Day in Exodus

This is the continuation of a study on the word “day” in the Pentateuch. For introductory remarks please refer to the initial post on Genesis.

I have divided these up into three categories: All the uses of day with a number, all the uses of day which in context mean a typical day, and any uses of day which could mean a long period of time.  

Uses of Day with the Number (1st, 2nd, 3rd, etc.)

(Exo 2:11)  One day, when Moses had grown up, he went out to his people and looked on their burdens, and he saw an Egyptian beating a Hebrew, one of his people.

(Exo 12:3)  Tell all the congregation of Israel that on the tenth day of this month every man shall take a lamb according to their fathers’ houses, a lamb for a household.

(Exo 12:6)  and you shall keep it until the fourteenth day of this month, when the whole assembly of the congregation of Israel shall kill their lambs at twilight.

(Exo 12:15)  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall remove leaven out of your houses, for if anyone eats what is leavened, from the first day until the seventh day,that person shall be cut off from Israel.

(Exo 12:16)  On the first day you shall hold a holy assembly, and on the seventh day a holy assembly. No work shall be done on those days. But what everyone needs to eat, that alone may be prepared by you.

(Exo 12:18)  In the first month, from the fourteenth dayof the month at evening, you shall eat unleavened bread until the twenty-first day of the month at evening.

(Exo 13:6)  Seven days you shall eat unleavened bread, and on the seventh day there shall be a feast to the LORD.

(Exo 16:1)  They set out from Elim, and all the congregation of the people of Israel came to the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had departed from the land of Egypt.

(Exo 16:5)  On the sixth day, when they prepare what they bring in, it will be twice as much as they gather daily.”

(Exo 16:22)  On the sixth day they gathered twice as much bread, two omers each. And when all the leaders of the congregation came and told Moses,

(Exo 16:23)  he said to them, “This is what the LORD has commanded: ‘Tomorrow is a day of solemn rest, a holy Sabbath to the LORD; bake what you will bake and boil what you will boil, and all that is left over lay aside to be kept till the morning.'” ( I included this here even though it does not have the ordinal because it goes with the text.)

(Exo 16:26)  Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, which is a Sabbath, there will be none.”

(Exo 16:27)  On the seventh day some of the people went out to gather, but they found none.

(Exo 16:29)  See! The LORD has given you the Sabbath; therefore on the sixth day he gives you bread for two days. Remain each of you in his place; let no one go out of his place on the seventh day.”

(Exo 16:30)  So the people rested on the seventh day.

(Exo 19:11)  and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the LORD will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people.

(Exo 19:15)  And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.”

(Exo 19:16)  On the morning of the third day there were thunders and lightnings and a thick cloud on the mountain and a very loud trumpet blast, so that all the people in the camp trembled.
(Exo 20:10)  but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates.

(Exo 20:11)  For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

(Exo 22:30)  You shall do the same with your oxen and with your sheep: seven days it shall be with its mother; on the eighth day you shall give it to me.

(Exo 23:12)  “Six days you shall do your work, but on the seventh day you shall rest; that your ox and your donkey may have rest, and the son of your servant woman, and the alien, may be refreshed.

(Exo 24:16)  The glory of the LORD dwelt on Mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days. And on the seventh day he called to Moses out of the midst of the cloud.

(Exo 31:15)  Six days shall work be done, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on the Sabbath day shall be put to death.

(Exo 31:17)  It is a sign forever between me and the people of Israel that in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.'”

(Exo 34:21)  “Six days you shall work, but on the seventh day you shall rest. In plowing time and in harvest you shall rest.

(Exo 35:2)  Six days work shall be done, but on the seventh day you shall have a Sabbath of solemn rest, holy to the LORD. Whoever does any work on it shall be put to death.

(Exo 40:2)  “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the tabernacle of the tent of meeting.

(Exo 40:17)  In the first month in the second year, on the first day of the month, the tabernacle was erected.

Uses of Day Which Are in Context, Typical 24 Hour Days
(Exo 2:13)  When he went out the next day, behold, two Hebrews were struggling together. And he said to the man in the wrong, “Why do you strike your companion?”

(Exo 5:6)  The same day Pharaoh commanded the taskmasters of the people and their foremen,

(Exo 5:13)  The taskmasters were urgent, saying, “Complete your work, your daily task each day, as when there was straw.”

(Exo 5:19)  The foremen of the people of Israel saw that they were in trouble when they said, “You shall by no means reduce your number of bricks, your daily task each day.”

(Exo 6:28)  On the day when the LORD spoke to Moses in the land of Egypt,

(Exo 8:22)  But on that day I will set apart the land of Goshen, where my people dwell, so that no swarms of flies shall be there, that you may know that I am the LORD in the midst of the earth.

(Exo 9:6)  And the next day the LORD did this thing. All the livestock of the Egyptians died, but not one of the livestock of the people of Israel died.

(Exo 9:18)  Behold, about this time tomorrow I will cause very heavy hail to fall, such as never has been in Egypt from the day it was founded until now.

(Exo 10:6)  and they shall fill your houses and the houses of all your servants and of all the Egyptians, as neither your fathers nor your grandfathers have seen, from the day they came on earth to this day.‘” Then he turned and went out from Pharaoh.

(Exo 10:13)  So Moses stretched out his staff over the land of Egypt, and the LORD brought an east wind upon the land all that day and all that night. When it was morning, the east wind had brought the locusts.
(Exo 10:28)  Then Pharaoh said to him, “Get away from me; take care never to see my face again, for on the day you see my face you shall die.”

(Exo 12:14)  “This day shall be for you a memorial day, and you shall keep it as a feast to the LORD; throughout your generations, as a statute forever, you shall keep it as a feast.

(Exo 12:17)  And you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this very day I brought your hosts out of the land of Egypt. Therefore you shall observe this day, throughout your generations, as a statute forever.

(Exo 12:41)  At the end of 430 years, on that very day, all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.

(Exo 12:51)  And on that very day the LORD brought the people of Israel out of the land of Egypt by their hosts.

(Exo 13:3)  Then Moses said to the people, “Remember this day in which you came out from Egypt, out of the house of slavery, for by a strong hand the LORD brought you out from this place. No leavened bread shall be eaten.

(Exo 13:8)  You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of what the LORD did for me when I came out of Egypt.’

(Exo 13:21)  And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of cloud to lead them along the way, and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light, that they might travel by day and by night.

(Exo 13:22)  The pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night did not depart from before the people.
(Exo 14:30)  Thus the LORD saved Israel that day from the hand of the Egyptians, and Israel saw the Egyptians dead on the seashore.

(Exo 16:4)  Then the LORD said to Moses, “Behold, I am about to rain bread from heaven for you, and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in my law or not.

(Exo 18:13)  The next day Moses sat to judge the people, and the people stood around Moses from morning till evening.

(Exo 19:1)  On the third new moon after the people of Israel had gone out of the land of Egypt, on that day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.

(Exo 21:21)  But if the slave survives a day or two, he is not to be avenged, for the slave is his money.

(Exo 29:36)  and every day you shall offer a bull as a sin offering for atonement. Also you shall purify the altar, when you make atonement for it, and shall anoint it to consecrate it.

(Exo 29:38)  “Now this is what you shall offer on the altar: two lambs a year old day by day regularly.

(Exo 32:6)  And they rose up early the next day and offered burnt offerings and brought peace offerings. And the people sat down to eat and drink and rose up to play.

(Exo 32:28)  And the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And that day about three thousand men of the people fell.

(Exo 32:29)  And Moses said, “Today you have been ordained for the service of the LORD, each one at the cost of his son and of his brother, so that he might bestow a blessing upon you this day.”

(Exo 32:30)  The next day Moses said to the people, “You have sinned a great sin. And now I will go up to the LORD; perhaps I can make atonement for your sin.”

(Exo 34:11)  “Observe what I command you this day. Behold, I will drive out before you the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites.

(Exo 40:37)  But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up.

(Exo 40:38)  For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.

Places Where Day Could Mean a Long Period of Time
(Exo 32:34)  But now go, lead the people to the place about which I have spoken to you; behold, my angel shall go before you. Nevertheless, in the day when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them.”

So that leaves us with 32:34. Exactly what this passage is referring to is debatable. But it seems to be referring to a future point in time when the Lord will come and judge Israel. This point in time may last a few years, but does not have to. Most commentaries focused on the “blotting out from the book of life” in 32:33 and did not address the use of the word day.   The Lord is pointing to a specific point in the future when he will judge Israel.   It does not appear to mean a long period of time. 

The research shows the following:
Every time in Exodus when the word day is used with a number it means a 24 hour day.
When it is not used with the number it still points to a specific day in the past, present, or future. 
There is one possible place in Exodus where “day” could mean a long period of time though it probably means a specific point of time in the future. 

So just like in Genesis 3-50 we have no clear verses where day can mean a long period of time.

Additional note on the phrase “Sabbath Day.”

(Exo 20:8)  “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

(Exo 35:3)  You shall kindle no fire in all your dwelling places on the Sabbath day.”

In Exodus, the seventh day of a seven 24 hour day week, Saturday is the Sabbath. There is no other possible interpretation of the phrase “Sabbath Day” in Exodus. (See Exodus 16:13-31, 20:8-11, 23:12, 24:16, 31:15, 34:21) It may mean something else somewhere else, but in Exodus Sabbath means Saturday.