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“In Those Days”: Some Remarks on the Use of “Days” in Matthew 2:1, 3:1, and Luke 2:1

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Chapter Summary

The most conspicuous semantic characteristic of the biblical Hebrew word "days" is the fact that it occurs in passages where one would rather expect to find other terms used, either comprehensive words indicating a specific collection of days, such as "week", "month", or "year", or more general expressions such as "time" or "age". The singular can occur in the sense of "each day" as in Matthew 6:34: literally "sufficient to the day are its troubles", which means "each day has enough trouble of its own". In Luke 4:2, "in those days" refers to the forty days of Jesus' temptation in the desert mentioned in the same verse. In other words, "in those days" the parameters of a given ruler established the broad and relative contextual lines for establishing narrative referents, but without strict chronological precision, at least not by the standards of "our day".

Keywords: biblical Hebrew; days of king Solomon's reign; Jesus; Luke; Matthew



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