The main Bible passage for sabbatical concepts is Genesis 2:2-3, in which God rested (literally, “ceased” from his labour) after creating the universe, and it is applied to people (Jew and Gentile, slave and free) and even to beasts of burden in one of the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:8-11, reaffirmed in Deuteronomy 5:12-15). All agriculture was stopped during these periods, so even the land itself was given a Sabbath.
In recent times, “sabbatical” has come to mean any extended absence in the career of an individual in order to achieve something. In the modern sense, one takes sabbatical typically to fulfill some goal, e.g., writing a book or travelling extensively for research.
Taken from http://wikipedia.org