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Is Matthew 12:40 using common idiomatic language?

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Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (circa A.D. 100), said, "A day and a night make an ’onah [a twenty-four hour period], and the portion of an ’onah is reckoned as a complete ’onah."

 

H. L. Ellison in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), p. 375. Ellison credits the quote to j Shabbath 9.12a.

 

 

The primary meaning of onah is a 12-hour period of daytime or a period of night. But, literally, it means a period of time. Either way, the word isn't in the Bible.

 

I tried to track down the above quote, but couldn't find it. I'm sure it's out of context, inaccurate, and written long after 100 AD. The closest I found is Mas. Shabbath 86a and the topic is ceremonial uncleanness resulting from a woman's period. And, like much of the Talmud, it's a discussion between conflicting view of different Jewish authorities. If the above quote has any truth with it, it probably has to do with Talmudic ceremony, not with any idiom. But, what I actually found is, according to rabbi R. Akiba, "It is always five onahs. And if part of the first onah has gone, a part of the sixth onah is given her." So, by this one rabbi, however far into the day when a woman's period starts, she is unclean until that far into the sixth onah. So, a woman is unclean for exactly 60 hours (and is clean after that, even if she's still bleeding, so says the rabbi R. Eleazar). (The Bible says a woman is unclean for 7 days, I guess the Talmudists don't want to abstain that long).

 

THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IS NOT AN IDIOM. It means three days and three nights. Or, six onahs, if you insist.

 

 

 

 

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Then how is it, if Jesus was crucified on a Thursday, he was 3 days (daytimes) in the ground when He was only in the ground for 2 days (daytimes) and a tiny bit of 1 day before and a tiny bit of 1 day after. Those very tiny bits of time on the two days on either side of the 3 nights hardly make for a full day (daytime) for the 3rd day you require.

 

3 days is not 60 hours, and honestly it does not seem logical to assert that what happens rabbinically concerning women during their periods can be simply applied to Jesus' words as if they were one and the same. There must be a legitimate connection. As you can see, they changed what the bible said, so I don't think their words on the period of uncleanliness of a woman during her period when they shorten the 7 day (168 hours) period required in the bible to 60 hours can be applied.

 

God said 7 days, rabbis said 60 hours, that's less than 3 days.

 

I do not believe Jesus was concerned with how rabbi's interpreted God's word to mean something other than what God said to be in any way controlling what Jesus Himself said on this matter.

 

 

Honestly I can see nothing logical in denying it's an idiom. But I realize you do, so perhaps this is something we will have to agree to disagree about.

 

 

Edited by thereselittleflower

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God said 7 days, rabbis said 60 hours, that's less than 3 days.

 

Talmudists don't follow the Bible, as secular observation. Also, Jesus explained that those who reject him don't believe Moses and the Prophets.

 

I was refuting, with the Talmud the argument attributed to the Talmud that the any part of a day counts as a whole day.

 

The chapter of the Talmud I was referring to does't equate 60 hours with three days. In other words, it just simply says that part of a day isn't whole day in counting to their man-made standard of 2.5 days of uncleanness. Also, the chapter doesn't equate 60 hours with a 7 days.

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Here's another line of evidence that Traditional Friday crucifixion is wrong and Wednesday is right:

 

According to John, Jesus was where John the Baptist baptized, on the other side of the Jordan, a long way from Jerusalem (John 10:40) . Jesus then traveled to Bethany six days before the Passover (John 12:1). Then the next day (John 12:12) Jesus enters Jerusalem, which is right next to Bethany. Four days later Jesus is crucified (doing the math, and John only provides details to fill in four days of events).

 

According to tradition, Jesus entered Jerusalem on Sunday, meaning he traveled to Bethany on the Sabbath. And, then on Friday Jesus was crucified. Friday is five days after Sunday, which contradict's John's timeline of four days. Also, the journey to Bethany was too long to be made on the Sabbath (Acts 1:12).

 

My position is that Jesus traveled to Bethany on Friday, a distance not too far for a non-Sabbath day. The Triumphal entry, a short trip from Bethany, was on Saturday. Four days later, on Wednesday, Jesus was crucified. Saturday, about sunset, maybe just after, Jesus rose. Three literal days and three literal nights in the tomb, the tomb that was discovered empty Sunday morning.

 

Wednesday fits. Nothing else fits. The only biblical argument for Friday I've seen from supporters of Friday is by alleging a contradiction between statements about how long Jesus would be in the tomb. And, then they offer to resolve this fabricated contradiction by saying "three days and three nights" is an idiom. I've already provided several reasons why that isn't an idiom. Besides, there's no contradiction to fix. "The third day" is substantially the same as "three days and three nights when we're at the end of the third day.

 

The more I look into this, the more unacceptable a Friday crucifixion looks.

 

 

 

 

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And yet, as we talked about before, there is absolutely not one shred of evidence for a Wed crucifixion in the ECF's starting with those who lived right after the apostles in the early 2nd century.

 

If Jesus was indeed crucified on a Wed, they would know and we would see evidence of such claims in the ECF's. Yet such evidence is entirely lacking.

 

In fact there are none who even say anything specific about Thursday either, but there are those who specifically speak of Friday as the crucifixion.

 

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Despite this, in ancient Jewish usage, we find this:

Rabbi Eleazar ben Azariah (circa A.D. 100), said, "A day and a night make an ’onah [a twenty-four hour period], and
the portion of an ’onah is reckoned as a complete ’onah.
"

 

H. L. Ellison in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, Vol. 7 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1985), p. 375. Ellison credits the quote to j Shabbath 9.12a.

I posted about this in post #11

 

The Talmud was written by mentally-challenged Satanists. No one has any business quoting it except to expose it. All other quotes I’ve ever seen are misquotes. I tracted down this quote, and this time is no exception.

 

Several rabbis are debating how long menstruating women are dirty. Two rabbis define “onah” as the period of night, or the period of daylight. Another rabbi, Eleazar, appears to define onah as a whole day, although I’m not clear that is the intent. If it is the intent, he’s in the minority.

 

The first rabbi says a part of an onah is just a part of an onah. Eleazar takes another position, that a portion of an onah is reckoned as a full onah. But, then he elaborates that a small portion of an onah isn’t reckoned as a full onah! So, a small part of Friday and a small part of Sunday would not count. By Eleazar’s reckoning, Friday evening to Sunday morning would have been one day, not three.

 

But, Eleazar doesn’t mean that more than a small part of a day counts as a whole day. He means that if woman bleeds for part of a day, she is ceremonially unclean for the whole day. This has nothing to do with counting a duration of part of a day as the duration of a full day, as in claiming the time Jesus spent on the tomb on Friday count as a whole Friday in the tomb.

 

Those websites using Eleazar’s quote to defend the Friday crucifixion are dishonest, or incompetent, for not checking the context of the quote, which is doubly inexcusable as the source is the Talmud. “Three days and three nights” is not an idiom. Jesus was crucified on Wednesday.

 

 

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What happened to the testimony of the earliest christians as to when Jesus was crucified as our best witness given how the calendars are so inexact? We do we not have any evidence from the ECF;s that Jesus was crucified on a Wed?

 

Do people today, divorced from the language, culture and customs of those christians who lived 2000 years ago, know better than they did what actually happened?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I gave a couple early church witnesses that Jesus was arrested on Wednesday. They still said Jesus was crucified on Friday, but the Bible reveals that Jesus was crucified on the same day he was arrested. For Protestants, the statements of the early church fathers are a pale second place to the Bible, and they don't stand at all if they contradict the Bible. A Friday crucifixion contradicts many biblical details about the day of Jesus' death.

 

Another line of evidence is that Jews believed the spirit stays with the body for three days. If Jesus returned before three days had passed, the Jews would just claim he hadn't died and point to the timing of his return as proof. Trying to argue that Friday evening to Sunday morning is three days and nights by alleged idiom is one thing, but it's still only a day as far as proving Jesus was dead.

 

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Jesus was arrested before light, in the morning, and by sunset the same day he was dead. That's how the Bible records it.

 

Another reason the Passover Sabbath might be on Wednesday is because the Jewish leaders would want to avoid a double Sabbath and avoid two Sabbaths in a row. Two Sabbaths in a row would be a hardship (two days in a row of no work, including no cooking) and a double Sabbath would would cause one Sabbath to eclipse the other (only one Sabbath actually gets observed). Remember, before the 4th-century AD, the Jews had no preset calendar. The leaders would determine the start of the year and the months.

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If he was arrested on a Wed then he couldn't have died on a Wed

Actually if he was arrested on Wednesday he would have died on Wednesday. The Jews considered sunset to be the beginning of a new day. Jesus was arrested after sunset of the day of the Last Supper. This was considered to be the next day by Jewish reckoning. The various trials and hearing he underwent took place during the night and early the next day, and he was crucified during the day. Regardless of what day you think he was crucified on, his arrest and death took place the same day by the Jewish calendar.

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As we continue to pile on the reasons why Jesus died Wednesday, not Friday, here's another consideration from the Bible.

 

Jesus said, in John 2:19, and elsewhere, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up." In three days? Within three days? The Greek word translated "in" means "through" (by means of). Jesus, really speaking of his time in the tomb, said "through three days".

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I'm sorry my friends, but I think my continued participation going over the same things I have said before is just an endless circle with no end. Without clear testimony from the earliest christians, who learned from the Apostles on forward, that Jesus died on a Wed, I find this all to be simply idle speculation. I truly see no edification coming from continuing to split hairs on words, etc especially when there is no clear, explicit historical evidence for such interpretations of scripture for a Wed crucifixion, and there is such evidence for a Friday crucifixion.

 

 

 

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thereselittleflower,

re: "If you're not asking for proof of a full 72 hours, then where is the argument against 3 days and 3 nights not being an idiom, a synecdoche?"

 

I agree that Matthew 12:40 cannot be saying that 3 complete 24 hour calendar days would be involved with the duration of the Messiah's time in the "heart of the earth". It indeed has to be using idiomatic non-literal language since scripture shows that 3 complete 24 hour calendar days could not have taken place. And I agree that it is common usage because there are a number of scriptures which do the same thing. The OP is not questioning that. However, there are those - usually the 6th day of the week crucifixion advocates - who say that the verse is also using common idiomatic, non-literal language when it says that 3 night times would be involved. I am simply asking for actual examples to support the assertion that it was common to say that a daytime or night time would be involved with an event when no part of a daytime or no part of a night time could have occurred.

 

With regard to your comments on rabbi Azariah, even if they were valid, they don't provide actual examples of what is requested.

 

 

 

 

re: "...in English when we say forever, we rarely mean eternity: 'I waited forever for my meal'"

 

But can that mean that no part of forever was involved with the wait?

 

 

 

re: " The real question is, is it an idiom or not, not how common it is."

 

That's an issue for another topic. For the express purpose of this one, I'm only interested in what has been requested.

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I am simply asking for actual examples to support the assertion that it was common to say that a daytime or night time would be involved with an event when no part of a daytime or no part of a night time could have occurred.

 

 

It's not common. It's not an idiom. Not at all. Rabbi Eleazar's quote is shamefully taken way out of context, and is of absolutely no help for those who want to count a small part of a day as a whole day. Esther and the Jews did fast for three days and three nights. She just planned with the king to break the fast before the end of the third day, which would have been a meal at sunset (the start of the fourth day, when Sabbath feasts are normally eaten). It's absurd for anyone to argue that she should have waited a fourth night before going to the king to plan breaking the three day fast to prove she literally meant three nights.

 

Technically, it can't be shown that Jesus spent even one minute of Friday or Sunday in the tomb. The Hebrew day was typically broken into morning, the 3rd, 6th, and 9th hours, and evening. Without clocks, that's pretty much the precision of their time keeping. Jesus was still on the cross in the evening (Matthew 27:57). And, Sunday morning, Jesus had already risen. Really, we should count the complete end of Friday as a whole day and night, or even as the first day??

 

It's really quite obtuse for anyone to think that a people would hold such a confusing idiom as counting a small part of a day as a whole day, or counting two nights and a day as "three days and three nights" (easily the most important phrase in the Bible regarding how long Jesus would be in the tomb).

 

If you want to speak of idioms, take Matthew 27:63-64, where we're reminded on the Sabbath (the day after the crucifixion) that Jesus said he would rise "after three days" and on the Sabbath day, Pilate responds by having the tomb be made secure "until the third day." The word "until" is used inclusively in the Bible. So, until the third day would mean through the third day. E.g. Matthew 14:32 where Jesus, in the garden of Gethsemane, tells the disciples to sit until he prays, except your translation uses the word "while". Or, Matthew 11:13 where Jesus said all the prophets and the law prophesied until John to Baptist; John prophesied too. It really was their idiom (grammar) to use the Greek word for "until" inclusively of the event that the "until" leads to. Ironically, Friday apologists use Matthew 27:63-64 to argue that "after three days" really means two days (and, still, they think Jesus only spent one day in the tomb).

 

When Jesus explains that he's going to rebuild the Temple "in three days", the Greek word he uses isn't "in", but "through." It's funny that the Friday apologists love to quote "on the third day", while they emphasis the word "on", a word that doesn't even appear in the Greek of the quoted phrase. I have no reason to doubt that "third day" implies a time inclusiveness of three days, even if this is not always the case. Not "on the third day", but "[through] the third day."

 

I'm not saying I've perfect answers for every challenge that can be raised for a Wednesday crucifixion. But, Friday is completely unworkable. There were two Sabbaths. The women appeared to have bought and prepared spices in a day between the two Sabbaths. The timeline puts the crucifixion at four days, not five days required by tradition, after the Triumphal entry, an entry itself which would have been on Saturday, not Sunday, because the previous day's journey was too long to make on the Sabbath. The biblical account of the Passion week only gives details to account for four days, not five days. And, it's not, not, not, not, not, not, not an idiom to count two nights and a day as three days and three nights.

 

BTW, before this topic came up in this forum, I had no opinion on what day Jesus was crucified. I knew of the contradiction of Friday tradition vs. three days, but I hadn't given it any thought.

 

 

 

 

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thereselittleflower,

re: "If you're not asking for proof of a full 72 hours, then where is the argument against 3 days and 3 nights not being an idiom, a synecdoche?"

 

I agree that Matthew 12:40 cannot be saying that 3 complete 24 hour calendar days would be involved with the duration of the Messiah's time in the "heart of the earth". It indeed has to be using idiomatic non-literal language since scripture shows that 3 complete 24 hour calendar days could not have taken place. And I agree that it is common usage because there are a number of scriptures which do the same thing. The OP is not questioning that. However, there are those - usually the 6th day of the week crucifixion advocates - who say that the verse is also using common idiomatic, non-literal language when it says that 3 night times would be involved. I am simply asking for actual examples to support the assertion that it was common to say that a daytime or night time would be involved with an event when no part of a daytime or no part of a night time could have occurred.

 

With regard to your comments on rabbi Azariah, even if they were valid, they don't provide actual examples of what is requested.

 

 

 

 

re: "...in English when we say forever, we rarely mean eternity: 'I waited forever for my meal'"

 

But can that mean that no part of forever was involved with the wait?

 

 

 

re: " The real question is, is it an idiom or not, not how common it is."

 

That's an issue for another topic. For the express purpose of this one, I'm only interested in what has been requested.

 

If we agree that it is idiomatic language than I don't see the relevance of the question. It is or is not idiomatic. With that settled, there is nothing more that would be of import. It would just be a curiosity.

 

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thereselittleflower,

re: "If we agree that it is idiomatic language than I don't see the relevance of the question. It is or is not idiomatic."

 

 

But was it common to say that a daytime or a night time was to be involved with an event when no part of the daytime or no part of the night time could actually take place?

 

 

BTW, you have a question directed to you in post #39.

 

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As I said I don't see the point in the question(s) except as one of curiosity such as how many camels can dance on the head of a pin (or however it's stated). IMHO this becomes idle speculation I choose not to engage in further. It brings no edification or benefit to our souls.

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thereselittleflower,

re: "As I said I don't see the point in the question(s) except as one of curiosity such as how many camels can dance on the head of a pin (or however it's stated). IMHO this becomes idle speculation"

 

 

So it seems. Since no one has so far provided any writing to support their assertion that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language, they must be making their assertion on idle speculation.

 

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So it seems. Since no one has so far provided any writing to support their assertion that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language, they must be making their assertion on idle speculation.

 

The most emphatic statement in all the Bible about how long Jesus would spend in the tomb is the passage with the phrase "three days and three nights." It's irresponsible for websites to claim this is idiomatic language, for reasons already explained. As far as I can tell, the impetuous of "Friday" simply comes from not distinguishing a Passover Sabbath from a Saturday Sabbath, so that "before the Sabbath" is taken to mean Friday, even though there's no doubt that there was a Passover Sabbath that week.

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With the new year upon us, maybe there will be someone new looking in who knows of examples as requested in the OP and clarified in further posts. And again, remember that the purpose of this topic is not to discuss how long the Messiah was in the heart of the earth. As stated, there are other topics that do that. However, there are those who say that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language such as the Messiah saying that He would be in the heart of the earth for 3 nights when He knew that it would only be for 2 nights. But in order to say that it was common, one would have to know of other instances where the same pattern had to have been used. I am simply looking for some of those instances, scriptural or otherwise. So far no one has come forth with any.

 

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. However, there are those who say that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language such as the Messiah saying that He would be in the heart of the earth for 3 nights when He knew that it would only be for 2 nights.

 

Yes, to reiterate what I've already posted:

 

Idioms that are not meant to be taken literally, but which look like they could be taken literally simply do not exist. If you find one, it's the exception that proves the rule. They don't exist because they're too confusing. Jesus wouldn't have said "three days and three nights" if he "meant one day and two nights" because of the high chance of confusing his audience (like us, who think he meant three days and three nights). The Jewish culture wouldn't have had this idiom because it would be too confusing.

 

Non-literal idioms are generally reserved to casual speech, and Jesus wasn't speaking casually.

 

There also is no use of "three days and three nights" as an idiom in the historical record. The claims to the country are, to say the least, incompetent, as I've already demonstrated. No, not in the Old Testament and not in Talmud, contrary to what some websites claim. Anyone who wishes to establish this as an historical idiom should quote the idiomatic use in context, and explain why it can't be literal. For example, if you point out someone went on a three day and three night fast, and then that someone, on the third day, invites someone else to a banquet, explain why the banquet can't be after the third day, such as after sunset when Hebrews reckon a new day starts, and when feasts are traditionally held after a day of preparation. It does take an exemption level of obtuseness to not be able to distinguish the timing of the invitation from time timing of the feast, not to mention being ignorant of the Hebrew practice of having feasts after sunset, deliberately the day after preparation.

 

Not only is it not a "common idiom", it's not an idiom at all, not even close. Only the OJ jury can think there's still a reasonable doubt.

 

 

 

 

 

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Cornelius,

re: "Not only is it not a 'common idiom', it's not an idiom at all..."

 

 

 

 

Tell that to the 6th day of the week crucifixion advocates.

 

 

 

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