da (yom; hemera):
This common word has caused some trouble to plain readers, because they have not noticed that the word is used in several different senses in the English Bible. When the different uses of the word are understood the difficulty of interpretation vanishes. We note several different uses of the word:
(1) It sometimes means the time from daylight till dark. This popular meaning is easily discovered by the context, e. g. Genesis 1:5; 8:22, etc. The marked periods of this daytime were morning, noon and night, as with us. See Psalms 55:17. The early hours were sometimes called "the cool of the day" (Genesis 3:8). After the exile the day. or daytime was divided into twelve hours and the night into twelve (see Matthew 20:1-12; John 11:9; Acts 23:23); 6 a. m. would correspond to the first hour, 9 a. m. to the third; 12 noon to the sixth, etc. The hours were longer during the longer days and shorter during the shorter days, since they always counted 12 hours between sunrise and sunset.
(2) Day also means a period of 24 hours, or the time from sunset to sunset. In Bible usage the day begins with sunset (see Leviticus 23:32; Exodus 12:15-20; 2 Corinthians 11:25, where night is put before day). See DAY AND NIGHT.
(3) The word "day" is also used of an indefinite period, e. g "the day" or "day that" means in general "that time" (see Genesis 2:4; Leviticus 14:2); "day of trouble" (Psalms 20:1); "day of his wrath" (Job 20:28); "day of Yahweh" (Isaiah 2:12); "day of the Lord" (1 Corinthians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10); "day of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2);. "day of Jesus Christ" (Philippians 1:6).
(4) It is used figuratively also in John 9:4, where "while it is day" means "while I have opportunity to work, as daytime is the time for work." In 1 Thessalonians 5:5,8, "sons of the day" means spiritually enlightened ones.
(7) On the meaning of "day" in the story of Creation we note (a) the word "day" is used of the whole period of creation (Genesis 2:4); (b) these days are days of God, with whom one day is as a thousand years; the whole age or period of salvation is called "the day of salvation"; see above. So we believe that in harmony with Bible usage we may understand the creative days as creative periods. See also \ASTRONOMY\; \CREATION\; \EVOLUTION\.
G. H. Gerberding
The word "day" is used figuratively in many senses, some of which are here given.
(1) The span of human life.--Genesis 5:4:
(2) An indefinite time.--Existence in general:
(3) A set time.--Genesis 25:24:
(4) A historic period.--Genesis 6:4:
(5) Past time.--Psalms 18:18:
(6) Future time.--Deuteronomy 31:14:
(7) The eternal.--In Daniel 7:9,13, where God is called "the ancient of days."
(8) A season of opportunity.--John 9:4:
"The night is far spent, and the day is at hand."
Henry E. Dosker
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