The 24 hour "evening and mornings" ??? (Stephen)

Ian Hutchesson mc2499 at
Wed Aug 30 11:14:37 EDT 2000


I (along with many) also talk about the first day of the DSS calendar as
Wednesday by convention, to render the idea transparent, ie the fourth day
of the week. I in no way claim that the Hebrews called the day Wednesday. I
in no way claim that the Hebrews worked on a notion of 24 hours: it is for
modern readers' convenience. I could have talked about a day which runs
from morning to morning, which was a fundamental idea to the writer, which
I understand in modern terms as a 24 hour day.

>BDB lists several definitions of YWM, none of them as "24 hours":
>1. DAY, opp. night; 
>2. DAY as division of time: a. working day, b.
>a day's (journey), c. as a duration, d. day as defined by evening
>and morning (Gn 1:5,8,13,19,31 [All P]), ...

(This is actually a wrong interpretation of the text. A day is not defined
there at all by evening and morning. After God does his act(s) of creation
the evening arrives and then the morning. All this together is a day

>...e. day of month (c. num.
>ordin.), f. the day (of snow), g. particular days, h. his day (of
>death), i. a holy day; 
#2 is a natural extension from #1 (so natural it is made in very many

That ywm here implies anything other than the previously defined has not
been established.

>4. pl. DAYS; 
>5. DAYS;
Is someone claiming that ywm rather than its plural is used for "days"? If
so, where in the OT/HB?

>6. = TIME; 
I also need a citation for this one.

>7. phrases, a. HYYWM = today, etc.
This is not providing any different meaning for the word ywm itself. You
must take the contextualised hywm as a lexical unit and therefore its
inclusion here in a study on ywm is of little use.

>As the entry BDB shows, the word YWM is capable of many definitions,
>such of which are fairly imprecise, 

This is not actually shown in your source. We have only one main definition
and a clear, derived sense of the word that can be supported (unless you
supply something a bit more useful). This derived sense (#2) is the one
which our text indicates.

>so "24 hours" as a definition is over-precise.

Could you supply some other way for us "moderns" to understand the period
of time which the writer indicates passes between one morning and the next
(the standard supplied in Gen1)? Perhaps you'd also like to redefine erev
and boqer.


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