[b-hebrew] Yom in Biblical and Rabbinic Texts

Karl Randolph kwrandolph at email.com
Mon Oct 24 18:56:17 EDT 2005

----- Original Message -----
From: "Harold R. Holmyard III" <hholmyard at ont.com>
> Dear Peter and Jimmy,
> > On 24/10/2005 02:13, Jimmy Doyle wrote:
> >
> >> I'm in a discussion with a creationist who believes in 6 literal 24-hour
> >> days of creation. Can anyone point me to good resources for the use of yom
> >> in the Biblical texts and Rabbnic texts? From what I gather in BDB, the
> >> singular use of yom in the Biblical text generally refers to a single day,
> >> but I feel as if I'm missing something here.
> >>
> >>
> >>
> > I think so. The "day" of Numbers 3:1 and Deuteronomy 4:15 seems to have
> > lasted 40 days, that of Ezekiel 39:13 seven months, that of 1 Samuel 7:2
> > for 20 years, and that of Judges 18:30 for about 70 years - and that of
> > Genesis 2:4 six "days".
> HH: The word day, "YWM," when used with a prefixed preposition "in"
> often has the idea of "when" (Gen 2:4). It word can sometimes mean
> "time" (Judges 18:30) but does not have a numerical modifier in those
> cases. In 1 Samuel 7:2 YWM could still indicate a particular day (the
> day the ark began to abide in Kiriath-Jearim), although "time" could
> be the sense. The word refers to literal days when it has a numerical
> modifier.
> 				Yours,
> 				Harold Holmyard
To back up Harold, a few decades ago, a creationist, to 
test this idea, wrote to Hebrew professors throughout the 
U.S. and asked whether or not YWM when modified by 
a number as in Genesis chapter one, referred to a day. 
While not all professors answered the question, the article 
I read included the actual numbers of letters sent and 
answers received, the roughly third that replied had a 
unanimous response that it represents the equivalent of 
a 24 hour day. That's assuming the article was accurate.

"Day" without a number was an unspecified time.

Karl W. Randolph.

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