Christianity Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for committed Christians, experts in Christianity and those interested in learning more. Join them; it only takes a minute:

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I have heard many times that Jesus was crucified at 9:00 a.m. and remained on the cross till 3 p.m.. How do we know that? The Scriptures say something like the third hour:

Matthew 15:25: And it was the third hour, and they crucified him.

But how do we know that the third hour was exactly 9:00 a.m.?

Do we draw information on that point exclusively from Scriptures?

Is it something like a known fact from Hebrew tradition?

Or, perhaps, something else ?

share|improve this question
up vote 12 down vote accepted

We do not know that the third hour was exactly 9:00 AM - that is an estimation for the purpose of providing an understandable translation.

The Jewish day started at dawn and ended at dusk. There were 12 hours, which were each 1/12th of the stretch between dawn and dusk. (More info.)

For simplicity, if we consider dawn to be roughly 6:00 AM, that would make the 3rd hour about 9:00 AM.

share|improve this answer
WOW!!! Thank you! The link is amazing! – brilliant Jul 15 '12 at 7:42
As Christ was crucified at Passover and Passover is near spring equinox, this estimate is quite good. – zefciu Jul 16 '12 at 7:33
Passover 33 AD fell on Friday, April 1. Sunrise that day was 8:39 in Jerusalem. 3 hours later is 11:39 AM. – Ray Jul 16 '12 at 15:17
If you're referring to the idea that you divide the duration of daylight in 12, on that date (assuming the traditional year of 33 AD, it would be April 1), it was 12 hours and 40 minutes of daylight. 760 / 12 is about 63 minutes per hour. So 3 hours after sunrise would be 11:48. – Ray Jul 17 '12 at 19:42
Either way, if dawn was at 8:39 AM, surely the third hour wouldn't be only 41 minutes later?! – Ray Jul 17 '12 at 19:43

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.