11th hour

Posted by SR on March 24, 2005

In Reply to: 11th hour posted by K on March 24, 2005

: Where does the saying the 11th hour come from?

In Reply to: 11th hour posted by ESC on February 07, 2003
What is the origin of the phrase "the 11th hour"?

This reference says it is from the Bible.

ELEVENTH HOUR - "Late; shortly before an anticipated event. Matthew's parable of the laborers in the vineyard (20: 2-16) has the men hired at the eleventh hour being paid as much as the ones hired early in the morning, even though the eleventh-hour people only worked for an hour. From this sense of being barely in time to receive some benefit comes the concept of time running out." " From The Dictionary of Cliches by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

And about the eleventh hour he went out, and found others standing idle, and saith unto them, Why stand ye here all the day idle? (Matthew 20:6)

They counted 12 hours from 6 a.m. (or the hour of sunrise) to 6 p.m (or the hour of sunset). Thus the third hour corresponds to our our 9 a.m., the sixth to 12 o'clock, or noon, the ninth to 3 p.m., and "the eleventh hour" to 5 p.m.