We now start our study of every place in the Old
Testament(OT) where 'ereb is used.
Let me first of all say that if the reader has not yet read
my study "The use of 'evening' in the New Testament" then I
recommend they do so before entering this study, for the Bible is
a whole and should be studied within the CONTEXT of the whole.
The NT gives additional insight and light on this word "evening"
hence the plain truth of the matter is that the Bible INTERPRETS
One thing then I need to put up front right away is the fact
that the NT (so the Bible) shows that "evening" CAN BE from our 6
p.m. onwards, or as they counted time in the NT, AFTER THE
TWELFTH hour. The NT study on the matter shows and interprets for
us that "evening" is NEVER BEFORE 6 p.m. or to state it the NT
way, evening NEVER comes BEFORE the 12th hour of the day, or
until AFTER the 12th hour of the day. Jesus once said, "are there
not twelve hours in the day.." - that was the day-light part of a
day, hence 12 hours in the "evening/night" part (of course Jesus
was speaking in general terms when the time of year produced 12
hours to the day and 12 hours to evening/night).
As we go through the passages in the OT there maybe some,
where "evening" could be the time AFTER the 12th hour, or after
what we call 6 p.m. Then again even in those passages "evening"
may still well be sunset or dusk as the foundational and first
meaning of this Hebrew word means, for the context will still fit
nicely into a sunset time.
EVENING IN GENESIS
GEN. 1:5,8,13,19,23,31 "evening and morning were the..."
God begins days in the evening. It is a basic true rule that
the first time a Hebrew word is used is generally the basic true
foundational meaning. From the three well-respected quoted
"scholars" in our first study on this matter we clearly saw
"evening" was sunset of dusk.
Are we supposed here in the first chapter of Genesis to
believe "evening" means 3 p.m. in the afternoon or the first
second after high noon when the sun starts its decline downwards?
The Jews as a whole would laugh at such an idea. God does not
begin the day at 3 p.m. in the afternoon or the second after
As we begin Sabbath observance from the "evening" (Lev.23)
to "evening" - and at least as MOST Jews know and understand it
from the time of Moses, that does NOT mean we start to observe
the Sabbath from 3 p.m. or the second after high-noon. but it
does mean we observe the Sabbath from "evening" time, or from the
time the sun sets at least. And let me say there is a question
among the Jews on the exact time, for some teach Sabbath
observance starts when the first stars appear....but the point is
NONE of the Jews that I am familiar with (certainly not the
descendants of the Pharisee Jews - which make up most of your
modern religious Jews of today) teach that you start to observe
the Sabbath from 3 p.m. or the second after high-noon.
God, here in Genesis one, tells us HE starts the day in its
main norm at "evening" time - sun-set or dusk.
GEN.8:11 "the dove came in to him in the evening (lit.at the time
of the evening)"
Can a dove still see well enough at sunset or dusk or
twilight time to re-enter a ship or in this case the Ark? Of
COURSE IT CAN!
Then if you want to take "evening" as any time after 6 p.m.
you could have even more light. But taking the word in its first
and main meaning (that is sun-set or dusk) there is NO problem.
The CONTEXT tells us the dove ENTERED the ark or actually came
back into Noah in the evening. It does not say the dove was 20
miles away and started to turn around to head back to Noah at
sun-set or evening. The dove came back IN TO HIM at evening time.
The dove was already entering the ark and back in to Noah when
evening time arrived.
GEN.19:1 "there came two angels to Sodom at evening..."
Lot sat in the gate of the city. He was already at the gate,
when evening time came. The context does NOT say he went and sat
at the gate when evening time arrived. Lot was ALREADY there. We
need to be careful not to read into texts things that are just
not there. The wording clearly would tell us that when evening
time came the angels came to Sodom and Lot was already sitting at
the gate of the city. How long he had been sitting there is not
told us. all that is told us is that the angels came to Sodom at
Evening time in sun-set time, dusk time - STILL enough light
for an half to one hour or so - enough light to STILL be able to
SEE people approaching you. Lot was able to see the two angels
coming towards him. It was late enough in the 24 hour day that he
asked them to stay the night (verse 2), hence evening here was
probably the first main meaning - sun-set, dusk. Yet, depending
on the time of the year, It could have been the evening AFTER the
12th hour or after 6 p.m. and night time was not far away.
But to think this took place at 3 p.m. or the second after
high-noon, is silly twisted reasoning, that will only be
proclaimed IF you have an ideology of theology to uphold no
matter if hell or high-water comes to sweep it all way.
GEN.24:11,63 "at the time of the evening.../Isaac went out ...at
The man stopped at evening time to water his camels. It was
the time when women went out to draw water. As a former "horse
wrangler" and "trail riding instructor" in my younger days, I
know this time very well. It is sun-set or dusk. The day of
riding and working the horses is over, you stop, you water the
horses. There is still enough light (half to an hour) to see
quite well. It is a lovely cool part of the day, after working in
the heat of the sun.
If you want to understand evening here as 6 p.m. and after,
even that could be nice from the high heat of the middle
afternoon. On the prairies of Canada (when the sun does not set
in the summer until 10 or 10:30 p.m.) in the summer, the heat
from the sun is much less after 6 p.m. than ... well certainly
high-noon or 3 p.m. The difference can be very great.
So either way, I'll give you both, but it sure was NOT 3
p.m. in the afternoon or the second after high-noon when all that
happened in verses 11 and 12 took place.
There is still light at "eventide" - for an half hour to an
hour, depending on the time of the year and other atmospheric
conditions at the specific time of an event. Nothing unusual here
about someone seeing horses or in this case camels coming. I can
well remember many "coming in" trails rides that took place at
sun-set. I was either already at the stable to unsaddle the
horses or was the leading trail rider bring them in at sun-set. I
could still see quite well for three-quarters of an hour at
sun-set on the Canadian prairies during the summer months. Hence
seeing and saying so-long to the riders and un-saddling and
watering the horses was done in comparative day-light.
If we are to understand Isaac doing this after 6 p.m. then
it is even more fitting, but certainly, from personal experience,
the former and foundational meaning of "evening" bears no problem
for this verse and what was done.
To think this was happening at 3 p.m. or the second after
high-noon it too preposterous to contemplate, unless you have
some theology idea you must maintain no matter what.
GEN.29:23 "..it came to pass in the evening.."
This was a marriage feast taking place. As it is today in
the main, it is evening time, after sun-set or certainly after 6
p.m. that the bridegroom (here it is Jacob) "goes in" unto the
bride. Remember in a few case "evening" in the OT can mean
"night" as we have seen in the first study, and as we shall see
again in future studies.
No second just past high-noon is taught here.
GEN.30:16 "..And Jacob came out of the field in the evening.."
I often came out of the field in the evening, at sun-set
when I worked for a grain farmer in the spring of 1962. Can
remember it well. Worked hard all day on the seeding tractor. It
was a given that I stopped at sun-set. Still enough light to
bring in the seeding equipment, do the end-of-the-day stuff, and
walk home to the farm-house and bed-down for the night.
This here in verse 16, was late enough, hence sun-set for
Leah to ask Jacob to sleep with her for the night, and have
sexual intercourse. To believe this could have been 3 p.m. or
just after high-noon is laughable.
GEN.49:27 "..and at night he shall divide the spoil."
Evening is here NIGHT. During the morning or day he would
plunder. Most battles are fought during the day, especially back
in those days. Then at the end of the day, evening, sun-set, or
perhaps after 6 p.m. you divide the takes of the day. Often the
dividing of the takes of the day in those times, went on into the
night. This was very true of course if some of the takes were
women....I should need to say no more on that.
NIGHT is not 3 p.m or the second after high-noon.
That covers Genesis.
TO BE CONTINUED