Down Before Sunset, or, Before
An unknown author quotes
<< Deut.16:6 – “But at the place which Yahweh thy Elohim
<< shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice
<< the passover at even ["ba ereb"],
<< at the going down of the sun,
<< at the season that thou camest
forth out of
<< What does the phrase "going down of the sun" mean?
<< The same Hebrew construction is found in Josh.8:29 –
<<… "And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide [ereb]:
<< as soon as the sun was down ,
<< Joshua commanded that they should take his carcase down
<< from the tree, and cast it at the entering of the gate of the city,
<< and raise thereon a great heap of stones…>>
The author also quotes,
<< Josh.10:26,27 , "... and they were hanging upon the trees
<< until the evening [ereb]. And it came to pass
<< at the time of the going down of the sun,
<< that Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees,
<< and cast them into the cave wherein they had been hid,
<< and laid great stones in the cave's mouth…>>
He then claims,
<< The underlined words in both verses
<< are the equivalent Hebrew of
<< "at the going down" in Deut.16:6.
<< Notice one verse says the sun was already down
<< and the other verse says it was going down.
<< To understand what the status of the sun really was,
<< we must look at the commandment that led Joshua to order
<< the king's body taken down. It is found in Deut.21:22,23…
<< Deut.21:22,23 - "And if a man committed a sin worthy of death,
<< and he be put to death, and thou hang him on a tree:
<< His body shall not remain all night upon the tree,
<< but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day ;
<< (for he that is hanged is accursed of Elohim;)…>>
The author then asserts,
<<… Joshua was obeying Yahweh's commandment … -
<< The body had to be buried the same day it was hung on the tree.
<< That means it had to be buried before sunset.
We wish to differ on several aspects.
First we must stress the fact we agree with the unknown author on the Nisan 14 (end of day) slaughter of the Passover lamb, and its eating in the night of Nisan 15. But this very Passover-arrangement is in contradiction with his ideas on the meaning of the Deuteronomy instruction as well as with both the Joshua passages.
Deut.21:22,23 - "... if a man be put to death ... and thou hang him on a tree, His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day” – meaning he must be buried the current day that had begun with “night” - during which the body had been hanging on the tree. It implies the body had to be removed from the tree before sunrise with the view to its interment during the following daylight!
Thus Joseph of Arimathea removed Jesus’ body from the tree far into night and very probably only before sunrise. “Thou shalt in any wise bury him that day” – which exactly Joseph did: during daylight of “that day”, after the day on which Jesus had been crucified.
<Shemesh> in Josh.8:29 is translated “sun” in the KJV, and per se means the rising of the sun - Gn.19:23, Josh.12:1 and many other places. (It is also used for other times of sunlight, e.g. Josh.10:12.)
The words supplied in Josh.8:29, “and as soon as … was down” - because the opposite of <ereb> - should be: “and as soon as the sun began to rise” <shemesh>. And the words supplied in 10:27, “going down”, should be, “at the time of the dawning / rising of the sun” <shemesh>.
See the close nexus between “east” – mizrach, and “morning” – shemesh, in the combination “early dawning” – mizrach shemesh. Compare the
s-h-a- in shachar, “morning” / “dawn”, and in shakam, “to awake” / “rise”, with the s-h-e- in shemesh, “sunrise”. Then also compare the
m-i-s-h- in mishchar, “morning”, and in mishap – “dawning of day”, with the –m-e-s-h in shemesh, “sunrise”. Now put the two together, and it becomes s-h-a + m-e-s-h, then becomes she-mesh. Then just to confirm this type of combination, see Dn.6:19, shepharpara, “very early in the morning”. Eth eber and shemesh it is clear, are the opposites of day-time and night-time, respectively “afternoon” / “towards sunset”, and, ‘afternight’ / “towards sunrise”!
Therefore in the case of Joshua 10:26,27, instead of to translate, "... and they were hanging upon the trees until the evening [ereb]”, rather translate, "... and they hanged them upon the trees while the sun was setting [ereb]. And it came to pass that at the time of the rising of the sun <shemesh>, Joshua commanded, and they took them down off the trees.” <Eth ereb> indicates the time of day of the hanging; <shemesh> the time of night of Jushua’s commanding.
We are compelled to conclude, that the phrases in the two texts, namely, “as soon as the sun was rising” <shemesh>, and, “at the time of the rising of the sun” <shemesh>, are NO equivalent Hebrew of "at the going down" <eth ereb / ereb> in Deut.16:6, where it is the rendering of the word bo, and, meaningfully, is used in conjunction with the statement, “at the sea” – which is to the west of the land and just the opposite of shemesh, “sunrise” in the east!
Joshua was obeying Yahweh's commandment. The body / bodies had to be buried the day after they were put to the tree - after the night during which they “remained on the tree”. There is absolutely no possibility or implication the bodies could have been removed from the tree “before sunset” before “all (this) night”. And that means the dead had to be buried in the daylight following the night = “that same day”.
There would have been no sense in having the bodies hung just before sunset only to remove them, again just before sunset. Therefore, instead of translating like the KJV, “And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree until eventide [ereb]”, rather translate, “And the king of Ai he hanged on a tree before sunset [ereb]: and as soon as the sun dawned, <shemesh> Joshua commanded they should take his carcase down.”
In both events stone-mounts of such hugeness were built over the graves they “remained unto this day” – an immense task scheduled certainly for daylight and impossibly for night-time.
Indeed, just so, Joseph was obeying Yahweh's commandment. Jesus’ body had to be buried the day after they hanged Him - in fact after the night in which the body “remained on the tree”. There is absolutely no possibility or implication the body of Jesus could have been removed from the tree “before sunset” of the day before - not before “all night” of the day that afterwards did begin - He “shall not remain all night”, but “before the sun had risen” shall be taken “down off the tree”, and “that (same) day” be buried.
That would bring the exact and full fulfillment “according to the Scriptures the third day” of the typology of the Passover as prophesied: Deut.16:6 – “But at the place which Yahweh thy Elohim shall choose to place his name in (i.e., in Jerusalem, in Jesus Christ!), there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even ["ba ereb"], at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt.”
Then, o sinner, they lifted Him upon the tree “before the sun did set” and before “it was evening”, “so that the Scriptures might be fulfilled”: That was the sacrifice of Him. “His body shall not remain all night (Mk.15:42, Mt.27:57) upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury Him that day”. “And after this Joseph of Arimathea came ... he took the body down ... and the women beheld how his body was laid ... and the sun declined towards the Sabbath Day.”
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