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.)
(Num 1:1) The LORD spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tent of meeting, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
(Num 1:18) and on the first day of the second month, they assembled the whole congregation together, who registered themselves by clans, by fathers’ houses, according to the number of names from twenty years old and upward, head by head,
(Num 6:9) “And if any man dies very suddenly beside him and he defiles his consecrated head, then he shall shave his head on the day of his cleansing; on the seventh day he shall shave it.
(Num 6:10) On the eighth day he shall bring two turtledoves or two pigeons to the priest to the entrance of the tent of meeting,
(Num 7:12) He who offered his offering the first daywas Nahshon the son of Amminadab, of the tribe of Judah.
(Num 7:18) On the second day Nethanel the son of Zuar, the chief of Issachar, made an offering.
(Num 7:24) On the third day Eliab the son of Helon, the chief of the people of Zebulun:
(Num 7:30) On the fourth day Elizur the son of Shedeur, the chief of the people of Reuben:
(Num 7:36) On the fifth day Shelumiel the son of Zurishaddai, the chief of the people of Simeon:
(Num 7:42) On the sixth day Eliasaph the son of Deuel, the chief of the people of Gad:
(Num 7:48) On the seventh day Elishama the son of Ammihud, the chief of the people of Ephraim:
(Num 7:54) On the eighth day Gamaliel the son of Pedahzur, the chief of the people of Manasseh:
(Num 7:60) On the ninth day Abidan the son of Gideoni, the chief of the people of Benjamin:
(Num 7:66) On the tenth day Ahiezer the son of Ammishaddai, the chief of the people of Dan:
(Num 7:72) On the eleventh day Pagiel the son of Ochran, the chief of the people of Asher:
(Num 7:78) On the twelfth day Ahira the son of Enan, the chief of the people of Naphtali:
(Num 9:3) On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.”
(Num 9:5) And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the LORD commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.
(Num 9:11) In the second month on the fourteenth dayat twilight they shall keep it. They shall eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.
(Num 10:11) In the second year, in the second month, on the twentieth day of the month, the cloud lifted from over the tabernacle of the testimony,
(Num 11:19) You shall not eat just one day, or two days, or five days, or ten days, or twenty days,
(Num 14:34) According to the number of the days in which you spied out the land, forty days, a year for each day, you shall bear your iniquity forty years, and you shall know my displeasure.’
(Num 19:12) He shall cleanse himself with the water on the third day and on the seventh day, and so be clean. But if he does not cleanse himself on the third day and on the seventh day, he will not become clean.
(Num 19:19) And the clean person shall sprinkle it on the unclean on the third day and on the seventh day. Thus on the seventh dayhe shall cleanse him, and he shall wash his clothes and bathe himself in water, and at evening he shall be clean.
(Num 28:16) “On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover,
(Num 28:17) and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten.
(Num 28:18) On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 28:25) And on the seventh day you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work.
(Num 29:1) “On the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work. It is a day for you to blow the trumpets,
(Num 29:7) “On the tenth day of this seventh month you shall have a holy convocation and afflict yourselves. You shall do no work,
(Num 29:12) “On the fifteenth day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, and you shall keep a feast to the LORD seven days.
(Num 29:17) “On the second day twelve bulls from the herd, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:20) “On the third day eleven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:23) “On the fourth day ten bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:26) “On the fifth day nine bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:29) “On the sixth day eight bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:32) “On the seventh day seven bulls, two rams, fourteen male lambs a year old without blemish,
(Num 29:35) “On the eighth day you shall have a solemn assembly. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 31:19) Encamp outside the camp seven days. Whoever of you has killed any person and whoever has touched any slain, purify yourselves and your captives on the third day and on the seventh day.
(Num 31:24) You must wash your clothes on the seventh day, and you shall be clean. And afterward you may come into the camp.”
(Num 33:3) They set out from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month. On the day after the Passover, the people of Israel went out triumphantly in the sight of all the Egyptians,
(Num 33:38) And Aaron the priest went up Mount Hor at the command of the LORD and died there, in the fortieth year after the people of Israel had come out of the land of Egypt, on the first day of the fifth month.
Uses of Day Which Are Context, Typical 24 Hour Days
(Num 3:13) for all the firstborn are mine. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, I consecrated for my own all the firstborn in Israel, both of man and of beast. They shall be mine: I am the LORD.”
(Num 6:11) and the priest shall offer one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering, and make atonement for him, because he sinned by reason of the dead body. And he shall consecrate his head that same day
(Num 7:1) On the day when Moses had finished setting up the tabernacle and had anointed and consecrated it with all its furnishings and had anointed and consecrated the altar with all its utensils,
(Num 7:10) And the chiefs offered offerings for the dedication of the altar on the day it was anointed; and the chiefs offered their offering before the altar.
(Num 7:11) And the LORD said to Moses, “They shall offer their offerings, one chief each day, for the dedication of the altar.”
(Num 7:84) This was the dedication offering for the altar on the day when it was anointed, from the chiefs of Israel: twelve silver plates, twelve silver basins, twelve golden dishes,
(Num 8:17) For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself,
(Num 9:6) And there were certain men who were unclean through touching a dead body, so that they could not keep the Passover on that day,and they came before Moses and Aaron on that day.
(Num 9:15) On the day that the tabernacle was set up, the cloud covered the tabernacle, the tent of the testimony. And at evening it was over the tabernacle like the appearance of fire until morning.
(Num 9:16) So it was always: the cloud covered it by dayand the appearance of fire by night.
(Num 9:21) And sometimes the cloud remained from evening until morning. And when the cloud lifted in the morning, they set out, or if it continued for a day and a night, when the cloud lifted they set out.
(Num 10:10) On the day of your gladness also, and at your appointed feasts and at the beginnings of your months, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings. They shall be a reminder of you before your God: I am the LORD your God.”
(Num 10:34) And the cloud of the LORD was over them by day,whenever they set out from the camp.
(Num 11:31) Then a wind from the LORD sprang up, and it brought quail from the sea and let them fall beside the camp, about a day’s journeyon this side and a day’s journey on the other side, around the camp, and about two cubits above the ground.
(Num 11:32) And the people rose all that day and all night and all the next day, and gathered the quail. Those who gathered least gathered ten homers. And they spread them out for themselves all around the camp.
(Num 14:14) and they will tell the inhabitants of this land. They have heard that you, O LORD, are in the midst of this people. For you, O LORD, are seen face to face, and your cloud stands over them and you go before them, in a pillar of cloud by day and in a pillar of fire by night.
(Num 15:32) While the people of Israel were in the wilderness, they found a man gathering sticks on the Sabbath day.
(Num 16:41) But on the next day all the congregation of the people of Israel grumbled against Moses and against Aaron, saying, “You have killed the people of the LORD.”
(Num 17:8) On the next day Moses went into the tent of the testimony, and behold, the staff of Aaron for the house of Levi had sprouted and put forth buds and produced blossoms, and it bore ripe almonds.
(Num 22:30) And the donkey said to Balaam, “Am I not your donkey, on which you have ridden all your life long to this day? Is it my habit to treat you this way?” And he said, “No.”
(Num 25:18) for they have harassed you with their wiles, with which they beguiled you in the matter of Peor, and in the matter of Cozbi, the daughter of the chief of Midian, their sister, who was killed on the day of the plague on account of Peor.”
(Num 28:3) And you shall say to them, This is the food offering that you shall offer to the LORD: two male lambs a year old without blemish, day by day, as a regular offering.
(Num 28:9) “On the Sabbath day, two male lambs a year old without blemish, and two tenths of an ephah of fine flour for a grain offering, mixed with oil, and its drink offering:
(Num 28:26) “On the day of the firstfruits, when you offer a grain offering of new grain to the LORD at your Feast of Weeks, you shall have a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work,
(Num 30:5) But if her father opposes her on the day that he hears of it, no vow of hers, no pledge by which she has bound herself shall stand. And the LORD will forgive her, because her father opposed her.
(Num 30:7) and her husband hears of it and says nothing to her on the day that he hears, then her vows shall stand, and her pledges by which she has bound herself shall stand.
(Num 30:8) But if, on the day that her husband comes to hear of it, he opposes her, then he makes void her vow that was on her, and the thoughtless utterance of her lips by which she bound herself. And the LORD will forgive her.
(Num 30:12) But if her husband makes them null and void on the day that he hears them, then whatever proceeds out of her lips concerning her vows or concerning her pledge of herself shall not stand. Her husband has made them void, and the LORD will forgive her.
(Num 30:14) But if her husband says nothing to her from day to day, then he establishes all her vows or all her pledges that are upon her. He has established them, because he said nothing to her on the day that he heard of them.
(Num 32:10) And the LORD’s anger was kindled on that day,and he swore, saying,
Places in Numbers Where Day Can Mean a Long Period of Time
(Num 15:23) all that the LORD has commanded you by Moses, from the day that the LORD gave commandment, and onward throughout your generations,
Here is the only possible example in Numbers of “day” meaning anything other than a typical, 24 hour day. However, upon close examination all it means is that all the commandments which the Lord has given you starting with Moses on Sinai until today. As usual, the word day is pointing back to a specific day when the Lord began giving his commandments to Moses. Day is a starting point, but does not represent the entire time period.
The research shows the following:
Every time the word day is used in Numbers 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.
Nowhere in Numbers is the word day ever used to mean a long period of time.