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The NET Bible reads:

When it was evening, after sunset, they brought to him all who were sick and demon-possessed.—Mark 1:32 (NET)

Two time references are present:

  1. "When it was evening" and
  2. "after sunset".

Different translators put various emphases on the phrase:

NIV © That evening after sunset the people brought to Jesus all the sick and demon-possessed.
NLT © That evening at sunset, many sick and demon–possessed people were brought to Jesus.
BBE © And in the evening, at sundown, they took to him all who were diseased, and those who had evil spirits.
NRSV © That evening, at sundown, they brought to him all who were sick or possessed with demons.
NKJV © At evening, when the sun had set, they brought to Him all who were sick and those who were demon–possessed.

Some (NIV, NLT, and NRSV) make it sound like the "evening" portion is in relation to the previous event (healing Simon's mother-in-law), but the others make it sound like a particular time of day that the "sunset" portion is refining.

So in the Greek are these two phrases referring to one time period or are the phrases saying two different things?

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I ask in relation to this question. –  Jon Ericson Mar 20 '12 at 23:32

1 Answer 1

up vote 7 down vote accepted

It must be kept in mind that the Jewish day begins at dusk/sunset, which is the beginning of the evening. The day lasts until the next sunset. It could alternately be translated, "And evening coming, when the sun sank..." or "And evening having come, when the sun did set...."

I don't know whether this is a closing passage to the previous context (along with vv. 33-34), or the introduction to the next. It is fairly ambiguous and thus could be either.1

It seems the following reading is best: "After evening came, when the sun had set, they brought to him all their ill and demonized." The key to understanding this passage is the context from 1:21, which is that they had just come from the synagogue because it was the Sabbath. It would have been unlawful for people to carry their sick on the Sabbath, so these people waited until after sundown to ensure they did not violate the Law. That seems to be the significance of waiting until after sundown.


1 Interestingly enough, the verb meaning "to set/sink" (in reference to the sun) has a slightly different conjugation in the Westcott/Hort manuscripts vs. the Majority (Byzantine) text (ἔδυ vs. ἔδυσεν, but these are both effectively aorist active indicative / punctiliar active, so it does little to change the meaning, but should be noted).

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+1 really useful insights –  Jack Douglas Mar 21 '12 at 18:08

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