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Word Study: Yom
The Hebrew word for “day” is the word “Yom.” Young earth creationists have always argued that the word used for the days of creation can only mean a 24-hour day. In this article, we will examine the uses of Yom in the Old Testament, and show that it can mean a wide variety of time periods. First, one must understand that the Hebrew language is not nearly is diverse as our English language. Whereas we have millions of words, the Hebrew source for the Old Testament only consists of slightly less than 8,700 words.and many of these could be considered duplicates with only slight differences.
Thus, words which contain multiple meanings are common. Such is the case with the word Yom. Hebrew Dictionaries Let’s start with the possible meanings of Yom; The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament (1980, Moody Press) "It can denote: 1. the period of light (as contrasted with the period of darkness), 2. the period of twenty-four hours, 3.
a general vague "time," 4. a point of time, 5. a year (in the plural; I Sam 27:7; Ex 13:10, etc." Hebrew authorities attest to the fact that the word Yom is used for anywhere from 12 hours up to a year, and even a vague "time period" of unspecified length. Other Uses of Yom Day is not the only translation for the word Yom. Here are some other uses. Time It is interesting to note that in 67 verses in the Old Testament, the word Yom is translated into the English word "time." For instance, in Genesis 4:3, it says "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months.
In Deuteronomy 10:10, it refers to forty days. In I Kings 11:42, it refers to 40 years. In Isaiah 30:8, it says "Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever." In this case, Yom is equal to "forever." Year Four times in the Old Testament Yom is translated "year." In I Kings 1:1, "David was old and stricken in years." In 2 Chronicles 21:19, "after the end of two years" and in the very next verse "Thirty and two years old." Finally, in Amos 4:4, ".and your tithes after three years." In each case, Yom represents years, not days.
Other Meanings for Yom Age meaning old age (Genesis 18:11 and 24:1; Joshua 23:1 and 23:2) Ago 1 Samuel 9:20 Always (Deuteronomy 5:29, 6:24, 14:23, 2 Chronicles 18:7) Season (Genesis 40:4, Joshua 24:7, 2 Chronicles 15:3) Chronicles (27 times) Continually (11 times). Ever (Deuteronomy 19:9; eighteen other times. The old testament uses "for ever" instead of the word forever. In sixteen cases of use of the word ever, for is placed before it, indicating a infinite period of time (Last word of Psalm 23:6) Evermore (Deuteronomy 28:29) Word Usage in the Old Testament As you can see, Yom is used in a wide variety of situations related to the concept of time. Yom is not just for days.it is for time in general. How it is translated depends on the context of its use with other words. Yom in the Creation Account Even within the creation account, Yom is used to represent four different time periods. Genesis 1:5 "And God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night." Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate a 12-hour period Genesis 1:14 "And God said, "Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.
" Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate 24-hour days Genesis 2:4 ".in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." Here, Moses uses Yom to indicate the entire creative week. The fourth usage of Yom in the creation account is in the summary for each of the six creation days, "and there was morning and evening the first day". Yom is used to represent a finite, long period of time, usually either millions or billions of years. To show support for this, consider the uses of Yom by Moses. Moses Other Uses of Yom Moses, the author of the first five books of the Bible, and of Psalm 90, used Yom in many different ways. Genesis 4:3 "And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord." In this instance, Yom refers to a growing season, probably several months.
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