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Matthew 12:40

Discussion in 'NonChristian Help Forum' started by rstrats, Jan 18, 2013.

  1. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Whenever the three days and three nights of Matthew 12:40 is brought up in a "discussion" with 6th day crucifixion folks, they frequently argue that it is a Jewish idiom for counting any part of a day as a whole day. I wonder if anyone has documentation that shows an example from the first century or before regarding a period of time that is said to consist of a specific number of days as well as a specific number of nights where the period of time absolutey doesn't/can't include at least a part of each one of the specific number of days and at least a part of each one of the specific number of nights?
     
  2. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    The phrase 'three days and three nights' is a Jewish idiom meaning a short period of time and does not necessarily have to include three days and three nights. Today we might speak of a long task taking 'forever.' We mean that it will take a long time. We do not mean that it will take an infinite amount of time and is incapable of being completed. Likewise, someone may say that something will take 'only a minute' This means a very short time, not sixty seconds. These are simply English idioms. Idioms exist in all langauges."

    In the book of Esther where this idiom is also used, Esther states the following:

    Esther 4:16 "Go, assmeble all the Jews who are found in Susa, and fast for me; do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maidens also will fast in the same way.. And thus I will go in to the king, which is not according to the law; and if I perish, I perish."

    Two verses later, however, we read:

    Esther 5:1 "Now it came about on the third day that Esther put on her royal robes and stood in the inner court of the king's palace in front of the king's rooms, and the king was sitting on his royal throne in the throne room, opposite the entrance to the palace."

    Esther did not wait a full three days and three nights. She went to the king on the third day. So that would be two days plus a number of hours."
     
    aspen likes this.
  3. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Selene,

    re: "The phrase 'three days and three nights' is a Jewish idiom meaning a short period of time and does not necessarily have to include three days and three nights."


    As regards the Jewish practice of counting any part of a day as a whole day I would agree, but when nights is added to days to yield the phrase 3 days AND 3 nights it normally refers to a measurement of a consecutive time period where day refers to the light portion of a 24 hour period and night refers to the dark portion of a 24 hour period. No one In the history of apologetics as far as I know has ever presented any historical documentation that the phrase 3 days AND 3 nights was a unique first century idiom of Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek which could mean something different than what the phrase means in English. As I asked in the OP, if you have such documentation, I would very much like to see it.

    Your use of Esther 4:16 and 5:1ff to support your idea that the 3 days and 3 nights that the Messiah said he would be in the earth isn't to be taken literally, is not appropriate. Nothing in your Esther references precludes at least parts of 3 nighttime and at least parts of 3 daytime periods.
     
  4. dragonfly

    dragonfly Well-Known Member

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    Hi rstrats,

    I suggest you contact the very accessible Dr Phil Goble whose website is afii.org.

    He has replied to me within hours of an enquiry; is on twitter, facebook, and makes a phone number available.

    Don't be shy, now. :) (Due to the needs of his ministry, he is very likely to know if anything has been written about this topic.)
     
  5. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    dragonfly,

    Per your suggestion, I e-mailed the OP to afii.org.
     
  6. dragonfly

    dragonfly Well-Known Member

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    Hi rstrats,

    That's great! It will be interesting to learn the response, when you get it. :)
     
  7. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    Esther was told not to eat for 3 days, nights or days. The whole point is that the phrase 3 days and 3 nights is an idiom that should not be taken literally.
     
  8. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Selene,

    re: "Esther was told not to eat for 3 days, nights or days. The whole point is that the phrase 3 days and 3 nights is an idiom that should not be taken literally.:


    The Esther phrase "3 days, night or day" does not necessarily mean the same thing as "3 days and 3 nights". But even if it does, you can't use it as a proof text because nothing in the passages precludes at least parts of 3 nighttime and at least parts of 3 daytime periods. If you think it does, I wonder if you might explain?
     
  9. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    I don't see the difference. It's still an idiom. The fact that Esther did not wait until three days is the part that shows it's an idiom.
     
  10. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Selene,

    re: "The fact that Esther did not wait until three days is the part that shows it's an idiom.

    Again, I ask you to explain how your Esther reference absolutely cannot be including at least parts of 3 days and at least parts of 3 nights?
     
  11. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    If I did not think it could not be included as an example of the "3 days, 3 nights" idiom, I would not include it in the first place. So, why would I explain how my reference cannot be included, when I included it because I believe it can be included? :blink:
     
  12. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Selene,

    re: "...why would I explain how my reference cannot be included..."

    That is not what I asked you to explain - I asked you to explain why it can be included.
     
  13. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    Ok. Perhaps you need to re-read what you originally wrote because the word "cannot" is there. At any rate, I did explain it. I said that Esther was told to fast for three days and then go to the king. Three days equals three days and three nights, but Esther did not wait for the full three days. She went to the king on the third day.
     
  14. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    Selene,

    re: " Perhaps you need to re-read what you originally wrote because the word 'cannot' is there."


    Indeed it is; it is essential to my query.



     


    re: "At any rate, I did explain it."


    I do not see where you explained why the Esther passages absolutely cannot be referring to a period of time that includes at least parts of each one of three days and at least parts of each one of three nights.
     
  15. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    Isn't 3 days equal to 72 hours? And isn't 3 days and 3 nights also equal to 72 hours?
     
  16. dragonfly

    dragonfly Well-Known Member

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    Hi you two,

    I thought the point Selene made several posts ago, is that the three days and three nights in Esther did refer to only parts of days and nights. Is this not clear to you, rstrats?

    It is difficult to know from your posts just exactly what you think Selene has not made clear. But maybe I'm misunderstanding both of you :(
     
  17. Selene

    Selene New Member

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    I'm not sure if rstrats misunderstood me or if I misunderstood him as well. Esther did not complete the entire 3 days, which shows that it's an idiom.
     
  18. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    dragonfly,

    re: "I thought the point Selene made several posts ago, is that the three days and three nights in Esther did refer to only parts of days and nights. Is this not clear to you, rstrats?"

    It's perfectly clear. The problem is that that is not what I'm asking about.

    And as I mentioned previously, the Esther passage does not say "three days and three nights" - it says "three days, night or day" which is not necessarily the same thing. But even if it is, the Esther passages do not provide what I am looking for.


    In post #2, Selene wrote" "The phrase 'three days and three nights' is a Jewish idiom meaning a short period of time and does not necessarily have to include three days and three nights". I am not looking for an example "that does not necessarily...include three days and three nights", I am looking for an example that absolutely cannot be including at least part of each one of the days and at least part of each one of the nights. I don't see where Esther shows that.



    Selene,

    re: "Isn't 3 days equal to 72 hours?

    Yes, it can be.


    re: "And isn't 3 days and 3 nights also equal to 72 hours?"

    Yes, it can be.

    What is your point as it relates to the OP?
     
  19. dragonfly

    dragonfly Well-Known Member

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    Hi rstrats,

    Thank you for trying to disentangle my confusion! I'm not necessarily further forward, though.


    So, are you saying you are looking for a written example of the use of a phrase such as 'three days and three nights', which could in no way mean what it says?

    Regarding the quotes from Esther, I agree that it does show she could have fasted for three whole days continuously, starting in the DAY when she first spoke, for 72 hours, beginning to count 'day's from sundown, until the 'third day' when she approached the king, clearly before nightfall. By that time, part of a day, a night, a day, a night, a day, a night and part of a day, would have passed.

    The reference to 'third day' is based on beginning the day count from the first sundown.
     
  20. rstrats

    rstrats Member

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    dragonfly,

    re: "So, are you saying you are looking for a written example of the use of a phrase such as 'three days and three nights', which could in no way mean what it says?"

    Yes, that it what I am asking for as stated in the OP.
     
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