Holman Bible Dictionary
Sixth day of week in which Jews prepared life's necessities to avoid work on the sabbath (compare Exodus 20:8-11; Matthew 12:1-14; John 9:14-16 ). Preparation of food, completing work, and spiritual purification were included. The Hebrew day began and ended at 6 p.m., so the day of preparation extended from 6 p.m. on Thursday until the beginning of the sabbath at 6 p.m. Friday.
The Feast of Passover was immediately followed by the holy convocation of the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Leviticus 23:1-7 ). No one worked on either of these holy days, so a day of preparation was set aside to prepare for the holiday period (John 19:14 ). John explicitly identified the day of preparation as the day of Jesus' execution (John 19:14 ,John 19:14,19:31 ,John 19:31,19:42 ) and placed the Last Supper before Passover (John 13:1 ). The Synoptic Gospels, however, dated the Last Supper on the day of Passover (Matthew 26:1 : 17; Mark 14:12; Luke 22:7 ). This apparent contradiction in dating may depend on whether the gospel writers were referring to the preparation day for the sabbath or to the preparation day for the Passover.
Steve W. Lemke
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