Vayikra 23:15 reads the phrase: sheva shabbatot t'miymot.

  1. Why is this rendered as 'seven weeks' and not 'seven shabbats'?
  2. On basis of what is it defined, that the meaning of shabbatot in this case must mean weeks?

For example

  • in Shemot 31:13 another plural use of the word shabbat is used, Shabtotai, meaning My Shabbats, which based on the context meaning the plural of Shabbat (the seventh day of the week, Yom HaShevi'i),
  • and other verses like 1 Divrei HaYamim 23:31, 2 Divrei HaYamim 2:3, 8:13 and 31:3 use the word LaShabatot translated as Shabbats,
  • Nechemya 10:34 uses the word HaShabatot, translated as the Shabbats.
  • Yeshayahu 56:4 and other verses uses the word Shab'totai,
  • and Yechezkel 45:17 UbaShabatot and 46:3 BaShabatot for example are all translated as Shabbats.

All the using of the word Shabatot and related (look-a-like) words seem to be translated as just Shabbat, while here in Vayikra 23 it is translated as weeks.

I'm looking for all possible explanations of rendering it this way.

  • What about Leviticus 25:8?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 20:29
  • It is probably trying to conform with the idea that Exodus 34:22 calls it Chag ha-Shavuo'ot (festival of weeks), rather than Chag ha-Shabbatot.
    – Aaron
    Commented May 4, 2016 at 23:27
  • @Double AA: good point, Shab'tot is also used often in the Scriptures, but always translated as Shabats, but in Vayikra 25:8 it's translated as sabbatical years.. or should it be yearweeks ?
    – Levi
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 9:27
  • @Levi Its pretty clearly yearweeks. How else are the days if the seven Shabbatot equal to 49 years?
    – Double AA
    Commented May 5, 2016 at 11:58

2 Answers 2


Devarim 16:9 twice refers to "seven weeks"

שׁבעה שׁבעת** תּספּר־לך מהחל חרמשׁ בּקּמה תּחל לספּר שׁבעה שׁבעות׃**

You shall count seven weeks; begin to count the seven weeks from the time the sickle is first put to the standing grain.


As noted by @DoubleAA

טו וּסְפַרְתֶּם לָכֶם מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת מִיּוֹם הֲבִיאֲכֶם אֶת עֹמֶר הַתְּנוּפָה שֶׁבַע שַׁבָּתוֹת תְּמִימֹת תִּהְיֶינָה. טז עַד מִמָּחֳרַת הַשַּׁבָּת הַשְּׁבִיעִת תִּסְפְּרוּ חֲמִשִּׁים יוֹם

I believe assuming that the 'shabat' of 16 is the 'shabtot' of 15 acceptable. If we count seven-shabatot (which are also 'temimot', normally translated as 'complete', a word that doesn't look fit was it SAT) and the day afterwords we reach 50, that means we count weeks (and not seven SAT).

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