The Hebrew Calendar

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Month

Occurrence[1]

1 "Abib" or "Nisan"

March–April. Passover (see Numbers 9)

2 "Ziv" or "Iyyar"

April–May (e.g. 1 Kings 6:37)

3 "Sivan"

May–June

4 "Tammuz"

June–July

5 "Ab"

July–August. Hottest weather

6 "Elul"

August–September

7 "Ethanim" or "Tishri"

September–October. Start of the Civil Year

8 "Marchesvan" or "Bul"

October–November (e.g. 1 Kings 6:38)

9 "Chislev"

November–December

10 "Tebeth"

December–January

11 "Shebat"

January–February. Coldest weather. End of the Autumn rains.

12 "Adar"

February–March. Purim (see Esther 9)

A number of calendars were in use in first century Judea. An interesting example is that used at Qumran, preserved in the Qumran Scrolls[2]. The community there divided the year into 364 days, a number which is conveniently divisible into 4 seasons or 52 weeks of 7 days. Using this system, each festival would fall on the same day of the week every year. It also accommodated a lunar calendar of alternating 29 and 30 day months, requiring a only one 30 day month as correction every 3 years. This calendar differed from those used by the temple and the state, so they would each record events as occcuring on different days and dates.

References:

  1. Much of this information came from Harper's Bible Dictionary p.1073 and Scripture Union's Closer to God Bible reading notes.
  2. Eshbal Rantzen and Jonathan Ben-Dov "A Newly Reconstructed Cylindrical Scroll from Qumran in Cryptic Script", in Journal of Biblical Literature Vol 136 no 4 2017 (Atlanta, USA) p.905f

© David Billin 2005–2021