|"Evenings and Between the Two Evenings"
Some have made much ado about the terms br,[,b' (in the evening) and ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe
(between the evenings). They contend that one must understand these terms in order to
know when to observe the Passover and the Feast of the Passover. Furthermore, they do
not follow the rules of the Hebrew Lexicon for determining the meaning of “between the
evenings”; they have established their own rules based on some assumed biblical pattern.
The one and only example they use to “prove” their point is in Exodus 16.12-13 where we
find the incident of the quail coming into the camp of Israel.
Exodus 16:12 I have heard the murmurings of the children of Israel: speak unto them, saying, At even
(between the evenings) ye shall eat flesh, and in the morning ye shall be filled with bread; and ye
shall know that I [am] the LORD your God.
13 And it came to pass, that at even (in the evening or at evening) the quails came up, and covered
the camp: and in the morning the dew lay round about the host.
Exodus 16:12 ‘I have heard the murmurings of the sons of Israel; speak unto them, saying, Between
the evenings ye eat flesh, and in the morning ye are satisfied [with] bread, and ye have known that I
[am] Jehovah your God.’
13 And it cometh to pass in the evening, that the quail cometh up, and covereth the camp, and in the
morning there hath been the lying of dew round about the camp,
Common sense dictates that one example does not set a pattern. Furthermore, to change
the dictionary of the Hebrew Language based on one example that at first glance may
seem to disagree is absurd. We need several examples to establish grammatical usage –
but alas – we do not have them. Furthermore, exceptions to the rules clutter most
languages. We must exercise caution, as these professed teachers speculate over Hebrew
language terms, which could very well involve an exception to the rule. In addition, we
must be mindful of the fact that these “teachers” disallow the rules of the Hebrew
Language, and carelessly base their assumptions on a single example. We must
understand the Hebrew thoroughly before running away with our own theories and falling
in a trap of our own making. If the Hebrew dictionary is wrong, then we should prove it
wrong rather than ignoring it. In other words, will this quail incident work from the
perspective of the Hebrew definitions of the terms in question. Will we stop our ears to
one side of the argument, or will we listen to both sides and then come to our conclusion?
Proverbs 18.17 "Any story sounds true until someone tells the other side and sets the record straight."
We are not saying that a problem exists with Exodus 16:12-13. Rather, we are saying
that the problem exists with those who are twisting it to say what it does not say. The
bible does not have to repeat itself or create a pattern in order to be true. The bible
stands alone. We are not asking for a second witness from God; however, we will demand
a second witness from man! It is man that has decided to write his own definitions of
biblical terms because the established Hebrew dictionary definitions do not suit his
theories. If we all accepted the Hebrew Lexicon definition of the term, "between the
evenings" there would be no argument. However, if some man wants to change the
definition of a word to his own liking, we want to see more than just one vague example as
proof of his theory!
The first thing we should establish is that the phrase "between the evenings" is a figure of
speech, a metaphor, or an idiom. Please note that ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe is a two word phrase
in Hebrew. In English, the first word – reading from right to left – is “between” and the
second word is “the evenings”. The plurality of the second word coupled with the
preposition, between, impresses upon us that the Hebrew phrase involves two evenings.
According to one theory, the first evening is from noon to sunset, and the second evening
is from sunset until daybreak of the next morning. According to the second theory, the
first evening is from sunset to dark and the second evening is from the beginning of
darkness until daybreak. This varies according to the writer or speaker, but it suffices to
illustrate our point.
If we sacrifice a lamb between the two evenings according to the first theory, we literally
have 3-5 minutes to slay the lamb while the sun is setting. If we sacrifice a lamb between
the two evenings according to the second theory, we literally have not more than 3-5
minutes to slay the lamb from the time we see the first star until we see three stars,
establishing darkness. Therefore, "between the two evenings" is a figure of speech which
means literally: from the beginning of the first evening to the beginning of the second
evening, or another way of putting it: between the beginnings of the two evenings. In
other words, the term “evenings” in the idiom “between the evenings” stands for the
beginning of each of the two evenings. When we cannot understand a Hebrew phrase
literally, our next step is to determine if the Hebrew phrase is a figure of speech. There is
no theory of “between the two evenings” that we can understand literally. Regardless of
which theory we accept, we must admit that the phrase “between the two evenings” is an
A few individuals believe that we should understand "between the two evenings" literally
based on the Hebrew dual suffix. The Hebrew Language often uses a dual suffix for
words of time, as well as other categories. The Hebrew term under consideration does
have a dual suffix. However, we know of no rule that binds the Hebrew to only a literal
application when it uses a dual suffixed word – and the proponents of this theory offer no
such information or proof. The Hebrew uses one ending for masculine nouns and another
ending for feminine nouns. However, the Hebrew uses a dual suffix on certain categories
of words regardless of whether those words are masculine or feminine. The dual suffix is
merely a third type of plural ending in the Hebrew Language, for the grouping of words
into a plural number, without regard for their gender.
This proposed dual suffix theory requires "between the evenings" to cover a period from
sunset to sunset. In other words, some would have us believe that the phrase “between
the evenings” encompasses a period of 24 hours – one entire day. These people use the
Hebrew duals-suffix for plurals, as a smoke screen to imply that there is some muscle in
their theory. The duals-suffix has nothing to do with whether the phrase “between the
evenings” is literal or figurative.
Some few have grasped for the duals-suffix-literal theory in an effort to hold on to an
early 14th Passover Feast and yet have an explanation for why the Messiah’s sacrifice
took place the following afternoon – when the Jews were slaying their Passovers! To
prove the duals-suffix-literal theory wrong, notice Exodus 12:8,10, "They shall eat the
flesh in that night – and you shall let none of it remain until morning, and what remains of it
until morning you shall burn with fire."
Exodus 12:8 And they shall eat the flesh in that night, roast with fire, and unleavened bread; [and]
with bitter [herbs] they shall eat it.
Exodus 12:10 And ye shall let nothing of it remain until the morning; and that which remaineth of it
until the morning ye shall burn with fire.
To sacrifice the Messiah on the afternoon following the Passover would cause Him to
break His own command, which says that the Passover was not to remain until the
morning. To believe that one could slay the Passover at anytime between the sunset of
one evening and the sunset of the next evening would make void that command. We
should also point out that no history makes claim to this literal theory of “between the
evenings”. To their credit, these people do understand that the early 14th Passover
theory does not coincide with the time of the sacrifice of the Messiah – who is our
Passover sacrificed for us (1Cor. 5:7). All other early 14th Passover advocates just
ignore this fact or offer some feeble excuse. One “teacher” said that the sacrifice of the
Messiah was on the afternoon after the Passover in order to attract the attention of the
large crowds of people that day! It seems, at least in the mind of this “teacher” that it
was important for the Messiah to be seen by the multitudes even if the sacrifice had to be
at the wrong time! Of course, the bible is silent on that excuse!
“Between the two evenings" is a figure of speech regardless of one’s chosen theory. We
will illustrate this further when we study the word “evening”.
There is some reason to question the meaning of the phrase ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe (between
the evenings). The two basic theories of “between the evenings” sprang from the
Pharisees and Sadducees of New Testament times. However, we should understand that
although the early 14th Passover theorists claim to follow the Sadducees in this regard,
the truth is quite different. It is true that the Pharisees and the Sadducees differed in the
interpretation of “between the evenings”. What the early 14th theorists do not take into
account is that the Pharisees and the Sadducees also differed in their interpretation of
when the day began. When one considers only the difference in these sects’ definition of
“between the two evenings” and accepts only the Pharisee’s definition of when the day
began, one throws the Passover to the previous evening.
However, the Pharisees and the Sadducees both kept the Passover at the end of the
14th! The Pharisees understood the evening to begin at sunset and the Sadducees
believed that the evening began when the first three stars appeared. Therefore, the
Passover of these two groups began only about one or two hours apart, at the end of the
14th. The Pharisees slew their Passover lambs before sunset and the Sadducees would
have slain their lambs after sunset – however, the Sadducees followed the Pharisees
rather than cause division (the Samaritans did practice the Sadducean belief). However,
because of their difference in when the day began, they both would have slain their lambs
at the end of the 14th just one or two hours apart!
Because the early 14th Passover advocates did not take into account the difference of the
Sadducean beginning for the new day, they incorrectly assumed that the Sadducees kept
their Passover the previous evening. Therefore, the early 14th Passover advocates have
hybridized an event that has no historical record before the coming of the white man to
There should be no apprehension over the Hebrew term br,[,b' (in the evening). Because
“between the evenings” is an idiom, two theories developed, as discussed previously.
However, “in the evening” is not an idiom and there is no question about it. Evening is a
common Hebrew word. We do not need to define this word. This word, in its root form,
means "evening" according to Gesenius’ Hebrew Lexicon. However, we will do a study
of this word.
Let us summarize. 1) There are two evenings in each theory. 2) ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe means
between the beginnings of the two evenings. 3) br,[,b' means in the evening based on our
Hebrew Language study of Hebrew Grammar and our Hebrew Lexicons.
According to Hebrew reckoning, br,[,b' can cover either of the two periods of time called
"evening" or the whole time beginning with the first evening and ending with the
termination of the second evening. The reason for this is that br,[,b' simply means,
"evening" not any specific evening – it is a general word. We must determine the
particular evening based on the context of what we read – or the entire context of the
bible – otherwise, we cannot know which of the evenings this term intends. Therefore,
the context tells us whether br,[,b' is referring to the first evening, the second evening, or
the whole period of time covering both evenings.
~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe helps us to establish the first evening – this term is time-specific, as an
interval of time. An event established as ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe is never overruled by the
general term br,[,b'. If the bible establishes an event as "between the two evenings” –
this specific term takes precedence over the general expression, “in the evening”. In this
case, the general meaning of “in the evening” would be a reference to the first evening. If
the bible uses “in the evening” without influence of the specific “between the two
evenings” – then the meaning would usually be the second evening – but not always, as we
will soon see. We base this information on our study of Hebrew Grammar.
Some believe that the Hebrew br,[,b' means sunset. To prove that br,[,b' (Strong’s
06153) does not mean sunset, let us look at Genesis 1.5, "...So the evening (06153) and
the morning were the first day." Now if “evening” – (06153) – means sunset, here is what
we have: "So the sunset and the morning were the first day." According to this theory,
the day consists of 3-5 minutes of sunset and morning! That is preposterous! When we
actually try to put this assumed meaning of evening into practice, we understand
immediately that it is in error.
When the Hebrews wanted to refer to the position of the sun, they used terms such as 1)
When the sun was going down. 2) When the sun went down. 3) The sun was risen. 4) The
sun was set. 5) The sun rose. 6) When the sun is down. 7) As soon as the sun was down.
One can check a concordance under the word sun to see how the Hebrews expressed
themselves about the position of the sun.
However, while I was thinking about this very phrase, "So the evening and the morning
were the first day" a most astonishing thing happened. I suddenly realized that the
meaning of "between the two evenings" was right before our eyes all along and we had
been stumbling over it for more than 3000 years!
Genesis 1.3-5, "Then God said, 'Let there be light (0216)'; and there was light (0216). And God saw
the light (0216), that it was good; and God divided the light (0216) from the darkness (02822). God
called the light (0216) day (03117), and the darkness (02822) He called night (01961). So the
evening (06153) and the morning (01242) were the first day (03117)."
Notice that the word light (0216) appears 5 times in these 3 verses. Darkness (02822)
appears 2 times. Day (03117) appears 2 times. Night (01961), morning (01242), and
evening (06153) appear one time each. We point this out so that it will not be lost on our
readers that the Hebrew language had words for light, darkness, day, night, morning, and
God called the light: day – but morning and light are not identical terms. God called the
darkness: night – but evening and darkness are not identical terms. Evening includes
darkness, but evening is more than darkness only. Morning includes light, but light is
more than morning only. The Bible does not say, "So the darkness and the light were the
first day." That would be a true statement. If we put all the darkness with all the light,
we would fill up the day. However, Moses did not record it that way. Moses used another
very different definition for the summation of the day. "So the evening (06153) and the
morning (01242) were the first day."
If we take the 24-hour day and subtract the morning, what do we have left? From the
light of dawn until noon is morning. The rest of the day is from noon until the light of
dawn the next morning, or in the words of Genesis 1.5 -- EVENING (06153)! Therefore,
God tells us plainly in Genesis the first chapter – six times – that evening (from noon until
the beginning of morning) and morning (from the beginning of daybreak until noon) is the
Some teach that morning means the entire daylight portion of the day. Nevertheless, the
Hebrew word for light is 0216. If God had wanted to use the word for light, He would
have done so. God inspired Moses to use the word morning (01242). Check your Hebrew
Lexicon, morning means the early part of the day. Also, check your Strong's
Concordance under the word morning, there are many references, but none of them
refers to anything but the early part of the day. Now check under noon; one example,
1Kings 18.26, "So they took the bull which was given them, and they prepared it, and called on the
name of Baal from morning (#1242) even till noon, saying..."
Here the bible gives us the limits of morning. Morning is from daybreak until noon! It
means the same thing in English. Check any dictionary of the English language.
The word afternoon appears only one time in the Old Testament. Two Hebrew words –
day and decline – make up this one English word. The time of day referenced is “between
the two evenings” or the first evening, after the sun began to decline. The bible usually
refers to afternoon as evening, “between the two evenings” or in some other way – the
bible never refers to afternoon as morning. Now look at the two diagrams on the next
Judges 19:8 And he arose early in the morning on the fifth day to depart: and the damsel’s father
said, Comfort thine heart, I pray thee. And they tarried until afternoon (the day stretched out – or –
the day began to decline), and they did eat both of them.
Diagram #1 accounts for the whole day. The evening covers the entire time from noon to
the light of dawn. This diagram, based on Genesis, reveals the roots of this term
"between the two evenings" – the Hebrew way of expressing the time of the first
The context must reveal which evening it references. It may be, and usually is the
evening of sunset. However, the bible sets up four events that take place “between the
two evenings”: 1) the sacrificing of the Passover, 2) the offering of the daily evening
sacrifice, 3) the coming of the quail, and 4) the “lighting” of the tabernacle lamp. If the
bible refers to any of these four events as occurring “in the evening” – the reader must
understand that for brevity’s sake, the writer chose to use a general term to refer to the
specific term “between the two evenings”. As the bible used this specific term for only
four events, one who understood the Hebrew would have no problem sorting this out. Our
problem comes from not being familiar with the Hebrew and having our senses skewed
with false theory that became tradition. br,[,b' never contradicts ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe – it
can only compliment it.
This in no way changes our understanding of when the 24-hour day begins and ends –
sunset to sunset. ~yIB;r>[;h' !yBe is just another way of expressing the period of time we
call afternoon, which God inspired to be recorded in His Word. We understand that the
Hebrews had two beginnings for the year. The civil year began in the autumn and the
religious year began in the spring. The Jews believe that creation began in the autumn. It
seems from our study that creation also began at noon. It appears that God began His
creating each day at noon. It would be illogical to create light at sunset, at least from
man's viewpoint. Moreover, from God’s viewpoint, why would He stand in darkness and
create day for the other side of the earth? The logical assumption is that He created day
during all of its glory at noon! For according to the bible, “evening and morning were the
first day.” In other words, God began to reckon the first day from noon! If God
reckoned the day from noon, it is logical to believe that He also began the day at noon.