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On the names of the week

Posted by Stephen Pidgeon on Thursday, January 8, 2015 at 6:00 AM

 

We are as we speak, are we not?  It is interesting that in the modern English, we find the days of the week as Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday.  These days are completely and wholly inconsistent with the days set forth in scripture.  Like the months, the days of the week in Hebrew are simply – for the most part – numerical.

Yom Rishon – the first day of the week (Sunday)

Yom Sheniy – the second day of the week (Monday)

Yom Shelishiy – the third day of the week (Tuesday)

Yom Reviy’iy – the fourth day of the week (Wednesday)

Yom Chamishiy – the fifth day of the week (Thursday)

Yom Shiyshiy – the sixth day of the week (Friday)

Shabbath – the seventh day of the week (Saturday)

The Greeks, however, took another path, and named the days week in the following order: first after the sun, then the moon and the five known planets, which were in turn named after the gods Ares, Hermes, Zeus, Aphrodite, and Cronus. The Greeks called the days of the week the Theon hemerai or the “days of the Gods.” The Romans thereafter substituted their equivalent gods for the Greek gods, Mars for Ares, Mercury for Hermes, Jove (Jupiter) for Zeus, Venus for Aphrodite, and Saturn for Cronus. The Germans went on to make their own substitution, which were roughly equivalent, substituting Tiu (Twia) for Mars, Woden for Mercury, Thor for Zeus, and Freya (Fria) for Venus, but they did not bring in a substitute for Saturn.

So, our modern calendar in English celebrates the following:

First day:         Sun worship

Second day:    Moon worship

Third day:       Tiu/Tyr or Mars worship (god of war)

Fourth day:     Woden or Mercury worship (the father of gods)

Fifth day:        Thor or Jupiter worship (god of thunder)

Sixth day:        Friya or Venus worship (goddess of fertility)

Seventh day:   Saturn worship

Congratulations. 

Now, let’s take a look at some other languages for just a minute, particularly when it comes to naming the seventh day.

In English:                  Saturday

In French:                   Samedi

In German:                  Samstag

In Russian:                  Cуббота (Subbota)

In Spanish:                  Sábado

In Croatian:                 Subota

In Czech:                    Sobota

In Danish:                   Lørdag

In Georgian:                Shabat’i

In Italian:                    Sabato

In Macedonian:           Cабота

In Portugese:               Sábado

There is a group which appears to be affected primarily by the German tradition that retains a day for Saturn, rather than Sabbath.  Even Italy – where Saturnalia was originally practiced, has gone to naming the day Sabato.  

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