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In many places in the bible (e.g. here) as well as in the Mishna (e.g.Berakhot 1,1) it's written that some things happened on Chatzot (midnight point-חצות הלילה) or some Mitzva should be done not late than Chatzot.

My question is how could people know then exactly when this time is? (there wasn't a clock in this time...)

  • What do you mean there wasn't a clock? People had ways of measuring time. Google history of horology for every timekeeping method imaginable. – Double AA Dec 2 '19 at 15:28
  • Here's a simple contraption that could do it: take a big bucket, fill it with water, poke a small hole in the bottom so it drips, measure how much drips out between one sunrise and the next, put half that amount in the bucket at high noon, let it drip out. Midnight. I don't know if Moshe used this, but he totally could have. – Double AA Dec 2 '19 at 15:31
  • Another possibility is to see when the zodiac opposite the current sign is highest in the sky. Depends how precise a calculation you need. I don't know if Moshe used this, but he totally could have. – Double AA Dec 2 '19 at 15:34
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    (Notably, the most famous instance of midnight in Tanakh was on the 15th of the month when you could just check when the full moon is highest in the sky to calculate midnight. That's the trivial case. I don't know if Moshe used this, but he totally could have.) – Double AA Dec 2 '19 at 15:36
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