From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


1. Literal .—The length of the ‘day’ among the ancients was reckoned in various ways: thus, from morning to morning (Babylonians), from sunset to sunset (Athenians), from noon to noon (Umbrians), from midnight to midnight (Egyptians), and from dawn to dark by the common people, ordinarily (see Plin. HN ii. 79). The early Israelites seem to have regarded the morning as the beginning of the day (cf.  Genesis 1:5;  Genesis 1:8 ff.), but they likewise (due to the influence of the new moon) reckoned it from ‘even unto even’ ( Leviticus 23:32). In  Luke 22:34 also the new day began after sunset (cf.  Luke 4:40). In the NT ἡμέρα was employed to express: (1) the period of light in opposition to night ( Luke 6:13 ‘and when it was day,’—a frequent phrase in St. Luke’s writings, cf.  Luke 4:42,  Luke 22:66,  Acts 12:18;  Acts 16:35;  Acts 23:12;  Acts 27:29;  Acts 27:33;  Acts 27:39, also  John 9:4,  2 Corinthians 11:25); (2) the natural day , including the periods both of light and darkness ( Matthew 28:1 ἐπιφωσκούσῃ, cf.  Luke 22:34); (3) an indefinite period of time ( Luke 1:5;  Luke 1:39 ἐν ταῖς ἠμέραις ταύταις, ‘in those days’; St. Luke is fond of this expression, it is not found in Jn., and occurs but four times in Mt. and the same number of times in Mk.; cf.  Luke 2:1;  Luke 4:2,  Acts 2:18;  Acts 3:24;  Acts 7:41 etc., also  Matthew 2:1;  Matthew 3:1,  Mark 1:9;  Mark 8:1;  Mark 13:17;  Mark 13:24 in true Hebraistic style).

Except the Sabbath, the days of the week were numbered by the Israelites, not named . Nor had the Hebrews any precise subdivision of the day, for they had no word for ‘hour’; even the Aramaic שָׁעָה, which occurs in  Daniel 4:16;  Daniel 5:5, has no exact connotation. Like the Greeks, they seem to have learned from the Babylonians how to divide the day into 12 hours,—a division first met with in the NT: ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day?’ ( John 11:9, cf.  Acts 2:15,  Matthew 20:3-6;  Matthew 27:45-46 etc.). The length of the hour, however, was for a long time a variable quantity, depending, as it did, upon the season of the year, for it was always reckoned as the twelfth part of the light period. It therefore ranged from forty-nine to seventy-one minutes, according to the calendar. The more common divisions of the day among the Hebrews were morning, noonday, and evening ( Psalms 55:17); but they frequently spoke of ‘sunrise’ and ‘dawn’ ( Mark 16:2,  John 20:1,  Revelation 22:16), ‘the heat of the day’ ( Matthew 20:12), ‘noon’ ( Genesis 43:16,  Deuteronomy 28:29), ‘the cool of the day’ ( Genesis 3:8), and ‘between the two evenings,’ .e. towards evening ( Exodus 12:6;  Exodus 16:12, cf.  Acts 3:1;  Acts 10:3;  Acts 10:30). The time of incense, and of cock-crowing (wh. see) was in the morning ( Mark 14:30;  Mark 14:72,  Luke 1:10); the time of the ‘meal-offering’ was in the middle of the afternoon ( 1 Kings 18:29;  1 Kings 18:36); while ‘the time that women go out to draw water’ was towards evening ( Genesis 24:11).

2 . Figurative .—Figurative and metaphorical uses of the word ‘day’ are also frequent in the NT: e.g. the day of Christ’s appearance, i.e. of His apocalypse, or self-revelation ( Luke 17:30 ‘in the day that the Son of Man is revealed,’ ἀποκαλύπτεται, a technical expression: cf.  Luke 17:24,  John 8:56;  John 14:20;  John 16:23;  John 16:26,  Romans 13:12,  1 Corinthians 1:7-8,  2 Thessalonians 1:7;  1 Peter 1:7; 1Pe_1:13; 1Pe_4:13); ‘the day of his Parousia ’ ( Matthew 7:22;  Matthew 24:36,  Mark 13:32;  Mark 14:25,  Luke 21:34,  2 Thessalonians 1:10,  2 Timothy 1:18,  Hebrews 10:25); the days of His death and departure ( Luke 5:35 ἐλεύσονται δὲ ἡμέραι, ‘But the days will come,’ i.e. days very different from the joyous days of wedding festivity); the Last, or Judgment day ( John 6:39;  John 11:24;  John 12:48,  Matthew 11:22,  1 John 4:17,  1 Thessalonians 5:2,  2 Timothy 3:1,  James 5:3, and by contrast  1 Corinthians 4:3 ὑπὸ ἀνθρωπίνης ἡμέρας, which describes human judgment as opposed to Christ’s day of final account, ἡμέρα τοῦ κυρίου); His day of the offer of salvation ( 2 Corinthians 6:2,  John 9:4;  John 11:9); ‘the day of Christ’ ( Philippians 1:10); ‘the day of the Lord’ ( 2 Thessalonians 2:2,  Romans 2:10,  2 Corinthians 1:14,  Revelation 6:17); ‘the day of God’ ( 2 Peter 3:12); ‘the Lord’s day,’ ἠ κυριακἠ ἡμέρα ( Revelation 1:10); the day of the gift of the Spirit ( John 14:20); the day of completed salvation ( Romans 13:12); ‘the evil day,’ of trial and temptation ( Ephesians 6:13); ‘as children of the day,’ i.e. as sons who abstain from doing evil ( 1 Thessalonians 5:5;  1 Thessalonians 5:8,  Romans 13:13); a day of fuller knowledge ( 2 Peter 1:19); and, lastly, the somewhat enigmatical passage, ‘Give us this day (σήμερον) our daily (τὸν ἐπιούσιον) bread’ ( Matthew 6:11,  Luke 11:3); the latter expression (see art. Lord’s Prayer) is not found in classical Greek, and seems to have been specially coined by the Evangelists to convey in this single context the idea of ‘needful’ or ‘the coming day’s’; the Vulgate has supersubstantialem (cf. Amer. (Revised Version margin)). See, further, artt. Day of Christ, Day (That), Day of Judgment.

Literature.—Art. ‘Day,’ by H. A. White in Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible, by Karl Marti in Encyc. Bibl. , and by F. W. Farrar in Smith’s D B [Note: Dictionary of the Bible.] 2 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] ; also ‘Tag’ in Riehm’s HW B [Note: WB Handwörterbunch.] ; esp. Swete’s Com. on St. Mark , and Plummer’s Com. on St. Luke, ad loc.  ; and cf. the artt. Time, Night, Eschatology.

George L. Robinson.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [2]

Segment of time that includes the night ( Genesis 1:8 ) as in a twenty-four hour day. "Day" also stands in contrast to "night" ( Numbers 11:32;  Luke 18:7;  Revelation 7:15 ). The term may refer to an era ( Matthew 24:37 ) or to the span of human history ( Genesis 8:22 ), or specify a memorable event ( Isaiah 9:4 ) or a significant time ( Zephaniah 1:14-16 ). The term often has a metaphorical meaning. A "day" is important largely for what fills it rather than for its chronological dimension.

The "Day" and Cosmic Order . The "days of creation" in  Genesis 1 , given the semipoetic nature of the composition, are quite possibly intended as literary devices, division markers as in a mosaic. The refrain, "And there was evening, and there was morning, " speaks not only of sequence but of an order that is affirmed following the flood as a foundational element in creation and as an answer to chaos and destruction ( Genesis 8:22 ). The succession of days is testimony to a God whose governance of the universe is not haphazard but marked by order and, especially, reliability. The regularity of day and night guarantees God's promises in history as trustworthy. So when God makes a new covenant and assures Israel of continuing as a nation indefinitely, God offers the constancy of the cosmic order ("he who appoints the sun to shine by day") as his credentials for following through on his intention ( Jeremiah 31:35-37 ).

The "Day" and Redemption History . Certain days in Israel's history were clearly days of salvation, the most striking of which was the day of God's deliverance of Israel from Egypt at the exodus ( Exodus 12:14;  13:3 ). In conjunction with Saul's conflict with the Philistines, it is said, "so the Lord rescued Israel that day" ( 1 Samuel 14:23 ).

Interest in "days to come" is a longstanding one ( Genesis 49:1;  Numbers 24:14 ). The prophets speak of a coming day when God will intervene in history. In that day a root will emerge from the stem of Jesse. This remarkable person will be endowed with the sevenfold Spirit ( Isaiah 10:33-11:10 ). In coming days, God will be exalted in all of Israel and even over all the earth ( Isaiah 2:11 ). In that future day Israel will be saved from her enemies and will be safely secured in her land. God promises that "In the day of salvation I will help you" ( Isaiah 49:8 ). Evil will be decisively dealt with and righteousness will be established. That decisive action involving judgment and salvation is the day of the Lord.

At Pentecost Peter can speak of the fulfillment of Joel's prophecy of the day of the Lord ( Acts 2:17-21; cf.  Joel 2:28-32 ). Essentially this day is one in which God is fully on the scene; it is a day that he monopolizes. In the coming of Christ and in the Spirit's descent at Pentecost, Peter discerns a day of God. Because of God's grace and favor, the current day is the day of salvation ( 2 Corinthians 6:2 ). The offer during this extended "day" remains: "and everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved" ( Acts 2:21 ). Such decision is urged because God has "set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed" ( Acts 17:31 ). With regard to the history of redemption the word "day" is shorthand for a particular event (such as the exodus), but more often for an era as a singular stage in the progress of God's plan for salvation.

The "Day" and Calendars of Worship . Some days in Israel's calendar were set aside for special purposes (e.g., the Sabbath  Exodus 20:8-11;  Deuteronomy 5:12-15 ). In keeping with the purpose of the day, which was to bring wholeness (Heb. salom ), Jesus healed individuals of their sicknesses. The writer to the Hebrews sees in the day a prefiguring of the greater "rest" that God envisions for his own (4:6-11).

Special days are holy days that belong to God ( Nehemiah 8:9 ). In Israel's religious calendar the Day of Atonement, observed soon after the day of the New Year (Sept.-Oct), was a day when corporate and individual sins were confessed, appropriate sacrifices and rituals were performed, and divine forgiveness was extended ( Leviticus 16;  23:26-32 ). Other special days were the several festivals, such as the Passover, the Feast of the Firstfruits, and the Feast of Tabernacles ( Leviticus 23;  Deuteronomy 16:1-17 ). Taken together the days of festival indicated that Israel's religion was communal in character, that it came as an occasion for instruction, and that it was marked by joyfulness. Later in Israel's history the festival of Purim was added ( Esther 9:18-32 ). In New Testament times, Christians worshiped on the first day of the week ( 1 Corinthians 16:2 ), but Paul cautioned them not to overrate any festival ( Colossians 2:16 ).

The "Day" and Believer's Lifestyle . Life is lived a day at a time. Prayer is offered for daily bread ( Matthew 6:9-13,31-34 ). Like Paul, the Christian in one sense dies daily ( 1 Corinthians 15:31 ), but in another sense is renewed day by day ( 2 Corinthians 4:16 ). Since within the larger span of history, any one person's days are like a shadow ( 1 Chronicles 29:15;  Psalm 102:11 ), it is appropriate to pray for wisdom ( Psalm 90:12 ). Believers recognize that days can be stressful ( Genesis 35:3 ), but they do not share a pessimistic view about life as a series of meaningless days ( Ecclesiastes 6:12 ). Jesus urged his followers to work the works of God while it is day ( John 9:4 ). Believers, children of the day as opposed to children of darkness, will do works of love and hope becoming to persons enlightened by the gospel ( 1 Thessalonians 5:5 ).

Elmer A. Martens

See also God Christ theDay of the Lord; Latter Days Last TimesLast Day(s)

Bibliography . G. Delling, TDNT, 2:943-53; S. J. DeVries, Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow  ; G. Hasel, ISBE, 1:877-78; M. Saebo, TDOT, 6:12-32.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [3]

A — 1: Ἡμέρα (Strong'S #2250 — Noun Feminine — hemera — hay-mer'-ah )

"a day," is used of (a) the period of natural light,  Genesis 1:5;  Proverbs 4:18;  Mark 4:35; (b) the same, but figuratively, for a period of opportunity for service,  John 9:4;  Romans 13:13; (c) one period of alternate light and darkness,  Genesis 1:5;  Mark 1:13; (d) a period of undefined length marked by certain characteristics, such as "the day of small things,"  Zechariah 4:10; of perplexity and distress,  Isaiah 17:11;  Obadiah 1:12-14; of prosperity and of adversity,  Ecclesiastes 7:14; of trial or testing,  Psalm 95:8; of salvation,  Isaiah 49:8;  2—Corinthians 6:2; cp.  Luke 19:42; of evil,  Ephesians 6:13; of wrath and revelation of the judgments of God,  Romans 2:5; (e) an appointed time,  Ecclesiastes 8:6;  Ephesians 4:30; (f) a notable defeat in battle, etc.,  Isaiah 9:4;  Psalm 137:7;  Ezekiel 30:9;  Hosea 1:11; (g) by metonymy = "when," "at the time when;" (1), of the past,  Genesis 2:4;  Numbers 3:13;  Deuteronomy 4:10 , (2) of the future,  Genesis 2:17;  Ruth 4:5;  Matthew 24:50;  Luke 1:20; (h) a judgment or doom,  Job 18:20 . * [* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 150-151.] (i) of a time of life,  Luke 1:17,18 ("years").

 1—Corinthians 4:3 Revelation 1:10 Philippians 1:10 2:16 Philippians 1:6 1—Corinthians 5:5 2—Corinthians 1:14 1—Corinthians 1:8 1—Thessalonians 4:16,17 2—Peter 1:19 Isaiah 2:12 Amos 5:18 Joel 2:31 Malachi 4:5 Isaiah 13:9-11 34:8 Daniel 2:34,44 Obadiah 1:15 Isaiah 61:2 John 8:56 1—Thessalonians 5:2 2—Thessalonians 2:2 2—Peter 3:12

A — 2: Αὐγή (Strong'S #827 — Noun Feminine — auge — owg-ay' )

"brightness, bright shining, as of the sun;" hence, "the beginning of daylight," is translated "break of day" in  Acts 20:11 .

B — 1: Ἔννυχος (Strong'S #1773 — Adjective — ennucha — en'-noo-khon )

the neuter plural of ennuchos, used adverbially, lit., "in night" (en, "in," nux, "night," with lian, "very"), signifies "very early, yet in the night," "a great while before day,"  Mark 1:35 .

Daily.  Mark 6:35 Mark 2:26 Acts 11:28 John 21:4 Matthew 27:1 2—Thessalonians 2:3 Luke 7:11  1—Corinthians 4:13Morrow.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

The Hebrews, in conformity with the Mosaic law, reckoned the day from evening to evening. The natural day, that is, the portion of time from sunrise to sunset, was divided by the Hebrews, as it is now by the Arabians, into six unequal parts. These divisions were as follows:—

1. The break of day. This portion of time was, at a recent period, divided into two parts, in imitation of the Persians; the first of which began when the eastern, the second, when the western, division of the horizon was illuminated. The authors of the Jerusalem Talmud divided

it into four parts; the first of which was called in Hebrew אילת השחר ,

which occurs in  Psalms 22:1 , and corresponds to the phrase, λιαν πρωι , in the New Testament,  Mark 16:2;  John 20:1 .

2. The morning or sunrise.

3. The heat of the day. This began about nine o'clock, Genesis

 John 18:1;  1 Samuel 11:11 .

4. Midday.

5. The cool of the day; literally, the wind of the day. This expression as grounded on the fact, that a wind commences blowing regularly a few hours before sunset, and continues till evening,   Genesis 3:8 .

6. The evening. This was divided into two parts, ערבים ; the first of which began, according to the Caraites and Samaritans, at sunset, the second, when it began to grow dark. But, according to the rabbins, the first commenced just before sunset, the second, precisely at sunset. The Arabians agree with the Caraites and Samaritans; and in this way the Hebrews appear to have computed, previous to the captivity.

The mention of שעה , hours, occurs first in   Daniel 3:6;  Daniel 3:15;  Daniel 5:5 . They were first measured by gnomons, which merely indicated the meridian; afterward, by the hour-watch, σκιαθερικον; and subsequently still, by the clepsydra, or instrument for measuring time by means of water. The hour- watch or dial, otherwise called the sun-dial, is mentioned in the reign of King Hezekiah,   2 Kings 20:9-10;  Isaiah 38:8 . Its being called "the sun-dial of Ahaz," renders it probable that Ahaz first introduced it from Babylon; whence, also, Anaximenes, the Milesian, brought the first skiathericon into Greece. This instrument was of no use during the night, nor indeed during a cloudy day. In consequence of this defect, the clepsydra was invented, which was used in Persia as late as the seventeenth century in its simplest form. The clepsydra was a small circular vessel, constructed of thinly-beaten copper or brass, and having a small perforation through the bottom. It was placed in another vessel, filled with water. The diameter of the hole in the bottom of the clepsydra was such, that it filled with water in three hours, and sunk. It was necessary that there should be a servant to tend it, who should take it up when it had sunk, pour out the water, and place it again empty on the surface of the water in the vase.

The hours of principal note in the course of the day were the third, the sixth, and the ninth. These hours, it would seem, were consecrated by Daniel to prayer,  Daniel 6:10;  Acts 2:15;  Acts 3:1;  Acts 10:9 . The day was divided into twelve hours, which, of course, varied in length, being shorter in the winter and longer in the summer,  John 11:9 . In the winter, therefore, the clepsydras were so constructed that the water might sink them more rapidly. The hours were numbered from the rising of the sun, so that, at the season of the equinox, the third corresponded to the ninth of our reckoning; the sixth, to our twelfth; and the ninth, to three o'clock in the afternoon. At other seasons of the year, it is necessary to observe the time when the sun rises, and reduce the hours to our time accordingly. We observe, therefore, that the sun in Palestine, at the summer solstice, rises at five of our time, and sets about seven. At the winter solstice, it rises about seven, and sets about five.

Before the captivity, the night was divided into three watches. The first, which continued till midnight, was denominated the commencing or first watch,  Lamentations 2:19 . The second was denominated the middle watch, and continued from midnight till the crowing of the cock. The third, called the morning watch, extended from the second to the rising of the sun. These divisions and names appear to have owed their origin to the watches of the Levites in the tabernacle and temple,  Exodus 14:24;  1 Samuel 11:11 . In the time of Christ, however, the night, in imitation of the Romans, was divided into four watches. According to the English mode of reckoning they were as follows:

1. The evening, from twilight to nine o'clock.

2. The midnight, from nine to twelve.

3. The cock crowing, from twelve to three.

4. From three o'clock till daybreak. A day is used in the prophetic

Scripture for a year: "I have appointed thee each day for a year,"

 Ezekiel 4:6 . See Cock .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [5]

Yôm ( יוֹם , Strong'S #3117), “daylight; day; time; moment; year.” This word also appears in Ugaritic, extrabiblical Hebrew or Canaanite (e.g., the Siloam inscription), Akkadian, Phoenician, and Arabic. It also appears in post-biblical Hebrew. Attested at every era of biblical Hebrew, yôm occurs about 2,304 times.

Yôm has several meanings. The word represents the period of “daylight” as contrasted with nighttime: “While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease” (Gen. 8:22). The word denotes a period of twenty-four hours: “And it came to pass, as she spake to Joseph day by day …” (Gen. 39:10). Yôm can also signify a period of time of unspecified duration: “And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made” (Gen. 2:3). In this verse, “day” refers to the entire period of God’s resting from creating this universe. This “day” began after He completed the creative acts of the seventh day and extends at least to the return of Christ. Compare Gen. 2:4: “These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day [ beyôm ] that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.…” Here “day” refers to the entire period envisioned in the first six days of creation. Another nuance appears in Gen. 2:17, where the word represents a “point of time” or “a moment”: “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day [ beyôm ] that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” Finally, when used in the plural, the word may represent “year”: “Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year [ yamim ]” (Exod. 13:10).

There are several other special nuances of when it is used with various prepositions. First, when used with ke (“as,” “like”), it can connote “first”: “And Jacob said, Sell me this day [first] thy birthright” (Gen. 25:31). It may also mean “one day,” or “about this day”: “And it came to pass about this time, that Joseph went into the house to do his business …” (Gen. 39:11). On Joseph’s lips, the phrase connotes “this present result” (literally, “as it is this day”): “But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive” (Gen. 50:20). Adonijah used this same phrase to represent “today”: “Let king Solomon swear unto me today that he will not slay his servant …” (1 Kings 1:51). Yet another nuance appears in 1 Sam. 9:13: “Now therefore get you up; for about this time ye shall find him.” When used with the definite article ha , the noun may mean “today” (as it does in Gen. 4:14) or refer to some particular “day” (1 Sam. 1:4) and the “daytime” (Neh. 4:16).

The first biblical occurrence of yôm is found in Gen. 1:5: “And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day.” The second use introduces one of the most debated occurrences of the word, which is the duration of the days of creation. Perhaps the most frequently heard explanations are that these “days” are 24 hours long, indefinitely long (i.e., eras of time), or logical rather than temporal categories (i.e., they depict theological categories rather than periods of time).

The “day of the Lord” is used to denote both the end of the age (eschatologically) or some occurrence during the present age (non-eschatologically). It may be a day of either judgment or blessing, or both (cf. Isa. 2).

It is noteworthy that Hebrew people did not divide the period of daylight into regular hourly periods, whereas nighttime was divided into three watches (Exod. 14:24; Judg. 7:19). The beginning of a “day” is sometimes said to be dusk (Esth. 4:16) and sometimes dawn (Deut. 28:66-67).

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [6]

People in Bible times used the word ‘day’ with a wide range of meanings, as we do today. They may have used it for the normal 24-hour day ( Numbers 10:11;  Acts 20:7), for the hours of daylight in contrast to the hours of night ( Luke 18:7;  John 9:4), for a particular time or occasion ( Jeremiah 12:3;  Jeremiah 16:19;  Luke 6:23), or for a more lengthy period such as an age or era ( John 8:56;  2 Corinthians 6:2).

In an age when there were no clocks as we know them today, people estimated the time of day according to the sun. Times were only approximate, for the number of hours of daylight varied throughout the year. Usually people counted the hours according to a 12-hour division from sunrise to sunset. Therefore, if the approximate time of sunrise was 6 a.m. ( Genesis 32:21;  Genesis 32:24;  Genesis 32:31;  Mark 16:2), the third hour would be about 9 a.m. ( Mark 15:25;  Acts 2:15), the sixth hour would be about noon ( Mark 15:33;  Acts 10:9), the ninth hour would be about 3 p.m. ( Mark 15:33;  Acts 3:1), and the twelfth hour would be about 6 p.m., or sunset ( Mark 1:32;  John 11:9; cf.  Matthew 20:3;  Matthew 20:5-6;  Matthew 20:12; see also Sabbath ).

During the time of the Roman administration, the twelve hours of night were divided into four periods, or watches ( Matthew 14:25;  Luke 12:38). In former times, the Jews divided the night into three watches ( Exodus 14:24;  Judges 7:19).

The contrast between day and night provided preachers with an obvious illustration to contrast good and evil. The present era is a night of moral darkness, in contrast to the day of light that will dawn at Christ’s return ( Romans 13:11-13;  1 Thessalonians 5:4-8). The return of Christ is the great day that will bring the world’s history to its climax ( Philippians 1:6;  Philippians 1:10;  Philippians 2:16;  Hebrews 10:25; see Day Of The Lord ).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Day. The variable length of the natural day, at different seasons, led, in the very earliest times, to the adoption of the civil day, (or one revolution of the sun), as a standard of time. The Hebrews reckoned the day from evening to evening,  Leviticus 23:32, deriving it from  Genesis 1:5 "the Evening and the Morning were the first day."

The Jews are supposed, like the modern Arabs, to have adopted from an early period, minute specifications of the parts of the natural day. Roughly, indeed, they were content to divide it into "morning, evening and noonday,"  Psalms 55:17, but when they wished for greater accuracy, they pointed to six unequal parts, each of which was again subdivided. These are held to have been -

1. "the dawn."

2. "Sunrise."

3. "Heat of the day," about 9 o'clock.

4. "The two noons,"  Genesis 43:16;  Genesis 28:29.

5. "The cool (literally. Wind ) of the day," before sunset,  Genesis 3:8 - so called by the Persians to this day.

6. "Evening."

Before the captivity, the Jews divided the night into three watches,  Psalms 63:6;  Psalms 90:4, namely,

the first watch, lasting till midnight,  Lamentations 2:19,

the "middle watch," lasting till cockcrow,  Judges 7:19, and

the "morning watch," lasting till sunrise.  Exodus 14:24.

In the New Testament, we have allusions to four watches, a division borrowed from the Greeks and Romans. These were -

i. From twilight till 9 o'clock,  Mark 11:11;  John 20:19.

ii. Midnight, from 9 till 12 o'clock,  Mark 13:35,  3 Maccabees 5:23.

iii. Till daybreak.  John 18:28.

The word held to mean "hour" is first found in  Daniel 3:6;  Daniel 3:15;  Daniel 5:5. Perhaps the Jews, like the Greeks, learned from the Babylonians, the division of the day into twelve parts. In our Lord's time, the division was common.  John 11:9.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

Besides the ordinary application of the word, it is used in scripture as defining different periods. The term 'that day' often occurs in the Prophets and in the N.T. referring to the Messiah's day, sometimes connected with judgement and sometimes with blessing, the context of each passage showing its application. The subject generally may be divided into:

1. the days of the Law and the Prophets, which extended from the giving of the law until the coming of the Messiah. "At the end of these days [God] has spoken to us in [His] Son," as  Hebrews 1:2 should read. This introduced Messiah's Day. But He was rejected and His reign postponed. In the meantime:

2. The Day of Grace supervenes, during which the church is being called out. The Lord Jesus wrought out redemption, ascended to heaven, and sent down the Holy Spirit. Of this time He said "In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you"  John 14:20 cf. also   John 16:23,26 . The present period is referred to as man's day.  1 Corinthians 4:3 , margin. These are also 'the last days' in which scoffers would come.  2 Peter 3:3;  Jude 18 .

3. Messiah's Day, when He returns in judgement and then to reign. "The day is at hand."  Romans 13:12;  Hebrews 10:25 . "The day shall declare it."  1 Corinthians 3:13 . It is also called 'the last day.'  John 6:39-51;  John 11:24;  John 12:48 . And it is called 'the great day.' Elijah will come before the great and dreadful day of the Lord.  Malachi 4:5 . The kings of the earth will be gathered to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.  Revelation 16:14 . It is also called 'the day of Christ' and 'the day of Jesus Christ.'  Philippians 1:6,10;  Philippians 2:16; cf.  1 Corinthians 1:8;  2 Corinthians 1:14 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Day. The Hebrews, probably, from the narrative of creation,  Genesis 1:5; see  Daniel 8:14, marg., began their day at sunset.  Leviticus 23:32. Their divisions of the day appear to have been in early times very inartificial. Thus we read of a distribution into three parts—evening, morning, and noon.  Psalms 55:17. The first mention of an hour is by the prophet Daniel,  Daniel 3:6;  Daniel 3:15;  Daniel 4:19, "for a while," R. V.; 5:5; probably, then, the reckoning of the twelve hours or the day was borrowed from the Chaldeans. In New Testament times it was a well understood distribution of time.  John 11:9. These twelve hours, extending from sunrise to sunset, were, of course, of variable length. The variation is not, however, so much as it would be in our latitude: and, the sixth hour being noon, the third may be roughly said to be our nine in the morning, the ninth three in the afternoon. The nights were divided into watches, at first three, afterwards four. The word "day" is used in various senses, sometimes for a festal or birthday,  Job 3:1; sometimes for the great day of God's judgment,  Acts 17:31;  2 Timothy 1:18. The meaning is sometimes indefinite, as it is with us,  Genesis 2:4; and according to some the "days" of creation,  Genesis 1:6;  Genesis 1:8;  Genesis 1:13;  Genesis 1:19;  Genesis 1:23;  Genesis 1:31, indicate not natural days, but long periods of time. Day is also used symbolically,  Numbers 14:34; and sharp contests there are among interpreters of prophecy whether the days of  Daniel 12:11-12;  Revelation 11:3;  Revelation 11:9 do not mean years.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [10]

Reckoned from sunset to sunset by the Hebrew.  Genesis 1:5; "the evening and the morning were the first day."  2 Corinthians 11:25; "a night and a day."  Daniel 8:14 margin. So our fortnight equals fourteen nights. "Evening, morning, and noon" ( Psalms 55:17) are the three general divisions. Fuller divisions are: dawn, of which the several stages appear in Christ's resurrection ( Mark 16:2;  John 20:1;  Revelation 22:16, "the bright and morning star" answering to Aijeleth Shahar, "gazelle of the morning," Psalm 22 title;  Matthew 28:1;  Luke 24:1); sunrise; heat of the day; the two noons ( Tsaharaim , Hebrew;  Genesis 43:16); the cool of the day ( Genesis 3:8); evening (divided into early evening and late evening after actual sunset).

Between the two evenings the paschal lamb and the evening sacrifice used to be offered. "Hour" is first mentioned  Daniel 3:6;  Daniel 3:15;  Daniel 5:5. The Jews learned from the Babylonians the division of the day into twelve parts ( John 11:9). Ahaz introduced the sun dial from Babylon ( Isaiah 38:8). The usual times of prayer were the third, sixth, and ninth hours ( Daniel 6:10;  Acts 2:15;  Acts 3:1). "Give us day by day our daily bread" ( Luke 11:3); i.e., bread for the day as it comes ( Epiousion Arton ).

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [11]


 Jeremiah 17:21 (b) This time of rest was a picture of the real and true rest which the believer has in Jesus Christ. Christ is the true Sabbath. All the other sabbaths were a picture of Him. They pointed forward to Him. In these days Christ Jesus invites us in the words, "Come unto Me" - "I will give you rest." This rest is described more fully in Hebrews, chapter3and chapter4. (See also Colossians 2:16-17).

-(of wrath;  Job 20:28);

-(of temptation  Hebrews 3:8);

-(of trouble  Psalm 102:2);

-(of the Lord1Th5:2).

All of these days represent an unspecified length of time in which certain conditions exist as described by the word that is used. The expression "day of the Lord" refers particularly to the time when the Lord Jesus is ruling and reigning, exercising His authority. He calls this "my day" in  John 8:56.

Day (numerical). For an explanation of the expression "forty days" and other expressions wherein other numbers are used, see under "NUMBERS."

 Ecclesiastes 7:1 (c) This probably refers to the time when the blessings of life have accumulated and the rewards for faithful service are given the Christian. Death takes him to his reward.

 Isaiah 7:17 (c) Probably this refers to times when the wicked prosper, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and there seem to be no signs of sorrow.

 John 9:4 (b) Here is a reference to the few years in which the Saviour lived on earth. He walked among men as the light of life and gave light on the mysteries of life.

 1 Thessalonians 5:4 (b) By this is indicated the time when our Lord shall return to earth as the Sun of Righteousness to scatter the clouds of unbelief and the dark shadows of sin.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [12]

The day is distinguished into natural, civil, and artificial. The natural day is one revolution of the earth on its axis. The civil day is that, the beginning and the end of which are determined by the custom of any nation. The Hebrews began their day in the evening,  Leviticus 23:32; the Babylonians at sunrise; and we begin at midnight. The artificial day is the time of the sun's continuance above the horizon, which is unequal according to different seasons, on account of the obliquity of the equator. The sacred writers generally divide the day into twelve hours. The sixth hour always ends at noon throughout the year; and the twelfth hour is the last hour before sunset. But in summer, all the hours of the day were longer than in winter, while those of night were shorter. See Hours , and Three .

The word day is also often put for an indeterminate period, for the time of Christ's coming in the flesh, and of his second coming to judgment,  Isaiah 2:12   Ezekiel 13:5   John 11:24   1 Thessalonians 5:2 . The prophetic "day" usually is to be understood as one year, and the prophetic "year" or "time" as 360 days,  Ezekiel 4:6 . Compare the three and half years of  Daniel 7:25 , with the forty-two months and twelve hundred and sixty days of  Revelation 11:2,3 .

Easton's Bible Dictionary [13]

 Leviticus 23:32 Psalm 55:17 1 Samuel 11:11 Nehemiah 7:3 Genesis 3:8 Lamentations 2:19 Judges 7:19 Exodus 14:24 Mark 13:35Watches

The division of the day by hours is first mentioned in   Daniel 3:6,15;  4:19;  5:5 . This mode of reckoning was borrowed from the Chaldeans. The reckoning of twelve hours was from sunrise to sunset, and accordingly the hours were of variable length ( John 11:9 ).

The word "day" sometimes signifies an indefinite time ( Genesis 2:4;  Isaiah 22:5;  Hebrews 3:8 , etc.). In  Job 3:1 it denotes a birthday, and in   Isaiah 2:12 ,  Acts 17:31 , and  2 Timothy 1:18 , the great day of final judgment.

Webster's Dictionary [14]

(1): ( n.) A specified time or period; time, considered with reference to the existence or prominence of a person or thing; age; time.

(2): ( n.) The time of light, or interval between one night and the next; the time between sunrise and sunset, or from dawn to darkness; hence, the light; sunshine.

(3): ( n.) The period of the earth's revolution on its axis. - ordinarily divided into twenty-four hours. It is measured by the interval between two successive transits of a celestial body over the same meridian, and takes a specific name from that of the body. Thus, if this is the sun, the day (the interval between two successive transits of the sun's center over the same meridian) is called a solar day; if it is a star, a sidereal day; if it is the moon, a lunar day. See Civil day, Sidereal day, below.

(4): ( n.) Those hours, or the daily recurring period, allotted by usage or law for work.

(5): ( n.) (Preceded by the) Some day in particular, as some day of contest, some anniversary, etc.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [15]

DAY . See Time.

King James Dictionary [16]

DAY, n.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [17]

(properly יוֹם , yzm, Ἡμέρα ). The variable length of the natural day ("ab exortu ad occasum solis," Censor. De Die Nat. 23) at different seasons led in the very earliest times to the adoption of the civil day (or one revolution of the sun). as a standard of time. The commencement of the civil day varied in different nations: the Babylonians (like the people of Nuremberg) reckoned it from sunrise to sunrise (Isidor. Orig . v. 30); the Umbrians from noon to noon; the Romans from midnight to midnight (Plin. 2:79); the Athenians and others from sunset to sunset (Macrob. Saturn . 1:3; Gell. 3, 2). (See Chronology).

The Hebrews adopted the latter reckoning ( Leviticus 23:32, "from even to even shall ye celebrate your Sabbath"), which appears even in  Genesis 1:5, "the evening and the morning were [on] the first day" (a passage which the Jews are said to have quoted to Alexander the Great, Gemara, Tamid, 66, 1; Reland, Ant.  Hebrews 4:15). Some (as in Godwyn's Moses and Aaron) argue foolishly, from  Matthew 28:1, that they began their civil day in the morning; but the expression Ἐπιφωσκούση shows that the Natural day is there intended. Hence the expression "evening-morning" = day ( Daniel 8:14, Sept. Νυχθήμερον ), the Hindoo Ahoratra (Von Bohlen on  Genesis 1:4), the Greek Νυχθήμερον ( 2 Corinthians 11:25). There was a similar custom among the Athenians, Arabians, and ancient Teutons (Tac. Germ . 11, nec dierum numerum ut apud nos, sed noctium computant . . nox ducere diem videtur") and Celtic nations (Caesar, Bell. Gall. 6:18, "ut noctem dies subsequatur"). This mode of reckoning was widely spread; it is found in the Roman law (Gains, 1:112), in the Niebelungenlied, in the Salic law (inter decemn noctes), in our own terms "fortnight," "se'n-night" (see Orelli, etc. in loc. Tac.), and even among the Siamese ("they reckon by nights," Bowring, i, 137) and New Zealanders (Taylor's TeIka-Miaui, p. 20). No doubt this arose from the general notion "that the first day in Eden was 36 hours long" (Lightfoot's Works, 2:334, ed. Pitman; Hesiod, Theogon. 123; Aristoph. Av. 693; Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 4:274). Kalisch plausibly refers it to the use of lunar years (Genesis p. 67). Sometimes, however, they reckoned from sunrise ( Ἡμερονύκτιον , comp.  Psalms 1:2;  Leviticus 7:15).

The less obvious starting-points of noon and midnight, the former adopted by the Etruscans, etc., the latter by the Roman priests, Egyptians (see, however, Lepsius, Chronol . p. 130), and others, were chosen either as the culminating points, as it were, of light and darkness, or for astronomical purposes (Ideler, Hb. D. Chron . 1:29, 80, 100 sq.; comp. Tacit. Germ . 11; Macrob. Sat . 33, etc.). To the Hebrews, the moon had distinctly been pointed out as the regulator of time ( Psalms 104:19). Nevertheless, it has always been a moot point whether the Hebrews, at all times and in all respects, began their calendar or civil day with the night. (See Felseisen, De Civili Judceorum Die , Lpz. 1702; Federreuther, De Diebus Egyptiacis , Altd. 1757.) It has been argued that, if this had been the case, the lawgiver could not have designated those very evenings which he wished to belong ritually to the following (15th, 10th) day, as the evenings of the previous (14th, 9th) day (Leviticus 1. c.). Further, that in common Biblical phraseology, the day is frequently mentioned before the night ( Psalms 1:2, etc.); and that of the fast days mentioned in  Zechariah 8:19, only one begins with the previous evening. Finally not to mention other objections it has been alleged that even in ritual points the Bible occasionally reckons the night as following, not as preceding the day ( Leviticus 7:15). There seems, in fact, no other way of reconciling these apparent inconsistencies than to assume (comp. Mishnah, Chulin , v. 6) that no absolute rule had been laid down with respect to the commencement of the civil day, and that usage varied somewhat with the customs of the people where the Hebrews were for the time sojourning. The prevalent method of computation, however, is evinced by the fact that the Jewish civil day still begins, not with the morning, but the evening thus the Sabbath commences with the sunset of Friday, and ends with the sunset of Saturday. That this was the case in Judaea in our Savior's day is evident from the evangelists' account of the Passion. In New England the same mode of reckoning the Sabbath was formerly common. (See Festival).

The Jews are supposed, like the modern Arabs, to have adopted from an early period minute specifications of the parts of the natural day (see Jour. Sac. Lit. Jan. 1862, p. 471). Roughly, indeed, they were content to divide it into "morning, evening, and noonday" ( Psalms 55:17); but when they wished for greater accuracy they pointed to six unequal parts, each of which was again subdivided. These are held to have been:

(I.) Ne'Sheph , נֶשֶׁ Š (from נָשִׁ Š , to Blow ), and Shach'Ar , שִׁחִר , or the Dawn . After their acquaintance with Persia they divided this into (a) the time when the eastern and (b) when the western horizon was illuminated, like the Greek Leucothea Matuta Ñ and Aurora; or "the gray dawn" (Milton) and the rosy dawn. Hence we find the dual Shaharaim as a proper name ( 1 Chronicles 8:8). The writers of the Jerus. Talmud divide the dawn into four parts, of which there was;

1. Aijeleth Ha - Shachar (q.v.), "the gazelle of the morning," a name by which the Arabians call the sun (comp. "eyelids of the dawn,"  Job 3:9; Ἁμέρας Βλέφαρον , Soph. Antig . 109). This was the time when Christ arose ( Mark 16:2;  John 20:1;  Revelation 22:16; Ἐπιφωσκούση ,  Matthew 28:1). The other three divisions of the dawn were,

2. "when one can distinguish blue from white" ( Πρωϊ v, Σκοτίας Ἔτι Οὔσης ,  John 20:1; "obscurum adhuc cceptae lucis," Tacit. H. 4:2). At this time they began to recite the phylacteries.

3. When the east began to grow light ( Ὄρθρος Βαθύς ,  Luke 24:1).

4. Twilight ( Λίαν Πρωϊ v, Ἀνατείλαντος Τοῦ Ἡλίου ,  Mark 16:2; Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad loc.). (See Dawn).

(II.) Bo'Ker , בֹּקֶר , sunrise. Some suppose that the Jews, like other Oriental nations, commenced their civil day at this time until the Exodus (Jennings's Jewish Ant .). (See Morning).

(III.) Chom Hay-Yom , הֹם הִיּוֹם , "heat of the day" (Sept. Ἕως Διεθερμάνθη Ἡμέρα ,  1 Samuel 11:11; less exactly elsewhere Μεσημβρία ), about 9 o'clock in the forenoon.

(IV.) Tsohora'Yim , צָהַרִיַם , "the two noons" ( Genesis 43:16;  Deuteronomy 28:29). (See Noon).

(V.) Ru'Ach Hay-Yom , רוּחִ הִיּוֹם , "the cool (liter. wind) of the day," before sunset ( Genesis 3:8); so called by the Persians to this day (Chardin, Voy. 4:8; Jahn, Bibl. Arch . § 29). (See Afternoon).

(VI.) E'Reb , עֶרֶב "Evening ." The phrase "between the two evenings" ( Exodus 16:12;  Exodus 30:8), being the time marked for slaying the paschal lamb and offering the evening sacrifice ( Exodus 12:6;  Exodus 29:39), led to a dispute between the Karaites and Samaritans on the one hand, and the Pharisees on the other. The former took it to mean between sunset and full darkness ( Deuteronomy 16:6); the Rabbinists explained it as the time between the beginning ( Δείλη Πρωϊ v Α , "little evening") and end of sunset ( Δ . Ὀψία ), or real sunset; Josephus, War, 6:9, 3; Gesenius, s.v.; Jahn, Bibl. Archcaeol . § 101; Bochart, Hieroz. 1:558). (See Evening).

(VII.) Chatsoth , חֲצוֹת (from חָצָה , "to divide"), Midnight . In later Hebrew also mid-day (Mishna, Pesach, 4:1, 5, 6). (See Midnight).

Since the Sabbath was reckoned from sunset to sunset ( Leviticus 23:32), the Sabbatarian Pharisees, in that spirit of scrupulous superstition which so often called forth the rebukes of our Lord, were led to settle the minutest rules for distinguishing the actual instant when the Sabbath began ( Ὀψία ,  Matthew 8:16 = Ὅτε Ἔδυ Ἣλιος ,  Mark 1:32). They therefore called it the time between the actual sunset and the appearance of three stars (Maimon. in Shabb. c. 5; comp  Nehemiah 4:21-22); and the Talmudists decided that "if on the evening of the Sabbath a man did any work after One star had appeared, he was forgiven; if after the appearance of Two , he must offer a sacrifice for a doubtful transgression; if after Three stars were visible, he must offer a sin-offering;" the order being Reversed for works done on the evening after the actual Sabbath (Lightfoot, Hor. Hebr. ad  Matthew 8:16; Otho, Lex . Rab . s.v. Sabbathum). (See Sunset).

Before the Captivity the Jews divided the night into three watches ( Psalms 63:6;  Psalms 90:4), viz. the first watch, lasting till midnight ( Lamentations 2:19, A. V. "the beginning of the watches") = Ἀρχὴ Νυκτός; the "middle watch" (which proves the statement), lasting till cock-crow ( Judges 7:19) = Μέσον Νυκτῶν ; and the morning watch, lasting till sunrise ( Exodus 14:24) = Άμφιλύκη Νύξ (Homer, II. 7:433). These divisions were probably connected with the Levitical duties in the Temple service. The Jews, however, say (in spite of their own definition, "a watch is the third part of the night") that they always had four night-watches (comp.  Nehemiah 9:3), but that the fourth was counted as a part of the morning (Buxtorf's Lex. Talm. col. 2454; Carpzov, Appar. Crit. p. 347; Reland, Antiq. pt. 4, § 18). (See Watch).

In the N.T. we have allusions to four watches, a division borrowed from the Greeks (Herod. 9:51) and Romans ( Φυλακή· Τὸ Τέταρτον Μέρος Τῆς Νυκτός , Suid.). These were, 1. Ὀψέ , Ὀψία , or Ὀψία É Ρα , from twilight till 9 o'clock ( Mark 11:11;  John 20:19); 2. ( Μεσονύκτιον , midnight, from 9 till 12 o'clock ( Mark 13:35); 3. Ἀλεκτοροφωνία , till 3 in the morning ( Mark 13:35;  3 Maccabees 5:23); 4. Πρωϊ v, till daybreak, the same as Πρωϊ v Α ( É Ρα ) ( John 18:28; Josephus, Ant. v. 6, 5; 18:9, 6). (See Night).

The word held to mean "hour" is first found in  Daniel 3:6;  Daniel 3:15,  Daniel 3:5 ( שָׁעָה , Shaah , also "a moment,"  Daniel 4:19). Perhaps the Jews, like the Greeks, learned from the Babylonians the division of the day into twelve parts (Herod. 2:109). In our Lord's time the division was common ( John 11:9). It is probable that Ahaz introduced the first sun-dial from Babylon ( Ὡρολόγιον , מִעֲלוֹת ,  Isaiah 38:8;  2 Kings 20:11), as Anaximenes did the first Σκιάθηρον into Greece (Jahn, Arch. § 101). Possibly the Jews at a later period adopted the clepsydra (Joseph. Ant. 11:6). The third, sixth, and ninth hours were devoted to prayer ( Daniel 6:10;  Acts 2:15;  Acts 3:1, etc.). (See Hour).

The days of the week had no proper names among the Hebrews, but were distinguished only by their numeral order from the Sabbath (see Lightfoot's Works, 2:334, ed. Pitman). (See Week).

The expression Ἐπιούσιον , rendered "daily" in  Matthew 6:11, is a Ἃπ . Λεγ ., and has been much disputed. It is unknown to classical Greek ( Ἔοικε Πεπλάσθαι Ὑπὸ Τῶν Εὐαγγελιστῶν , Origen, Orat . 16). The Vulg. has Supersubstantialem , a rendering recommended by Abelard to the nuns of the Paraclete. Theophyl. explains it as equivalent to Sufficient ( Ἐπὶ Τ א Οὐσίᾷ Καὶ Συστάσει Ἡμῶν Αὐταρκής ), and he is followed by most commentators (compare Chrysost. Hom. In Or. Domin ., Suid. and Etym. M. s.v.). Salmasius, Grotius, etc. arguing from the rendering מָחָרּ in the Nazarene Gospel, translate it as though it were equivalent to To - Morrow'S ( Τῆς Ἐπιούσης Ἡμέρας , or Εἰς Αὔριον , Sixt. Senensis Bibl. Sanct . p. 444 a). But see the question examined at length (after Tholuck) in Alford's Greek Test . ad loc; Schleusner, Lex . s.v.; Wetstein, N.T. i, p. 461, etc. (See Daily). In  Ezekiel 4:4-6, a day is put symbolically for a year. Erroneously supposing this statement to be a precedent, many interpreters of the prophecies have taken it for granted that one day stands for a year in the prophetic writings of Daniel and John. Such, however, is not the case; -the word day is to be taken in its literal sense, unless the context expressly intimates the contrary. On the prophetic or year-day system ( Leviticus 25:3-4;  Numbers 14:34), see a treatise in Elliot's Hor. Apoc. 3, 154, sq., and Prof. Stuart on "The Designations of Time in the Apocalypse," Bib. Repository, v. 33-83. (See Year).

The ancients superstitiously held that certain days were lucky (fasti) and others unlucky (nefasti), and the distinction was sometimes indicated by different colors in the calendar ( red-calendar" or rubric). (See Calendar).

The duration of the Mosaic or demiurgic days of Genesis 5-31, has been a matter of considerable dispute. The various opinions on this subject, and the difficulties in which most of them are involved, are stated under the head of CREATION (See Creation) . See also the articles (See Cosmogony); (See Sabbath); (See Millennium); the Methodist Quarterly Review , April, 1865; Evangelical Quarterly Review , January, 1868 (art. Geology).

The word day is often used by the sacred writers to denote an indefinite time ( Genesis 2:4;  Isaiah 22:5). The "day of temptation in the wilderness" was forty years ( Hebrews 3:8). The "day of the Lord" signifies, generally, a time of calamity and distress ( Isaiah 2:12;  Joel 2:11). It is also used of a festal day ( Hosea 7:5), a birthday ( Job 3:1), a day of ruin ( Hosea 1:11;  Job 18:20; comp. tempus, tempora reipublicae, Cic., and dies Cannensis), the judgment-day ( Joel 1:15;  1 Thessalonians 5:2), the kingdom of Christ ( John 8:56;  Romans 13:12), and in other senses which are mostly self- explaining (see Wemyss, Symbol. Dict. s.v.). In  1 Corinthians 4:3, Ὑπὸ Ἀνθρωπίνης Ἡμέρας is rendered by man's judgment:" Jerome ( Ad Algas. Quaest. x) considers this a Cilicism (Bochart, Hieroz. 2:471). On  Romans 13:12, there are two treatises Kuinol, Explicatio (Giess. 1808); Rachm, De nocte et die (Tubingen, 1764). (See Time).

The phrases "Last Day" (or days), "That Day" are "the general formula of the prophets for an indefinitely left future opened up in perspective" (Stier, Words of Jesus, 2:361, Am. ed.), designating the Messianic period, with its introductory age, that of the Maccabees (after the return from exile), and its consummation in the millennium. (See Eschatology). In a more literal and limited sense, the final judgment is designated. (See Last Day).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [18]

( יום , yōm  ; ἡμέρα , hēméra ): This common word has caused some trouble to plain readers, because they have not noticed that the word is used in several different senses in the English Bible. When the different uses of the word are understood the difficulty of interpretation vanishes. We note several different uses of the word:

(1) It sometimes means the time from daylight till dark. This popular meaning is easily discovered by the context, e.g.  Genesis 1:5;  Genesis 8:22 , etc. The marked periods of this daytime were morning, noon and night, as with us. See  Psalm 55:17 . The early hours were sometimes called "the cool of the day" ( Genesis 3:8 ). After the exile the day. or daytime was divided into twelve hours and the night into twelve (see  Matthew 20:1-12;  John 11:9;  Acts 23:23 ); 6 a.m. would correspond to the first hour, 9 a.m. to the third; 12 noon to the sixth, etc. The hours were longer during the longer days and shorter during the shorter days, since they always counted 12 hours between sunrise and sunset.

(2) Day also means a period of 24 hours, or the time from sunset to sunset. In Bible usage the day begins with sunset (see  Leviticus 23:32;  Exodus 12:15-20;  2 Corinthians 11:25 , where night is put before day). See Day And Night .

(3) The word "day" is also used of an indefinite period, e.g "the day" or "day that" means in general "that time" (see  Genesis 2:4;  Leviticus 14:2 ); "day of trouble" ( Psalm 20:1 ); "day of his wrath" ( Job 20:28 ); "day of Yahweh" ( Isaiah 2:12 ); "day of the Lord" ( 1 Corinthians 5:5;  1 Thessalonians 5:2;  2 Peter 3:10 ); "day of salvation" ( 2 Corinthians 6:2 );. "day of Jesus Christ" ( Philippians 1:6 ).

(4) It is used figuratively also in   John 9:4 , where "while it is day" means "while I have opportunity to work, as daytime is the time for work." In  1 Thessalonians 5:5 ,  1 Thessalonians 5:8 , "sons of the day" means spiritually enlightened ones.

(5) We must also bear in mind that with God time is not reckoned as with us (see  Psalm 90:4;  2 Peter 3:8 ).

(6) The apocalyptic use of the word "day" in  Daniel 12:11;  Revelation 2:10 , etc., is difficult to define. It evidently does not mean a natural day. See Apocalypse .

(7) On the meaning of "day" in the story of Creation we note ( a ) The word "day" is used of the whole period of creation ( Genesis 2:4 ); ( b ) These days are days of God, with whom one day is as a thousand years; the whole age or period of salvation is called "the day of salvation"; see above. So we believe that in harmony with Bible usage we may understand the creative days as creative periods. See also Astronomy; Creation; Evolution .

Figurative: The word "day" is used figuratively in many senses, some of which are here given.

(1) The span of human life . -  Genesis 5:4 : "And the days of Adam ... were eight hundred years." "And if thou wilt walk ... then I will lengthen thy days" (  1 Kings 3:14; compare  Psalm 90:12;  Isaiah 38:5 ).

(2) An indefinite time . - E xistence in general:  Genesis 3:14 : "All the days of thy life" (compare   Genesis 21:34;  Numbers 9:19;  Joshua 22:3;  Luke 1:24;  Acts 21:10 ).

(3) A set time . -  Genesis 25:24 : "And when her days ... were fulfilled";   Daniel 12:13 : "Thou shalt stand in thy lot, at the end of the days" (compare   Leviticus 12:6;  Daniel 2:44 ).

(4) A historic period . -  Genesis 6:4 : "The Nephilim were in the earth in those days";   Judges 17:6 : "In those days there was no king in Israel" (compare   1 Samuel 3:1;  1 Chronicles 5:17;  Hosea 2:13 ).

(5) Past time . -  Psalm 18:18 : "the day of my calamity";   Psalm 77:5 : "I have considered the days of old" (of   Micah 7:20;  Malachi 3:7;  Matthew 23:30 ).

(6) Future time . -  Deuteronomy 31:14 : "Thy days approach that thou must die";   Psalm 72:7 : "In his days shall ...." (compare   Ezekiel 22:14;  Joel 2:29;  Matthew 24:19;  2 Peter 3:3;  Revelation 9:6 ).

(7) The eternal . - I n  Daniel 7:9 ,  Daniel 7:13 , where God is called "the ancient of days."

(8) A season of opportunity . -  John 9:4 : "We must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work" (compare   Romans 13:12 ,  Romans 13:13;  1 Thessalonians 5:5-8 ). See Day (4), above.

(9) Time of salvation . - S pecially referring to the hopes and prospects of the parousia (see Eschatology Of The New Testament ).  Romans 13:12 : "The night is far spent, and the day is at hand."

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [19]

The earliest measure of time on record is the day—'The evening and the morning were the first day'. Here the word 'day' denotes the civil or calendar day of twenty-four hours, including 'the evening,' or natural night, and the 'morning.' or natural day. It is remarkable that in this account 'the evening,' or natural night, precedes 'the morning,' or natural day. Hence the Hebrew compound 'evening-morning' which is used by Daniel to denote a civil day. In fact, the Jewish civil day began, as it still does, not with the morning, but the evening—thus the Sabbath commences with the sunset of Friday, and ends with the sunset of Saturday.

The inconveniences resulting from a variable commencement of the civil day, earlier or later, according to the different seasons of the year, as well as the equally varying duration of the natural day and night, must have been very considerable, and are sensibly felt by Europeans when traveling in the East, where the ancient custom in this matter is still observed. These inconveniences must be less obvious to the people themselves, who know no better system; yet they were apparent to several ancient nations—the Egyptians, the Ausonians, and others—and induced them to reckon their civil day from midnight to midnight, as from a fixed invariable point; and this usage has been adopted by most of the modern nations of Europe. We thus realize the advantage of having our divisions of the day, the hours, of equal duration, day and night, at all times of the year; whereas among the Orientals, the hours, and all other divisions of the natural day and night, are of constantly varying duration, and the divisions of the day vary from those of the night, excepting at the equinoxes.

The natural day was at first divided into three parts, morning, noon, and evening, which are mentioned by David as hours or times of prayer .

The natural night was also originally divided into three parts, or watches . The first, or beginning of the watches, is mentioned in; the middle watch, in; and the morning watch, in Exodus 24. Afterwards the strictness of military discipline among the Greeks and Romans introduced an additional night-watch. The second and third watches of the night are mentioned in , and the fourth in . The four are mentioned together by our Lord, in , and described by the terms 'the late watch;' 'the midnight;' 'the cock-crowing;' and 'the morning.' The precise beginning and ending of each of the four watches is thus determined:

1. 'The late' began at sunset and ended with the third hour of the night, including the evening dawn, or twilight. It was also called 'eventide' , or simply 'evening' .

2. 'The midnight' lasted from the third hour till midnight.

3. 'The cock-crowing' lasted from midnight till the third hour after, or to the ninth hour of the night. It included the two cock-crowings, with the second of which it ended.

4. 'Early' lasted from the ninth to the twelfth hour of the night, or sunrise, including the morning dawn, or twilight. It was also called 'morning,' or 'morning-tide' .

The division of the day into twelve hours was common among the Jews after the captivity in Babylon. The word hour first occurs in the book of Daniel and it is admitted by the Jewish writers that this division of the day was borrowed by them from the Babylonians. Our Lord appeals to this ancient, and then long-established, division, as a matter of public notoriety: 'Are there not twelve hours in the day?' .

This, however, was the division of the natural day into twelve hours, which were therefore variable according to the seasons of the year, at all places except the equator; and equal, or of the mean length, only at the vernal and autumnal equinoxes; being longer in the summer half-year, and shorter in the winter. The inconvenience of this has already been intimated.

The first hour of the day began at sunrise; the sixth hour ended at mid-day, or noon; the seventh hour began at noon; and the twelfth hour ended at sunset.

The days of the week had no proper names among the Hebrews, but were distinguished only by their numeral order [WEEK].