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Thread: First mention of the "moon" in the Bible

  1. #1
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    First mention of the "moon" in the Bible

    Hi All:

    When does the Bible first mention the moon by name? Why so late in history? Any ideas!

    also...

    What would reasonably account for the 3 hours of complete darkness at the time of Jesus' impalement/crucifixion?

    frank

  2. Quote Originally Posted by francis son of charles View Post
    Hi All:

    When does the Bible first mention the moon by name? Why so late in history? Any ideas!

    also...

    What would reasonably account for the 3 hours of complete darkness at the time of Jesus' impalement/crucifixion?

    frank

    Hi Frank,
    Interesting question. But what do you mean by, “When does the Bible first mention the moon by name?” It doesn’t. In the Hebrew and Greek languages the words used, only refer to a concept of brilliance (‘owr=light, shemesh=brilliant), or a cycle (yerach=month=lunar cycle). Shemesh refers to the sun, and yerach refers to the lunar cycle, or month. It is sometimes translated as moon, but more often as month. The first mention of either sun or moon, as we call them, was in Genesis 1:14 to distinguish night from day. This was on the fourth day. (1:19)

    As for the darkness mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it wasn’t very likely a total eclipse of the sun, because of the length of time; 3 hours. It was more likely caused by very heavy dark storm clouds. The Greek word used to describe it is also used as a metaphor. (Mt. 4:16, 6:23; Lu. 1:79, 11:35; Joh. 3:19) The word is skotos, from the root, skia, meaning “shade caused by the interception of light”.

    Tsaphah


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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsaphah View Post

    Hi Frank,
    Interesting question. But what do you mean by, “When does the Bible first mention the moon by name?” It doesn’t. In the Hebrew and Greek languages the words used, only refer to a concept of brilliance (‘owr=light, shemesh=brilliant), or a cycle (yerach=month=lunar cycle). Shemesh refers to the sun, and yerach refers to the lunar cycle, or month. It is sometimes translated as moon, but more often as month. The first mention of either sun or moon, as we call them, was in Genesis 1:14 to distinguish night from day. This was on the fourth day. (1:19)

    As for the darkness mentioned in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, it wasn’t very likely a total eclipse of the sun, because of the length of time; 3 hours. It was more likely caused by very heavy dark storm clouds. The Greek word used to describe it is also used as a metaphor. (Mt. 4:16, 6:23; Lu. 1:79, 11:35; Joh. 3:19) The word is skotos, from the root, skia, meaning “shade caused by the interception of light”.

    Tsaphah

    Hi Tsaphah:

    I did a simple word search in my interlinear scripture analyzer and the first occurence of "moon" or strongs word H3394 yareach yaw-ray'-akh was at Genesis 37:9 in describing aspects of Joseph's dream. Joseph lived abuot 1768 BCE to about 1658 BCE which was 600-700 years after the flood of Noah's day.

    You are correct about the darkness at Jesus death. It could not have been caused by an eclipse for a number of reasons. One, eclipses, even total ones only last for a max of about 7.5 minutes at any one location. Also, since it was the Passover, we know that the day of Jesus Sacrifice was followed by a full moon. Solar eclipses only happen with new moons, not full moons. Dark clouds I guess is one idea, but for 3 solid hours?

    frank

  4. #4
    Hi Frank,

    1) Why so late in history ? (Your question is too simple. Where's the beef ? )

    Because there was no need to before then...

    2) What did cause darkness when Jesus died ?

    Anything that could make it happen so the prophecies are fulfilled... Definitely, not an eclipse, for sure. Yes for very dark clouds...


    Matthew 27:45

    27:45. The "sixth hour" begins by noon, the "ninth hour" by 3 p.m.; crucifixions rarely ended so quickly. The latter time, when Jesus dies, was close to the time of the evening offering in the temple. Darkness was one of the plagues in Egypt and occurs in the prophets as a judgment for the end time; both Jews and pagans considered eclipses and other darkenings of the sky bad omens.
    from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

    Matthew 27:45

    45 Amos 8:9 speaks of the Lord's causing the sun to go down at noon.
    from Jewish New Testament Commentary

    Mark 15:33

    15:33. The "sixth hour" began before noon, the "ninth hour" before 3 p.m. Jesus dies around the time of the evening offering in the temple. Stories were told of catastrophes occurring at the deaths of pious *rabbis, especially those whose intercession had been vital to the world; but the biggest point of these signs is that judgment is imminent. Darkness had signified judgment in the past (Ex 10:21-23) and would in the future (Isa 13:10; Ezek 32:7; Joel 2:2,10,31; 3:15; Amos 5:18; 8:9; Zech 14:6).

    from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener

    Mark 15:33

    The sixth hour (v. 33). At noon, a miraculous darkness came over the land, and all creation sympathized with the Creator as He suffered. This was indeed a miracle and not some natural phenomenon, such as a sand storm or an eclipse. It would not be possible to have an eclipse during full moon at Passover. By means of this darkness, God was saying something to the people.

    For one thing, the Jews would certainly think about the first Passover. The ninth plague in Egypt was a three-day darkness, followed by the last plague, the death of the firstborn (Ex 10:22-11:9). The darkness at Calvary was an announcement that God's Firstborn and Beloved Son, the Lamb of God, was giving His life for the sins of the world. It was also an announcement that judgment was coming and men had better be prepared.


    from The Bible Exposition Commentary
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Le sectarisme des jugements pauvres lui tenait quelque fois lieu de volonté" - Hervé Bazin
    "J'ai pétri de la boue et j'en ai fait de l'or" - Charles Baudelaire
    "S'il m'a été donné de voir un peu plus loin que les autres, c'est que je me tenais sur les épaules de géants" - Isaac Newton

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utuna View Post
    Hi Frank,

    1) Why so late in history ? (Your question is too simple. Where's the beef ? )

    Because there was no need to before then...

    2) What did cause darkness when Jesus died ?

    Anything that could make it happen so the prophecies are fulfilled... Definitely, not an eclipse, for sure. Yes for very dark clouds...


    Matthew 27:45

    27:45. The "sixth hour" begins by noon, the "ninth hour" by 3 p.m.; crucifixions rarely ended so quickly. The latter time, when Jesus dies, was close to the time of the evening offering in the temple. Darkness was one of the plagues in Egypt and occurs in the prophets as a judgment for the end time; both Jews and pagans considered eclipses and other darkenings of the sky bad omens.
    from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament

    Matthew 27:45

    45 Amos 8:9 speaks of the Lord's causing the sun to go down at noon.
    from Jewish New Testament Commentary

    Mark 15:33

    15:33. The "sixth hour" began before noon, the "ninth hour" before 3 p.m. Jesus dies around the time of the evening offering in the temple. Stories were told of catastrophes occurring at the deaths of pious *rabbis, especially those whose intercession had been vital to the world; but the biggest point of these signs is that judgment is imminent. Darkness had signified judgment in the past (Ex 10:21-23) and would in the future (Isa 13:10; Ezek 32:7; Joel 2:2,10,31; 3:15; Amos 5:18; 8:9; Zech 14:6).

    from IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament by Craig S. Keener

    Mark 15:33

    The sixth hour (v. 33). At noon, a miraculous darkness came over the land, and all creation sympathized with the Creator as He suffered. This was indeed a miracle and not some natural phenomenon, such as a sand storm or an eclipse. It would not be possible to have an eclipse during full moon at Passover. By means of this darkness, God was saying something to the people.

    For one thing, the Jews would certainly think about the first Passover. The ninth plague in Egypt was a three-day darkness, followed by the last plague, the death of the firstborn (Ex 10:22-11:9). The darkness at Calvary was an announcement that God's Firstborn and Beloved Son, the Lamb of God, was giving His life for the sins of the world. It was also an announcement that judgment was coming and men had better be prepared.


    from The Bible Exposition Commentary
    Hi Utuna:

    You really do not find it unusual that the word moon is not mentioned in the Bible till 6 or 700 years after the flood of Noah's day? I personally had never thought about it before, but the question was posed to me and I was astonished. I do not have the answer as to why this is the case, but I think it is something worth thinking about. Perhaps you do not.

    frank

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by francis son of charles View Post
    Hi Utuna:

    You really do not find it unusual that the word moon is not mentioned in the Bible till 6 or 700 years after the flood of Noah's day? I personally had never thought about it before, but the question was posed to me and I was astonished. I do not have the answer as to why this is the case, but I think it is something worth thinking about. Perhaps you do not.

    frank
    Hi Frank,

    No, I don't find it unusual at all. Just my personal feelings about it.

    I rather ask myself why the word used in Gen. 3:24 is "sword" ? Did Jehovah invent the sword or why was that word used whereas the sword would be invented centuries later only...?

    Edit : I already know the answer but I ask the question just for fun.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Le sectarisme des jugements pauvres lui tenait quelque fois lieu de volonté" - Hervé Bazin
    "J'ai pétri de la boue et j'en ai fait de l'or" - Charles Baudelaire
    "S'il m'a été donné de voir un peu plus loin que les autres, c'est que je me tenais sur les épaules de géants" - Isaac Newton

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by francis son of charles View Post
    Hi Utuna:

    You really do not find it unusual that the word moon is not mentioned in the Bible till 6 or 700 years after the flood of Noah's day? I personally had never thought about it before, but the question was posed to me and I was astonished. I do not have the answer as to why this is the case, but I think it is something worth thinking about. Perhaps you do not.

    frank
    Hey Frank,

    I just had a thought. The moon had other names in other civilisations way before it being named for the first time in the Bible...
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Le sectarisme des jugements pauvres lui tenait quelque fois lieu de volonté" - Hervé Bazin
    "J'ai pétri de la boue et j'en ai fait de l'or" - Charles Baudelaire
    "S'il m'a été donné de voir un peu plus loin que les autres, c'est que je me tenais sur les épaules de géants" - Isaac Newton

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Utuna View Post
    Hey Frank,

    I just had a thought. The moon had other names in other civilisations way before it being named for the first time in the Bible...
    Hi Utuna:

    I'm curious, what were those "other" names used for the moon by "other civilizations" and where are the historical references for these terms? Since all post flood "civilizations" stemmed from Noah and his family (Shem, Ham and Japheth) and since there was only about 130 years between the death of Shem circa 1869 BCE and Joseph becoming leader of Egypt circa 1730 BCE, there was not a lot of time to develop "alternative" names for the moon, do you think? Yes, the flood story has been embellished quite a bit from culture to culture but that happened over millenia, not a Century or so from a very common starting point.

    frank

  9. #9
    I'm typing my answer on my phone so sorry if I'm laconic.

    Historical evidence ? Have a look at Sin/Nanna, the moon god of the Babylonians and Sumerians. Many names were forged after the moon. The oldest pantheons and fables already mentioned the moon.

    As for the name changes because of languages, something must have happened around the Babel tower, if my memory serves me well... ;-) Besides, languages being mainly spoken only back in those days, words and pronunciations were likely to change way faster than nowadays.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    "Le sectarisme des jugements pauvres lui tenait quelque fois lieu de volonté" - Hervé Bazin
    "J'ai pétri de la boue et j'en ai fait de l'or" - Charles Baudelaire
    "S'il m'a été donné de voir un peu plus loin que les autres, c'est que je me tenais sur les épaules de géants" - Isaac Newton

  10. #10
    dosent genisis mention the sun and moon as the luminaries one for the day? and one for the night?

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