Hebrew Word Definitions


From a root with the original meaning of 'divide' or 'discern.' It can refer to the daylight portion of the day before noon, as well as the dark period before dawn (as in Gen.44:3 and elsewhere). It is best translated as 'morning.'


This word means 'on the morrow'. It can refer to the next day as a whole, but it usually refers to the following morning. See Gen.19: 34; Ex.18:13.


This verb has several meanings, all having to do with verbal announcement of some sort. Its chief meanings are 'call', 'proclaim', and 'read.' In Exodus 12:31 the context indicates that it means 'proclaim' or 'call to', but it does not necessarily imply visual contact between the Pharaoh and Moses. Thus, Pharaoh may have either kept his order of Exodus 10:28, or ignored it, because he solicited a blessing from Moses and Aaron (which would have involved the Eternal—the God he had previously insulted), which shows the Pharaoh had finally been broken.


This word is generally translated as 'evening' and comes from a root with the suggested original meaning of 'enter' or 'go in' (as in Assyrian). It does not refer to sunset; it refers to the period before sunset (possibly beginning at noon when the sun begins its descent) and continuing past sunset until sometime in the night. Thus, it primarily refers to the late afternoon periods of the day.

The following are references that clearly show that 'erev' begins during the day before sunset:

In Judges 19:9,14, verse nine shows that the day 'has sunk to be evening', but the sunset did not occur until verse fourteen.

The challenging soldier would not have challenged Israel after sunset, because he would not have been seen and there would not have been enough time to fight between sunset and dark if someone had accepted his challenge.

These scriptures show that 'erev' (evening) refers to the late afternoon, when it is still well-lit outside from the sun.

Beyn ha-arbayim:

Literally means 'between the two evenings.' Erev' (evening) begins during the day. The Hebrew word 'arbayim' is the dual form of the word 'erev'. Therefore, one of the 'two evenings' would be the one that begins in the afternoon. The second evening is most likely sunset. Therefore, this period 'between the two evenings' can refer to a maximum of about six hours (noon to sunset) or the traditional length of about 3 hours (about 3 p.m. to sunset). The following verses contain the phrase 'between the two evenings': Ex.12:6; 16:12; 29:39; 30:8; Lev.23:5; Numb.9:3,5,11; 28:4,8.

Layelah and layil:

From the reconstructed root 'lul', which means 'to fold back'. Therefore, night (layelah/layil) is seen as a folding or turning away of daylight. This corresponds to the English concept of 'night'—the period between sunset to sunrise.


This word occurs only twice in the Bible—both times in Ex.12:42. It is a masculine plural noun from the unattested singular form 'shimmur',which is a noun formation corresponding to the Piel verb stem. The meaning of the word is found in the Piel verb form of this root 'paying attention' (Jon.2:6). So, the word 'shimmur' means 'a vigil.' The plural form as found in Ex.12:42 means 'vigils.'


This word comes from the root 'zakar','to remember.' The ending of this word is a particularizing element. Therefore, it can mean 'a memorial' or 'a thing to remember'.


This word means 'festival', 'gathering', 'feast', 'pilgrim-feast'. It is used specifically in reference to God's Festivals (Lev.23).


This word means 'male firstborn', as in Ex.11:5. However, it may also refer to female firstborn, because there is no neuter form of a Hebrew noun. All nouns are either masculine or feminine, and when both are implied, the masculine form is used. In this case, the word 'bekor' apparently refers to only firstborn, regardless of which sex the person is. It comes from the root which means 'to be early or first.'

By B.L. Cocherell         b5w35