This page was last updated on 24 July, 2017
This page is about calendar days. A 24 hour day.
Lev 23:27 Also on the tenth day of this seventh month there shall be a day of atonement: it shall be an holy convocation to you; and you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the LORD.
Lev 23:28 And you shall do no work in that same day: for it is a day of atonement, to make an atonement for you before the LORD your God.
Lev 23:29 For whatever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut off from among his people.
Lev 23:30 And whatever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people.
Lev 23:31 You shall do no manner of work: it shall be a statute for ever throughout your generations in all your dwellings.
Lev 23:32 It shall be to you a sabbath of rest, and you shall afflict your souls: in the ninth day of the month at even, from even to even, shall you celebrate your sabbath.
When does Atonement day start? On the 9th or the 10th day of the month? The answer to this little riddle is proof for a dawn-
This option shows a sunset-
This option shows a sunset-
This option shows a dawn-
As you see only option #3 satisfies the requirements of both verse 27 and 32.
Example #2 -
This example is a lot more difficult than ‘Example #1’ because there are several wrong understandings of words and concepts. But when understood properly all becomes logical and no difficult explanations are needed. Before continuing I would l like to suggest that you read Exodus chapter 12 for the needed context.
Josh 5:10 And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.
Exod 12:6 And you shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening.
The above two verses clearly state Passover was kept on the 14th day of the month.
Num 33:3 And they departed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the morrow after the passover the children of Israel went out with an high hand in the sight of all the Egyptians.
The above verse gives us the same information twice. The orange part tells us they departed the 15th day. The blue part tells us they left the morrow after the Passover which is 14+1=15th.
At this point we know for sure Israel left Egypt on the 15th.
Deut 16:1 Observe the month of Abib, and keep the passover to the LORD your God: for in the month of Abib the LORD your God brought you forth out of Egypt by night.
The above verses show all of the following is the very same event:
It’s often assumed they left in the morning because ‘morrow’ means morning. But as you see above morrow means the next day because left by night’
That’s also proof of a dawn-
The evening they left is both part of tomorrow/morrow/next day and the 15th. If they would have used sunset-
Exod 12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Example #3 -
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.
A day that starts with evening and ends with day. A sunset-
The verse starts with stating day before night. That’s a dawn-
The second part of the verse states the day ends in the morning. When in the morning you may ask. Halfway the morning? At noon? Or just before sunset? I think at dawn. When the day ends at dawn the next day obviously starts at dawn.
John 9:4 I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night comes, when no man can work.
In the next verse God continues creating. If the previous verse ends at the start of the night God creates during the night instead of the day.
Gen 1:8 And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day.
—> Previous creation 24-
—> God starts creating.
Gen 1:9 And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together to one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Gen 1:10 And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:11 And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, on the earth: and it was so.
Gen 1:12 And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
—> God has finished this creation
Gen 1:13 And the evening and the morning were the third day.
—> God created. Mentions night follows. An the third day ends at dawn/morning
God starts creating in the morning and concludes His creative work with “it was good” or “and it was so”. After that He states it was evening. And after that He states the (creation) day ends the next morning. In the morning of verse 14 He starts creating the lights in the firmament.
For ease of explanation let’s assume sunrise is at 6am and sunset at 6pm.
I’ll do a lot of rephrasing; not to suggest it as better translation but solely to explain what it means.
Gen 1:9 At 6am God said…
<creative work during daylight>
Gen 1:12 God saw that it was good
Gen 1:13 That was at 6pm, then it became 6am and the third day ended.
Example #4 -
1Sam 19:10 And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin: but he slipped away out of Saul's presence, and he smote the javelin into the wall: and David fled, and escaped that night.
1Sam 19:11 Saul also sent messengers to David's house, to watch him, and to slay him in the morning: and Michal David's wife told him, saying, If you save not your life to night, to morrow you shall be slain.
David escapes during the night. David’s wife tells David to save his life that night by escaping, because he would be killed in the morrow (next day. See proof #2) because Saul has sent men to kill him in the morning.
Example #5 -
Judg 19:4 And his father-
Judg 19:5 And it came to pass on the fourth day, that they arose early in the morning,....
The man stayed 3 days and the next morning was called the 4th day.
Example #6 -
Gen 19:34 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the firstborn said to the younger, Behold, I lay last night with my father: let us make him drink wine this night also; and go you in, and lie with him, that we may preserve seed of our father.
The next day (morrow see Example #2) the two woman spoke about the events that took place last night. Last night can only be a different day when a day starts at dawn.
Example #7 -
Judg 19:9 And when the man rose up to depart, he, and his concubine, and his servant, his father in law, the damsel's father, said to him, Behold, now the day draws toward evening, I pray you tarry all night: behold, the day grows to an end, lodge here, that your heart may be merry; and to morrow get you early on your way, that you may go home.
The day grows to an end means the daylight portion is ending. It’s getting dark
They are invited to stay all night, and leave early the next day.
Example #8 -
Lev 7:15 And the flesh of the sacrifice of his peace-
The meat must be eaten on same the day it was offered, which means nothing is left in the morning because the new day starts then.
Example #9 -
Num 11:32 And the people stood up all that day, and all that night, and all the next day, and they gathered the quails: he that gathered least gathered ten homers: and they spread them all abroad for themselves round about the camp.
They gathered quail day and night and the next day. The next day starts after the mentioned night. At dawn.
Example #10 -
Lev 22:29 And when ye sacrifice a sacrifice of thanksgiving to LORD, ye shall sacrifice it that ye may be accepted.
Lev 22:30 It shall be eaten on the same day. Ye shall leave none of it until the morning. I am LORD.
The meat must be eaten on the day of the offering which is before the next morning because that starts a new day.
Example #11 -
Exod 18:13 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses sat to judge the people: and the people stood by Moses from the morning to the evening.
Exod 18:14 And when Moses' father in law saw all that he did to the people, he said, What is this thing that you do to the people? why sit you yourself alone, and all the people stand by you from morning to even?
Moses judges from morning until evening.
That day of judgement starts ‘on the morrow’ (tomorrow see Proof#2)
Example #12 -
John 19:30 When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost.
John 19:31 The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain on the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) sought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.
Jesus died on preparation day and the next day was a (high) Sabbath day. The Jews didn’t just want Jesus to be taken from the cross because the next day was a (high) Sabbath but because it was always forbidden to leave a body on the cross/tree until the next day. The following verses shows the dead body must have been buried before the next day starts.
Deut 21:22 And if a man have committed a sin worthy of death, and he be to be put to death, and you hang him on a tree:
Deut 21:23 His body shall not remain all night on the tree, but you shall in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that your land be not defiled, which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance.
To summarize: He died on preparation day and was buried on preparation day.
If they observed dawn-
If they observed sunset-
Mark 15:42 And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,
Mark 15:43 Joseph of Arimathaea, an honorable counselor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly to Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus.
Matt 27:57 When the even was come, there came a rich man of Arimathaea, named Joseph, who also himself was Jesus' disciple:
Matt 27:58 He went to Pilate, and begged the body of Jesus. Then Pilate commanded the body to be delivered.
Joseph arrived in the evening and after that he went to Pilate. Needless to say some time passed before Jesus was actually put in the tomb. Well after the evening has started.
Jesus was put in the tomb after dark and it’s called the ‘the same day’.
Example #13 -
Mark 4:34 But without a parable spoke he not to them: and when they were alone, he expounded all things to his disciples.
Mark 4:35 And the same day, when the even was come, he said to them, Let us pass over to the other side.
He taught the people during daytime and on the same day He crossed the water at night. The daylight portion is followed by the darkness portion of the 24-
Example #14 -
John 20:18 Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things to her.
John 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first day of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the middle, and said to them, Peace be to you.
During the day Mary reported she had seen Jesus and still the same day during evening Jesus visited.
The daylight portion is followed by the darkness portion of the 24-
Example #15 -
Ruth 2:17 So she gleaned in the field until even, and beat out that she had gleaned: and it was about an ephah of barley.
Ruth 2:18 And she took it up, and went into the city: and her mother in law saw what she had gleaned: and she brought forth, and gave to her that she had reserved after she was sufficed.
Ruth 2:19 And her mother in law said to her, Where have you gleaned to day? and where worked you? blessed be he that did take knowledge of you. And she showed her mother in law with whom she had worked, and said, The man's name with whom I worked to day is Boaz.
Ruth gleaned until the evening, then she beat out her gleanings, after that she went to her mother. She must have arrived home when it was dark for quite a while. Her mother asked where she gleaned today. So the day and the following evening are part of the same 24-
Example #16 -
Matt 28:1 In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulcher.
Day is the daylight portion of what we call day. So this verse is neutral because it can point to both start of a 24-
Example #17 -
John 6:16 And when even was now come, his disciples went down to the sea,
John 6:17 And entered into a ship, and went over the sea toward Capernaum. And it was now dark, and Jesus was not come to them.
John 6:22 The day following, when the people which stood on the other side of the sea saw that there was none other boat there, save that one into where his disciples were entered, and that Jesus went not with his disciples into the boat, but that his disciples were gone away alone;
They left during the evening when it was dark and they arrived the next day during daylight. The people could see a large part of the sea. The next day started at dawn.
Example #18 -
Acts 20:7 And on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached to them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
Paul leaves ‘on the morrow’ (tomorrow, see Example #2) but preaches until midnight which obviously is the previous day. Meaning the next day begins at dawn.
Example #19 -
Exod 10:4 Else, if you refuse to let my people go, behold, to morrow will I bring the locusts into your coast:
Exod 10:13 And Moses stretched forth his rod over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind on the land all that day, and all that night; and when it was morning, the east wind brought the locusts.
Moses warns the pharaoh that locust will arrive tomorrow unless the pharaoh releases the Jews. The locusts arrive after a daylight portion of the day followed by night. Meaning the next day begins at dawn.
Example #20 -
Judg 21:3 And they said, O LORD, the God of Israel, why has this come to pass in Israel, that there should be today one tribe lacking in Israel?
Judg 21:4 And it came to pass on the morrow, that the people rose early, and built there an altar, and offered burnt-
Morrow=Tomorrow see ‘Example #2’ is when they rose early. Assuming the slept at night day began in the morning.
Example #21 -
Jonah 1:17 Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
Matt 12:40 For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale's belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.
Day and night. Not night and day.
Example #22 -
Ezek 45:21 In the first month, in the fourteenth day of the month, you shall have the passover, a feast of seven days; unleavened bread shall be eaten.
Lev 23:5 In the fourteenth day of the first month at even is the LORD's passover.
Exod 12:6 And ye shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month; and the whole congregation of the assembly of Israel shall kill it between the two evenings.
First thing to notice is that all three verses state it’s the fourteenth. So all speak about the very same day.
Lev 23:5 states the Passover meal is in the evening. (Dark but still 14th)
Exo states that the lamb is killed in the afternoon* (Light and 14th).
So both day and the night that follows are the same day.
*= Half the translations have ‘evening’ the other half ‘between the evenings’ or a variation. The Hebrew text is plural (evenings).
The ancient Hebrews had two evenings. The evening when it’s dark. And the evening when it’s getting dark. When the sun starts to set. Between the evenings is between noon and dusk. Why noon you may ask. The answer is simple the sun rises in the sky and reaches its highest point at noon. After that is starts setting until it’s dark.
Example #23 -
1Sam 30:17 And David smote them from the twilight even to the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode on camels, and fled.
David fought from evening to evening. On a sunset sunset calendar that would be the same day. But the verse states the second evening is another day.
A little math to finish this page. There are only 2 choices. Sunrise-
Below a few quotes as additional:
There can be no doubt that in pre-
(Jacob Zallel Lauterbach, Rabbinic Essays, (Cincinnati: Hebrew Union College Press, 1951), p. 446)
To the Light He gives the name Day, to the Darkness the name Night...Thus the work of the first day, reckoned probably from morning to morning, is accomplished.
Peake's Commentary on The Bible, p.136.
In the Old Testament the earlier practice seems to have been to consider that the day began in the morning. In Gen. 19:34, for example, the "morrow" (ASV) or "Next Day" (RSV) clearly begins with the morning after the preceding night.
Jack Finegan, The Handbook of Biblical Chronology, p.7-
In earlier traditions a day apparently began at sunrise (e.g., Lev. 7:15-
Oxford Companion to the Bible, p.744.
That the custom of reckoning the day as beginning in the evening and lasting until the following evening was probably of late origin is shown by the phrase "tarry all night" (Jdg 19:6-
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
It is also interesting that according to the Karaite historian Al-
The Itinerary of R. Benjamin of Tudela, ix, 5-
"Among the ancient Israelites, as among the Greeks, the day was reckoned from sunset to sunset. This was the custom also of the Gauls and ancient Germans, and was probably connected originally with the cult of the moon. There is, however, evidence that this was not the custom at all times..."
Delitzsch in Dillmann's commentary on Gen. 1:5
Early in the old testament period, when Canaan was under Egypt's influence, the day started at sunrise. Later, perhaps under Babylonian influence, the calendar seems to have changed. the day began at moonrise (1800 hrs) and a whole day became an evening and a morning.
(Lion Encyclopedia of the Bible -
We know little about the old Israelite calendar, apart from the laws of the festivals. But the Mishnah (the collection of Jewish law made at the end of the 2nd century AD) fully describes the system which the Jews had worked out under Babylonian influence.
Eerdman's Handbook to the Bible.
When the Jews returned to Palestine after their Babylonian exile (516 B.C.E.) they brought back with them the Babylonian astronomy and way of reckoning time.
What is a Jew, p. 108
Days were reckoned from morning to morning
Following the reign of King Josia (c. 640-
New Catholic Encyclopedia -
Numerous scholars have argued for the existence in Bible times of a sunrise method of day reckoning...the evidence for the sunrise reckoning is significant and cannot be ignored.
The Time of the Crucifixion and the Resurrection, Chapter 5
In Israel, the day was for a long time reckoned from morning to morning...and it was in fact in the morning, with the creation of light, that the world began; the distinction of day and night, and time too, began on a morning (Gen. 1:3-
Ancient Israel, p.181-
The first evening was not the gloom, which possibly preceded the full burst of light as it came forth from the primary darkness, and intervened between the darkness and full broad daylight. It was not till after the light had been created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morning...It follows from this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to evening, but from morning to morning.
Commentary on the Old Testament, The First Book of Moses, p. 51
In early Jewish practice,... it seems to have been customary to reckon the day from sunrise to sunrise, or, rather, from dawn to dawn. Thus the law for the "praise-
Likewise in Exod. 16:19f...the manna was given to the people in the morning, just at dawn and before the sun had become warm (16:21). It was to be eaten only on the day upon which it was gathered; nothing was to remain over until the next morning; that which did so became foul. Here, too, the day seems to have been reckoned from dawn to dawn...From Matt. 28:1 It may be inferred that the practice of reckoning the day from sunset to sunset was not universal in Israel, but in certain circles the older practice continued for several centuries...It is manifest that the day is still reckoned here from dawn to dawn. This is also the implication of the parallel passage, Mark 16:1f...Luke 23:56b-
Finally, it is significant that in the second Temple, throughout its entire existence, the practice seems to have been in all ritual matters to reckon the day from dawn to dawn, and not according to the later practice, from sunset to sunset...even the rabbis, who, themselves, reckoned the day from sunset to sunset, and refused to admit the legitimacy of any other practice, or rather, absolutely ignored all divergent practice, none the less had to admit the validity of the interpretation of Lev. 7:15...
the day was at one time reckoned from sunrise to sunrise...
The earlier practice, which continued until the time of the secondary strata of the Priestly code, was to reckon the day from dawn to dawn...
The later practice was to reckon the day from sunset to sunset...
It is impossible to tell exactly when this change in the mode of reckoning the day took place in Israel, and what causes brought it about. Possibly it may have had something to do with the introduction of the lunar calendar instead of the solar, for the lunar calendar naturally presupposes a reckoning of the day from nightfall to nightfall...
It was probably coincident with the revision of the festival calendar, which took place in the period after the time of Ezra, and was, in all probability, the work of the soferim or of the Great Synod in the fourth century B.C. This may also be inferred from the statement in the Talmud (Berachoth 33a) that the men of the Great Synod instituted the ceremonies of Kiddush and Havdalah, the solemn sanctification of the Sabbath on Friday eve, and its equally solemn ushering out on Saturday eve, in other words, ceremonies specifically marking the beginning and close of the Sabbath as at sunset. These were ceremonies for the Jewish home instead of the Temple. This, coupled with the fact that in the second Temple the old system of reckoning the day from dawn to dawn continued to be observed, as we have seen, may perhaps indicate that this entire innovation was the work of an anti-
The Sources of the Creation Story -
"A new stage in the investigation of the problem of the calendar of ancient Israel was marked by the appearance of a learned article by E. Koenig in 1906...He maintains that two distinct calendars were current in ancient Israel. The first, a solar calendar...This solar calendar was well adapted to the conditions of the simple, agricultural life which the Israelites lived during the first period of their sojourn in Palestine. It reckoned the day from sunrise
The second calendar was a luni-
This broadly sums up Koenig's conclusions
The time of the transition from the reckoning of the day as beginning with morning to the reckoning of it as beginning with evening
that in the earlier calendar and in the literature which records this the day was reckoned from the morning, presumably from sunrise, while in the later calendar and the literature pertaining thereto the day was reckoned from the evening...must be eaten upon the day upon which it is sacrificed, and that nothing of it must be allowed to remain over until morning. Obviously the implication here is that the next morning is no longer a part of the day upon which the sacrifice was offered, but mark the beginning of the next day
Elsewhere we have presented quite a mass of evidence which establishes conclusively that the earlier practice in Israel during the biblical period was to reckon the day from sunrise to sunrise.
That in the earliest period of Israelite sojourn in Palestine, under calendar 1, the day was reckoned from morning to morning is established by a superabundance of evidence.
...This in turn, together with other important considerations, would point to a time approximately about the beginning or the first half, of the third century B.C. as that of the introduction of the new system of reckoning the day."
Supplementary Studies in The Calendars of Ancient Israel, p. 1-
'Thus evening was and morning was one day.' echad (one), like eis and unus, is used at the commencement of a numerical series for the ordinal primus (cf. Gen. 2:11; 4:19; 8:5, 15). Like the numbers of the days which follow, it is without the article, to show that the different days arose from the constant recurrence of evening and morning. It is not till the sixth and last day that the article is employed (v. 31), to indicate the termination of the work of creation upon that day. It is to be observed, that the days of creation are bounded by the coming of evening and morning. The first day did not consist of the primeval darkness and the origination of light, but was formed after the creation of the light by the first interchange of evening and morning. The first evening was not the gloom, which possibly preceded the full burst of light as it came forth from the primary darkness, and intervened between the darkness and full, broad daylight. It was not till after the light had been created, and the separation of the light from the darkness had taken place, that evening came, and after the evening the morning; and this coming of evening (lit., the obscure) and morning (the breaking) formed one, or the first day. It follows from this, that the days of creation are not reckoned from evening to evening, but from morning to morning. The first day does not fully terminate till the light returns after the darkness of night; it is not till the break of the new morning that the first interchange of light and darkness is completed, and a [greek] has passed. The rendering, 'out of evening and morning there came one day,' is at variance with grammar, as well as with the actual fact. With grammar, because such a thought would require [hebrew] and with fact, because the time from evening to morning does not constitute a day, but the close of a day. The first day commenced at the moment when God caused the light to break forth from the darkness; but this light did not become a day, until the evening had come, and the darkness which set in with the evening had given place the next morning to the break of day. Again, neither the words [hebrew], nor the expression [hebrew] evening-
Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F. 2002. Commentary on the Old Testament. (1:31). Hendrickson: Peabody, MA
The basic meaning of 'or’ is "daylight" (cf. Gen. 1:3). In the hebrew mind the "day" began at the rising of the sun.
Vine's Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words p136
From this there developed the meaning of "day" in the sense of the cycle made up of one period of daylight and one period of darkness, or according to our modern reckoning, twenty-
However, beside this conception there arose another idea of the twenty-
The custom of considering the day as beginning at sunset became general in later Jewish times...
Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible p497
Following the reign of king Josia (c. 640-
New Catholic Encyclopedia -
Conclusion: A calendar day is always from dawn to dawn.