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Author Topic:   Matthew 12:40 Using Common Idiomatic Language?
rstrats
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Posts: 111
Joined: 04-08-2004


Message 1 of 131 (775143)
12-28-2015 8:09 PM


Matthew 12:40 quotes the Messiah saying that He would be in the "heart of the earth" for 3 days and 3 nights. A majority of folks believe that the crucifixion took place on the 6th day of the week, with the resurrection taking place on the 1st day of the week. This period of time, however, would only allow for 2 night times. To account for this discrepancy, it is frequently explained that the verse is using common Jewish idiomatic language of the time.

I wonder if anyone (who thinks that the crucifixion took place on the 6th day of the week and who thinks that the "heart of the earth" is referring to the tomb) knows of any writing which shows a phrase from the first century or before which states a specific number of days and/or a specific number of nights when the actual period of time absolutely couldn't have included at least parts of each one of the specific number of days and at least parts of each one of the specific number of nights?

And remember, the purpose of this topic is not to discuss how long the Messiah was in the heart of the earth. There are other topics that do that. However, for those who say that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language I should think that one would have to know of other instances where the same pattern was used in order to say that it was common. I am simply looking for some of those instances, scriptural or otherwise.


Replies to this message:
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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 131 (775145)
12-28-2015 9:57 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the Matthew 12:40 Using Common Idiomatic Language? thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
kbertsche
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Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 3 of 131 (775152)
12-29-2015 1:43 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by rstrats
12-28-2015 8:09 PM


rstrats writes:


Matthew 12:40 quotes the Messiah saying that He would be in the "heart of the earth" for 3 days and 3 nights. A majority of folks believe that the crucifixion took place on the 6th day of the week, with the resurrection taking place on the 1st day of the week. This period of time, however, would only allow for 2 night times. To account for this discrepancy, it is frequently explained that the verse is using common Jewish idiomatic language of the time.
I wonder if anyone (who thinks that the crucifixion took place on the 6th day of the week and who thinks that the "heart of the earth" is referring to the tomb) knows of any writing which shows a phrase from the first century or before which states a specific number of days and/or a specific number of nights when the actual period of time absolutely couldn't have included at least parts of each one of the specific number of days and at least parts of each one of the specific number of nights?

And remember, the purpose of this topic is not to discuss how long the Messiah was in the heart of the earth. There are other topics that do that. However, for those who say that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language I should think that one would have to know of other instances where the same pattern was used in order to say that it was common. I am simply looking for some of those instances, scriptural or otherwise.

First, here's a passage from the NT which shows that what they called "the third day" was actually two days away:

quote:
And He said to them, “Go and tell that fox, ‘Behold, I cast out demons and perform cures today and tomorrow, and the third day I reach My goal.’ (Lk 13:32 NASB)


So when Jesus was raised "on the third day", this was probably only two days after the crucifixion.

Second, here's an OT passage which shows that "three days and three nights" was synonymous for "three days ago":

quote:
11Now they found an Egyptian in the field and brought him to David, and gave him bread and he ate, and they provided him water to drink. 12They gave him a piece of fig cake and two clusters of raisins, and he ate; then his spirit revived. For he had not eaten bread or drunk water for three days and three nights. 13David said to him, “To whom do you belong? And where are you from?” And he said, “I am a young man of Egypt, a servant of an Amalekite; and my master left me behind when I fell sick three days ago. 14“We made a raid on the Negev of the Cherethites, and on that which belongs to Judah, and on the Negev of Caleb, and we burned Ziklag with fire.” 15Then David said to him, “Will you bring me down to this band?” And he said, “Swear to me by God that you will not kill me or deliver me into the hands of my master, and I will bring you down to this band.” (1 Sam 30:11-15 NASB)

This suggests that "three days and three nights" would have been a Hebrew idiom for "three days" or "the third day".

There may be more biblical examples, and I suspect that there are extrabiblical examples of this as well.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.

Edited by kbertsche, : No reason given.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by rstrats, posted 12-28-2015 8:09 PM rstrats has responded

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rstrats
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 04-08-2004


Message 4 of 131 (775164)
12-29-2015 10:03 AM
Reply to: Message 3 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 1:43 AM


This topic is not about calendar days. It's about daytimes and night times and whether or not it was common to say that a daytime and/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 have occurred.

Edited by rstrats, : No reason given.


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11839
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 5 of 131 (775166)
12-29-2015 10:39 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by rstrats
12-28-2015 8:09 PM


However, for those who say that Matthew 12:40 is using common Jewish idiomatic language I should think that one would have to know of other instances where the same pattern was used in order to say that it was common.

Well, there's Genesis:

quote:
And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.


It seems that a "day" is ticked off and counted after there is an evening and then a morning.


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kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 6 of 131 (775171)
12-29-2015 11:10 AM
Reply to: Message 4 by rstrats
12-29-2015 10:03 AM


rstrats writes:

This topic is not about calendar days. It's about daytimes and night times and whether or not it was common to say that a daytime and/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 have occurred.


Yes, understood. As I said after presenting two biblical passages:
kbertsche writes:

This suggests that "three days and three nights" would have been a Hebrew idiom for "three days" or "the third day".


In other words, the phrase "three days and three nights" may have been used as an idiom even when there were NOT actually three nights included in the time period. To get more verification of this, I suspect you'll have to look more closely into extrabiblical literature.

"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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PaulK
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Posts: 13365
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 7 of 131 (775172)
12-29-2015 11:12 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by New Cat's Eye
12-29-2015 10:39 AM


But isn't it the case that you only have two evenings ?
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PaulK
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Posts: 13365
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 8 of 131 (775173)
12-29-2015 11:19 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 11:10 AM


The OT quote is the only really relevant one.

The man fell ill three days ago, and was left behind. So he would have been alone for a full three nights, two full days and parts of two more days.

Therefore, to get your parallel you need three days and three nights to start only two days ago. So, no, it is not adequate to support your point.


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rstrats
Member
Posts: 111
Joined: 04-08-2004


Message 9 of 131 (775183)
12-29-2015 1:58 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 11:10 AM


kbertsche,
re: "Yes, understood."

I'm sorry, but I don't think that you did/do.

re: "As I said after presenting two biblical passages:"

Neither of the 2 passages state a specific number of daytimes and/or a specific number of night times where at least a portion of each one of the daytimes and at least a portion of each one of the night times absolutely couldn't have occurred.


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rstrats
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Posts: 111
Joined: 04-08-2004


Message 10 of 131 (775185)
12-29-2015 2:04 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by New Cat's Eye
12-29-2015 10:39 AM


Cat Sci,
re: "It seems that a 'day' is ticked off and counted after there is an evening and then a morning."

Yes, a calendar day. But where do you have a daytime and/or a night time being "ticked" off and counted when at least a portion of the daytime and at least a portion of the night time couldn't have occurred?


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kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 11 of 131 (775189)
12-29-2015 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by PaulK
12-29-2015 11:19 AM


PaulK writes:

The OT quote is the only really relevant one.


The NT quote is relevant too. It shows how the Hebrews counted days. Today counts as day 1, not day 0. Tomorrow (or yesterday) is day 2, not day 1.

The man fell ill three days ago, and was left behind. So he would have been alone for a full three nights, two full days and parts of two more days.

Therefore, to get your parallel you need three days and three nights to start only two days ago. So, no, it is not adequate to support your point.


First, I probably should have quoted from YLT rather than NASB:
quote:
1Sam. 30:12 and give to him a piece of a bunch of dried figs, and two bunches of raisins, and he eateth, and his spirit returneth unto him, for he hath not eaten bread nor drunk water three days and three nights.
1Sam. 30:13 And David saith to him, ‘Whose [art] thou? and whence [art] thou?’ And he saith, ‘An Egyptian youth I [am], servant to a man, an Amalekite, and my lord forsaketh me, for I have been sick three days,

This is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew, which says "I have been sick three days".

Second, what does the phrase "I have been sick three days" actually mean? How did he count these days?

If he counted like the NT passage, with today as day 1, this means that he would have become sick TWO days ago, not three. He would have been sick for parts of three calendar days and all of two nights.

If he counted as we do today (and as you assume), this means that he would have become sick THREE days ago. He would have been sick for parts of four calendar days and all of three nights.

So depending on how we judge that he counted, we come to two different conclusions.

I believe that he would have counted the way that is shown in the NT passage. I believe that it would be anachronistic and incorrect to ignore the NT passage and impose our modern counting scheme on the OT passage. I can't prove this to a skeptic, of course, but I think it is the most likely and most reasonable way to interpret the text.


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 13365
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.8


Message 12 of 131 (775190)
12-29-2015 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 4:41 PM


quote:

The NT quote is relevant too. It shows how the Hebrews counted days. Today counts as day 1, not day 0. Tomorrow (or yesterday) is day 2, not day 1.

No. Since the quotes are entirely compatible with English usage (and are in English) they can't show that the Hebrews did anything different.

quote:

This is a more accurate rendering of the Hebrew, which says "I have been sick three days".
Second, what does the phrase "I have been sick three days" actually mean? How did he count these days?

If he counted like the NT passage, with today as day 1, this means that he would have become sick TWO days ago, not three. He would have been sick for parts of three calendar days and all of two nights.


A literal translation is not necessarily more accurate. Indeed, the less literal translation may account better for use of idiom, since that is one of the reasons for not translating literally.

Even then, rather than inventing a strange counting system whereby two nights becomes three, it is surely possible that he became sick in the evening or night. Since the Hebrew day starts at evening he would have therefore been sick for two whole nights and at least part of a third.

Edited by PaulK, : No reason given.


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New Cat's Eye
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Posts: 11839
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 13 of 131 (775191)
12-29-2015 5:13 PM
Reply to: Message 11 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 4:41 PM


Today counts as day 1, not day 0. Tomorrow (or yesterday) is day 2, not day 1.

Right, but the problem in the OP stands.

From Good Friday to Easter Sunday, you have Friday day and Friday night, Saturday day and Saturday night, and then on Sunday day is the resurrection.

That's 3 day-times and 2 night-times, not 3 days and 3 nights.

Yes, it it 3 different days, but Matt 20:14 explicitly says "3 days and 3 nights".


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kbertsche
Member
Posts: 1424
From: San Jose, CA, USA
Joined: 05-10-2007
Member Rating: 2.1


Message 14 of 131 (775192)
12-29-2015 5:31 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by New Cat's Eye
12-29-2015 5:13 PM


CatSci writes:


Yes, it it 3 different days, but Matt 20:14 explicitly says "3 days and 3 nights".


Agreed. The claim is that the phrase "3 days and 3 nights" is a common idiom for "3 days", and that "3 days" to a Hebrew meant "some part of each of three consecutive calendar days". Hence this idiomatic phrase is not meant to be interpreted literally.

I realize that I have not proven this claim. Proving it would probably require some sort of trusted linguistic study of Hebrew idioms, and I don't know where to find this.

In the mean time, here is a website which argues for this position: http://www.bible.ca/d-3-days-and-3-nights.htm


"Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind." – Albert Einstein

“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives us a lot of factual information, puts all of our experience in a magnificently consistent order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.” – Erwin Schroedinger


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by New Cat's Eye, posted 12-29-2015 5:13 PM New Cat's Eye has responded

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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11839
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.6


Message 15 of 131 (775196)
12-29-2015 7:44 PM
Reply to: Message 14 by kbertsche
12-29-2015 5:31 PM


this idiomatic phrase is not meant to be interpreted literally.

Agreed. I think it would make more sense, though, if Jesus was just borrowing a phrase rather than utilizing its idiom-ness. For instance:

The claim is that the phrase "3 days and 3 nights" is a common idiom for "3 days", and that "3 days" to a Hebrew meant "some part of each of three consecutive calendar days". Hence...

That's not very convincing. There is a considerable misalignment between Jesus and Jonah. The story of Jonah starts with him heading out and then getting swallowed up, then spending literally 3 days and 3 nights in the belly of the beast, and then being barfed up onto a beach. That indicates that he was barfed on the forth day rather than the third. It it was the third, then he was started on day 0 and ended up on the beach on day 3.

That's not what Jesus meant, there was just three days where he dies and was resurrected; he was resurrected on the third day. It especially doesn't make since when the audience marks the next day after a night and morning.

But anyways, regardless, OP doesn't doubt that you can come up with ways to rationalize it, it's asking for:

quote:
other instances where the same pattern was used in order to say that it was common. I am simply looking for some of those instances, scriptural or otherwise.

In your case, it's looking for other instances of where the phrase "3 days and 3 nights" is a common idiom for "3 days" that the audience knows means "some part of each of three consecutive calendar days" rather than meaning in three days from now, like on the forth day if today is the first.

That's the problem, if you care to participate.

I realize that I have not proven this claim. Proving it would probably require some sort of trusted linguistic study of Hebrew idioms, and I don't know where to find this.

You might be able to search for instances other people doing that in regards to this issue.


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