Hours in the Bible

In the King James Bible, this word first appears in the Book of Daniel.

And whoso falleth not down and worshippeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace. Dan. 3:6 KJV

It is the rendering of the Chaldee shaah, meaning a “moment,” a “look.” It is used in the New Testament frequently to denote some determinate season (Matthew 8:13; Luke 12:39).

With the ancient Hebrews the divisions of the day were “morning, evening, and noon-day” (Psalm 55:17, etc.).

The Greeks, following the Babylonians, divided the day into twelve hours.

The Jews, during the Captivity, learned also from the Babylonians this method of dividing time.

When Judea became subject to the Romans, the Jews adopted the Roman mode of reckoning time. The night was divided into four watches (Luke 12:38; Matthew 14:25; 13:25).

Frequent allusion is made to hours the New Testament.

And who of you by being worried can add a single hour to his life? —Matthew 6:27 NASB

…These last men have worked only one hour, and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden and the scorching heat of the day. —Matthew 20:12 NASB

And he came to the disciples and found them sleeping. And he said to Peter, “So, could you not watch with me one hour?Matthew 26:40 EXV

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. —Matthew 25:13 ESV

Daylight was divided into 12 hours. That is, an hour was the twelfth part of the day during the time between sunrise to sunset and consequently it perpetually varied in length.

When those hired about the eleventh hour came, each one received a denarius. —Matthew 20:9 NASB

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Article Version: April 28, 2024