No Quarreling on the Sabbath!

Just about every Thanksgiving I share with a school or church group the history of the pilgrims who came from England to the new world in 1620.  This year I spoke on how the pilgrims acknowledged the Sabbath Day.  

Many rules and regulations were imposed upon them for what they were allowed to do or restricted from doing from sundown on Saturday to sundown on Sunday evening. Some of these rules I read from the old English which requires readers to listen carefully for the New English equivalent. One rule I mentioned was that married couples weren’t allowed to quarrel on the Sabbath. In fact Bradford recorded one couple being fined 40 shekels for doing so.   After I finished my talk Stephen walked down to the fellowship hall with others who were preparing to enjoy a meal together.

Two men approached him and asked, “What did she mean when she said that ‘married couples weren’t allowed to crawl on the Sabbath?'”  With a twinkle in his eye one of the men said, “I’m pretty sure I know what that would mean but just want to make sure.”  

Well, they approached me next and asked the same thing.  When I clarified the word “crawl” to be “quarrel” they had a good laugh as they realized crawl was not a euphemism for marital relations but in fact I was speaking of a couple who were arguing on Sunday.

However based upon our study “marital relations” were indeed also forbidden on the Sabbath!


One response to “No Quarreling on the Sabbath!

  1. The Pilgrims were arguably the Pharisees of their day, and I understand that taking a bath was heavily frowned upon, too, so it’s hard to imagine two people getting closer than load arguing distance, unless it was right after that quarterly bath. I’ll bet that breaking of the latter rule you mentioned was much more commonly performed than reported; I would hate to have to explain to my wife, mother, sister, or aunt the circumstances under which I heard or observed the breaking of the rule, the amount of time I took to take to decide that’s what it was, or that if I were home with my wife, we could have done the same thing and avoided embarrasment for everyone.

    Somewhere, however fuzzy it might be, there’s line between being a tattle-tale and being a whistleblower, but I wouldn’t want to be known as either in this case. In fact, getting caught would be far more honorable than being the catcher. Had they never read that “marriage is honorable and the bed undefiled”, that “He that keepeth his mouth keepeth his life: but he that openeth wide his lips shall have destruction”, that “He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends”, that “He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears”, or that “above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins”?

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