THERE is one feature in ordinary day life that must be noted, because it has an importance of its own—and that is the very vague notions as to details of time which the Jews shared with all Oriental races. There were, of course, no public clocks or private watches, and we who are accustomed to time our actions, our hours of work, our travelling, and our racing by minutes, seconds, and fractions of seconds, can have no conception of the laxity in computing the time of day that was then customary. We must first of all realize that the actual length of the hours themselves was not defined, but varied with the seasons. This was because the whole period of daylight between sunrise and sunset had to be divided into twelve equal parts called hours, so that the word ‘hour’ did not convey, as it does to us, the notion of a fixed period of time. Supposing that we had to divide our summer daylight into twelve equal parts, and then again our winter daylight in the same way, giving the name ‘hour’ to these widely-differing periods of time, then we should see how very indefinite a period an ‘hour’ might be. It really stood for a twelfth of daylight. Whatever its length or brevity, however, 118the hour was the smallest division of time recognized. Nothing was known of minutes, still less of seconds. In the daytime the third, sixth, and ninth hours marked the only divisions of the day deserving of notice. Our Lord said, ‘Are there not twelve hours in the day ? ‘—that was the division of the time of daylight. And so He proceeds, ‘If a man walk in the day he stumbleth not, because he seeth the light of this world’ (John xi. 9). In the parable of the Labourers in the vineyard (Matt. xx. 1–6) the proprietor went out at the third, sixth, and ninth hours, and then finally, just before the day closed, at the eleventh hour. The night was not divided into hours, because there was no sun to throw a shadow on the dial; and smaller divisions than the four Roman watches (‘even, midnight, cockcrow, morning’, Mark xiii. 35) or the three Jewish watches (Luke xi. 38) were not required. Hence the ancients were never accurate in computing time, because they never had any training, or indeed instruments for measuring it so minutely as we have.