Q & A with Dianne on Introduction to Jewish Prayer
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| Published: July 12, 2022
Daniel prayed evening, morning and noon. In the New Testament we are told in Acts 3:1 that Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer which was the ninth hour. Was this evening, morning or noon? I understand that the counting goes from evening to evening. I’m trying to figure out the timings throughout the day, i.e.: what would be the hour in the evening, morning and noon–which one is the 9th hour and what is the 1st hour that the “hours” begin–in other words when is the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc? Does it start at 6 in the evening being the 1st hour?. Jesus died around the 3rd hour, is that noon? If so then the 1st hour would be 6 in the morning. I tried to find out on the internet but everybody has a different answer. Thank you and Shalom.
The day starts at nightfall, then the daytime starts at sunrise. Each of those half-days is divided into twelve, and those are called “time-hours.” The important ones are the daytime ones:-). On days that the sun rises at our 6 AM and sets at our 6 PM, everything is neat and tidy, and these time-hours are 60 minutes each. But if the sun rises at 5 AM and sets at 8 PM, there are 15 hours in the daytime and 9 hours at night, so the day’s time-hours are 75 minutes each (and the night’s time-hours are 45 minutes each).
In any case, the first hour usually means the first time-hour of the day, so during our long day we suggested above, starting at 5 AM and lasting until 6:15 AM. The 3rd hour would start at 9:45 AM.
If Peter and John were praying at the 9th hour, it was probably the afternoon prayer, “Minchah,” starting at 4:45 PM (correct me if I am wrong:-) in our 5am-8pm day.
If Jesus died at the 3rd hour around Passover, according to this great site https://www.myzmanim.com/, sun rises around 6:20 AM and sets around 7 PM, so a time-hour is around 63 minutes long. The third hour would start around 8:30 AM and finish around 9:33 AM.
All this is pretty general, so I won’t attest to it’s absolute correctness:-)
Hope it helps!