MONTH

Records from the time of Solomon show that the Israelites followed a calendar of twelve months to the year (1 Kings 4:7). The successive months, however, do not correspond to the twelve successive months of the calendar used throughout most of the world today. The Israelite year began with the new moon of mid-spring, which was some time during the second half of March on our calendar. Some of the names that the Israelites originally gave to the various months were changed in later times. The list below contains both old and new names, depending on which is mentioned in the Bible. A common practice was to refer to a month by its number rather than by its name; for example, ‘the fourth month’ rather than ‘Tammuz’ (2 Kings 25:3). Number Name Modern 1 Exod 12:2 Abib Exod 23:15 Mar-Apr Nisan Neh 2:1 2 Gen 7:11 Ziv 1 Kings 6:1 Apr-May 3 Exod 19:1 Sivan Esther 8:9 May-June 4 2 Kings 25:3 Tammuz June-July 5 Num 33:38 Ab July-Aug 6 1 Chron 27:9 Elul Neh 6:15 Aug-Sep 7 Gen 8:4 Ethanim 1 Kings 8:2 Sep-Oct 8 Zech 1:1 Bul 1 Kings 6:38 Oct-Nov 9 Ezra 10:9 Chislev Neh 1:1 Nov-Dec 10 Gen 8:5 Tebeth Esther 2:16 Dec-Jan 11 Deut 1:3 Shebat Zech 1:7 Jan-Feb 12 Esther 3:7 Adar Ezra 6:15 Feb-Mar The above table follows the calendar used for religious festivals, most of which were regulated according to the new moon and the full moon (Lev 23:6,24,39; Num 28:11). It seems that there was also a secular calendar, which differed from the religious calendar by six months. This meant that the first day of the seventh month of the religious calendar was New Year’s Day on the secular calendar. In everyday speech people often referred to the time of the year not according to the number or name of the month, but according to the festival season (John 2:13; 5:1; 6:4; 7:2; Acts 2:1; 12:3; 20:6,16; see FEASTS).

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