The Jewish Week In New Testament Times
week was divided into seven days, of which, however, only
the seventh--the Sabbath--had a name assigned to it, the
rest being merely noted by numerals. The day was computed
from sunset to sunset, or rather to the appearance of the
first three stars with which a new day commenced. Before the
Babylonish captivity, it was divided into morning, mid-day,
evening, and night; but during the residence in Babylon, the
Hebrews adopted the division of the day into twelve hours,
whose duration varied with the length of the day.
The longest day consisted of fourteen hours and twelve
minutes; the shortest, of nine hours forty-eight minutes;
the difference between the two being thus more than four
hours. On an average, the first hour of the day corresponded
nearly to our 6 a.m.; the third hour (when, according to
Matthew 20:3, the market-place was full), to our 9 a.m.; the
close of the sixth hour, to our mid-day; while at the
eleventh, the day neared its close.
The Romans reckoned the hours from midnight, a fact which
explains the apparent discrepancy between John 19:14, where,
at the sixth hour (of Roman calculation), Pilate brings
Jesus out to the Jews, while at the third hour of the
Jewish, and hence the ninth of the Roman and of our
calculation (Mark 15:25), He was led forth to be crucified.
The night was divided by the Romans into four, by the Jews
into three watches. The Jews subdivided the hour into 1,080
parts (chlakim), and again each part into seventy-six
For the convenience of the reader, we subjoin a calendar,
showing the occurrence of the various festive days--
1--Nisan Spring Equinox, end of March or beginning of April.
Day 1. New Moon. Day 14. The preparation for the Passover
and the Paschal Sacrifice. Day 15. First Day of the Feast of
Unleavened Bread. Day 16. Waving of the first ripe Omer. Day
21. Close of the Passover.
2--Iyar Day 1. New Moon. Day 15. 'Second,' or 'little'
Passover. Day 18. Lag-le-Omer, or the 33rd day in Omer, i.e.
from the presentation of the first ripe sheaf offered on the
2nd day of the Passover, or the 15th of Nisan.
3--Sivan Day 1. New Moon. Day 6. Feast of Pentecost, or of
Weeks--7 weeks, or 50 days after the beginning of the
Passover, when the two loaves of first ripe wheat were
'waved,' commemorative also of the giving of the Law on
4--Thamus Day 1. New Moon. Day 17. Fast; taking of Jerusalem
on the 9th by Nebuchadnezzar (and on the 17th by Titus). If
the 17th occur on a Sabbath, the Fast is kept on the day
5--Ab Day 1. New Moon. Day 9. Fast--(threefold) destruction
of the Temple.
6--Elul Day 1. New Moon.
7--Tishri Beginning of Civil Year Day 1 &2. New Year's
Feast. Day 3. Fast for the murder of Gedaliah. Day 10. Day
of Atonement; Great Fast. Day 15. Feast of Tabernacles. Day
21. Close of the above. Day 22. Octave of the Feast of
Tabernacles. (In the Synagogues, on the 23rd, Feast on the
annual completion of the Reading of the Law.)
8--Marcheshvan or Cheshvan Day 1. New Moon.
9--Kislev Day 1. New Moon. Day 25. Feast of the Dedication
of the Temple, or of Candles, lasting eight days, in
remembrance of the Restoration of the Temple after the
victory gained by Judas Maccabeus (BC 148) over the
10--Tebeth Day 1. New Moon. Day 10. Fast on account of the
Siege of Jerusalem.
11--Shebat Day 1. New Moon.
12--Adar Day 1. New Moon. Day 13. Fast of Esther. If it fall
on a Sabbath, kept on the Thursday preceding. Day 14. Purim,
or Feast of Haman. Day 15. Purim Proper."
Edersheim. "The Temple And It's Services"