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Deuteronomy 21:23

"His body shall not remain all night upon the tree, but thou shalt in any wise bury him that day; (for he that is hanged is accursed of God;) that thy land be not defiled, which the LORD thy God giveth thee for an inheritance." (Deut 21:23)

The following reasoning about this verse was given as evidence for a sunrise start to the day:

"Here we see that it was/is, permissible to allow a body to be on a tree a portion of the night. The command being that the body was not to remain hanging for the duration of the night- ALL NIGHT. This fits into the context of the usage of the same word in other texts also. We can safely say that the command allowing for the body to be hanging into the darkness of the night season; was to be removed and buried in that day - 24 hour dated time block. The, Day being #H3117- yowm, has the 24 hour definition proscribed to it in Strongs, agrees with Scripture."

The problem here is that the word "night" is not translated from the same word that was originally used to define the night which is "layil" (Strong's no. H3915) as in Gen 1:5 ("... the darkness he called night ...) Rather, it is translated from "luwn" (Strong's no. H3885) which primarily means, and is most often translated, "to lodge" (as in lodging for the night). The word "night" is often used with it because we lodge at night and it is even translated that way several times.

However, what is "that day" referring to? It cannot be referring to the night after the man was hung because that word is not used in the original. It must be referring to the day on which the previous action was carried out - when he was hung.

The directive is that:

  1. "... thou hang him on a tree." (verse 22)
  2. "... thou shalt ... bury him ..." (verse 23)

It's do both of these things on the same day because or "... that thy land be not defiled." And, of course, it is easiest to do these things while there is light. They are not likely to bury him right in or close to the camp.

Compare this with these verses:

"And it came to pass, that at midnight the LORD smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt, from the firstborn of Pharaoh that sat on his throne unto the firstborn of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle." (Exo 12:29)
"Because all the firstborn are mine; for on the day that I smote all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I hallowed unto me all the firstborn in Israel, both man and beast: mine shall they be: I am the LORD." (Num 3:13)

In this case, there is an action that definitely happens at night (right in the middle of it) and another verse referring to that action saying it happened "on the same day."

Please carefully consider the considerable evidence for the Biblical start to the day at sunset as presented at

Go to the next page that deals with the birth and death day of many Biblical characters. It provides further evidence that a day includes both the day and night.  

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