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So keep watch, for you do not know when the lord of the house will come, whether during the evening watch, or the midnight watch, or the cockcrowing watch, or the morning watch.a Bible
a[35]
In NT times, the day was divided into 12 hours (John 11:9) and the night into 4 watches: 1st: 6-9 PM; 2nd: 9 PM -midnight; 3rd: midnight -3 AM; 4th: 3-6 AM (Mark 13:35).

“during the evening watch.” At the time of Christ, in both Jewish and Roman reckoning of time, the “day” was divided into 12 hours (John 11:9, “Are there not twelve hours in the day?). Also, both the Jews and Romans divided the night into four “watches,” each being three hours long. This was true even though the Jews started their new day at sunset, at the start of the first watch of the night, and the Romans reckoned their new day at midnight, at the start of the third watch of the night (our day beginning at midnight comes from the Romans).

The names of the four watches are named in the commentary on Mark 6:48, and were “evening watch,” “midnight watch,” “cockcrowing watch,” and “morning watch.” Sometimes, however, the watches were just called by “first watch,” “second watch,” “third watch,” and “fourth watch.” [For more on time in the Bible, and the four watches of the night, see commentary on Mark 6:48].


Commentary for: Mark 13:35