Question: Did the ancient people know what a half-hour was?
A question came from a reference in Revelation 8:1. It is the transition from the seal to the trumpet judgments. The seventh seal is the initiation for the seven trumpet judgments. Revelation 8:1 states, “When He opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven for about half an hour. (Rev. 8:1) Did the ancient people really know what a half hour was? That does seem to be a small length of time, considering they didn’t have quartz or digital watches!
The Greek word for half hour is ἡμιώριον(haymiorion) (Rev 8:1). It means literally, “half hour” according to a Scripture dictionary. It comes from two words “haymi,” which means “half” and “horion,” which is a dimunitive form “hora,” or “hour” So it is half an hour to the lines on a sun dial. It’s only used in this one location in Scripture.
A couple references in Isaiah 38:8; and 2 Kings 20:9 reference telling time by a sort of sun dial. Half the distance between lines would be the half hour. Sun dials were well known in ancient times. They were common in B.C. 1500 and some say the obelisks were used to tell time back to B.C. 3500.
Always ask the questions; always trust the Scriptures.