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Dictionaries :: Day

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Easton's Bible Dictionary


The Jews reckoned the day from sunset to sunset (Lev 23:32). It was originally divided into three parts (Psa 55:17). "The heat of the day" (1Sa 11:11; Neh 7:3) was at our nine o'clock, and "the cool of the day" just before sunset (Gen 3:8). Before the Captivity the Jews divided the night into three watches, (1) from sunset to midnight (Lam 2:19); (2) from midnight till the cock-crowing (Jdg 7:19); and (3) from the cock-crowing till sunrise (Exd 14:24). In the New Testament the division of the Greeks and Romans into four watches was adopted (Mar 13:35). (See WATCHES.)

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

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

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia


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

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

(2) Day also means a period of 24 hours, or the time from sunset to sunset. In Bible usage the day begins with sunset (see Le 23:32; Ex 12:15-20; 2Co 11:25, where night is put before day). See DAY AND NIGHT.

(3) The word "day" is also used of an indefinite period, e. g "the day" or "day that" means in general "that time" (see Ge 2:4; Le 14:2); "day of trouble" (Ps 20:1); "day of his wrath" (Job 20:28); "day of Yahweh" (Isa 2:12); "day of the Lord" (1Co 5:5; 1Th 5:2; 2Pe 3:10); "day of salvation" (2Co 6:2);." day of Jesus Christ" (Php 1:6).

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

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

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

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

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

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

(2) An indefinite time.-Existence in general: Ge 3:14: "All the days of thy life" (compare Ge 21:34; Nu 9:19; Jos 22:3; Lu 1:24; Ac 21:10).

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

(4) A historic period.-Ge 6:4: "The Nephilim were in the earth in those days"; Jud 17:6: "In those days there was no king in Israel" (compare 1Sa 3:1; 1Ch 5:17; Ho 2:13).

(5) Past time.-Ps 18:18: "the day of my calamity"; Ps 77:5: "I have considered the days of old" (of Mic 7:20; Mal 3:7; Mt 23:30).

(6) Future time.-De 31:14: "Thy days approach that thou must die"; Ps 72:7: "In his days shall...."( compare Eze 22:14; Joe 2:29; Mt 24:19; 2Pe 3:3; Re 9:6).

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

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

(9) Time of salvation.-Specially referring to the hopes and prospects of the parousia (see ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT). Ro 13:12: "The night is far spent, and the day is at hand."

Written by Henry E. Dosker and G. H. Geberding

Torrey's New Topical Textbook

Day: The Light First Called

Gen 1:5

Day: Natural, from Evening to Evening

Gen 1:5; Lev 23:32

Day: Artificial, the time of the sun's continuance above the

Gen 31:39,40; Neh 4:21,22

Day: Prophetical, a Year

Eze 4:6; Dan 12:12

Day: Artificial, Divided Into

Break of

Gen 32:24,26; Sgs 2:17


Exd 29:39; 2Sa 23:4


Gen 43:16; Psa 55:17

Decline of

Jdg 19:8,9; Luk 9:12; 24:29


Gen 8:11; Psa 104:23; Jer 6:4

Day: Sometimes Divided into Four Parts

Neh 9:3

Day: Later Subdivided into Twelve Hours

Mat 20:3,5,6; Jhn 11:9

Day: Time Of, Ascertained by the Dial

2Ki 20:11

Day: Succession Of, Secured by Covenant

Gen 8:22

Day: Made for the Glory of God

Psa 74:16

Day: Proclaims the Glory of God

Psa 19:2

Day: Under the Control of God

Amo 5:8; 8:9

Day: A Time of Judgment Called a Day Of


Lam 2:21


Job 20:28; Zep 1:15,18; Rom 2:5


Mic 7:4


Job 21:30


Joe 2:2; Zep 1:15


Psa 102:2


Deu 32:35; Jer 18:17


Pro 24:10


Pro 6:34; Isa 61:2


Isa 30:25; Jer 12:3


Jer 17:17; Amo 6:3; Eph 6:13

The Lord

Isa 2:12; 13:6; Zep 1:14

Day: A Time of Mercy Called a Day Of


2Cr 6:2


Eph 4:30


Jer 27:22; 1Pe 2:12

God's power

Psa 110:3

Day: A Time of Festivity Called A

Good day

Est 8:17; 9:19

Day of good tidings

2Ki 7:9

Day which the Lord has made

Psa 118:24

Solemn day

Num 10:10; Hsa 9:5

Day of gladness

Num 10:10

Day: The Time for Labour

Psa 104:22

Day: Wild Beasts Hide During

Psa 104:22

Day: Illustrative Of

Time of judgment

1Cr 3:13; 4:3

Spiritual light

1Th 5:5,8; 2Pe 1:19

The path of the just

Pro 4:18

Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words
A-1 Noun Strong's Number: g2250 Greek: hemera


"a day," is used of

(a) the period of natural light, Gen 1:5; Pro 4:18; Mar 4:35;

(b) the same, but figuratively, for a period of opportunity for service, Jhn 9:4; Rom 13:13;

(c) one period of alternate light and darkness, Gen 1:5; Mar 1:13;

(d) a period of undefined length marked by certain characteristics, such as "the day of small things," Zec 4:10; of perplexity and distress, Isa 17:11; Oba 1:12-14; of prosperity and of adversity, Ecc 7:14; of trial or testing, Psa 95:8; of salvation, Isa 49:8; 2Cr 6:2; cp. Luk 19:42; of evil, Eph 6:13; of wrath and revelation of the judgments of God, Rom 2:5;

(e) an appointed time, Ecc 8:6; Eph 4:30;

(f) a notable defeat in battle, etc., Isa 9:4; Psa 137:7; Eze 30:9; Hsa 1:11;

(g) by metonymy = "when," "at the time when;"

(1), of the past, Gen 2:4; Num 3:13; Deu 4:10,

(2) of the future, Gen 2:17; Rth 4:5; Mat 24:50; Luk 1:20;

(h) a judgment or doom, Job 18:20. *
[* From Notes on Thessalonians, by Hogg and Vine, pp. 150-151.]

(i) of a time of life, Luk 1:17, 18 ("years").

As the "day" throws light upon things that have been in darkness, the word is often associated with the passing of judgment upon circumstances. In 1Cr 4:3, "man's day," AV, "man's judgement," RV, denotes mere human judgment upon matters ("man's" translates the adjective anthropinos, "human"), a judgment exercised in the present period of human rebellion against "God;" probably therefore "the Lord's Day," Rev 1:10, or "the Day of the Lord" (where an adjective, kuriakos, is similarly used), is the Day of His manifested judgment on the world.

The phrases "the day of Christ," Phl 1:10; 2:16; "the day of Jesus Christ," Phl 1:6; "the day of the Lord Jesus," 1Cr 5:5; 2Cr 1:14; "the day of our Lord Jesus Christ," 1Cr 1:8, denote the time of the Parousia of Christ with His saints, subsequent to the Rapture, 1Th 4:16, 17. In 2Pe 1:19 this is spoken of simply as "the day," (see DAY-STAR).

From these the phrase "the day of the Lord" is to be distinguished; in the OT it had reference to a time of the victorious interposition by God for the overthrow of the foes of Israel, e.g., Isa 2:12; Amo 5:18; if Israel transgressed in the pride of their hearts, the Day of the Lord would be a time of darkness and judgment. For their foes, however, there would come "a great and terrible day of the Lord," Joe 2:31; Mal 4:5. That period, still future, will see the complete overthrow of Gentile power and the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom, Isa 13:9-11; 34:8; Dan 2:34, 44; Oba 1:15; cp. Isa 61:2; Jhn 8:56.

In the NT "the day of the Lord" is mentioned in 1Th 5:2; 2Th 2:2, RV, where the Apostle's warning is that the church at Thessalonica should not be deceived by thinking that "the Day of the Lord is now present." This period will not begin till the circumstances mentioned in verses 3 and 4 take place.

For the eventual development of the Divine purposes in relation to the human race see 2Pe 3:12, "the Day of God."

A-2 Noun Strong's Number: g827 Greek: auge


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

B-1 Adverb Strong's Number: g1773 Greek: ennucha


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


(1) For phrases, see DAILY.

(2) In Mar 6:35, the clause "the day was far spent" is, lit., "a much hour (i.e., a late hour) having become," or, perhaps, "many an hour having become," i.e., many hours having passed. In the end of the ver., RV, "day," for AV, "time."

(3) In Mar 2:26, AV, "in the days of," there is no word for "days" in the original; RV (from best mss.), "when;" in Act 11:28, "in the days of."

(4) In Jhn 21:4, the adjective proios, "at early morn," is translated "day" (RV, for AV, "the morning"); see Mat 27:1.

(5) In 2Th 2:3, "that day shall not come" (AV) translates nothing in the original; it is inserted to supply the sense (see the RV); cp. Luk 7:11 (RV, "soon afterwards"); 1Cr 4:13 (RV, "even until now").

(6) For "day following" see MORROW.

Smith's Bible Dictionary


The variable length of the natural day at different seasons led in the very earliest times to the adoption of the civil day (or one revolution of the sun) as a standard of time. The Hebrews reckoned the day from evening to evening (Leviticus 23:32) deriving it from Genesis 1:5, "the evening and the morning were the first day." The Jews are supposed, like the modern Arabs, to have adopted from an early period minute specifications of the parts of the natural day. Roughly, indeed, they were content to divide it into "morning, evening and noonday," (Psalm 55:17) but when they wished for greater accuracy they pointed to six unequal parts, each of which was again subdivided. These are held to have been-

(1.) "the dawn."

(2.) "Sunrise."

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

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

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

(6.) "Evening." Before the captivity the Jews divided the night into three watches (Psalm 63:6; 90:4) viz. the first watch, lasting till midnight (Lamentations 2:19) the "middle watch," lasting till cockcrow (Judges 7:19) and the "morning watch," lasting till sunrise (Exodus 14:24). In the New Testament we have allusions to four watches, a division borrowed from the Greeks and Romans. These were-

(7.) From twilight till 9 o'clock (Mark 11:11; John 20:19).

(8.) Midnight, from 9 till 12 o'clock (Mark 13:35; 3 Maccabees 5:23).

(9.) Till daybreak (John 18:28).

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


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