How could there be two “evenings” in Matthew 14:15-23?


by Shawn Brasseaux

As touching Christ’s miraculous feeding of the 5,000, we encounter two seemingly disparate verses in Matthew.

  • Matthew 14:15: “And when it was evening, his disciples came to him, saying, This is a desert place, and the time is now past; send the multitude away, that they may go into the villages, and buy themselves victuals.”
  • Matthew 14:22-23: “[22] And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. [23] And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone.”

We have an “evening” in verse 15 and an “evening” in verse 23. How could that be? Was it not already stated that it was evening? Or, did 24 hours actually elapse between these two verses? No, that does not seem to be the case. The Jews reckoned two “evenings” in a day—one began at 3 p.m. and the other started at 6 p.m. Verse 15 is the first evening; verse 23 is the second. They occurred on the same day, the first opening in mid-afternoon and the second commencing near dusk.

Also see:
» Do Mark 15:25 and John 19:14 contradict?
» Feeding the 4,000 and feeding the 5,000—same or different?
» Do Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, and Luke 9:28 contradict?