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Dictionaries :: Hour

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


First found in Dan 3:6; 4:19, 33;5:5. It is the rendering of the Chaldee shaah, meaning a "moment," a "look." It is used in the New Testament frequently to denote some determinate season (Mat 8:13; Luk 12:39).

With the ancient Hebrews the divisions of the day were "morning, evening, and noon-day" (Psa 55:17, etc.). The Greeks, following the Babylonians, divided the day into twelve hours. The Jews, during the Captivity, learned also from the Babylonians this method of dividing time. When Judea became subject to the Romans, the Jews adopted the Roman mode of reckoning time. The night was divided into four watches (Luk 12:38; Mat 14:25; 13:25). Frequent allusion is also made to hours (Mat 25:13; 26:40, etc.). (See DAY.)

An hour was the twelfth part of the day, reckoning from sunrise to sunset, and consequently it perpetually varied in length.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


our (sha‘atha', she‘a'; hora): Hour as a division of the day does not occur in the Old Testament; the term she‘a' (sha‘atha') found in Dnl, is Aramaic, and as used there denotes a short period or point of time of no definite length (Da 3:6,15; 4:33 (Hebrew 30); 5:5). The Greek hora is commonly used in the New Testament in the same way, as "that same hour," "from that hour," etc., but it also occurs as a division of the day, as, "the third hour," "the ninth hour," etc. The Hebrews would seem to have become acquainted with this division of time through the Babylonians, but whether before the captivity we are not certain. The mention of the sun dial of Ahaz would seem to indicate some such reckoning of time during the monarchy.

Written by H. Porter


Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
1 Strong's Number: g5610 Greek: hora


whence Lat., hora, Eng., "hour," primarily denoted any time or period, expecially a season. In the NT it is used to denote

(a) "a part of the day," especially a twelfth part of day or night, an "hour," e.g., Mat 8:13; Act 10:3, 9; 23:23; Rev 9:15; in 1Cr 15:30, "every hour" stands for "all the time;" in some passages it expresses duration, e.g., Mat 20:12; 26:40; Luk 22:59; inexactly, in such phrases as "for a season," Jhn 5:35; 2Cr 7:8; "for an hour," Gal 2:5; "for a short season," 1Th 2:17, RV (AV, "for a short time," lit., "for the time of an hour");

(b) "a period more or less extended," e.g., 1Jo 2:18, "it is the last hour," RV;

(c) "a definite point of time," e.g., Mat 26:45, "the hour is at hand;" Luk 1:10; 10:21; 14:17, lit., "at the hour of supper;" Act 16:18; 22:13; Rev 3:3; 11:13; 14:7; a point of time when an appointed action is to begin, Rev 14:15; in Rom 13:11, "it is high time," lit., "it is already an hour," indicating that a point of time has come later than would have been the case had responsibility been realized. In 1Cr 4:11, it indicates a point of time previous to which certain circumstances have existed.


(1) In 1Cr 8:7, AV, "unto this hour," the phrase in the orginal is simply, "until now," as RV

(2) In Rev 8:1, hemioron, "half an hour" (hemi, "half," and hora), is used with hos, "about," of a period of silence in Heaven after the opening of the 7th seal, a period corresponding to the time customarily spent in silent worship in the Temple during the burning of incense.

Smith's Bible Dictionary


The ancient Hebrews were probably unacquainted with the division of the natural day into twenty‐four parts; but they afterwards parcelled out the period between sunrise and sunset into a series of divisions distinguished by the sun's course. The early Jews appear to have divided the day into four parts (Nehemiah 9:3) and the night into three watches (Judges 7:19) and even in the New Testament we find a trace of this division in Matthew 20:1-5. At what period the Jews first became acquainted with the division of the day into twelve hours is unknown, but it is generally supposed they learned it from the Babylonians during the captivity. It was known to the Egyptians at a very early period. They had twelve hours of the day and of the night. There are two kinds of hours, viz.

(1.) the astronomical or equinoctial hour, i.e. the 24th part of a civil day, and

(2.) the natural hour, i.e. the 12th part of the natural day, or of the time between sunrise and sunset. These are the hours meant in the New Testament (John 11:9 etc.) and it must be remembered that they perpetually vary in length, so as to be very different at different times of he year. For the purpose of prayer the old division of the day into four portions was continued in the temple service. as we see from Acts 2:15; 3:1; 10:9.


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