your question with more detail about what you want to know and why you want to know it, to make it easier for others to give a useful answer. – Isaac Moses Feb 18 '13 at 6:11
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    @Sarah, thanks for the clarification that inspired it. – Isaac Moses Feb 18 '13 at 14:42

Sabbath is the English rendering of Shabbat (or Shabbath or Shabbos - שבת), which etymologically stems from the root ש-ב-ת, which conveys cessation of activity. A related word in Hebrew is שֶבֶת, which means sitting.

The word does not have any inherent numerical meaning (such as seven), but in rabbinic literature it is used to mean week. The reason, though, is likely its cultural attachment to the seven-day cycle punctuated by the Sabbath at the end.

Ultimately, to answer your question, though, we don't translate it as anything. Most observant Jews actually don't even call it Sabbath. We call it by its Hebrew name, and depending upon one's pronunciation, the most common pronunciations look in English like Shabbos or Shabbat.

  • Preemptive call to msh210 or DoubleAA (or anyone else), I feel like שבת is used in TaNa"Ch in some instance(s) to mean week also (as I said it is used in Rabbinic literature), but I cannot think of where. Can you remind me if/where it is? – Seth J Mar 12 '13 at 13:54

The only other way to translate would be "remember the day of rest..." as Shabbat is the title for the day that hashem "shavat" rested. Though there are myriad understandings for what it means to rest, that is what the word and therefore the meaning of the name would be.

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    +1. But note that in later Hebrew shabas also means "week". – msh210 Feb 18 '13 at 17:18
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    And in Georgian, but only by extrapolation, that it is the completion of the seven day cycle punctuated by the resting (same for the 7 year cycle as a shabbat -- defined by the seven-as-end/rest) – rosends Feb 18 '13 at 17:21
  • @msh210 what is "later Hebrew"? – user2411 Feb 18 '13 at 18:04
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    @Sarah, I don't know exactly. I think it's used that way in Mishna. – msh210 Feb 18 '13 at 18:07

Sabbath has several meanings, The day of Worship and The day of Rest. Those days occur on the the 7th day of each week. Whereas, oneself should devote such a day for worshiping solely.

In Arabic, Saturday / Yom Sabbath is As-Sabbt which means "Rest".

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