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Month


Month. From the time of the institution of the Mosaic law downward the month was a lunar one. The cycle of religious feasts commencing with the passover depended not simply on the month, but on the moon; the 14th of Abib was coincident with the full moon; and the new moons themselves were the occasions of regular festivals. Num. 10:10; 28:11-14. The commencement of the month was generally decided by observation of the new moon. The usual number of months in a year was twelve, as implied in 1 Kings 4:7; 1 Chron. 27:1-15; but since twelve lunar months would make but 354½ days, the years would be short twelve days of the true year, and therefore it follows as a matter of course that an additional month must have been inserted about every third year, which would bring the number up to thirteen. No notice, however, is taken of this month in the Bible. In the modern Jewish calendar the intercalary month is introduced seven times in every nineteen years. The usual method of designating the months was by their numerical order, e.g., “the second month,” Gen. 7:11, “the fourth month,” 2 Kings 25:3; and this was generally retained even when the names were given, e.g., “in the month Zif, which is the second month.” 1 Kings 6:1. The names of the months belong to two distinct periods. In the first place we have those peculiar to the period of Jewish independence, of which four only, even including Abib, which we hardly regard as a proper name, are mentioned, viz.: Abib, in which the passover fell, Ex. 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1, and which was established as the first month in commemoration of the exodus, Ex. 12:2; Zif, the second month, 1 Kings 6:1, 37; Bul, the eighth, 1 Kings 6:38; and Ethanim, the seventh. 1 Kings 8:2. In the second place we have the names which prevailed subsequent to the Babylonish captivity; of these the following seven appear in the Bible: Nisan, the first, in which the passover was held, Neh. 2:1; Esther 3:7; Sivan, the third, Esther 8:9; Bar. 1:8; Elul, the sixth, Neh. 6:15; 1 Macc. 14:27; Chisleu, the ninth, Neh. 1:1; Zech. 7:1; 1 Macc. 1:54; Tebeth, the tenth, Esther 2:16; Sebat, the eleventh, Zech. 1:7; 1 Macc. 16:14; and Adar, the twelfth. Esther 3:7; 8:12; 2 Macc. 15:36. The names of the remaining five occur in the Talmud and other works; they were, Iyar, the second, Targum; 2 Chron. 30:2; Tammuz, the fourth; Ab, the fifth; Tisri, the seventh; and Marcheshvan, the eighth. The name of the intercalary month was Ve-adar, i.e., the additional Adar. The identification of the Jewish months with our own cannot be effected with precision on account of the variations that must inevitably exist between the lunar and the solar month. Nisan (or Abib) answers to March; Zif or Iyar to May; Sivan to June; Tammuz to July; Ab to August; Elul to September; Ethanim or Tisri to October; Bul or Marcheshvan to November; Chisleu to December; Tebeth to January; Sebat to February; and Adar to March.

Month of

Jewish Name.

No. of Days.

Beginning with the new moon and corresponding with our

Products.

Jewish Festivals

Sacred Year.

Civil Year.

I.

VII.

Abib or Nisan.

30

March, April

Barley Ripe.

Fig in blossom.

Passover.

Unleavened Bread.

II.

VIII.

Iyar or Zif

29

April and May

Barly Harvest.

III.

IX.

Sisan or Sivan

30

May and June

Wheat harvest.

Pentecost.

IV.

X.

Tammuz

29

June, July

Early vintage.

V.

XI.

Ab

30

July, August

Ripe figs.

VI.

XII.

Elul

29

August, Sept.

General vintage.

VII.

I.

Tisri

30

Sept., Oct.

Ploughing and sowing.

Feast of Trumpets.

Atonement.

Feast of Tabernacles.

VIII.

II.

Bul

29

Oct., Nov.

Latter grapes.

IX.

III.

Chisleu

30

Nov., Dec.

Snow.

Dedication.

X.

IV.

Tebeth

29

Dec., Jan.

Grass after rain.

XI.

V.

Shebat

30

Jan., Feb.

Winter fig.

XII.

VI.

Adar

29

Feb., March

Almond blossom.

Purim.

XIII.

Ve-adar, intercalary.