▪ The Hebrew Scriptures use such expressions as “morning,” “noon,” “midday,” and “evening.” (Genesis 24:11; Deuteronomy 28:29; 1 Kings 18:26) The Hebrews divided the night into three watches of about four hours each but later adopted the Greek and Roman system of four night watches. Jesus evidently referred to this latter method of dividing time when he said: “Keep on the watch, for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether late in the day or at midnight or at cockcrowing or early in the morning.” (Mark 13:35) The watch “late in the day” ran from sunset to 9:00 p.m. The next ended at midnight, and the third, the “cockcrowing,” ran till about three o’clock in the morning. The last, the early morning watch, ran until sunrise. It was during “the fourth watch period of the night” that Jesus walked on the water of the Sea of Galilee.—Matthew 14:23-26.
In the Christian Greek Scriptures, the term “hour” referred to one-twelfth of the period of daylight as counted from sunrise to sunset. (John 11:9) Since sunrise and sunset in Israel vary according to the season, only the approximate time of an event was usually given, such as “about the sixth hour.”—Acts 10:9.