During the Fourth Watch
Both Matthew and Mark add the walking on the sea pericope to their narrative that Luke does not include. Both Matthew and Mark also note that the the sea walking epiphany occurred in “the fourth watch.” I had assumed that the Romans introduced this method of time keeping and the Jewish people adopted this terminology from the Romans. However, while I was preparing my blog for last Sunday wherein “Moses called upon God to be their helper,” I could not help but notice that in Exodus 14:24, the verse reads:
“And it came to pass, that in the morning watch.” In Judges 7:19, we read: “in the beginning of the middle watch” and in I Samuel, we read, “in the morning watch.”
Being curious I checked to see if Luke uses the terminology, and I found one reference in Luke 12:38 that reads: “If he comes in the second watch, or in the third, and finds them so, blessed are those servants!”
The Blue Letter Bible explains: “As the earlier Greeks divided the night commonly into three parts, so, previous to the exile, the Israelites also had three watches in a night; subsequently, however, after they became subject to the Romans, they adopted the Roman custom of dividing the night into four watches.”
Is there any evidence that everyone in first century Palestine adopted the Roman custom? Or did some, perhaps Luke retained the three watch system of dividing the night.