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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

1. The conception of time. -In all ages and among all peoples the idea of time tends to be expressed in the figure of a continually and evenly running stream. It is viewed, however, in sections; and each section brings with itself or takes up into itself all the events that happen. This conception is maintained consistently in the writings of the Apostolic Age. Time comes into being (διαγενομένου,  Acts 27:9, ‘spent,’ lit.[Note: literally, literature.]‘had come through’). It passes by (ὁ παρεληλυθὼς χρόνος,  1 Peter 4:3). It is generally looked at as a whole, but it is divisible into parts which differ quantitatively and may be measured-it is ‘much,’ or ‘little,’ or ‘Sufficient’ (for a given purpose). ‘sufficient’ (ἱκανὸς χρόνος,  Luke 8:27;  Luke 23:8,  Acts 8:11; ἡμέραι ἱκαναί,  Acts 9:23;  Acts 9:43;  Acts 18:18; ἱκανῶν ἐτῶν,  Romans 15:23) as applied in measuring time is an expression of indefiniteness. The adequacy of the measure of time for the maturing of a definite plan is given in the idea of ‘fullness.’ Time accumulates as if in a reservoir and becomes sufficient for its end (πλήρωμα τοῦ χρόνου,  Galatians 4:4; cf.  Acts 7:23). Naturally the flow of time involves succession and order as between first and last. But all time future to any particular moment may be from the view of it at that moment ‘last.’ The Christian outlook on the future involves a great consummation and a radical world change. The period just preceding this consummation was especially designated ‘the last times’ (ἐπʼ ἐσχάτου τῶν χρόνων,  1 Peter 1:21; ἐσχάτη ἡμέρα,  John 6:39-40;  John 11:24; ἔσχαται ἡμέραι,  Acts 2:17,  2 Timothy 3:1,  James 5:3;  2 Peter 3:3; ἐσχάτη ὥρα,  1 John 2:18).

The relativity of length of time to the mind is indicated in the conception that to God’s mind human measures and standards of time have no inherent reality (‘One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day,’  2 Peter 3:8). The notion shows a trace of philosophical influence in the thinking which culminates in the apocalyptical conception of the transiency of time and its contrast with eternity (‘There shall be time no longer,’  Revelation 10:6).

2. Season. -Time from the point of view of its special content or relation to a definite event or events is specifically denoted by the term καιρός (generally, ‘definite time’). The most accentuated usage of the term in this sense is the Apocalyptist’s καιρὸν καὶ καιροὺς καὶ ἥμισυ καιροῦ ( Revelation 12:14), where the evident design is to indicate a period of known duration, like a year (or century). The term is more nearly synonymous with ‘season’ when it designates a time (the time during the year) for the appearance of certain events ([καιρὸς] τοῦ θερισμοῦ,  Matthew 13:30; καιρὸς σύκων,  Mark 11:13: cf.  Luke 20:10; τοὺς καρποὺς ἐν τοῖς καιροῖς αὐτῶν,  Matthew 21:41). More generally καιρός is any division of time which differs from all others by some characteristic, as, for instance, that it ought to be observed as more sacred (μῆνας καὶ καιρούς,  Galatians 4:10); to be watched against because of the evil influences which it brings (καιροὶ χαλεποί,  2 Timothy 3:1); chosen by God for special revelation of His word ( Titus 1:3); a period when certain special events develop, distinguished by the moral character of the Gentiles (καιροὶ ἐθνῶν,  Luke 21:24); events have their own time ( Luke 1:20), persons may have their own time for the full display of their peculiar character or the accomplishment of their work ( e.g. the time of Jesus, ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ἐμός, ὁ καιρὸς ὁ ὑμέτερος,  John 7:6;  John 7:8). The term καιρός thus differs from χρόνος in designating ‘opportune’ or ‘fit’ time, a time associated with, and therefore distinguished by, some special event or feature. In the phrase πεπλήρωται ὁ καιρός ( Mark 1:15) the more appropriate term would have been χρόνος, but since the intention of the writer is to show not the lapse of mere time, but the appearance of a new era, the word used expresses the idea more accurately.

3. The ages. -The largest measure of time known is the ‘age’ (αἰών, ‘aeon’). An ‘age,’ however, is not a definite period (though the ‘present age’ is estimated by some as 10,000 or 5,000 years in duration). It is rather a period of vast length. It so far transcends thought that it impresses the mind with the mystery of the whole notion of time. Hence the combination ‘eternal times’ ( Romans 16:25) stretching back into the inconceivably remote past (practically the equivalent of the modern philosophical ‘species of eternity’).

The conception of the aeon is specially prominent in the apocalyptic system, which looks on all duration as divided into aeons. An aeon combines in itself the essential content of the Hebrew olam and of the Greek αἰών. In the first the emphasis is laid on the mysterious aspect of time without measure and apart from all known conditions. In the second the conception is based on a cyclic return similar to that marked by the seasons of the year. The modern analogy may be found in the geologic period. On a still larger scale the aeon has its analogy in the Hindu kalpa . Of such ages there is an indefinite series. This is given in the plural (αἰῶνες,  Galatians 1:5,  Philippians 4:20,  1 Timothy 1:17,  2 Timothy 4:18,  Hebrews 13:21; Hebrews 13 : 1 Peter 4:11, Rev., passim ). The series taken together constitutes all time (‘All the ages,’ Revised Version margin, εἰς πάντας τοὺς αἰῶνας,  Judges 1:25).

Later Jewish thought singled out two aeons (ages) and largely limited itself to their contemplation. From the practical point of view these were the only ones that concerned living men. These two were the ‘present age’ (ὁ αἰὼν οὗτος, ὁ νῦν αἰών, ὁ ἐνεστώς αἰών, עוֹלָם הָרּה,  Ephesians 1:21,  Matthew 12:32,  Galatians 1:4,  2 Timothy 4:10,  Titus 2:12) and the ‘future age’ (ὁ αἰων ὁ μέλλων, ὁ αἰών ὁ ἐρχόμενος, עוֹלָם הַבָּא,  Hebrews 6:5,  Luke 20:35;  Luke 18:30). The doctrine became prominent in the Apocalypses (cf. 4 Ezr 7:50 ). It fitted the apocalyptic scheme wonderfully. On one side it helped to define the older prophetic ‘latter days’ (as a distinct period when ideal conditions would prevail); at the same time it gave a background to the doctrine of the ‘Day of Jehovah. On the other side, by discovering an ideal moral character in the latter age, the doctrine infused comfort into the hearts of the faithful in the present evil days by promising a definite change with the beginning of the new era. Questions of the exact length of the age were raised and by some answered. The author of Ethiopic Enoch , xvi. 1, xviii. 16, xxi. 6, fixes the duration of the ‘evil [present] age’ as 10,000 years; the Assumption of Moses at 5,000. The apocalyptists consider that they are themselves living so near the end of the older age and the beginning of the new that it may be a question as to whether they will be still living when the crisis arrives and the one age yields to the other ( 4 Ezr_4:37  ; Ezr_5:50 ff;  Ezra 6:20; Syr. Bar . xliv. 8ff.). These two ages (the present and the one to come) are successive. But this is not the case with all the aeons of the series. ‘Unto the ages of the ages.’ (εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας τῶν αἰώνων) suggests the inequality of some of the ages and the inclusion of the briefer within the longer ones (cf. G. B. Winer, Grammar of NT Greek 9, Edinburgh, 1882, p. 36).

4. The era. -The NT writings contain no allusion to a uniform era. Undoubtedly each people of the period used its own era. The Romans dated events and documents from the founding of the city (a.u.c. = 752 b.c.); the Greeks went back to the beginning of the Olympiads (= 776 b.c.). The Jews, owing to the frequent vicissitudes experienced in their history, had changed their method of registering the relative dates of events. The Books of Kings and Chronicles use the very familiar device of synchronizing the regnal years of the kings of Israel and Judah respectively. Occasionally the deliverance from bondage in Egypt is used as a starting-point ( 1 Kings 6:1), or the building of the Temple of Solomon (9:10), or the beginning of the Babylonian Exile ( Ezekiel 33:21;  Ezekiel 40:1). The later Jewish usage settled down to reckoning all events from the creation of the world, which was supposed to have occurred in the 3761st year before the birth of Christ. But this computation is of post-Christian origin. In the Apocrypha, which may be regarded as the fair index of usage at the time, the Seleucid Era is frequently referred to. This was computed from the year of the seizure of Palestine by Seleucus after the battle of Gaza. It was also called the Era of the Greeks or Syro-Macedonians and (incorrectly) the Era of Alexander. By the Jews it was called the Year of Contracts ( Tarik Dilkarnaim ) from the fact that it was obligatory in the case of all legal documents. The beginning of the era was dated in the first year of the 117th Olympiad or 442 a.u.c., hence 312 b.c. ( 1 Maccabees 1:11;  1 Maccabees 6:16;  1 Maccabees 7:15;  1 Maccabees 10:1). The Era of Simon ( 1 Maccabees 13:42;  1 Maccabees 14:27) was proposed, but never extensively adopted.

In the New Testament events are associated with the reigns of contemporary rulers (‘In the days of Herod the king’ [ Matthew 2:1,  Luke 1:5], ‘in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea ,’ etc. [ Luke 3:1-2; cf. also  Acts 11:28;  Acts 12:1]). But in all cases the dating is approximate and intended to serve practical rather than scientific ends. With the exception of  Luke 3:1-2, all such dating of events seems not to be intentionally chronological (cf. A. Harnack, The Acts of the Apostles , London, 1909, p. 6 f.).

The method of Matthew ( Matthew 1:17) of giving a general intimation of date by the expedient of ‘generations’ is unique and highly artificial.

5. The year. -It has always been difficult to adjust with precision the limits of the year. In all the efforts to make the adjustment first the natural return of the seasons with their agricultural features calls for a definition that will harmonize with the apparent revolution of the sun around the earth in 365 + days. But the fact that this period approximately coincides with twelve lunar periods has tempted many peoples to settle down to a year of 354 days. In the Apostolic Age the problem had not as yet been solved fully. The usage of Palestine, inherited from early Canaanite and Babylonian antecedents, was still prevalent. The year began with the 1st of Nisan and was constituted of twelve months, with the periodical intercalation of a thirteenth to equalize difference. Intercalation was common all over the world, but the method of intercalating was different at different times, and probably not constant anywhere for any consecutive period of time. Among the Jews the Sanhedrin decided whether in any particular year a month should be intercalated. Among the Romans Plutarch testifies that 22 days were added every other year to the month of February (which, according to Varro, de Ling. Lat . vi. 55, was the last month of the year). But a more common way was the insertion of an additional month every three years, and as this left a troublesome margin it was corrected into three months every eight years and finally fixed as seven months in a cycle of nineteen years. This cycle was introduced into Athens by Meton the astronomer in 432, but found its way only gradually into general practice. Popularly the year must always have been viewed as divided into 12 months ( Revelation 22:2).

6. The month. -Throughout the Apostolic Age the ancient way of fixing the month as the exact equivalent of a complete lunation was maintained. The month accordingly began with the appearance of the moon in its first phase, and ended with its reappearance in the same phase the next time. Within the New Testament months are mentioned generally, not with precise reference to their relations to one another in the calendar, but as an indication and a measure of time in the terms of the fraction of a year ( Luke 1:24;  Luke 1:36;  Luke 1:56). In Acts it is probable that the usage is not meant to be minutely precise since the mention of months is invariably in threes ( Acts 7:20;  Acts 19:8;  Acts 20:3;  Acts 28:11, but once in twice three-six,  Acts 18:11).

So far as the calendar is concerned, there are evidences of mixed usage. The predominance at different times of different influences (Roman, Macedonian, Egyptian, older Jewish) brought into use different names. The occurrence of Xanthicus in  2 Maccabees 11:30;  2 Maccabees 11:38 (the sixth month of the Macedonian calendar) shows clearly the existence of a Macedonian element in the mixed usage. The name ‘Dioscorinthius’ (mentioned earlier in the same account,  2 Maccabees 11:21) is also probably Macedonian and a modified form of the first month, Dius. It may, however, be a textual corruption for ‘Dystrus’ (the name of the fifth month), as H. A. Redpath, in Hastings’ Hastings’ Single-vol. Dictionary of the Bible , p. 937, suggests, supporting the suggestion with the Sinaitic text of  Tobit 2:12, where Dystrus is mentioned. Otherwise Dioscorinthius is the name of an intercalary month. That an intercalary month must have had a place in the Macedonian calendar is to be assumed, though its name and place are unknown. Of the Egyptian calendar traces are found in the names ‘Pachon’ and ‘Epiphi’ in  3 Maccabees 6:38.

7. The feasts. -A popular and practically useful method of reckoning time within the year is that which relates events to well-known religious festivals. This method is especially useful where for some reason or other the names of months have become involved in confusion. In the nature of the case, of such festivals in the New Testament the Passover (‘the days of unleavened bread,’ ἡμέραι τῶν ἀζύμων,  Acts 12:3;  Acts 20:6, πάσχα,  Acts 12:4) stands prominent. The Day of Pentecost (ἡμέρα τῆς πεντηκοστῆς,  Acts 2:1;  Acts 20:18) and the Day of Atonement (‘fast,’ νηστεία,  Acts 27:9) are also used as landmarks. But in the allusion to the Feast of Dedication (ἐνκαίνια,  John 10:22) the intention perhaps was not so much to give the exact time as to account for Jesus’ walking ‘in the temple in Solomon’s porch.’ Similarly the Feast of Tabernacles (σκηνοπηγία,  John 7:2) is mentioned as explanatory of the course which Jesus had taken. In  John 5:1 the purpose of the author would be defeated if he had meant to fix the time of the action (cf. also  Luke 22:1,  Mark 15:6,  John 6:4;  John 12:12).

8. The week. -Though peculiar to the Jewish people, the constitution of a unit of time by grouping together seven days was retained in the usage of the Christian Church. But no separate word was adopted to designate the week as such. In spite of the fact that the Greek language offered the tempting word ἑβδομάς (which came later into universal use) the period was generally known by its last day, the Sabbath (σάββατον,  Luke 18:12), and in the plural (σάββατα), as shown in the name of the first day (μία τῶν σαββάτων,  Matthew 28:1,  Mark 16:2,  Luke 24:1). In  Acts 17:2, σάββατα τρία (rendered ‘weeks’ in Revised Version margin) is, in the light of St. Paul’s custom to use the Sabbath day as the time for preaching ( Acts 18:4), correctly translated ‘three Sabbath days.’ The seven-day period required to mature the process of fulfilling a vow is evidently not viewed as a week in the modern sense of any period of seven consecutive days ( Acts 21:27).

With the exception of the Sabbath (the seventh day) the days of the week are given no names, but are distinguished by ordinal numbers. The first day, however, acquired greater importance among Christians because of its association with the resurrection of the Lord (‘Lord’s day,’ κυριακὴ ἡμέρα,  Revelation 1:10). And this ultimately came to be the name of the day (= Dominica ). It was the day on which the Christians assembled together for the observance of their services (the ‘breaking of bread,’ mutual exhortation, taking up collections for the needs of their brethren,  Acts 20:7,  1 Corinthians 16:2). But in the earlier period the day was called the ‘first of the week’ (μία τῶν σαββάτων,  Acts 20:7). Other distinctions between the days of the week do not appear, with the exception of the fact that the day before the Sabbath was observed among the Jews as a season of preparation. Sometimes it was designated simply as the ‘eve of the Sabbath’ (προσάββατον,  Judith 8:6,  Mark 15:42); but in the NT oftener as the ‘Preparation [day]’ [παρασκευή,  Matthew 27:62,  Mark 15:42,  Luke 23:54,  John 19:14;  John 19:42). It was scarcely as yet the fixed name of the day. This it became later as it was taken up by Christian usage, and persists to the present time as the proper name of Friday in modern Greek.

9. The day. -Jewish custom fixed the beginning of the day at sunset. Since that custom prevails to the present time among the Jews it is not likely that it was ever superseded among them. Nevertheless, the Roman way of reckoning from midnight was evidently prevalent at least in official circles. The testimony, however, is limited to the Fourth Gospel, and the point of view may be peculiar to the author ( John 19:14; cf. also  John 1:39,  John 4:6). The day was divided into two sections of twelve hours, i.e. from midnight to midnight. These two sections might be viewed together as a twenty-four-hour unit (St. Paul spent a νυχθήμερον, ‘a night and a day,’ in the deep,  2 Corinthians 11:25). Of the night-day unit the day is the time for work ( John 11:9) and the night is divided into four military watches of three hours each ( Matthew 14:25;  Matthew 24:43,  Mark 6:48,  Luke 12:38).

Related to each day stand the day preceding and the day following or the day after. The day preceding (‘yesterday,’ ἐχθές,  John 4:52,  Acts 7:28,  Hebrews 13:8) is not so frequently mentioned as the day following (‘morrow,’ ἡ αὔριον,  Acts 4:3;  Acts 4:5;  Acts 23:20;  Acts 25:22; ἡ ἐπαύριον,  Acts 10:9;  Acts 14:20;  Acts 20:7; ἡ ἐπιοῦσα,  Acts 16:11;  Acts 20:15;  Acts 21:18;  Acts 23:11; ἡ ἐχομένη,  Acts 20:15;  Acts 21:26; ἡ ἑξῆς ἡμέρα,  Acts 21:1;  Acts 25:17;  Acts 27:18). The ‘day after to-morrow’ is spoken of as ‘the third day’ (τρίτη,  Acts 27:19).

10. The hour. -The primary object of the division of the day into hours is two-fold. It gives a small and convenient unit as a measure or time (the fraction of a day), and at the same time it furnishes a basis for fixing on the exact portion of the day for any important or critical events to be recorded. The system of beginning the day with sunset and counting twelve hours to sunrise, with another set of twelve hours from sunrise to sunset, would result in a variable hour with a maximum of 79 minutes and a minimum of 49, according to the season of the year. Whether this was overcome by the adoption of the Roman method of reckoning from midnight to midnight is not certain. But the question loses its importance from the NT standpoint when it is considered that all mention of hours is general and practical rather than precise and chronological.

Of the hour as a measure of time a clear case occurs in  Acts 19:34 (‘for the space of two hours,’ ἐπὶ ὤρας δύο; cf. also  Matthew 20:12,  Mark 14:37,  Luke 22:59,  Acts 5:7). Of the hour as giving the time of the day the usage is more abundant ( Matthew 20:3;  Matthew 20:5-6;  Matthew 27:45-46,  Mark 15:25;  Mark 15:33-34,  Luke 23:44,  John 1:39;  John 4:6;  John 4:52;  John 19:14;  John 19:27,  Acts 2:15;  Acts 10:3;  Acts 23:23). Besides the designation of the relative place of the hours to each other by numerals, hours are sometimes associated with customary action such as a meal ( Luke 14:17, ὤρα τοῦ δείπνου), the offering up of incense ( Luke 1:10, ὤρα τοῦ θυμιάματος), prayer ( Acts 3:1, ὤρα τῆς προσευχῆς).

The hour, however, though the smallest definite unit in measuring, was not the smallest conceived division of time. An infinitesimal point of time is in the thought of St. Paul when he speaks of the resurrection change ( 1 Corinthians 15:52) as in a moment (ἀτόμῳ, lit.[Note: literally, literature.]‘indivisible’ [fraction of time], explained by the ‘twinkling of an eye’ which immediately follows). Jesus too is reported as having been shown the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time (στιγμῇ χρόνου,  Luke 4:5).

Literature.-A. Schwarz, Der jüdische Kalender , Breslau, 1872; G. Bilfinger, Die Zeitmesser der antiken Völker , Stuttgart, 1886, Der bürgerliche Tag , do., 1888, Die antiken Stundenangaben , do., 1888; T. Lewin, Fasti Sacri , London, 1865; W. M. Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia , Oxford, 1895-97; T. H. Key, article‘Calendarium,’ in Smith’s DGRA [Note: GRA Dict. of Greek and Roman Antiquities.]; E. Schürer, HJP [Note: JP History of the Jewish People (Eng. tr. of GJV).]i. [Edinburgh, 1890] i. 37, ii. Appendixiii.; Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible (5 vols) iv. 762-766, v. 473-484.

Andrew C. Zenos.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [2]

TIME . The conception that we seem to gather of time from the Holy Scriptures is of a small block, as it were, cut out of boundless eternity. Of past eternity, if we may use such an expression, God is the only inhabitant; in future eternity angels and men are to share. And this ‘block’ of time is infinitesimally small. In God’s sight, in the Divine mind, ‘a thousand years are but as yesterday’ (  Psalms 90:4; cf.   2 Peter 3:8 ‘one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day’). Time has a beginning; it has also, if we accept the usual translation of   Revelation 10:6 ‘there shall be time no longer,’ a stated end. The word ‘time’ in Biblical apocalyptic literature has another meaning ‘time’ stands for ‘a year’ both in Daniel (  Daniel 4:16;   Daniel 4:23;   Daniel 4:25;   Daniel 4:32;   Daniel 7:25 , where the plural ‘times’ seems to stand for two years) and in   Revelation 12:14 (derived from   Daniel 7:25 ).

When once the idea of time formed itself in the human mind, subdivisions of it would follow as a matter of course. The division between light and darkness, the rising, the zenith, and the setting of the sun and the moon, together with the phases of the latter, and the varying position of the most notable stars in the firmament, would all suggest modes of reckoning time, to say nothing of the circuit of the seasons as indicated by the growth and development of the fruits of the field and agricultural operations. Hence we find in  Genesis 1:1-31 day and night as the first division of time, and, because light was believed to be a later creation than matter, one whole day is said to be made up of evening and morning; and the day is reckoned, as it still is by the Jews and, in principle, by the Church in her ecclesiastical feasts, from one disappearance of the sun to the next, the divisions between day and night being formed by that appearance and disappearance. In this same cosmogony we meet with a further use of the lights in the firmament of heaven; they are to be ‘for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years’ (  Genesis 1:14 ). The day would thus be an obvious division of time for intelligent beings to make from the very earliest ages. As time went on, subdivisions of this day would be made, derived from an observance of the sun in the heavens morning , noonday or midday, and evening  ; and, by analogy, there would be a midnight . The only other expression we meet with is ‘between the two evenings’ (  Exodus 12:6 ), used most probably for the time between sunset and dark, though others take it as equivalent to ‘the time of the going down of the sun,’ i.e. any time in the afternoon: any shorter subdivisions of time were not known to the Jews till they were brought into contact with Western civilization and the Roman military arrangements. The only exception to this is the ‘steps’ on the dial of Ahaz (  2 Kings 20:9-11 ). In the passages in Daniel where the word hour occurs in the EV [Note: English Version.] , the term is quite an indefinite one, the ‘one hour’ of   Daniel 4:19 in AV [Note: Authorized Version.] becoming ‘a while’ in RV [Note: Revised Version.] . The Aram [Note: ram Aramaic.] , word used in that book was used in the New Hebrew for the word ‘hour.’ In the Apocrypha the word ‘hour’ is quite indefinite. But in the NT we find the Western division of the day into twelve hours, reckoning from sunrise to sunset, quite established. ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day?’ said our Lord, in an appeal to the Jews (  John 11:9 ). Westcott holds that in St. John’s Gospel (  John 1:39 ,   John 4:6;   John 4:52 ,   John 19:14 ) the modern mode of reckoning the hours from midnight to midnight is followed. The strongest passage in support of this view is   John 19:14 . These twelve hours were divided into the four military watches of three hours each (cf.   Matthew 14:25 ‘the fourth watch of the night’), as distinguished from the three watches which seem to have prevailed among the Jews (‘if he shall come in the second watch, and if in the third,’   Luke 12:38 ). The only other measure of time, quite indefinite and infinitesimal, is the ‘moment,’ common to OT, Apocr. [Note: Apocrypha, Apocryphal.] , and NT (‘we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye,’   1 Corinthians 15:52 ). To-morrow (  Exodus 8:23 ) and yesterday (  Exodus 5:14 ), and even yesternight (  Genesis 31:29 ), would soon take their place on either side of to-day. The Hebrew word meaning literally ‘the day before yesterday,’ is generally used vaguely of previous time, ‘heretofore.’

The next obvious division of time would be the month . The phases of the moon would be watched, and it would soon be noticed that these recurred at regular intervals. Each appearance of the new moon would be noted as the beginning of a new period. The first mention of the new moon in Biblical history is in   1 Samuel 20:5 , though ‘the beginnings of the months’ are mentioned in the ritual laws of   Numbers 10:10;   Numbers 28:11 . Of the two Heb. words for ‘month,’ one is identical with the word for ‘moon,’ the other means ‘newness.’ Though the actual period of each moon is rather more than 29 days, the actual time of its visibility could scarcely be more than 28 days. The first appearance of the new moon would be eagerly watched for and made a matter of rejoicing. We find, in fact, that a keen lookout was kept for it, and the ‘new moon’ feast was kept with great rejoicings, as well as, apparently in later times, a ‘full moon’ feast (‘Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day,’   Psalms 81:3 ).

Given this period of 28 days, together with the recurrent phases of the moon, it would naturally be subdivided, like the day itself, into four divisions or weeks of seven days each. The first occurrence of a week is in   Genesis 29:27 , though the Creation is represented as having been completed, including the rest of the Almighty, in a period of seven days, and periods of seven days occur in the history of the Flood. Of the two Heb. names for ‘week’ one is derived from the number seven, and the other is identical with ‘Sabbath,’ the day which completes the Jewish week. The NT takes over the latter word, and makes a Greek noun of it, whilst to the Christian and to the Christian Church, the first day of the week becomes the important day, instead of the seventh, and is for Christians the day of gathering together ‘to break bread’ (  Acts 20:7 ), and of making collections for the needs of the faithful (  1 Corinthians 16:2 ), and also wins for itself the name of ‘the Lord’s day’ (  Revelation 1:10 ). The word ‘week’ was given other applications. The seventh year completed a week of years and was a sabbath; seven times seven years formed seven sabbaths of years, i.e. forty-nine years, and was followed by the jubilee. From the constant occurrence of the tenth day of the month in the dating of events, it has been supposed that the month of 30 days was also subdivided into periods of ten days each (see, e.g. ,   Exodus 12:3 ,   Leviticus 16:29 ,   Joshua 4:19 ,   2 Kings 25:1 etc.).

There are no names in the OT for the days of the week except for the seventh the Sabbath. In the Apocrypha ( Jdt 8:6 ) there is a name for Friday which is translated ‘the eve of the Sabbath’; so in  Mark 15:42 ‘the day before the Sabbath.’ This day is also called the Preparation (  Matthew 27:62 ,   Mark 15:42 ,   Luke 23:54 ,   John 19:31 ). In Roman Catholic service-books Good Friday is still called ‘Feria Sexta in Parasceue’ ( i.e. the Preparation), and the following Saturday ‘Sabbatum Sanctum.’

Whilst these various divisions of time were being arrived at, there would be, concurrently with them, the obvious recurrence of the seasons in their due order. One of the promises represented as having been made by God to Noah immediately after the Flood was that seedtime ( i.e. spring), summer, harvest ( i.e. autumn), and winter should not cease (  Genesis 8:22 ). This is the earliest time in the world’s history to which a knowledge of the seasons is attributed in the Bible. Afterwards summer and winter are frequently mentioned. In AV [Note: Authorized Version.] the word ‘spring,’ to mean that season, occurs only in Wis 2:7 , and ‘autumn’ not at all, though the word translated ‘winter’ in   Amos 3:15 ,   Jeremiah 36:22 , might equally be rendered ‘autumn,’ as the time referred to is the border time between autumn and winter. It would in due course be noticed that the seasons recurred practically after a series of twelve moons or months; hence would come in the division of time into years of twelve lunar months. A year of 360 days is implied in the history of the Flood (  Genesis 6:1-22;   Genesis 7:1-24;   Genesis 8:1-22 ), but no satisfactory explanation has yet been given of the scheme of years and chronology in the genealogical account of antediluvian times (  Genesis 5:1-32 ).

The twelve months of the year would be given names. The Biblical names we find for them are:

1. Abib ( Exodus 13:4 ), the month of the green ears of corn, about the same as our April, called in post-exilic times, in correspondence with its Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] name, Nisan (  Nehemiah 2:1 ). This was the month in which the Passover came.

2. Ziv ( 1 Kings 6:1 ), seemingly the bright month, called later Iyyar.

3. Sivan ( Esther 8:9 ), another Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] name, occurring only in this one passage in the OT.

4. This month has no Biblical name, but was called in later times Tammuz, after the god of that name, in whose honour a fast was kept during the month, which is mentioned in  Zechariah 8:19 as ‘the fast of the fourth month.’

5. This month also has no Biblical name, but was called later Ab.

6. Elul ( Nehemiah 6:15 , 1Ma 14:27 ). The etymology of this name is unknown; it occurs in Assyrian.

7. Ethanim ( 1 Kings 8:2 ), the month of constant flowings, in later times called Tishri. This was the first month of the civil year.

8. Bul ( 1 Kings 6:38 ), a word of doubtful etymology, called later Marcheshvan.

9. Chislev ( Nehemiah 1:1 ,   Zechariah 7:1 , 1Ma 1:54 etc.), a Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] word of uncertain derivation.

10. Tebeth ( Esther 2:18 ), taken over from the Assyrian. It has been conjectured to mean ‘the month of sinking in,’ i.e . the muddy month.

11. Shebat ( Zechariah 1:7 , 1Ma 16:14 ), taken from the Babylonian; of doubtful meaning, but, according to some, the month of destroying rain.

12. Adar ( Ezra 6:15 ,   Esther 3:7 etc.), a Bab. [Note: Babylonian.] word, perhaps meaning darkened. In 2Ma 15:36 we are informed that the twelfth month ‘is called Adar in the Syrian tongue.’

The names given are, it will be seen, of rare occurrence, and only four of them are pre-exilic. Biblical writers are generally content to give the number of the month. Some of the months were notable for their ecclesiastical feasts. In the first came the Passover, on the 14th day; in the third, the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost); in the seventh, the Feast of Trumpets and the Feast of Tabernacles, as also the Fast of the Day of Atonement; in the ninth, the Feast of Dedication; and in the twelfth, the Feast of Purim.

Though at first all the months seem to have been reckoned of equal length, in later times they contained 30 and 29 days alternately. This rendered an intercalation in the Calendar necessary, to keep the Passover in the right season of the year; and this intercalary period was called the second Adar, and was inserted as required to bring Abib to its proper place in the year.

It remains to mention that in the Apocrypha we have traces of the Macedonian Calendar. In 2Ma 11:21 , a month is named Dioscorinthius , a name which does not occur elsewhere, and which is either a corruption of the text for Dystrus, a name for the twelfth month, which occurs in the Sinaitic text of Tob 2:12 , or the name of an intercalary month inserted at the end of the year. In 2Ma 11:30 Xanthicus , the name for the first month of the Macedonian year, occurs. It answers to the month Abib. These names, with other Macedonian names, are used by Josephus. In 3Ma 6:38 two Egyptian months, Pachon and Epiphi , occur, the former being omitted in some texts. They are the ninth and eleventh months of the Egyptian year.

Of epochs or eras there is but little trace. There were the periods of seven years and fifty years already mentioned, but they never occur in any chronological statement. 430 years is the time assigned to the sojourning in Egypt, both in OT and NT ( Exodus 12:40 ,   Galatians 3:17 ), and the commencement of the building of Solomon’s Temple is dated 480 years after the Exodus. The chronology of the two kingdoms is reckoned by regnal years, though in some cases a regency period is counted as part of the length of the reign. Twice in Isaiah (  Isaiah 6:1;   Isaiah 14:28 ) the date noted is that of the year of the death of a king, in another case the date is the invasion by the Tartan (  Isaiah 20:1 ); whilst in Amos (  Amos 1:1 ) a date is given as ‘two years before the earthquake,’ apparently a particularly severe one which happened during the reign of Uzziah, king of Judah (  Zechariah 14:5 ). The ‘seventy years’ of the Captivity is also a well-known period, as is the thousand years of the Apocalypse (  Revelation 20:1-15 ), with all the speculations it has given rise to. In later times the years were reckoned by the names of those who filled the office of high priest; in   Luke 3:1 f., we have a careful combination of names of various offices held by various persons at the time of the commencement of the preaching of John the Baptist, to indicate the date.

Of instruments to measure time we hear of only one, the sun-dial of Ahaz (  2 Kings 20:9-11 ,   Isaiah 38:8 ), but what shape or form this took we do not know.

H. A. Redpath.

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [3]

It is debatable whether the Bible contains enough information to formulate a full-scale doctrine of time; nonetheless, the significance of the biblical concept of time is unmistakably the way it uniformly presents God at work in guiding the course of history according to his saving plan. The Hebrew et [עֵת], moed, iddan [עֲדָשִׁים], zeman [זְמָן], yom [יום יום] and Greek kairos [Καιρός], chronos [Χρόνος], aion [Αἰών] are the main biblical time words depicting this divine work.

God as Lord over Time. Time is not fatalistic or capricious, but, according to Scripture, under God's personal direction and control. Time began at creation and becomes the agency through which God continues to unveil his divine purpose for it.

God is transcendent over time. He established the cycle of days and seasons by which time is known and reckoned ( Genesis 1:14 ) and possesses the power to dissolve them according to his eternal purposes ( Isaiah 60:19-20 ); moreover, he controls world history, determining in advance the times set for all nations and bringing them to pass ( Daniel 2:21;  Acts 17:26 ). But God is not limited by time ( Psalm 90:4 ). It in no sense diminishes his person or work: the eternal God does not grow tired or weary ( Isaiah 40:28 ) and his purposes prevail ( Proverbs 16:4;  Isaiah 46:10 ).

Furthermore, God imminently expresses concern for his creation. He reveals himself in history according to the times and dates set by his own authority ( Acts 1:7 ) and will bring about in his own time the consummation of world history in Jesus' return ( Ephesians 1:9-10;  1 Timothy 6:15 ).

God as "the First and Last" ( Isaiah 41:4;  44:6;  48:12 ), "the Beginning and End" ( Revelation 21:6 ), "the one who is, was, and is to come" ( Revelation 1:4,8 ), "King of the Ages" ( 1 Timothy 1:17;  Revelation 15:3 ) further points out his lordship over time.

The New Testament presents Jesus as Lord over time. With the Father, he existed prior to the beginning of time, created all things, and sustains all things ( John 1:1-3;  Colossians 1:16-17;  Hebrews 1:2-3 ). He is neither limited by time, nor adversely affected by it: "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever" ( Hebrews 13:8 ). He too is properly called "the Alpha and Omega, the First and Last, the Beginning and End" ( Revelation 22:13 ).

Humanity as Subject to Time. In contrast to God and Jesus, humanity is limited by time in the cycle of birth, life, and death. Every person bears the marks of time in the aging process and ultimately dies ( Job 14:5;  Hebrews 9:27 ). The span of life is brief and passing ( Psalm 144:4;  James 4:14 ). Even our time on earth—the events/circumstances and length of lifeare in God's hands ( Psalm 31:15;  139:16 ).

All people, moreover, will experience the passage of time in life after death. Because of sin, all people face spiritual death, which involves eternal separation from God ( Romans 5:17-21;  6:23 ). Jesus' death and resurrection brings deliverance from sin and spiritual death, granting eternal life to all who believe ( John 3:14-17,36;  1 John 5:10-13 ).

Time as Redemptive History. Throughout history God has been carrying out his plan for redeeming a fallen world. The course of time, in effect, appears as redemptive history.

It is true that biblical writers perceive history as cyclical, in that various predictable, recurring sequence of events are inherent to it: the ordliness and seasonal regularity of nature ( Psalm 19:1-6;  104:19;  Ecclesiastes 1:4-7 ), the cycle of life ( Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 ) and its wearisomeness ( Ecclesiastes 1:8-11 ), the rise and fall of kings and empires ( Daniel 2:21 ), and the universal inclination toward evil ( Judges 2:6-23;  2 Chronicles 36:15-16;  Nehemiah 9:5-37;  Romans 1:18-32 ).

But they do not perceive history as static. Chronological time is of greatest importance in both Testaments as a way of tracing God's redemptive interventions in history. The most outstanding Old Testament example of this is Israel's redemption from Egypt ( Nehemiah 9:9-25;  Psalm 78:12-55;  Hosea 11:1 ); in the New Testament it is the coming of Jesus as Messiah, Savior, and Lord ( Acts 3:12-26;  10:34-43;  13:16-41 ). The revelatory nature of these divine in-breakings dispels any notion that time is merely cyclical, without purpose and value.

Time is meaningfully forward-moving. The covenants God made with Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Jeremiah illustrate that history reveals a progressive unveiling of God's redemptive plan for humanity. Prophetic fulfillment, according to God's appointed times, does so as well. The incarnation supremely exemplifies this: "But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons" ( Galatians 4:4-5; cf.  Mark 1:15;  Romans 16:25-26;  Ephesians 1:10;  1 Timothy 2:6;  1 Peter 1:10-12 ). Jesus' death was not accidental, but a once for all atoning sacrifice ( Romans 6:10;  Hebrews 7:27;  9:26;  1 Peter 3:18 ), occurring exactly when God had intended ( Romans 5:6 ). In the same way, Jesus' second coming, the goal and end-point of redemptive history, will come to pass at God's appointed time ( Mark 13:32;  Acts 1:7;  3:21;  1 Timothy 6:14-15 ).

The Present as the Time of Salvation. The Bible unanimously declares that now is the time of salvation. In the Old Testament, on the basis of Israel's redemption from Egypt, every succeeding generation was to respond in loving obedience to the laws issued at Sinai by God their Savior ( Deuteronomy 11;  Psalm 95:7-8 ). The injunction "it is time to seek the Lord" ( Hosea 10:12 ) was to be Israel's perpetual desire.

In the New Testament, Jesus' coming as the Messiah inaugurated "the year of the Lord's favor" ( Luke 4:19,21 ). The time interval between the incarnation and the second coming appears symbolically as a jubilee year ( Luke 4:19 /Isa 4:19/ 61:1-2; cf.  Leviticus 25:10 ), a time when salvation has been made available to all people through God's saving work in Jesus. Thus, "now is the time of God's favor, now is the day of salvation" ( 2 Corinthians 6:2 ); now is the appointed season to declare this divine mystery hidden from ages past ( Colossians 1:26;  Titus 1:3 ).

The present time holds a sense of urgency for unbelievers and believers. God now commands all people to repent for he has set a time when he will judge the world through Jesus ( Acts 17:30-31 ). The time for repentance, however, is growing shorter ( Revelation 2:21;  10:6 ). Believers are encouraged to make the most of every opportunity in serving God ( Ephesians 5:16;  Colossians 4:5 ) and to mature in faith "as long as it is called Today" to ward off encroaching apostasy ( Hebrews 3:13 ).

The End-Times. The end-time period surrounding Jesus' second coming is variously called the last times, last hour, last days, day of the Lord, day of judgment, day of Gods wrath, time of punishment, end of the ages, end of all things. The temporal finality of these expressions highlights the firm New Testament belief that the present course of history will come to an end when Jesus returns. The certainty of the first advent guarantees the certainty of the second ( Acts 1:7 ).

The start of the end-times takes two forms in the New Testament. On the one hand, the messianic age, inaugurated with Christ's first coming, appears as the beginning of the last days according to Peter's use of  Joel 2:28 in explaining the charismatic phenomena accompanying the Spirit's outpouring at Pentecost (  Acts 2:17 ). Here the messianic age is equivalent to the end-times. It is a time of great salvation as well as of mounting evil growing to unprecedented proportions as the parousia nears. For this reason, the many antichrists, false teachers, and forms of ungodliness that have already appeared show without contradiction that it is the last hour ( 1 Timothy 4:1;  2 Timothy 3:1;  1 John 2:18 ).

On the other hand, although the end is near ( Hebrews 10:37;  James 5:8;  Revelation 22:7,10 ), it has not yet arrived. Nor has the tumultuous period leading up to it. Because of the unique character of the end-times, it also has an identity not entirely the same as the messianic age. Its events include the fulfillment of the signs portending the end, Christ's return, the setting up of his eternal kingdom, and the last judgment. But even here the time periods partially overlap: the benefits derived from salvation in Christ promised to believers in the coming age (eternal life, perfect Christ-likeness, etc.), are, nonetheless, the property of believers to enjoy in part in this age.

Time and Eternity. The Bible does not specify if or in what sense time existed before creation or will exist after Jesus' return. Nor does it specify the relation between time and eternity either as unending time or timelessness.

But how God and humanity relate to time may parallel how time differs from eternity. On the one hand, God is eternal, having no beginning or end ( Psalm 102:25-27;  Isaiah 40:28;  Romans 1:20 ); he is Lord over time. He is timeless in the sense that as Creator and Lord he is non- or supratemporal, standing outside of or above time ( Psalm 90:2,4 ). Time is real for God. It becomes the means through which he makes known his enduring love to humankind. On the other, time and humanity are immortal in the sense that both have a starting point and continue on indefinitely. God promises unending life with him to those who believe in Jesus' redeeming work ( John 3:16;  1 John 5:13 ) and unending separation from him to those who spurn it ( Matthew 25:46;  2 Thessalonians 1:6-8 ).

H. Douglas Buckwalter

See also Day; Fullness Of Time; Latter Days Last TimesLast Day(s)

Bibliography. J. Barr, Biblical Words for Time; O. Cullmann, Christ and Time; G. Delling, TDNT, 3:455-64; 9:581-93; J. Guhrt and H. -C. Hahn, NIDNTT, 3:826-50; C. F. H. Henry, EDT, pp. 1094-96; E. Jenni, IDB, 4:642-49; C. H. Pinnock, ISBE, 4:852-53; H. Sasse, TDNT, 1:197-209.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [4]

A — 1: Χρόνος (Strong'S #5550 — Noun Masculine — chronos — khron'-os )

denotes "a space of time," whether short, e.g.,  Matthew 2:7;  Luke 4:5 , or long, e.g.,  Luke 8:27;  20:9; or a succession of "times," shorter, e.g.,  Acts 20:18 , or longer, e.g.,  Romans 16:25 , RV, "times eternal;" or duration of "time," e.g.,  Mark 2:19,2 nd part, RV, "while" (AV, "as long as"), lit., "for whatever time." For a fuller treatment see Season , A, No. 2.

A — 2: Καιρός (Strong'S #2540 — Noun Masculine — kairos — kahee-ros' )

primarily "due measure, due proportion," when used of "time," signified "a fixed or definite period, a season," sometimes an opportune or seasonable "time," e.g.,  Romans 5:6 , RV, "season;"  Galatians 6:10 , "opportunity." In  Mark 10:30;  Luke 18:30 , "this time" (kairos), i.e., "in this lifetime," is contrasted with "the coming age." In  1—Thessalonians 5:1 , "the times and the seasons," "times" (chronos) refers to the duration of the interval previous to the Parousia of Christ and the length of "time" it will occupy (see Coming , No. 3), as well as other periods; "seasons" refers to the characteristics of these periods. See Season , A, No. 1, and the contrasts between chronos and kairos under Season, A No. 2.

A — 3: Ὥρα (Strong'S #5610 — Noun Feminine — hora — ho'-rah )

primarily, "any time or period fixed by nature," is translated "time" in  Matthew 14:15;  Luke 14:17;  Romans 13:11 , "high time;" in the following the RV renders it "hour," for AV, "time,"  Matthew 18:1;  Luke 1:10;  John 16:2,4,25;  1—John 2:18 (twice);   Revelation 14:15; in  Mark 6:35 , RV, "day;" in  1—Thessalonians 2:17 , RV, "a short (season)," lit., "(the season, AV, 'time') of an hour." See Hour.

B — 1: Πώποτε (Strong'S #4455 — Adverb — popote — po'-pot-e )

"ever yet," is rendered "at any time" in  John 1:18;  5:37;  1—John 4:12 . For  Luke 15:29 see Note (14) below. See Never.

B — 2: Ἤδη (Strong'S #2235 — Adverb — ede — ay'-day )

"already, now," is translated "by this time" in  John 11:39 . See Already.

B — 3: Πάλαι (Strong'S #3819 — Adverb — palai — pal'-ahee )

"long ago, of old," is rendered "of old time" in  Hebrews 1:1 (AV, "in time past"). See Old.

 Luke 9:51 Acts 8:1 Luke 23:7  1—Timothy 6:19  1—Corinthians 16:12 Acts 24:25 Matthew 24:21 Mark 13:19 Hebrews 1:1PortionLong.Nothing Mark 4:17SeasonWhile.  Matthew 4:17 16:21 26:16 Luke 16:16 John 6:66 Luke 4:27 Acts 14:16 Acts 15:21Age 2—Peter 1:15Always Hebrews 4:16Convenient Hebrews 2:1 1—Peter 3:5 2—Peter 1:21Past.  Ephesians 2:13 5:8 Titus 3:3 Luke 15:29 Acts 17:21SpendSpend Galatians 5:21Forewarn.  Luke 12:1 Revelation 5:11Thousand Galatians 4:2Appoint

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

Life in the present world is inseparably bound up with time. Time is part of God’s created order ( Genesis 1:14;  Hebrews 1:2). By contrast God, being the eternal one and the creator of all things, is not limited in any way by time. This means that his view of time is different from that of human beings ( Isaiah 57:15;  1 Timothy 1:17;  1 Timothy 6:16;  2 Peter 3:8; see Eternity ).

Nevertheless, God is able to use time to bring his purposes to fulfilment ( Galatians 4:4), and he gives it to the people of his creation to use also ( Ecclesiastes 5:18;  Ecclesiastes 8:15). Men and women are therefore responsible to God for the way they use their time ( 1 Peter 1:15-17). (Concerning systems for reckoning time see Day ; Month .)

As a wise, powerful and loving Creator, God sees that everything happens at the right time to maintain the world for the benefit of his creatures ( Deuteronomy 11:14;  2 Kings 4:16;  Ecclesiastes 3:11;  Acts 14:17). He controls history, often announcing in advance the precise time for his actions ( Exodus 9:18;  Isaiah 37:33-38;  Acts 17:26). (Concerning the time element in the writings of the prophets see Prophecy .) Jesus’ birth, ministry, death and resurrection all took place at the time God had appointed ( Galatians 4:4;  Mark 1:15;  John 8:20;  John 12:23;  John 12:27;  John 17:1). Christ’s return will also occur when God’s time has come ( Mark 13:32;  Acts 1:7;  Revelation 14:15; see Day Of The Lord ).

Because history is moving constantly towards its climax, Christians must use their time wisely ( Psalms 90:12;  Colossians 4:5). They should see time not merely as a period measured by a clock or a calendar, but as an opportunity given them to use. This does not mean that they have to create unnecessary pressure by squeezing as much as they can into their time, but that they should live and behave as befits God’s people ( Ephesians 5:15-17;  1 Peter 4:1-3). The prospect of Christ’s return is an incentive not to hectic activity but to more Christlike conduct ( Romans 13:11-14;  1 John 2:18;  1 John 2:28).

God wants people to use their time in worthwhile work, but his gift of the Sabbath shows that he also wants them to have time for rest ( Exodus 23:12; cf.  Genesis 2:2-3). People should not waste their time through laziness or worthless activities ( Proverbs 10:4-5;  Proverbs 12:11;  Proverbs 18:9;  2 Thessalonians 3:11-12;  1 Timothy 5:13), but neither should they spend their time in constant activity that leaves no time for proper relaxation ( Nehemiah 13:15-21;  Ecclesiastes 2:21-23;  Amos 8:5; cf.  Mark 6:30-31;  Luke 10:40-42; see WORK).

In their concern for time, people should not try to calculate when present life will end. Rather they should use the opportunity of the present life to accept God’s salvation and grow in Christian character ( Acts 1:6-8;  2 Corinthians 6:1-2;  Hebrews 3:13;  Hebrews 4:7;  Hebrews 5:12-14;  Hebrews 10:25; cf.  Luke 12:16-20;  James 4:13-16).

King James Dictionary [6]

TIME, n. L.tempus tempora, the falls of the head, also tempest, &c. See Tempest. Time is primarily equivalent to season to the Gr.wpa in its original sense, opportunity, occasion, a fall, an event, that which comes.

1. A particular portion or part of duration, whether past, present or future. The time was the time has been the time is the time will be.

Lost time is never found again.

God, who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets.  Hebrews 1

2. A proper time a season.

There is a time to every purpose.  Ecclesiastes 3

The time of figs was not yet.  Mark 11 .

3. Duration.

The equal and uniform flux of time does not affect our senses.

Time is absolute or relative absolute time is considered without any relation to bodies or their motions. Relative time is the sensible measure of any portion of duration, by means of motion. Thus the diurnal revolution of the sun measures a space of time or duration. Hence,

4. A space or measured portion of duration.

We were in Paris two months,and all that time enjoyed good health.

5. Life or duration, in reference to occupation. One man spends his time in idleness another devotes all his time to useful purposes.

Believe me, your time is not your own it belongs to God, to religion, to mankind.

6. Age a part of duration distinct from other parts as ancient times modern times. The Spanish armada was defeated in the time of Queen Elizabeth. 7. Hour of travail.

She was within one month of her time.

8. Repetition repeated performance, or mention with reference to repetition. The physician visits his patient three times in a day. 9. Repetition doubling addition of a number to itself as, to double cloth four times four times four amount to sixteen. 10. Measure of sounds in music as common time, and treble time. In concerts,it is all important, that the performers keep time, or exact time. 11. The state of things at a particular period as when we say, good times, or bad times, hard times,dull times for trade, &c. In this sense, the plural is generally used. 12. In grammar, tense.

In time, in good season sufficiently early.

He arrived in time to see the exhibition.

1. A considerable space of duration process or continuation of duration. You must wait patiently you will in time recover your health and strength.

At times, at distinct intervals of duration. At times he reads at other times, he rides.

The spirit began to move him at times.  Judges 13 .

Time enough, in season early enough.

Stanley at Bosworth-field, came time enough to save his life.

To lose time, to delay.

1. To go too slow as, a watch or clock loses time.

Apparent time, in astronomy, true solar time, regulated by the apparent motions of the sun.

Mean time, equated time, a mean or average of apparent time.

Siderial time, is that which is shown by the diurnal revolutions of the stars.

TIME, To adapt to the time or occasion to bring, begin or perform at the proper season or time as, the measure is well timed, or timed. No small part of political wisdom consists in knowing how to time propositions and measures.

Mercy is good, but kings mistake its timing.

1. To regulate as to time as, he timed the stroke. 2. To measure as in music or harmony.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [7]

A. Noun.

‛Êth ( עֵת , Strong'S #6256), “time; period of time; appointed time; proper time; season.” This word also appears in Phoenician, post-biblical Hebrew, Arabic (where the same radicals constitute a verb signifying “to appear”), and Akkadian (where these radicals form an adverb signifying “at the time when”). ‛Êth appears about 290 times in the Bible and in all periods.

Basically this noun connotes “time” conceived as an opportunity or season. First, the word signifies an appointed, fixed, and set time or period. This is what astrologers claimed to discern: “Then the king said to the wise men, which knew the times …” (Esth. 1:13). God alone, however, knows and reveals such “appointed times”: “… In the time of their visitation they shall be cast down, saith the Lord” (Jer. 8:12).

This noun also is used of the concept “proper or appropriate time.” This nuance is applied to the “time” God has appointed for one to die: “Be not over much wicked, neither be thou foolish: why shouldest thou die before thy time?” (Eccl. 7:17). It is used of the “appropriate or suitable time” for a given activity in life: “He hath made every thing beautiful in his time …” (Eccl. 3:11; cf. Ps. 104:27). Finally, the “appropriate time” for divine judgment is represented by ‛êth  : “It is time for thee, Lord, to work: for they have made void thy law” (Ps. 119:126).

A third use connotes “season,” or a regular fixed period of time such as springtime: “And he said, I will certainly return unto thee according to the time of life; and, lo, Sarah thy wife shall have a son” (Gen. 18:10). Similarly, the word is used of the rainy “season” (Ezra 10:13), the harvest “time” (Jer. 50:16), the migratory “period” (Jer. 8:7), and the mating “season” (Gen. 31:10).

This noun also is applied to differing “extensions of time.” In its first biblical appearance, for example, ‛êth represents the “time” (period of the day) when the sun is setting: “And the dove came in to him in the evening [literally, time of the evening] …” (Gen. 8:11). The word is used of special occasions such as the birth of a child (Mic. 5:3) and of periods during which certain conditions persist (Exod. 18:22; Dan. 12:11).

B. Verb.

‘Anah means “to be exercised.” The noun ‛êth may be derived from this verb which occurs only 3 times in Hebrew poetry (cf. Eccl. 1:13). It may be related to an Arabic root meaning “to be disquieted or disturbed about something,” an Ethiopic root and old South Arabic root meaning “to be concerned about.” In later Hebrew this root means “to worry.”

Webster's Dictionary [8]

(1): ( n.) The measured duration of sounds; measure; tempo; rate of movement; rhythmical division; as, common or triple time; the musician keeps good time.

(2): ( n.) Tense.

(3): ( v. t.) To ascertain or record the time, duration, or rate of; as, to time the speed of horses, or hours for workmen.

(4): ( v. t.) To measure, as in music or harmony.

(5): ( v. t.) To appoint the time for; to bring, begin, or perform at the proper season or time; as, he timed his appearance rightly.

(6): ( v. t.) To regulate as to time; to accompany, or agree with, in time of movement.

(7): ( n.) A proper time; a season; an opportunity.

(8): ( n.) The duration of one's life; the hours and days which a person has at his disposal.

(9): ( n.) The period at which any definite event occurred, or person lived; age; period; era; as, the Spanish Armada was destroyed in the time of Queen Elizabeth; - often in the plural; as, ancient times; modern times.

(10): ( n.) A particular period or part of duration, whether past, present, or future; a point or portion of duration; as, the time was, or has been; the time is, or will be.

(11): ( n.) Duration, considered independently of any system of measurement or any employment of terms which designate limited portions thereof.

(12): ( v. i.) To pass time; to delay.

(13): ( v. i.) To keep or beat time; to proceed or move in time.

(14): ( n.) The present life; existence in this world as contrasted with immortal life; definite, as contrasted with infinite, duration.

(15): ( n.) Performance or occurrence of an action or event, considered with reference to repetition; addition of a number to itself; repetition; as, to double cloth four times; four times four, or sixteen.

(16): ( n.) Hour of travail, delivery, or parturition.

Charles Buck Theological Dictionary [9]

Mode of duration marked by certain periods, chiefly by the motion and revolution of the sun. The general idea which times gives in every thing to which it is applied, is that of limited duration. Thus we cannot say of the Deity that he exists in time, because eternity, which he inhabits, is absolutely uniform, neither admitting limitation nor succession. Time is said to be redeemed or improved when it is properly filled up, or employed in the conscientious discharge of all the duties which devolve upon us, as it respects the Divine Being, ourselves, and our fellow-creatures. Time may be said to be lost when it is not devoted to some good, useful, or at least some innocent purpose; or when opportunities of improvement, business, or devotion, are neglected. Time is wasted by excessive sleep, unnecessary recreations, indolent habits, useless visits, idle reading, vain conversation, and all those actions which have no good end in them. We ought to improve the time, when we consider,

1. That it is short.

2. Swift.

3. Irrecoverable.

4. Uncertain.

5. That it is a talent committed to our trust.


6. That the improvement of it is advantageous and interesting in every respect.

See Shower on Time and Eternity; Fox on Time; J. Edwards's Posthumous Sermons, ser. 24, 25, 26; Hale's Contemplations, p. 211; Hervey's Meditations; Young's Night Thoughts; Blair's Grave.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [10]

 Daniel 12:7 (a) This is taken to mean one year. "Times" is taken to means two years. "Half a time" is taken to mean six months. (See also  Revelation 12:14).

 Revelation 10:6 (a) This passage does not mean that there will be an end to the clocks and that time will be no more. It refers to the fact that what must be done is to be done immediately. There can be no procrastination, no putting off until later, no indecision, every matter must be immediately attended to, without delay. It may be illustrated by the time of the departure of the train. If the train leaves at  9:00 o'clock, then there is no more time to get on board.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [11]

Besides the ordinary uses of this word, the Bible sometimes employs it to denote a year, as in  Daniel 4:16; or a prophetic year, consisting of three hundred and sixty natural year, a day being taken for a year. Thus in  Daniel 7:25   12:7 , the phrase "a time, times, and the dividing of a time" is supposed to mean three and a half prophetic years, or 1,260 natural years. This period is elsewhere paralleled by the expression, "forty-two months," each month including thirty years,  Revelation 11:2-3   12:6,14   13:5 .

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [12]

(the proper and usual rendering of עֵת , Eth [later זְמָן , zemdna] . a general word, Gr. Χρόνος , space of duration; while מוֹעֵד , Moed, Katpoe, signifies a Fixed time, either by human or divine appointment, or the natural seasons). A peculiar use of the term occurs in the phrase "a time, times, and a half" (Heb. וְחֵצַי מוֹעֵד מוֹעֲדַים ,  Daniel 12:7; Chald. וּפְלִג

עֵדָּן וְעַדָּנַין , 7:25; Gr. Καιρὸς Καὶ Καιροὶ Καὶ Ἣμισυ ,  Revelation 12:14), in the conventional sense of three years and a half (see Josephus, War, 1, 1). The following are the regular divisions of time among the Hebrews, each of which invariably preserves its strict literal sense, except where explicitly modified by the immediate context. We here treat them severally but together, in the order of their extension, and refer to the several articles for more detailed information. (See Chronology).

1. Year ( שָׁנָה , so called from the Change of the seasons). The years of the Israelites, like those of the modern Jews, were Lunar (Rabbinical שְׁנֵי הִלַּבֵנָה ), of 354 d. 8 h. 48 min. 38 sec., consisting of twelve (unequal) lunar months; and as this falls short of the true year (an astronomical month having 29 d. 12 h. 44 min. 2.84 sec.), they were obliged, in order to preserve the regularity of harvest and vintage ( Exodus 23:16), to add a month occasionally, so as to make it on the average coincide with the solar year (Rabbinical שְנִת הִחִמָּה ), which has 365 d. 5 h. 48 min. 45 sec. The method of doing this among the very ancient Hebrews is entirely unknown (see a conjecture in Ideler, Chronol. 1, 490; another in Credner, Joel, p. 218). The Talmudists find mention of an intercalation under Hezekiah ( 2 Chronicles 30:2; see Mishna, Pesach. 4 :9), but without foundation (see, however, on the reconcilement of the lunar with the solar year, Galen, Comment. 1, in Hippoc. Epidem. [Opp. ed. Kihn. 13:23]). Among the later Jews (who called an intercalated year שנה מעיברת , in distinction from a common year, or שנה משוטה ), an intercalary month was inserted after Adar, and was hence called Vedar ( ואדר ), or second Adar ( אדר שני ) (Mishna, Eduyoth, 7 :7; see the distinctions of the Gemarists in Reland, Antiq. Sacr. 4 :1; comp. Ben David, Zur Berechn. U. Gesch. D. J '''''Ü''''' D Kalend. [Berl. 1817]; Ideler, Ut Sup. p. 537 sq.; Anger, De Temp. In Act. Ap. Ratione, 1, 31 sq.). The intercalation ( עיבור ) was regularly decreed by the Sanhedrim, which observed the rule never to add a month to the sabbatical year. It usually was obliged to intercalate every third year, but occasionally had to do so in two consecutive years.

The Israelitish year began, as the usual enumeration of the months shows ( Leviticus 23:34;  Leviticus 25:9;  Numbers 9:11;  2 Kings 25:8;  Jeremiah 39:2; comp.  1 Maccabees 4:52;  1 Maccabees 10:21), with Abib or Nisan (see  Esther 3:7), subsequent to and in accordance with the Mosaic arrangement ( Exodus 12:2),'which had a retrospective reference to the departure out of Egypt (9, 31; see Baihr, Symbolik, 2, 639). Yet as we constantly find this arrangement spoken of as a festal calendar, most Rabbinical and many Christian scholars understand that the civil year began, as with the modern Jews, with Tisri (October), but the ecclesiastical year with Nisan (Mishna, Rosh Hash-shanah, 1, 1; comp. Josephus, Ant. 1, 3,3. See also Rosenm Ü ller, on  Exodus 12:2; Hitzig, Jesa. p. 335; Seyffarth, Chronol. Sacra, p. 34 sq.). But this distinction is probably a post-exilian reckoning (Havernick argues against its inference from  Ezekiel 40:1), which was an accommodation to the time of the arrival of returned exiles in Palestine ( Ezra 3:1 sq.;  Nehemiah 7:73;  Nehemiah 8:1 sq.), and later fell into harmony with the Seleucid era, which dated from October (see Benfey, Monats-Nam. p. 217; and comp.  1 Maccabees 4:52;  1 Maccabees 10:21;  2 Maccabees 15:37). Yet this has little countenance from the enactment of the festival of the seventh new moon ( Leviticus 23:24;  Numbers 29:1-6), which has in the Mosaic legislation certainly a different import from the Rabbinical ordinance (see Vriemoet, Observ. Misc. p. 284 sq.; Gerdes, De Festo Clangoris [Duisb. 1700; also in his Exercit. Acad.]). (See New Moon). Nor does the expression "in the end of the year" ( בְּצֵאֹת הִשָּׁנָה ), with reference to the Feast of Tabernacles ( Exodus 23:16), favor this assumption (see Ideler, p. 493). Other passages adduced ( Job 29:4;  Joel 2:25), as well as the custom of many other nations (Credner, Ut Sup. p. 209 sq.), are a very precarious argument. Nevertheless, it is clear that even in the pre-exilian period of the theocracy, the autumn, as being the close of the year's labor, was often regarded among the agrarian population as a. terminal date (Ideler, Chronol. 1, 493 sq.; see Dresde, Annus Jud. Ex Antiq. Illust. [Lips. 1766; merely Rabbinic]; Selden, De Anno Civili Vett. Hebr. [Lond. 1644; also in Ugolino, Thesaur. 17] Nagel, De Calendario Vett. Ebr... [Altdorf, 1746]). Seyffarth maintains that even prior to the destruction of Jerusalem the Israelites reckoned by lunar months (Zeitschr. d. deutsch. morgenl. Gesellsch. 2, 344 sq.). The prevailing belief, however, that they had from the first such a year has been of late combated by Bottcher (Prob. alttest. Schrifterkldr. p. 283; De Inferis, 1, 125) and Credner (Joel, p. 210 sq.), and most stoutly by Seyffarth (Chronol. Sacra, p. 26 sq.). Credner holds that the Israelites originally had a solar year of thirty-day months, and that this was exchanged for the lunar year when the three great festivals were accurately determined, i.e. about the time of king Hezekiah and Josiah (on the contrary, see Von Bohlen, Genes. p. 105 sq.; Benfey and Stern, Ueber Die Monatsnamen, p. 5 sq.). Seyffarth, however, ascribes the solar year to the Jews down to about 200 B.C.

A well-defined and universal era was unknown among the ancient Hebrews. National events are sometimes dated from the departure out of Egypt ( Exodus 19:1;  Numbers 33:38;  1 Kings 6:1), usually from the accession of the kings (as in Kings, Chronicles, and Jeremiah), later from the beginning of the exile ( Ezekiel 33:21;  Ezekiel 40:1). Jeremiah reckons the Captivity according to the years of Nebuchadnezzar ( Ezekiel 25:1 sq.), but Ezekiel ( Ezekiel 1:1) otherwise. The post-exilian books date according to the regal years of the Persian masters of Palestine (Ezra  1 Maccabees 4:26;  1 Maccabees 6:15;  1 Maccabees 7:7 sq.;  Nehemiah 2:1;  Nehemiah 5:4;  Nehemiah 13:6;  Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 2:11;  Zechariah 7:1). But as Syrian vassals the Jews adopted the Greek ( 1 Maccabees 1:10) or Seleucid era ( מַנַיִן שְׁטָרוֹת , Cera Contractum, since it was used in contracts generally, Arab. Karyakh Ahu-Ikerfin ) , which dated from the overthrow of Babylon by Seleucus Nicator I (Olymp. 117, 1), and began with the autumn of B.C. 312 (see Ideler, Handb. D. Chronol. 1, 448). This reckoning is employed in the books of the Maccabees, which, however, singularly differ by one year between themselves, the second book being about one year behind the first in its dates (comp.  1 Maccabees 6:16 with  2 Maccabees 11:21;  1 Maccabees 6:20 with  2 Maccabees 13:1); from which it would seem that the author of 2 Macc. had a different epoch for the ser. Seleuc. from the author of 1 Macc., with the latter of whom Josephus agrees in his chronology. Inasmuch as 1 Macc. always counts by Jewish months in the Seleucid sera ( 1 Maccabees 1:57;  1 Maccabees 4:52;  1 Maccabees 4:59;  1 Maccabees 7:43;  1 Maccabees 14:27;  1 Maccabees 16:14), and these are computed from Nisan ( 1 Maccabees 10:21;  1 Maccabees 16:14)-the second book likewise counts by Jewish months ( 1 Maccabees 1:18;  1 Maccabees 10:5;  1 Maccabees 15:37 : on the contrary  1 Maccabees 11:21)we might suppose that the former begins the Seleucid sera with the spring of B.C. 312, while the latter begins it with the autumn of the same year (Petav. Raionar. 10:45; Prideaux, 2, 267, etc.), a conclusion to which other circumstances likewise point (Ideler, ut sup. p. 531 sq.; Wieseler, Chronol. Synopsis, p. 451 sq.). What Wernsdorf objects'(De Fide Maccab. p. 19 sq.) is not of much importance; but we cannot thence infer that the Babylonians began the Seleucid sera with the autumn of 3) 1 (Seyffarth, Chronol. Sacra, p. 20). See Hosmann, De AEra Seleucid. et Regum Syriae Successione (Kil. 1752). Still another national reckoning is given in  1 Maccabees 13:41 sq., namely, from the year of the deliverance of-the Jews from the Syrian yoke, i.e. seventeen era Seleuc., or from the autumn of B.C. 143 (Josephus, Ant. 13:6, 6), and this era appears upon Samaritan coins (Eckhel, Doctrina Numor. Vett. I, 3, 463 sq.). On other Jewish eras see the Mishna (G Ö tting, 8:5). (See Year).

2. Month ( חֹדַשׁ , lit. New, sc. moon; seldom and more Aramaic יָרֵחִ , the Moon ) . The months of the Hebrews, as stated above, were lunar (as appears from the foregoing names), and began from the new moon as ocularly observed (the [synodic] lunar month has 26 d. 12 h. 44 min. 3 [strictly 2.82] sec. [Ideler, Chronol. 1, 43]). This is certain from the post- exilian period (Mishna, Rosh Hash-Shanah, 1, 5 sq.), but for pre-exilian times various conjectures have been hazarded (see above). The length of the lunar month in the later period depended upon the day when the appearance of the new moon was announced by the Sanhedrim (see a similar reckoning in Macrob. Sat. 1, 15, p. 273 ed. Bip.), which thus made the month either twenty-nine days ( חֹדֵשׂ חָסֵר , i.e. Short ) or thirty days ( חֹדֶשׁ מָלֵא , i.e . Full ) , according as the day was included in the following or the preceding month. The general rule was that in one year not less than four nor more than eight full months could occur (Mishna, Arach. 2, 2). The final adjustment of the lunar to the solar year was by intercalation ( עיבור ), so that whenever in the last month, Adar, it became evident that the Passover, which must be held in the following month, Nisan, would occur before harvest, i.e. not at the time when the sun would be in Aries (Josephus, Ant. 3, 10, 5), an entire month (Vadar) was interjected between Adar and Nisan, constituting an intercalary year ( שׁנה מעוברת , which, however, according to the Gemara, did not take place in a sabbatic year, but always in that which preceded it; nor in two successive years, nor yet more than three years apart). See Anger, De Teps. In Act. Ap. Ratione, p.30 sq.

Prior to the exile the individual months were usually designated by numbers (the twelfth month occurs in  2 Kings 25:27,  Jeremiah 52:31;  Ezekiel 29:1; comp.  1 Kings 4:7); yet we find also the following names: Earn-Month ( חֹדֶשׁ הָאָבַיב ,  Exodus 13:4;  Exodus 23:15;  Deuteronomy 16:1, etc.), corresponding to the later Nisan; Bloom- month ( זַו [or זַיו ] חֹדֶשׁ ,  1 Kings 6:1;  1 Kings 6:37), the second month; Rain- Month ( יֶרִח בּוּל ,  1 Kings 6:38), the eighth (connected by Benfey, p. 182, with the word בִּעִל בֵּל ; see the Talmudic interpretation cited by him, p. 16); Freshet-Month ( יֶרִח הָאֲתָנַים , 8:2), the seventh; all of which seem to be mere appellatives (see. Benfey and Stern, Ueber Die Monatsnamen Einiger Alten Vilker [Berl. 1836], p. 2). After the exile the months received the following names (Gemara, Pesach. 94:2; Targ. Sheni on Esther 3, 7 sq.; comp. Mishna, Shekal. 3, 1): 1. Nisan ( נַיסָן , Nehemiah 2, 1; Esther 3, 7), the first month, in which the Passover (q.v.) was held (and in which the vernal equinox fell, Joseph us, Ant. 3, 10, 5), corresponding, in general, to our April (Ideler, Chronol. 1. 491), and answering (Josephus, Ant. 3, 10, 5; War, 5, 3, 1) to the Macedonico-Syrian Xanthicus, also ( Ant. 2, 14, 6) to the Egyptian month Pharmuthi, which last, however, was March 27-April 25 of the Julian calendar (Ideler, ut sup. 1, 143); 2. lydr ( אַיָּי , Targ. on  2 Chronicles 30:2); 3. Sivan ( סיון Est,  Esther 8:9; Σειουάλ , Bar. 1, 8); 4. Tammuz תּמּוּז ); 5. Ab. ( אָב ); 6. Elul ( אלֵוּל ,  Nehemiah 6:15; Ε᾿Λούλ ,  1 Maccabees 14:27), the last month of the civil year in the post-exilian age (Mishna, Shebiith, 10 :2; Erubin, 3, 7); 7. Tishri ( תְּשְׁרַי .) , in which the festivals of Atonement and Tabernacles fell (also the autumnal equinox); 8. Marcheshvdn ( מִרְחֶשְׁוָן , Μασουάν or Μαρσουάνη , Josephus, Ant. 1, 3, 3); 9, Kislev ( כַּסְלֵו ,  Nehemiah 1:1;  Zechariah 7:1; Χασλεῦ ,  1 Maccabees 1:54); 10.Tebeth ( טֵבֵת ,  Esther 2:16); 11. Shebat ( שְׁבָט ,  Zechariah 1:7; Σαβάτ ,  1 Maccabees 16:14); 12. Addr ( אֲדֶר ,  Esther 3:7;  Esther 8:12; Ἀδάρ ,  2 Maccabees 15:37); 13. Ve-A ddr ( וַאָדָר ; Strictly Va-Adar, וִאֲדָר ) , Or Second Adar ( שֵׁנַי אָדָר . or בִּתְרָאָה ). Occasionally, however, the months were newly numbered in the post-exilian period likewise ( Haggai 1:1;  Haggai 2:1 sq.;  Zechariah 1:1;  Zechariah 8:19;:  Nehemiah 7:73;  Nehemiah 8:3;  Nehemiah 8:14;  Daniel 10:4;  1 Maccabees 9:3;  1 Maccabees 9:54;  1 Maccabees 10:21;  1 Maccabees 13:51).'On the origin and signification of those names, see Benfey, op. cit. p. 24 sq.; Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 702, 947. From the fact that the second book of Maccabees and Josephus reckon according to the Syro-Macedonian months (Dioscurus, Xanthicus, etc.) it does not follow that the Jews adopted this calendar in the Seleuciderm. In 2 Macc. the Egyptian months (Epiphi, Pachon) are named. See Pott, in the Hall. Lit. Zeit. 1839, No. 4650; Carpzov, Appar. p. 356 sq.; Michaelis, Comment. 1763-68, Oblat. p. 16 sq.; Langhausen, De Maense Vett. Hebr. Lunari (Jen. 1713; also in Ugolino, Thesaur. 17); Ideler, Chronol. 1, 448 sq. 509 sq. (See Month).

3. Week ( שָׁבוּעִ , lit. Sevened ) . This division of the synodal lunar month into seven days (whence the Heb. name) early prevailed among the Israelites, as among other Shemitic people and the Egyptians (Ideler, Chronol. 1, 178; 2, 473); but only among the Israelites was this arrangement associated with cosmogony, with law, and with religion itself, so as to enter into real civil life and form the basis of the whole cycle of festivals. (See Sabbath). But ordinarily, days rather than weeks (as also among the Greeks and Romans) constituted the conventional mode of computing time (but see  Leviticus 12:5;  Daniel 10:2 sq.). In the post-exilian period the reckoning by weeks became more customary, and at length special names for particular week-days came into use, enumerated after the formula Ἐν Μιᾶ '/, or Πρώτῳ Σαβ Βάτων , or Σαββάτου , etc. ( Mark 16:2;  Mark 16:9;  Luke 24:1;  Acts 20:7;  1 Corinthians 16:2; see Epiphan. Hcer. 70, 12; so also in Chald. with שִׁבְּתָא or שִׁבִּתָּא ; see Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 273. The word Ἑβδομάς does not occur in the New Test.; see also Ideler, Chronol. 1, 481). The astronomical derivation of the week naturally grows out of the obvious fact ( Chronol. 1, 60) that the moon changes about every seven (properly seven and three eighths) days, so that the lunar month divides itself into four quarters. Hence nations which have no historical relation in this respect nevertheless agree in the observance ( Chronol. 1, 88). The days of the week were named long before the Christian era on regular astrological principles from the seven planets (Lobeck, Aglaopham. p. 933 sq.), which (according to Dion Gass. 37:18) was an Egyptian invention. They began with Saturn's day (Saturday), inasmuch as Saturn was the outermost planet; but among the Jews this day (the Sabbath) was the last of the week, and so the Jewish (and Christian) week commences with Sunday. But these heathenish names were never in general use among the Jews (see Bahr, Symbol. 2, 585 sq.). Weeks or heptads of years belong, among the Jews, to prophetical poetry; but in one instance they occur in a literal sense in prose ( Daniel 7:24-27), as also among the Romans such Annorum Hebdomnades were known (Gell. 3, 10; Censorin. De Die Nat. 14). (See Week).

4. Day ( יוֹם , so called from its Heat ; Ἡμέρα ) . The civil day ( Νυχθήμερον ,  2 Corinthians 11:25) was reckoned by the Hebrews from sundown to sundown ( Leviticus 23:32); most other ancient nations computed time according to the moon's course (Pliny, 2, 79; Tacit. Germ. c. 11; Caesar, Bell. Gall. 6 :18; Isidore, Orig. 5, 30; Censorin. De Die Nat. 23); but before the exile they seem not to have divided the day into special or well- defined portions beyond the natural divisions of morning ( בֹּקֶר ; see the definition for the Temple-service in the Mishna, Tamid, 3, 2), noon ( צָהַרִיַם ,  Genesis 43:16;  Deuteronomy 28:29; comp. חום הִיּוֹם ,  Genesis 18:11 Samuel 11:11; and נְכוֹן הִיּוֹם ,  Proverbs 4:18), and evening ( עֶרֶב . comp. also נֶשֶׁ , the morning and evening breeze), which were in general use, as among the modern Arabs (Niebuhr, Bedouin, p. 108 sq.). During the exile theJews appear to have adopted the division into regular hours (Chald. שָׁעָה ) ( Daniel 4:16;  Daniel 5:5;  2 Esdras 6:24), as (according to Herod. 2, 109) the twelve hours of the day originated among the Babylonians; and in the New Test. the hours are frequently enumerated. As, however, every natural day of the year was divided into twelve hours ( John 11:9; see Ideler, Chronol. 1, 84 sq.), they must have been unequal at different seasons of the year, since in the latitude of Palestine the longest summer day lasts from about four A.M. to eight P.M. (Mayr, Reis. 3, 15), being about four hours longer than the shortest. The hours of the day (for those of the night, (See Night-Watch) ) were naturally counted from sunrise (cock-crowing, קריאת הגבר , was a designation of time observed in the Temple, Mishna, Tamid, 1, 2); whence the Third hour ( Matthew 20:3;  Acts 2:15) corresponds about to our nine o'clock A.M. (the time when the market-place was full of men, Πλήθουσα Ἀγορά ; see Kype, Observat. 1, 101 sq.; also the first hour of prayer,  Acts 2:15); the end of the sixth hour ( Matthew 20:5;  John 19:14) to midday; with the Eleventh hour ( Matthew 20:6;  Mark 15:34) the day inclined to a close and labor ceased (see also  John 1:40;  John 4:52; Acts 3, 1;  Acts 10:3). There were three daily hours of prayer morning, noon, and night; besides, there is occasionally mention of prayer four times a day ( Nehemiah 9:3); but a quarterly division of the day (as inferred by L Ü cke, Joh. 2, 756) is not certain in the New Test. Yet it is somewhat doubtful whether the evangelists, John at least, always reckon according to the Jewish hours (Clericus, Ad Joan. 19:14; Michaelis, in the Hamb. verm. Bibliothek, 3, 338 sq.; Rettigin the Stud. u. Krit. 1830, 1, 101 sq.; Hug, in the Freiburge Zeitschr. 5, 90 sq.). (See Day).

5. Hour (Chald. שָׁעָה Gr. É Ρα ) . The Oriental Asiatics, especially the Babylonians (Herod. 2, 109, Vitruv. 9:9), had from early times sundials ( Horologiasolaria ) or shadow-measures (Pliny, 36:15); and hence, from the intercourse with Babylon, this useful contrivance may have been introduced into Palestine even before the exile. At all events, something of the kind seems to be meant by the "degrees of Ahaz'" ( מִעֲלוֹת אָחָז ,  Isaiah 38:8; comp.  2 Kings 20:9), either an obelisk which cast its shade upon the steps of the palace, or perhaps a regular gnomon with degrees marked on it (Targ. Jonath. אבן שעיא It; Symmachus, Ὡρολόγιον ; Jerome, Horoloqium ; see Salmas. Ad Solin. p. 447 sq.; Martini, Abhandl. V. D. Sonnenuhren Der Alten [Leips. 1777]; alsoDe Haeroloogiis Vett. Sciothericis [Amst. 1797]). The Romans after U. C. 595 used water-clocks (clepsydrae, Vitruv. 9:9, Pliny, 7:60) for the watch room of post-courses (Veget. Mil. 3, 8) and for regulating the continuance of speaking (Philo, Opp. 2, 597; Becker, Gallus, 1, 187). Whether this practice prevailed among the Jews in the time of Christ, we know not (Zeltner, De Horologio Caiaphae [Altdorf. 1721], does not: touch the point); but they could not have been ignorant of some means of measuring time, whether dials or water-clocks, since the latter are in frequent use in the modern East (Niebuhr, Reis. 2, 74). For a peculiar device for dividing the hours mentioned by the Talmudists, see Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 282; see also Ideler, Chronol. 1, 230 sq. (See Hour).

See, generally, Ulmer, De Calendario Vett. Hebreor. (Altdorf. 1846); Walch, C(lendarium Palcestince (Economicum (G Ö tt. 1786); Hincks, Ancient Egyptian Years and Months (Lond. 1865); id. Assyro Babyloniain Measures of Time (ibid. eod.). (See Calendar).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [13]

tı̄m  : The basis of the Hebrew measurement of time was the day and the lunar month, as with the Semites generally. The division of the day into hours was late, probably not common until after the exile, although the sun-dial of Ahaz (  2 Kings 20:9;  Isaiah 38:8 ) would scent to indicate some division of the day into periods of some sort, as we know the night was divided, The word used for "hour" is Aramaic שׁעא , she‛ā' (שׁעתּא , sha‛tā' ), and does not occur in the Old Testament until the Book of Daniel ( Daniel 4:33;  Daniel 5:5 ), and even there it stands for an indefinite period for which "time" would answer as well.

1. The Day:

The term "day" ( יום , yōm ) was in use from the earliest times, as is indicated in the story of the Creation (  Genesis 1 ). It there doubtless denotes an indefinite period, but is marked off by "evening and morning" in accordance with what we know was the method of reckoning the day of 24 hours, i.e. from sunset to sunset.

2. Night:

The night was divided, during pre-exilic times, into three divisions called watches ( אשמּוּרה , 'ashmūrāh , אשׁמרת , 'ashmōreth ), making periods of varying length, as the night was longer or shorter (  Judges 7:19 ). This division is referred to in various passages of the Old Testament, but nowhere with indication of definite limits (see  Psalm 90:4;  Psalm 119:148;  Jeremiah 51:12;  Habakkuk 2:1 ).

In the New Testament we find the Roman division of the night into four watches ( φυλακή , phulakḗ ) in use (  Matthew 14:25;  Mark 6:48 ), but it is possible that the former division still persisted. The use of the term "day" for the period from sunrise to sunset, or for day as distinguished from night, was common, as at present ( Joshua 10:13;  Psalm 19:2;  Proverbs 4:18;  Isaiah 27:3;  John 9:4 , etc.). But the use of the word in the indefinite sense, as in the expressions: "day of the Lord," "in that day," "the day of judgment," etc., is far more frequent (see Day ). Other more or less indefinite periods of the day and night are: dawn, dawning of the day, morning, evening, noonday, midnight, cock-crowing or crowing of the cock, break of day, etc.

3. Week:

The weekly division of time, or the seven-day period, was in use very early and must have been known to the Hebrews before the Mosaic Law, since it was in use in Babylonia before the days of Abraham and is indicated In the story of the Creation. The Hebrew שׁבוּע , shābhūa‛ , used in the Old Testament for "week," is derived from שׁבע , shebha‛ , the word for "seven." As the seventh day was a day of rest, or Sabbath (Hebrew שׁבּת , shabbāth ), this word came to be used for "week," as appears in the New Testament ( σαββατόν , - τά , sabbatón , - ), indicating the period from Sabbath to Sabbath (  Matthew 28:1 ). The same usage is implied in the Old Testament ( Leviticus 23:15;  Leviticus 25:8 ). The days of the week were indicated by the numerals, first , second , etc., save the seventh , which was the Sabbath. In New Testament times Friday was called the day of preparation (παρασκευή , paraskeuḗ ) for the Sabbath ( Luke 23:54 ).

4. Month:

The monthly division of time was determined, of course, by the phases of the moon, the appearance of the new moon being the beginning of the month, חדשׁ , ḥōdhesh . Another term for month was yeraḥ ( ירח ) meaning "moon," which was older and derived from the Phoenician usage, but which persisted to late times, since it is found in the Aramaic inscriptions of the 3century Ad in Syria. The names of the months were Babylonian and of late origin among the Hebrews, probably coming into use during and after the Captivity. But they had other names, of earlier use, derived from the Phoenicians, four of which have survived in "Abib," "Ziv," "Ethanim" and "Bul." See Calendar .

5. Year:

The Hebrew year ( שׁנה , shānāh ) was composed of 12 or 13 months, the latter being the year when an intercalary month was added to make the lunar correspond with the solar year. As the difference between the two was from ten to eleven days, this required the addition of a month once in about three years, or seven in nineteen years. This month was added at the vernal equinox and was called after the month next preceding, we - 'ădhār , or the "second Adar." We do not know when this arrangement was first adopted, but it was current after the Captivity. There were two years in use, the civil and the ritual, or sacred year. The former began in the autumn, as would appear from   Exodus 23:16;  Exodus 34:22 , where it is stated that the "feast of ingathering" should be at the end of the year, and the Sabbatic year began in the 7th month of the calendar or sacred year, which would correspond to September-October ( Leviticus 25:9 ). Josephus says ( Ant. , I, iii, 3) that Moses designated Nican (March-April) as the 1st month of the festivals, i.e. of the sacred year, but preserved the original order of the months for ordinary affairs, evidently referring to the civil year. This usage corresponds to that of the Turkish empire, where the sacred year is lunar and begins at different seasons, but the financial and political year begins in March O.S. The beginning of the year was called השּׁנה ראשׁ , rō'sh ha - shānāh , and was determined by the priests, as was the beginning of the month. Originally this was done by observation of the moon, but, later, calculation was employed in connection with it, until finally a system based on accurate calculation was adopted, which was not until the 4th century AD. New-Year was regarded as a festival. See Astronomy , I, 5; Year .

6. Seasons:

The return of the seasons was designated by summer and winter, or seed-time and harvest; for they were practically the same. There is, in Palestine, a wet season, extending from October to March or April, and a dry season comprising the remainder of the year. The first is the winter ( חרף , ḥōreph ), and this is the seed-time ( זרע , zera‛ ), especially the first part of it called יורה , yōreh , or the time of the early rain; the second is the summer ( קיץ , ḳayic , "fruit-harvest," or קציר , ḳācı̄r , "harvest").

Seed-time begins as soon as the early rains have fallen in sufficient quantity to moisten the earth for plowing, and the harvest begins in some parts, as in the lower Jordan region, near the Dead Sea, about April, but on the high lands a month or two later. The fruit harvest comes in summer proper and continues until the rainy season. "The time when kings go out to war" ( 2 Samuel 11:1;  1 Kings 20:22 ) probably refers to the end of the rainy season in Nican.

7. No Era:

We have no mention in the Old Testament of any era for time reckoning, and we do not find any such usage until the time of the Maccabees. There are occasional references to certain events which might have served for eras had they been generally adopted. Such was the Exodus in the account of the building of the temple ( 1 Kings 6:1 ) and the Captivity ( Ezekiel 33:21;  Ezekiel 40:1 ) and the Earthquake ( Amos 1:1 ). Dates were usually fixed by the regnal years of the kings, and of the Persian kings after the Captivity. When Simon the Maccabee became independent of the Seleucid kings in 143-142 or 139-138 BC, he seems to have established an era of his own, if we may attribute to him a series of coins dated by the years "of the independence of Israel" (see Coins : Money; also 1 Macc 13:41 and 15:6, 10). The Jews doubtless were familiar with the Seleucid era, which began in 312 BC, and with some of the local eras of the Phoenician cities, but we have no evidence that they made use of them. The era of the Creation was not adopted by them until after the time of Christ. This was fixed at 3, 830 years before the destruction of the later temple, or 3760 BC. See Era .