The Seven Days of Sabbath
                                            Daniel’s Three Heptads of Mourning

Daniel 10:2 In those days I, Daniel, was mourning three full weeks (Hebrew: heptads; Greek:

ROTHERHAM Daniel 10:2 In those days, I, Daniel, was mourning three sevens of days:

LXE Daniel 10:2 In those days I Daniel was mourning three {1} full weeks (septenaries of
days). {1) Gr. weeks of days}

In this verse, the Hebrew and the Greek agree with “heptads” and “septenaries”.  Here the
Masoretic Text and the Greek Septuagint specify “three heptads or septenaries of days”.  In
other words, Daniel was in mourning for 21 days.  Nothing specifies that these three heptads
coincide with what we understand in English as the “week”.  Nothing specifies that these three
heptads were synonymous with the “Seven Days of Sabbath”.  In fact, if these seven days had
been synonymous with the “Seven Days of Sabbath” one would expect the Hebrew and Greek
to specify the cardinal: Seven; the noun: Days; and the Genitive: Of Sabbath.  The Seven Days
of Passover is our example from the bible that we must determine the period of the seven days
of a heptad according to its context (immediate: verse, chapter, book; or extended: the entire
bible) or we cannot determine it.  Furthermore, Daniel 10:2 is not part of the “heptads of the
seventy “weeks” of prophecy”.  On the other hand, Daniel specified, that these three heptads
are “of days”.  Observe that here we have a contrast in that the Book of Daniel leaves
unmentioned the length (days or years) of the seventy heptads of the prophecy while he
specifically mentions that his heptads of mourning are three periods of seven days.  However,
as “Daniel’s seventy heptads of prophecy” is now history up to the center-point of the
seventieth heptad, we have determined the length of each of its heptads as “seven years”: (7
years x 70 = 490 years)

NKJ Daniel 10:3 I ate no pleasant food, no meat or wine came into my mouth, nor did I anoint
myself at all, till three whole weeks (Hebrew: heptads of days; Greek: septenaries of days)
were fulfilled.

ROTHERHAM Daniel 10:3 food to delight in, did I not eat, neither flesh nor wine, came into
my mouth, nor did I so much as, anoint, myself – until were fulfilled three sevens of days.

LXE Daniel 10:3 I ate no pleasant bread, and no flesh or wine entered into my mouth, neither
did I anoint myself with oil, until three {1} whole weeks (septenaries of days) were
accomplished. {1) Gr. weeks of days}

The Hebrew and the Greek agree with heptads and septenaries of days.  The bible does not
specify the beginning or the ending day of Daniel’s period of mourning.  The Hebrew and
Greek Languages do specify that the “periods of seven” were in days.  As a heptad may begin
at any point of the week, the English translation of “weeks” is vague at best.


Our study of the word “week” in the English translations indicates a disservice to its readers.  
The English “week” begins on Sunday, by the American calendar but it begins on Monday, in
practice.  After the fifth day of work, one gets a weekend of two days.  The Hebrew “week”
began with what we call Sunday as the first day of work, Friday as the sixth day of work, and
the Sabbath was the one-rest-day weekend.  Moreover, the Hebrew day began with sunset
rather than midnight, as in the English week.  Beyond all of this, the term that the NKJ
translates in the Old Testament as “week” may be a period of seven days or seven years –
unlike the meaning of the term, “week”.  If this were not enough, the period of seven days
usually begins on any day of the seven-day week other than the First Day of the Sabbaths.  An
example: The heptad of years for the Land Rest and the Jubilee begins in the fall of the
Hebrew year, on the Day of Atonement.  Therefore, the best course would be to use the term,
“heptads” for the Hebrew and “septenaries” for the Greek and let the context reveal the length
(as well as the beginning and end) of the heptad.  The immediate or extended context must
determine whether these are heptads or septenaries of seven days or seven years and when
they begin and end.

We have studied these terms because of the English translation of “week”.  It was our
supposition that we would learn more concerning the “Seven Days of Sabbath”.  However,
what we have learned is that the “week” of the Old Testament English translation has nothing
to do with the “Seven Days of Sabbath” – the Hebrew Week.  Moreover, neither the Old
Testament usage of heptads nor septenaries correlate with the “Seven Days of Sabbath”.  
When the Hebrew or Greek speaks of the Sabbath or one of the days leading up to the Seventh
Day, it uses the term for Sabbath.  This in itself indicates that when we observe heptads or
septenaries we should expect periods of seven – other than the “Seven Days of Sabbath”.  
Moreover, heptads of years do not coincide with the beginning of the first day of the year.  In
the two examples we have of years of heptads, both begin with Tishri 10.

In our study of the New Testament Greek word translated as “week,” we discovered that the
value of our study in both Testaments was one of contrast rather than one of compliment!  The
Old Testament took us into a study of heptads and septenaries, whereas, the New Testament
took us into a study of the Seven Days of Sabbath by way of the Hebraism perspective of the
New Testament writers understanding of the Hebrew Week.


We have now concluded our study of the word “week” in both the Old and New Testaments.  
The result is somewhat different – but more exciting – than we expected.  The word translated
“week” in the Old Testament always stems from the Hebrew heptad [exceptions and
disagreement with the Greek noted in this exegesis] (the Greek is septenary except a few
verses, which use the ordinal – seven, also noted in this analysis).  However, in the New
Testament, the word translated “week” always stems from the Greek word “Sabbaths” and
portrays an idiomatic expression “the first of the Sabbaths,” which literally means, “the first
day of the seven days of Sabbath”.  To express it in another way: Our study of the Seven Days
of Sabbath in the book of Psalms where we began this study shines its light on the New
Testament usage of the word “week”.  

Our study of the word Sabbath and week in the Old Testament has opened new information,
helping to explain these difficult “week” verses, as translated into the English, in both

Perhaps the most astonishing discovery is that the word “week” in the Old Testament and the
same English word “week” in the New Testament have no relationship whatsoever.

If one would understand the full perspective of the “week” verses of the Old Testament, he
must thoroughly comprehend heptads and septenaries: A period of seven days or seven years,
as used in the Old Testament; however, not often beginning with the first day of Sabbath – and
then only coincidentally.  The heptad replaces the word week in the Old Testament.  The term
is more accurate than the word “week”, as we have expounded in the body of this work.

The Passover: A Festival, A Heptad of Days = 7 Days

ROTHERHAM Ezekiel 45:21 In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, shall you
have the Passover,––a festival of seven days (a heptad of days), unleavened cakes, shall be

“Pentecost”: 7 Heptads of Days = 49 Days
                                                    [Two Ways of Counting]

Deuteronomy 16:9 "You shall count seven weeks (Hebrew: heptads; Greek: septenaries) for
yourself; begin to count the seven
weeks (Hebrew: heptads; Greek: septenaries) from the
time you begin to put the sickle to the grain

LXE Leviticus 23:15 And you shall number to yourselves from the day after (morrow after)
the sabbath
(from the morning after [the day] of the Sabbath), from the day on which (time
you shall offer the sheaf (grain) of the wave–offering, seven full weeks (seven
septenaries complete)

The Jubilee: 7 Heptads of Years

NKJ Leviticus 25:8 ‘And you shall count seven sabbaths of years for yourself, seven times
seven years; and the time of the seven sabbaths (LXX: Septenaries) of years shall be to you
forty–nine years.

If one would understand the full perspective of the “week” verses in the New Testament, he
must thoroughly understand “The Seven Days of Sabbath”: A seven-day cycle beginning and
ending with sunset, composed of seven days – an unbroken cycle that began at creation.  The
Seven Days of Sabbath have six workdays followed by one day of rest – The Seventh Day
Sabbath – the Sabbath according to the Commandment:

Exodus 20:8 "Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.
9 Six days you shall labor and do all your work,
10 But the seventh day is the Sabbath of
the LORD (Yahweh) your God (Elohiym).  In it, you
shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female
servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates.
11 For in six days
the LORD (Yahweh) made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that
is in them, and rested the seventh day.  Therefore,
the LORD (Yahweh) blessed the Sabbath
day and hallowed it.

One note of interest: The Greek word #4521 appears in the New Testament 68 times: The
KJV translated 37 times as “sabbath day,” 22 times as “sabbath,” and 9 times as “week”.  
Eight of these 9 occurrences is “the first of the Sabbaths”.  The one other example is Luke 18:
12 “I fast twice of the Sabbaths”.  If one understands the Idiom, “The Seven Days of the
Sabbath,” the translation of “week” would not appear in the New Testament at all.

The preferred translation of
“week” in the Old Testament would be “heptad”; and the
preferred translation of
“week” in the New Testament would be “the first of the Sabbaths”.  
In other words, our English bibles would be more accurate without the word “week” in the
Old or the New Testaments.

*Codex Alexandrinus

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