Gen 1:5 ESV – God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.
This is a far weirder statement than it seems. From context, the assumption is on the Earth. However the Earth isn’t formed yet, it is still “waters”, and without form. So it has to mean a period of time. Turn on the light, it is day. Turn off the light, it is night. There is no sun or stars, and no revolution of earth (unless gas and waters actually spin?).
Call: Interesting word as it means proclaim, but it has in this context (Qal) cry out, read aloud, summon, name etc… it is interesting as it doesn’t use the word “said” but “call”, and it is almost identical to another root, but this reference is like when you meet someone and say something to them. Yahweh MET the day and called out to it “
Day: This has multiple meanings, especially later on in scripture. It can be a day like we know it, or a lifetime, or a year.
Night: This has very simple meaning, opposed to day, but gets translated differently into English.
So is Yah defining PERIODS here? Durations of states of experience? It doesn’t say they are equal, just that they are differently referenced, and they are polar.
The next point is the word for Day <> Morning, and Night <> Evening. Morning is the breaking forth of light, and evening is the going out. Does this mean it wasn’t like a switch, off and on, but things transitioned? Light require a source, but darkness (again if it is absence of light, not just visible light) does not. So the light turns off, and it becomes, or transitions into darkness?
We have polarity, and progression now.
We also have the fundamental concept of first, as well as day. The first cycle of anything. Once it gets repeated, it is a pattern. And the pattern of a day is night/evening first, then day.
All Torah, Jewish thought from scripture is that a day is the evening through the next day until evening. There is much debate later on about the timing of certain key events, and moderns think of days as starting at “mid-night”, which makes it impossible to grasp timings of days in scripture. It isn’t possible without a tool to determine when midnight is, but in Yahs creation, anyone with eyes knows exactly when a day starts, and when it ends. You don’t ever have to be outside of Yahs time reference unless you want to be. Later on we see how Yah sets these timings in place so everyone can be on the same page with regards to times and seasons. This is worth exploring in its own standing.