The Flood as Sabbatical Rest: A Comparison of Genesis 6–9 and Leviticus 25

  • Joshua Joel Spoelstra Stellenbosch University
Keywords: flood, Sabbatical Year, Holiness Code, Priestly source, Flood Narrative, Babylonian exile


Jacob Milgrom once juxtaposed the flood (Gen 6–9) and Babylonian exile (Lev 26), with the Sabbatical Year as its crux. This article expounds upon the parallels between the Flood Narrative (Gen 6–9) and the law concerning the Sabbatical Year (Lev 25:1–7). The directionality of composition between the Priestly source (P) and Holiness Code (H) is examined, as well as the appropriation of alternate source material to bolster the theological propositions of P and H. The confluence of ideas between Gen 6–9 and Lev 25:1–7 (and 26:34–35, 43) include, among other secondary matters: the phenomenon of a yearlong land-fallowing, non-occupancy (or sabbatical rest), divinely granted superabundant bumper-crop which lasts for a year (or two), and concern for the faunae and their peaceful coexistence with humankind on the land where tranquillity is realised by all three entities.

Author Biography

Joshua Joel Spoelstra, Stellenbosch University

Research Associate

Department of Old and New Testament

Stellenbosch University

Private Bag X1 Matieland, 7602

Stellenbosch, South Africa