311. Hour of Evening Sacrifice

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The precise time at which that sacrifice was offered is a matter of dispute. In Exodus 29:3939The one lamb thou shalt offer in the morning; and the other lamb thou shalt offer at even: (Exodus 29:39), it is directed to be offered “at even”; literally, between the two evenings. On the meaning of this expression the controversy turns. Some suppose the first evening to have been at sunset, and the second at the time when the stars became visible. The two evenings must have been earlier than this in Elijah’s time, since the events which took place after his sacrifice on this occasion required a longer period of daylight than can be found so late in the day. See 1 Kings 18:40-4640And Elijah said unto them, Take the prophets of Baal; let not one of them escape. And they took them: and Elijah brought them down to the brook Kishon, and slew them there. 41And Elijah said unto Ahab, Get thee up, eat and drink; for there is a sound of abundance of rain. 42So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Carmel; and he cast himself down upon the earth, and put his face between his knees, 43And said to his servant, Go up now, look toward the sea. And he went up, and looked, and said, There is nothing. And he said, Go again seven times. 44And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man's hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not. 45And it came to pass in the mean while, that the heaven was black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode, and went to Jezreel. 46And the hand of the Lord was on Elijah; and he girded up his loins, and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel. (1 Kings 18:40‑46). The tradition among the Jews is that the first evening was at the time the sun began to decline toward the west; that is, shortly after noon. The second evening was the time the sun set. The time of the evening sacrifice would thus be midway between noon and sunset, or from half past two to half past three o’clock. This was about the time of its offering in the days of Christ.