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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

The Hebrews had always years, of twelve months each. But at the beginning, and in the time of Moses, these were solar years, of twelve months; each having thirty days, except the twelfth, which had thirty-five. We see, by the reckoning that Moses gives us of the days of the deluge, Genesis vii, that the Hebrew year consisted of three hundred and sixty-five days. It is supposed that they had an intercalary month at the end of one hundred and twenty years; at which time the beginning of their year would be out of its place full thirty days. But it must be owned, that no mention is made in Scripture of the thirteenth month, or of any intercalation. It is not improbable that Moses retained the order of the Egyptian year, since he himself came out of Egypt, was born in that country, had been instructed and brought up there, and since the people of Israel, whose chief he was, had been for a long time accustomed to this kind of year. But the Egyptian year was solar, and consisted of twelve months of thirty days each, and that for a very long time before. After the time of Alexander the Great, and the reign of the Grecians in Asia, the Jews reckoned by lunar months, chiefly in what related to religion, and the order of the festivals. St. John, in his Revelation,  Revelation 11:2-3;  Revelation 12:6;  Revelation 12:14;  Revelation 13:5 , assigns but twelve hundred and sixty days to three years and a half, and consequently just thirty days to every month, and just three hundred and sixty days to every year. Maimonides tells us, that the years of the Jews were solar, and their months lunar. Since the completing of the Talmud, they have made use of years that are purely lunar, having alternately a full month of thirty days, and then a defective month of twenty-nine days. And to accommodate this lunar year to the course of the sun, at the end of three years their intercalate a whole month after Adar; which intercalated month they call Ve-adar, or the second Adar.

The beginning of the year was various among different nations: the ancient Chaldeans, Babylonians, Medes, Persians, Armenians, and Syrians, began their year about the vernal equinox; and the Chinese in the east, and Latins and Romans in the west, originally followed the same usage. The Egyptians, and from them the Jews, began their civil year about the autumnal equinox. The Athenians and Greeks in general began theirs about the summer solstice; and the Chinese, and the Romans after Numa's correction, about the winter solstice. At which of these the primeval year, instituted at the creation, began, has been long contested among astronomers and chronologers. Philo, Eusebius, Cyril, Augustine, Abulfaragi, Kepler, Capellus, Simpson, Lange, and Jackson, contend for the vernal equinox; and Josephus, Scaliger, Petavius, Usher, Bedford, Kennedy, &c, for the autumnal. The weight of ancient authorities, and also of argument, seems to preponderate in favour of the former opinion.

1. All the ancient nations, except the Egyptians, began their civil year about the vernal equinox: but the deviation of the Egyptians from the general usage may easily be accounted for, from a local circumstance peculiar to their country; namely, that the annual inundation of the Nile rises to its greatest height at the autumnal equinox.

2. Josephus, the only ancient authority of any weight on the other side, seems to be inconsistent with himself, in supposing that the deluge began in the second civil month, Dius, or Markeshvan, rather than in the second sacred month; because Moses, throughout the Pentateuch, uniformly adopts the sacred year; and fixes its first month by an indelible and unequivocal character, calling it Abib, as ushering in the season of green corn. And as Josephus calls the second month elsewhere Artemisius, or Iar, in conformity with Scripture, there is no reason why he should deviate from the same usage in the case of the deluge.

3. To the authority of Josephus, we may oppose that of the great Jewish antiquary, Philo, in the generation before him; who thus accounts for the institution of the sacred year by Moses:— "This month, Abib, being the seventh in number and order according to the sun's course, or civil year, reckoned from the autumnal equinox is virtually the first, and is therefore called ‘the first month' in the sacred books. And the reason, I think, is this: because the vernal equinox is the image and representative of the original epoch of the creation of the world. Thereby God notified the spring, in which all things bloom and blossom, to be an annual memorial of the world's creation. Wherefore this month is properly called the first in the law, as being the image of the first original month, stamped upon it, as it were, by that archetypal seal."

4. The first sacrifice on record seems to decide the question. The time of the sacrifice of Cain and Abel appears to have been spring; when Cain, who was a "tiller of the ground," brought the first fruits of his tillage, or a sheaf of new corn; and Abel, who was "a feeder of sheep," "the firstlings of his flock," lambs: and this was done "at the end of days," or "at the end of the year;" which is the correct meaning of the phrase מקצ ימים , and not the indefinite expression, "in process of time,"  Genesis 4:3 . It is a remarkable proof of the accuracy of Moses, and a confirmation of this expression, that he expresses the end of the civil year, or "ingathering of the harvest," by different phrases, בצאת השנה , "at the going out of the year,"  Exodus 23:16; and תקופת השנה , "at the revolution of the year,"  Exodus 34:22; as those phrases may more critically be rendered.

But, in process of time, it was found that the primeval year of three hundred and sixty days was shorter than the tropical year; and the first discovery was, that it was deficient five entire days, which therefore it was necessary to intercalate, in order to keep up the correspondence of the civil year to the stated seasons of the principal festivals. How early this discovery and intercalation was made, is nowhere recorded. It might have been known and practised before the deluge. The apocryphal book of Enoch, which probably was as old as the Septuagint translation of the Pentateuch, stated that "the archangel Ariel, president of the stars, discovered the nature of the month and of the year to Enoch, in the one hundred and sixty-fifth year of his age, and A.M. 1286." And it is remarkable, that Enoch's age at his translation, three hundred and sixty- five years, expressed the number of entire days in a tropical year. This knowledge might have been handed down to Noah and his descendants; and that it was early communicated indeed to the primitive Egyptians, Chaldeans, and Chinese, we learn from ancient tradition.

This article would be rendered too prolix were we to notice the various inventions of eminent men in different ages to rectify the calendar by adjusting the difference between lunar and tropical years; which at length was effected by Gregory XIII, in 1583. This Gregorian, or reformed Julian year, was not adopted in England until A.D. 1751, when, the deficiency from the time of the council of Nice then amounting to eleven days, this number was struck out of the month of September, by act of parliament; and the third day was counted the fourteenth, in that year of confusion.

The next year, A.D. 1752, was the first of the new style. Russia is the only country in Europe which retains the old style.

The civil year of the Hebrews has always begun at autumn, at the month they now call Tisri, which answers to our September, and sometimes enters into October, according as the lunations happen. But their sacred years, by which the festivals, assemblies, and all other religious acts, were regulated, begin in the spring, at the month Nisan, which answers to March, and sometimes takes up a part of April, according to the course of the moon. See Months .

Nothing is more equivocal among the ancients, than the term year. It always has been, and still is, a source of disputes among the learned, whether on account of its duration, its beginning, or its end. Some people heretofore made their year consist only of one month, others of four, others of six, others of ten, and others of twelve. Some have divided one of our years into two, and have made one year of winter, another of summer. The beginning of the year was fixed sometimes at autumn, sometimes at the spring, and sometimes at midwinter. Some people have used lunar months, others solar. Even the days have been differently divided: some people beginning them at evening, others at morning, others at noon, and others at midnight. With some the hours were equal, both in winter and summer; with others, they were unequal. They counted twelve hours to the day, and as many to the night. In summer the hours of the day were longer than those of the night; but, on the contrary, in winter the hours of the night were longer than those of the day.

While the Jews continued in the land of Canaan, the beginnings of their months and years were not settled by any astronomical rules or calculations, but by the phasis, or actual appearance of the new moon. When they saw the new moon, they began the month. Persons were therefore appointed to watch on the tops of the mountain for the first appearance of the moon after the change. As soon as they saw it, they informed the sanhedrim, and public notice was given by lighting beacons throughout the land; though after they had been often deceived by the Samaritans, who kindled false fires, they used, say the Mishnical rabbins, to proclaim its appearance by sending messengers. Yet as they had no months longer than thirty days, if they did not see the new moon the night following the thirtieth day, they concluded the appearance was obstructed by the clouds, and, without watching any longer, made the next day the first of the following month. But after the Jews became dispersed through all nations, where they had no opportunity of being informed of the first appearance of the new moon, as they formerly had, they were forced to make use of astronomical calculations and cycles for fixing the beginning of their months and years. The first cycle they made use of for this purpose was of eighty-four years. But that being discovered to be faulty, they came afterward into the use of Meto's cycle of nineteen years, which was established by the authority of Rabbi Hillel Hannasi, or prince of the sanhedrim, about A.D. 360. This they still use, and say it is to be observed till the coming of the Messiah. In the compass of this cycle there are twelve common years, consisting of twelve months, and seven intercalary years, consisting of thirteen months. We find the Jews and their ancestors computing their years from different eras, in different parts of the Old Testament; as, from the birth of the patriarchs, for instance, of Noah,  Genesis 7:11;  Genesis 8:13; afterward from their exit out of Egypt,  Numbers 33:38;  1 Kings 6:1; then from the building of Solomon's temple,  2 Chronicles 8:1; and from the reigns of the kings of Judah and Israel. In latter times the Babylonish captivity furnished them with a new epocha, from whence they computed their years,  Ezekiel 33:21;  Ezekiel 40:1 . But since the times of the Talmudical rabbins, they have constantly used the era of the creation.

There is not a more prolific source of confusion and embarrassment in ancient chronology, than the substitution of the cardinal numbers, one, two, three, for the ordinals, first, second, third, &c, which frequently occurs in the sacred and profane historians. Thus Noah was six hundred years old when the deluge began,  Genesis 7:6; and presently after, in his six hundredth year: confounding complete and current years. And the dispute whether A.D. 1800, or A.D. 1801, was the first of the nineteenth century, should be decided in favour of the latter; the former being in reality the last of the eighteenth century; which is usually, but improperly, called the year one thousand eight hundred, complete; whereas it is really the one thousandth, eight hundredth; as in Latin we say, Anno Domini millesimo octingentesimo. There is also another and a prevailing error, arising from mistranslation of the current phrases, μεθ ' ημερας οκτω , μετα τρεις ημερας , &c, usually rendered, "after eight days," "after three days," &c; but which ought to be rendered "eight days after," "three days after," as in other places, μετα τινας ημερας , μετ ' ου πολλας ημερας , which are correctly rendered "some days after," "not many days after," in our English Bible,  Acts 15:36;  Luke 15:13 , the extreme days being included. Such phrases seem to be elliptical, and the ellipsis is supplied,  Luke 9:28 , speaking of our Lord's transfiguration, μετα τους λογους τουτους , ωσει ημεραι οκτω : "After these sayings, about eight days," or rather about the eighth day, counted inclusively; for in the parallel passages,  Matthew 17:1 ,  Mark 9:2 , there are only "six days," counted exclusively, or omitting the extremes. Thus, circumcision is prescribed,  Genesis 17:11 , when the child is "eight days old;" but in  Leviticus 12:3 , "on the eighth day." And Jesus accordingly was circumcised, οτε επλησθησαν ημεραι οκτω , "when eight days were accomplished,"  Luke 2:21; whereas John the Baptist, τη ογδοη ημερα , "on the eighth day." The last, which was the constant usage, explains the meaning of the former. This critically reconciles our Lord's resurrection, μετα τρεις ημερας , "three days after," according to  Matthew 27:63;  Mark 8:31; with his resurrection, τη τριτη ημερα , "on the third day," according to  Matthew 16:21;  Luke 9:22; and according to fact: for our Lord was crucified on Good Friday, about the third hour; and he arose before sunrise, πρωι , "early," on Sunday; so that the interval, though extending through three calendar days current, did not in reality amount to two entire days, or forty-eight hours. This phraseology is frequent among the most correct classic writers. Some learned commentators, Beza, Grotius, Campbell, Newcome, render such phrases, "within eight days," "within three days;" which certainly conveys the meaning, but not the literal translation, of the preposition μετα , "after." In memory of the primeval week of creation, revived among the Jews, after their departure from Egypt, their principal festivals, the passover, pentecost, and tabernacles, lasted a week each. They had weeks of seven years a piece, at the term of which was the sabbatical year; as also weeks of seven times seven years, that were terminated by the year of jubilee; and finally weeks of seven days. And it is remarkable that, from the earliest times, sacrifices were offered by sevens. Thus, in the patriarch Job's days, "seven bullocks and seven rams were offered up for a burnt offering" of atonement, by the divine command,  Job 42:8 . The Chaldean diviner, Balaam, built seven altars, and prepared seven bullocks and seven rams,  Numbers 23:1 . And the Cumaean sibyl, who came from Chaldea, or Babylonia, gives the same directions to AEneas, that Balaam did to Balak:

Nunc grege de intacto septem mactare juvencos

Praestiterit, totidem lectas, de more, bidentes.

"Seven bullocks, yet unyoked, for Phoebus choose, And for Diana seven unspotted ewes." DRYDEN.

And when the ark was brought home by David, the Levites offered seven bullocks and seven rams,  1 Chronicles 15:26 . And hence we may account for the peculiar sanctity of the seventh day, among the older Heathen writers, even after the institution of the Sabbath fell into disuse, and was lost among them.

THE Fallow or Sabbatic Year Agricultural labour among the Jews ceased every seventh year. Nothing was sown and nothing reaped; the vines and the olives were not pruned; there was no vintage and no gathering of fruits, even of what grew wild; but whatever spontaneous productions there were, were left to the poor, the traveller, and the wild beast,  Leviticus 25:1-7;  Deuteronomy 15:1-10 . The object of this regulation seems to have been, among others, to let the ground recover its strength, and to teach the Hebrews to be provident of their income and to look out for the future. It is true, that extraordinary fruitfulness was promised on the sixth year, but in such a way as not to exclude care and foresight,  Leviticus 25:20-24 . We are not to suppose, however, that the Hebrews spent the seventh year in absolute idleness: they could fish, hunt, take care of their bees and flocks, repair their buildings and furniture, manufacture cloths of wool, linen, and of the hair of goats and camels, and carry on commerce. Finally, they were obliged to remain longer in the tabernacle or temple this year, during which the whole Mosaic law was read, in order to be instructed in religious and moral duties, and the history of their nation, and the wonderful works and blessings of God,  Deuteronomy 31:10-13 . This seventh year's rest, as Moses predicted,  Leviticus 26:34-35 , was for a long time neglected,  2 Chronicles 36:21; after the captivity it was more scrupulously observed.

As a period of seven days was every week completed by the Sabbath, so was a period of seven years completed by the sabbatic year. It seems to have been the design of this institution, to afford a longer opportunity than would otherwise have been enjoyed for impressing on the memory the great truth, that God the Creator is alone to be worshipped. The commencement of this year was on the first day of the seventh month, Tishri, or October. During the continuance of the feast of tabernacles this year, the law was to be publicly read for eight days together, either in the tabernacle or temple,  Deuteronomy 31:10-13 . Debts, on account of there being no income from the soil, were not collected,  Deuteronomy 15:1-2; they were not, however, cancelled, as was imagined by the Talmudists, for we find in  Deuteronomy 15:9 , that the Hebrews are admonished not to deny money to the poor on account of the approach of the sabbatical year; during which it could not be exacted; but nothing farther than this can be deduced from that passage, Nor were servants manumitted on this year, but on the seventh year of their service,  Exodus 21:2;  Deuteronomy 15:12;  Jeremiah 34:14 .

THE Year Of Jubilee followed seven sabbatic years; it was on the fiftieth year,  Leviticus 25:8-11 . To this statement agree the Jews generally, their rabbins, and the Caraites; and say farther, that the argument of those who maintain that it was on the forty-ninth, for the reason that the omission to till the ground for two years in succession, namely, the forty- ninth and fiftieth, would produce a famine, is not to be attended to. It is not to be attended to, simply because these years of rest being known long beforehand, the people would of course lay up provision for them. It may be remarked farther in reference to this point, that certain trees produced their fruits spontaneously, particularly the fig and sycamore, which yield half the year round, and that those fruits could be preserved for some months; which explains at once how a considerable number of the people might have obtained no inconsiderable portion of their support. The return of the year of jubilee was announced on the tenth day of the seventh month, or Tishri, October, being the day of propitiation or atonement, by the sound of trumpet,  Leviticus 25:8-13;  Leviticus 27:24;  Numbers 36:4;  Isaiah 61:1-2 . Beside the regulations which obtained on the sabbatic year, there were others which concerned the year of jubilee exclusively:

1. All the servants of Hebrew origin on the year of jubilee obtained their freedom,   Leviticus 25:39-46;  Jeremiah 34:7 , &c.

2. All the fields throughout the country, and the houses in the cities and villages of the Levites and priests which had been sold on the preceding years, were returned on the year of jubilee to the sellers, with the exception of those which had been consecrated to God, and had not been redeemed before the return of the said year,   Leviticus 25:10;  Leviticus 25:13-17;  Leviticus 25:24-28;  Leviticus 27:16-21 .

3. Debtors, for the most part, pledged or mortgaged their lands to the creditor, and left it to his use till the time of payment, so that it was in effect sold to the creditor, and was, accordingly, restored to the debtor on the year of jubilee. In other words, the debts for which land was pledged were cancelled; the same as those of persons who had recovered their freedom after having been sold into slavery, on account of not being able to pay. Hence it usually hppened in the later periods of Jewish history, as we learn from Josephus, that, at the return of jubilee, there was a general cancelling of debts.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

A — 1: Ἔτος (Strong'S #2094 — Noun Neuter — etos — et'-os )

is used (a) to mark a point of time at or from which events take place, e.g.,  Luke 3:1 (dates were frequently reckoned from the time when a monarch began to reign); in   Galatians 3:17 the time of the giving of the Law is stated as 430 "years" after the covenant of promise given to Abraham; there is no real discrepancy between this and   Exodus 12:40; the Apostle is not concerned with the exact duration of the interval; it certainly was not less than 430 "years;" the point of the argument is that the period was very considerable;  Galatians 1:18;  2:1 mark events in Paul's life; as to the former the point is that three "years" elapsed before he saw any of the Apostles; in   Galatians 2:1 the 14 "years" may date either from his conversion or from his visit to Peter mentioned in   Galatians 1:18; the latter seems the more natural (for a full discussion of the subject see Notes on Galatians by Hogg and Vine, pp. 55ff.); (b) to mark a space of time, e.g.,  Matthew 9:20;  Luke 12:19;  13:11;  John 2:20;  Acts 7:6 , where the 400 "years" mark not merely the time that Israel was in bondage in Egypt, but the time that they sojourned or were strangers there (the RV puts a comma after the word "evil"); the Genevan Version renders  Genesis 15:13 "thy posterity shall inhabit a strange land for 400 years;"   Hebrews 3:17;  Revelation 20:2-7; (c) to date an event from one's birth, e.g.,  Mark 5:42;  Luke 2:42;  3:23;  John 8:57;  Acts 4:22;  1—Timothy 5:9; (d) to mark recurring events,  Luke 2:41 (with kata, used distributively); 13:7; (e) of an unlimited number,   Hebrews 1:12 .

A — 2: Ἐνιαυτός (Strong'S #1763 — Noun Masculine — eniautos — en-ee-ow-tos' )

originally "a cycle of time," is used (a) of a particular time marked by an event, e.g.,  Luke 4:19;  John 11:49,51;  18:13;  Galatians 4:10;  Revelation 9:15; (b) to mark a space of time,  Acts 11:26;  18:11;  James 4:13;  5:17; (c) of that which takes place every year,  Hebrews 9:7; with kata [cp. (d) above],  Hebrews 9:25;  10:1,3 .

A — 3: Διετία (Strong'S #1333 — Noun Feminine — dietia — dee-et-ee'-a )

denotes "a space of two years" (dis, "twice," and No. 1),  Acts 24:27;  28:30 .

A — 4: Τριετία (Strong'S #5148 — Noun Feminine — trietia — tree-et-ee'-ah )

denotes "a space of three years" (treis, "three," and No. 1),  Acts 20:31 .

 Luke 1:7,18

B — 1: Διετής (Strong'S #1332 — Adjective — dietes — dee-et-ace' )

akin to A, No. 3, denotes "lasting two years, two years old,"  Matthew 2:16 .

B — 2: Ἑκατονταετής (Strong'S #1541 — Adjective — hekatontaetes — hek-at-on-tah-et'-ace )

denotes "a hundred years old,"  Romans 4:19 .

C — 1: Πέρυσι (Strong'S #4070 — Adverb — perusi — per'-oo-si )

"last year, a year ago" (from pera, "beyond"), is used with apo, "from  2—Corinthians 8:10;  9:2 .

 Hebrews 11:24

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Shanah , a repetition, like the Latin Annus , "year." Literally, a circle, namely, of seasons, in which the same recur yearly. The 360 day year, 12 months of 30 days each, is indicated in  Daniel 7:25;  Daniel 12:7, time (i.e. one year) times and dividing of a time, or 3 1/2 years; the 42 months ( Revelation 11:2), 1260 days ( Revelation 5:3;  Revelation 12:6). The Egyptian vague year was the same, without the five intercalary days. So the year of Noah in  Genesis 7:11-24;  Genesis 8:3-4;  Genesis 8:13; the interval between the 17th day of the second month and the 17th of the seventh month being stated as 150 days, i.e. 30 days in each of the five months. Also between the tenth month, first day, and the first day of the first month, the second year, at least 54 days, namely, 40 + 7 + 7 (oxen.  Genesis 8:5-6;  Genesis 8:10;  Genesis 8:12-13). Hence, we infer a year of 12 months. The Hebrew month at the time of the Exodus was lunar, but their year was solar.

(See Weights AND Measures on P. Smyth's view of the year marked in the great pyramid). The Egyptian vague year is thought to be as old as the 12th dynasty. (See Egypt .) The Hebrew religious year began in spring, the natural beginning when all nature revives; the season also of the beginning of Israel's national life, when the religious year's beginning was transferred from autumn to spring, the month Abib or Nisan (the name given by later Hebrew:  Exodus 12:2;  Exodus 13:4;  Exodus 23:15-16;  Exodus 34:18;  Exodus 34:22). The civil year began at the close of autumn in the month Tisri, when, the fruits of the earth having been gathered in, the husbandman began his work again preparing for another year's harvest, analogous to the twofold beginning of day at sunrise and sunset. "The feast of ingathering in the end of the year" ( Exodus 23:16) must refer to the civil or agrarian year.

The Egyptian year began in June at the rise of the Nile. Hebrew sabbatic years and Jubilees were counted from the beginning of Tisri ( Leviticus 25:9-17). The Hebrew year was as nearly solar as was compatible with its commencement coinciding with the new moon or first day of the month. They began it with the new moon nearest to the equinox, yet late enough to allow of the firstfruits of barley harvest being offered about the middle of the first month. So Josephus (Ant. 3:10, section 5) states that the Passover was celebrated when the sun was in Aries. They may have determined their new year's day by observing the heliacal or other star risings or settings marking the right time of the solar year (compare  Judges 5:20-21;  Job 38:31). They certainly after the captivity, and probably ages before, added a 13th month whenever the 12th ended too long before the equinox for the offering of the firstfruits to be made at the time fixed. (See Jubilee .)

In  Exodus 23:10;  Deuteronomy 31:10;  Deuteronomy 15:1, the sabbatical year appears as a rest to the land (no sowing, reaping, planting, pruning, gathering) in which its ownership was in abeyance, and its chance produce at the service of all comers. Debtors were released from obligations for the year, except when they could repay without impoverishment ( Deuteronomy 15:2-4). Trade, handicrafts, the chase, and the care of cattle occupied the people during the year. Education and the reading of the law at the feast of tabernacles characterized it ( Deuteronomy 31:10-13). The soil lay fallow one year out of seven at a time when rotation of crops and manuring were unknown; the habit of economizing grain was fostered by the institution ( Genesis 41:48-56).

Israel learned too that absolute ownership in the land was Jehovah's alone, and that the human owners held it in trust, to be made the most of for the good of every creature which dwelt upon it ( Leviticus 25:23;  Leviticus 25:1-7;  Leviticus 25:11-17;  Exodus 23:11, "that the poor may eat, and what they leave the beasts," etc.). The weekly sabbath witnessed the equality of the people as to the covenant with Jehovah. The Jubilee year witnessed that every Israelite had an equal claim to the Lord's land, and that the hired servant, the foreigner, the cattle, and even wild beasts, had a claim. The whole thus indicates what a blessed state would have followed the Sabbath of Paradise, had not sin disturbed all. During 70 Sabbath years, i.e. 490, the period of the monarchy, the Sabbath year was mainly slighted, and so 70 years' captivity was the retributive punishment ( 2 Chronicles 36:20-21;  Leviticus 26:34-35;  Leviticus 26:43).

Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar exempted the Jews from tribute on the sabbatical year (Josephus Ant. 11:8, section 6, 14:10, section 6; compare 16, Section 2; 15:1, section 2; compare also under Antiochus Epiphanes,  1 Maccabees 4:49); the institution has no parallel in the world's history, and would have been submitted to by no people except under a divine revelation. The day of atonement on which the sabbatical year was proclaimed stood in the same relation to the civil year that the Passover did to the religious year. The new moon festival of Tisri is the only one distinguished by peculiar observance, which confirms the view that the civil year began then. The Hebrew divided the year into "summer and winter "( Genesis 8:22;  Psalms 74:17;  Zechariah 14:8), and designated the earth's produce as the fruits of summer ( Jeremiah 8:20;  Jeremiah 40:10-12;  Micah 7:1).

Abib "the month of green ears" commenced summer; and the seventh month, Ethanim, "the month of flowing streams," began winter. The 'Atsereth or "concluding festival" of the feast of tabernacles closed the year ( Leviticus 23:34). Both the spring feast in Abib and the autumn feast in Ethanim began at the full moon in their respective months. (See Month ; Sabbatical Year; Jubilee ) The observances at the beginning festival of the religious year resemble those at the beginning festival of the civil year. The Passover lamb in the first month Abib corresponds to the atonement goats on the tenth of Tisri, the seventh month. The feast of unleavened bread from the 15th to the gist of Abib answers to the feast of tabernacles from the 15th to 22nd of Tisri. As there is a Sabbath attached to the first day as well as to the seventh, so the first and the seventh month begin respectively the religious and the civil year.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Year. The highest ordinary division of time. Two years were known to, and apparently used by, the Hebrews.

1. A year of 360 days appears to have been in use in Noah's time.

2. The year used by the Hebrews from the time of the Exodus maybe said to have been then instituted, since a current month, Abib, on the 14th day of which the first Passover was kept, was then made the first month of the year.

The essential characteristics of this year can be clearly determined, though we cannot fix those of any single year. The Year Was Essentially Solar for the offering of productions of the earth, first-fruits, harvest produce and ingathered fruits, was fixed to certain days of the year, two of which were in the periods of great feasts, the third itself a feast reckoned from one of the former days. But it is certain that The Months Were Lunar , each commencing with a new moon. There must, therefore, have been some method of adjustment. The first point to be decided is how the commencement of each gear was fixed.

Probably, the Hebrews determined their new year's day by the observation of heliacal or other star-risings or settings known to mark the right time of the solar year. It follows, from the determination of the proper new moon of the first month, whether by observation of a stellar phenomenon or of the forwardness of the crops, that the method of intercalation can only have been that in use after the captivity, - the addition of a thirteenth month whenever the twelfth ended too long before the equinox for the offering of the first-fruits to be made at the time fixed.

The later Jews had two commencements of the year, whence it is commonly but inaccurately said that they had two years, the Sacred Year and the Civil Year . We prefer to speak of the sacred and civil reckonings. The Sacred Reckoning was that instituted at the Exodus, according to which the first month was Abib; by the Civil Reckoning, the first month was the seventh. The interval between the two commencements was thus exactly half a year.

It has been supposed that the institution at the time of the Exodus was a change of commencement, not the introduction of a new year, and that thenceforward the year had two beginnings, respectively at about the vernal and the autumnal equinox. The year was divided into -

i. Seasons. Two seasons are mentioned in the Bible, "summer" and "winter." The former properly means the time of cutting fruits, the latter that, of gathering fruits; they are therefore originally rather summer and autumn than summer and winter. But that they signify ordinarily, the two grand divisions of the year, the warm and cold seasons, is evident from their use for the whole year in the expression "summer and winter."  Psalms 74:17;  Zechariah 14:18.

ii. Months. See Months .

iii. Weeks. See Weeks .

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [5]

The Hebrews always had years of twelve months. But at the beginning, as some suppose, they were solar years of twelve months, each month having thirty days, excepting the twelfth, which had thirty-five days. We see, by the enumeration of the days of the deluge,  Genesis 7:1-8:22 , that the original year consisted of three hundred and sixtyfive days. It is supposed that they had an intercalary month at the end of one hundred and twenty years, at which time the beginning of their year would be out of its place full thirty days. Subsequently, however, and throughout the history of the Jews, the year was wholly lunar, having alternately a full month of thirty days, and a defective month of twenty-nine days, thus completing their year in three hundred and fifty-four days. To accommodate this lunar year to the solar year, (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes, and 47.7 seconds,) or the period of the revolution of the earth around the sun, and to the return of the seasons, they added a whole month after Adar, usually once in three years. This intercalary month they call Ve-adar. See Month .

The ancient Hebrews appear to have had no formal and established era, but to have dated from the most memorable events in their history; as from the exodus out of Egypt,  Exodus 19:1   Numbers 33:38   1 Kings 6:1; from the erection of Solomon's temple,  1 Kings 8:1   9:10; and from the Babylonish captivity,  Ezekiel 33:21   40:1 . See Sabbatical Year , and Jubilee .

The phrase, "from two years old and under,"  Matthew 2:16 , that is, "from a child of two years and under," is thought by some to include all the male children who had not entered their second year; and by others, all who were near the beginning of their second year, within a few months before or after. The cardinal and ordinal numbers are often used indiscriminately. Thus in  Genesis 7:6,11 , Noah is six hundred years old, and soon after in his six hundredth year; Christ rose from the dead "three days after,"  Matthew 27:63 , and "on the third day,"  Matthew 16:21; circumcision took place when the child was "eight days old,"  Genesis 17:11 , and "on the eighth day,"  Leviticus 12:3 . Compare  Luke 1:59   2:21 . Many slight discrepancies in chronology may be thus accounted for.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [6]

SAhâneh ( שָׁנָה , Strong'S #8141), “year.” This word has cognates in Ugaritic, Akaddian, Arabic, Aramaic, and Phoenician. Biblical Hebrew attests it about 877 times and in every period.

This Hebrew word signifies “year”: “And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years” (Gen. 1:14—the first biblical occurrence of the word). There are several ways of determining what a “year” is. First, the “year” may be based on the relationship between the seasons and the sun, the solar year or agricultural year. Second, it can be based on a correlation of the seasons and the moon (lunar year). Third, the “year” may be decided on the basis of the correlation between the movement of the earth and the stars (stellar year). At many points the people of the Old Testament period set the seasons according to climatic or agricultural events; the year ended with the grape and fruit harvest in the month Elul: "[Thou shalt keep] the feast of harvest, the first fruits of thy labors, which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of ingathering, which is in the end of the year, when thou hast gathered in thy labors out of the field” (Exod. 23:16).

The Gezer calendar shows that by the time it was written (about the tenth century B.C.) some in Palestine were using the lunar calendar, since it exhibits an attempt to correlate the agricultural and lunar systems. The lunar calendar began in the spring (the month Nisan, MarchApril) and had twelve lunations, or periods between new moons. It was necessary periodically to add a thirteenth month in order to synchronize the lunar calendar and the number of days in a solar year. The lunar calendar also seems to have underlain Israel’s religious system with a special rite to celebrate the first day of each lunar month (Num. 28:11-15). The major feasts, however, seem to be based on the agricultural cycle, and the date on which they were celebrated varied from year to year according to work in the fields (e.g., Deut. 16:9-12). This solar-agricultural year beginning in the spring is similar to (if not derived from) the Babylonian calendar—the names of the months are Babylonian derivatives. These 2 systems, therefore, appear side by side at least from the time of Moses. An exact picture of the Old Testamem “year” is difficult, if not impossible, to obtain.

King James Dictionary [7]

YEAR, n. G.

1. The space or period of time in which the sun moves through the twelve signs of the ecliptic, or whole circle, and returns to the same point. This is the solar year, and the year, in the strict and proper sense of the word. It is called also the tropical year. This period comprehends what are called the twelve calendar months, or 365 days, 5 hours, and 49 minutes, within a small fraction. But in popular usage, the year consists of 365 days, and every fourth year of 366 a day being added to February, on account of the 5 hours and 49 minutes. 2. The time in which any planet completes a revolution as the year of Jupiter or of Saturn. 3. The time in which the fixed states make a revolution, is called the great year. 4. Years, in the plural, is sometimes equivalent to age or old age as a man in years.

In popular language, year is often used for years. The horse is ten year old.

Sidereal year, the time in which the sun, departing from any fixed star, returns to the same. This  Isaiah 365 day, 6 hours, 6 minutes, and 11,5 seconds.

Anomalistical year, the time that elapses from the suns leaving its apogee, till it returns to it, which  Isaiah 365 days, 6 hours, 14 minutes.

Civil year, the year which nay nation has contrived for the computation of time.

Bissextile or leap year, the year consisting of 366 days.

Lunar year, consists of 12 lunar months.

Lunar astronomical year, consists of 12 lunar synodical months, or 354 days, 8 hours, 48 minutes, 36 seconds.

Common lunar year, consists of 12 lunar months, or 354 days.

Embolismic or intercalary year, consists of 13 lunar months, and contains 384 days.

Julian year, established by Julius Caesar, consists of 365 days, 6 hours.

Gregorian year, is the Julian year corrected and is the year now generally used in Europe. From the difference between this and the Julian year, arises the distinction of Old and New Style.

Sabbatic year, among the Israelites, was every seventh year, when their land was suffered to lid untilled.

The or legal year, in England, formerly commenced on the 25th day of March. This practice continued till after the settlement of America, and the first settlers of New England observed it for many years.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [8]

The Jewish year differed much in point of time, before, and after their sojourning in Egypt; and unless we could (which now is impossible) ascertain with more clearness whether their calculations were made by what is called the solar year, or the lunar year, that is, by the revolution of sun, or moon—it is not possible to determine with accuracy the point. But all difficulties vanish in respect to the different periods of calculation, by whatever mode they are calculated, if we only are careful to consider the different dates from whence they take their calculation. As for example—in the promise the Lord made to Abram, ( Genesis 15:13) concerning the affliction of his seed in a strange land, and their deliverance from it, the Lord marked the period, four hundred years; but in counting up the time when that deliverance took place, Moses makes it "four hundred and thirty years." But the period of both, is precisely the same, when the difference is allowed from the different dates of the commencement, or time, the account began. When it is said, as in  Genesis 15:13 "four hundred years," it is connected with the birth of Isaac, which was thirty years after Abraham left Chaldea, and consequently, this period must be added to the account; and thus it will be found, by a parity of calculation in the several statements the Jewish year at different times give. See Hour.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [9]

Year. The Jewish year had two commencements. The religious year began with the month Abib—April; the civil with Tisri—October. The year was solar. There were two seasons, summer and winter.  Psalms 74:17;  Zechariah 14:8;  Jeremiah 36:22;  Amos 3:15. The months were lunar, of 30 days each, and twelve in number, although a thirteenth was necessarily intercalated six times in every 19 years. It was called Ve-adar. The festivals, holy days, and fasts of the year were: 1. The feast of the Passover, the 14th day of the first month. 2. The feast of unleavened bread, in the same month, from the 15th to 21st, inclusive. 3. The feast of Pentecost, called also feast of harvest and "day of first fruits," on the day which ended seven weeks, counted from the 16th of the first month, that day being excluded. 4 The feast of trumpets, on the first day of the seventh month. 5. The day of atonement, a fast, on the tenth day of the seventh month. 6. The feast of tabernacles, or of gathering, from the 15th to the 22d day, inclusive, of the seventh month. The post-Mosaic festivals are Purim, in the twelfth month of Adar, 13th to 15th day; Dedication, on the 25th day of the ninth month. See Appendix.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [10]

Under the word MONTHS it has been stated that the Jews reckoned the months to consist alternately of twenty-nine and thirty days, being therefore in twelve months eleven and a quarter days short of the year. To remedy this an additional month was added about every three years. In the various data given for the last half of the last of Daniel's Seventy Weeks, it will be seen that all the months are reckoned as having thirty days; thus 'a time, times, and a half' in  Daniel 12:7 and   Revelation 12:14 point out three and a half years: this period is again called forty two months in   Revelation 11:2;  Revelation 13:5; and again twelve hundred and sixty days in  Revelation 11:3;  Revelation 12:6 . The prophetic year may therefore be called three hundred and sixty days. See MONTHS and Seasons

Webster's Dictionary [11]

(1): ( n.) The time of the apparent revolution of the sun trough the ecliptic; the period occupied by the earth in making its revolution around the sun, called the astronomical year; also, a period more or less nearly agreeing with this, adopted by various nations as a measure of time, and called the civil year; as, the common lunar year of 354 days, still in use among the Mohammedans; the year of 360 days, etc. In common usage, the year consists of 365 days, and every fourth year (called bissextile, or leap year) of 366 days, a day being added to February on that year, on account of the excess above 365 days (see Bissextile).

(2): ( n.) The time in which any planet completes a revolution about the sun; as, the year of Jupiter or of Saturn.

(3): ( n.) Age, or old age; as, a man in years.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [12]

 Genesis 1:14 5:3

Baker's Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology [13]

See Time

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [14]

YEAR . See Time.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [15]

See Time.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [16]

( שָׁנָה , Shanah, lit. Repetition, kindred with שֵׁנַי , Second; Ἔτος ) , the highest ordinary division of time, marked by the solar revolutions of the seasons. (See Time).

I. Years, Properly So Called . Two years were known to, and apparently used by, the Hebrews. (See Calendar).

1. A year of 360 days, containing 12 months of 30 days each, is indicated by certain passages in the prophetical Scriptures. The time, times, and a half, of Daniel ( Daniel 7:25;  Daniel 12:7), where "time" (Ch. עַדָּן , Heb. מוֹעֵד ) means "year," evidently represent the same period as the 42 months ( Revelation 11:2) and 1260 days of the Revelation ( Revelation 11:3;  Revelation 12:6), for 360 x 3.5 = 1260, and 30 x 42=1260. This year perfectly corresponds to the Egyptian Vague year, without the five intercalary days. It appears to have been in use in Noah's time, or at least in the time of the writer of the narrative of the flood, for in that narrative the interval from the 17th day of the 2d month to the 17th day of the 7th of the same year appears to be stated to be a period of 150 days ( Genesis 7:11;  Genesis 7:24;  Genesis 8:3-4; comp.  Genesis 8:13), and, as the 1James, 2 d, 7th, and 10th months of one year are mentioned ( Genesis 7:11;  Genesis 8:4-5;  Genesis 8:13-14), the 1st day of the 10th month of this year being separated from the 1st day of the 1st month of the next year by an interval of at least 54 days ( Genesis 8:5-6;  Genesis 8:10;  Genesis 8:12-13), we can only infer a year of 12 months. Ideler disputes the former inference, arguing that as the water first began to sink after 150 days (and then had been fifteen cubits above all high mountains), it must have sunk for some days ere the ark could have rested on Ararat, so that the second date must have been more than 150 days later than the first (Handbuch, 1:69, 70, 478, 479). This argument depends upon the meaning of the expression high mountains, and upon the height of "the mountains of Ararat," upon which the ark rested ( Genesis 8:4), and we are certainly justified by Shemitic usage, if we do not consider the usual inference of the great height attained by the flood to be a necessary one (Genesis of the Earth and of  Prayer of Manasseh 1:2 d ed. pages 97, 98). The exact correspondence of the interval mentioned to 5 months of 30 days each, and the use of a year of 360 days, or 12 such months, by the prophets, the latter fact overlooked by Ideler, favor the idea that such a year is here meant, unless, indeed, one identical with the Egyptian Vague year, of 12 months of 30 days and 5 intercalary days. The settlement of this question depends upon the nature and history of these years, and our information on the latter subject is not sufficiently certain to enable us to do more than hazard a conjecture.

A year of 360 days is the rudest known. It is formed of 12 spurious lunar months, and was probably the parent of the lunar year of 354 days, and the Vague year of 365. That it should have continued any time in use would be surprising were it not for the convenient length of the months. The Hebrew year, from the time of the Exodus, as we shall see, was evidently lunar, though in some manner rendered virtually solar, and we may therefore infer that the lunar year is as old as the date of the Exodus. As the Hebrew year was not an Egyptian year, and as nothing is said of its being new, save in its time of commencement, it was perhaps earlier in use among the Israelites, and either brought into Egypt by them or borrowed from Shemite settlers.

The Vague year was certainly in use in Egypt in as remote an age as the earlier part of the 12th dynasty (cir. 2000 B.C.), and there can be no reasonable doubt that it was there used at the time of the building of the Great Pyramid (cir. 2350 B.C.). The intercalary days seem to be of Egyptian institution, for each of them was dedicated to one of the great gods, as if the innovation had been thus made permanent by the priests; and perhaps rendered popular as a series of days of feasting and rejoicing. The addition would, however, date from a very early period, that of the final settlement of the Egyptian religion.

As the lunar year and the Vague year run up parallel to so early a period as that of the Exodus, and the former seems to have been then Shemitic, the latter then, and for several centuries earlier, Egyptian; and probably of Egyptian origin, we may reasonably conjecture that the former originated from a year of 360 days in Asia, the latter from the same year in Africa, this primitive year having been used by the Noachians before their dispersion.

2. The year used by the Hebrews from the time of the Exodus may be said to have been then instituted, since a current month, Abib, on the 14th day of which the first Passover was kept, was then made the first month of the year. The essential characteristics of this year call be clearly determined, though we cannot fix those of any single year. It was essentially solar, for the offerings of productions of the earth, first-fruits, harvest-produce, and ingathered fruits were fixed to certain days of the year, two of which were in the periods of great feasts, the third itself a feast reckoned from one of the former days. It seems evident that the year was made to depend upon these times, and it may be observed that such a calendar would tend to cause thankfulness for God's good gifts, and would put in the background the great luminaries which the heathen worshipped in Egypt and in Canaan. Though the year was thus essentially solar, it is certain that the months were lunar, each commencing with a new moon. There must, therefore, have been some method of adjustment. The first point to be decided is how the commencement of each year was fixed.

On the 16th day of Abib ripe ears of corn were to be offered as first-fruits of the harvest ( Leviticus 2:14;  Leviticus 23:10-11): this was the day on which the sickle was begun to be put to the corn ( Deuteronomy 16:9), and no doubt Josephus is right in stating that until the offering of first-fruits had been made no harvest-work was to be begun (Ant. 3:10, 5). He also states that ears of barley were offered (ibid.). That this was the case, and that the ears were the earliest ripe, is evident from the following circumstances. The reaping of barley commenced the harvest ( 2 Samuel 21:9), that of wheat following, apparently without any considerable interval ( Ruth 2:23).

On the day of Pentecost thanksgiving was offered for the harvest, and it was therefore called the Feast of Harvest. It was reckoned from the commencement of the harvest, on the 16th day of the 1st month. The 50 days must include the whole time of the harvest of both wheat and barley throughout Palestine. According to the observations of modern travellers, barley is ripe, in the warmest parts of Palestine, in the first days of April. The barley-harvest, therefore, begins about half a month or less after the vernal equinox. Each year, if solar, would thus begin at about that equinox, when the earliest ears of barley must be ripe. As, however, the mouths were lunar, the commencement of the year must have been fixed by a new moon near this point of time. The new moon must have been that which fell about or next afte'r the equinox, not more than a few days before, on account of the offering of first-fruits. Ideler, whose observations on this matter we have thus far followed, supposes that the new moon was chosen by observation of the forwardness of the barley-crops in the warmer parts of the country (Handbuch, 1: 490). But such a method would have caused confusion on account of the different times of the harvest in different parts of Palestine; and in the period of the Judges there would often have been two separate commencements of the year in regions divided by hostile tribes, and in each of which the Israelitish population led an existence almost independent of any other branch.

It is more likely that the Hebrews would have determined their new-year's day by the observation of heliacal or other star-risings or settings known to mark the right time of the solar year. By such a method the beginning of any year could have been fixed a year before, either to one day, or, supposing the month-commencements were fixed by actual observation, within a day or two. We need not doubt that the Israelites were well acquainted with such means of marking the periods of a solar year. In the ancient Song of Deborah we read how "They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera. The river of Kishon swept them away, that ancient river. the river Kishon" ( Judges 5:20-21), The stars that marked the times of rain are thus connected with the swelling of the river in which the fugitive Canaanites perished. So, too, we read how the Lord demanded of Job, "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Kimah, or loose the bands of Kesil?" ( Job 38:31). "The best and most fertilizing of the rains," in Palestine and the neighboring lands, save Egypt, "fall when the Pleiades set at dawn (not exactly heliacally), at the end of autumn; rain scarcely ever falling at the opposite season, when Scorpio sets at dawn."

That Kimah signifies the Pleiades does not admit of reasonable doubt, and Kesil, as opposite to it, would be Scorpio, being identified with Cor Scorpionis by Aben-Ezra. Therefore it cannot be questioned that the Israelites, even during the troubled time of the Judges, were well acquainted with the method of determining the seasons of the solar year by observing the stars. Not alone was this the practice of the civilized Egyptians, but, at all times of which we know their history, of the Arabs, and also of the Greeks in the time of Hesiod, while yet their material civilization and science were rudimentary. It has always been the custom of pastoral and scattered peoples, rather than of the dwellers in cities; and if the Egyptians be thought to form an exception, it must be recollected that they used it at a period not remote from that at which their civilization came from the plain of Shinar.

It follows, from the determination of the proper new moon of the 1st month, whether by observation of a stellar phenomenon, or of the forwardness of the crops, that the method of intercalation can only have been that in use after the captivity, the addition of a 13th month whenever the 12th ended too long before the equinox for the offering of the first- fruits to be made at the time fixed. This method is in accordance with the permission granted to postpone the celebration of the Passover for one month in the case of any one who was legally unclean, or journeying at a distance ( Numbers 9:9-13); and there is a historical instance in the case of Hezekiah, of such a postponement, for both reasons, of the national celebration ( 2 Chronicles 30:1 to  2 Chronicles 3:15). Such a practice as that of an intercalation varying in occurrence is contrary to Western usage; but the like prevails in all Moslem countries in a far more inconvenient form in the case of the commencement of every month. The day is determined by actual observation of the new moon, and thus a day is frequently unexpectedly added to or deducted from a month at one place, and months commence on different days at different towns in the same country. The Hebrew intercalation, if determined by stellar phenomena, would not be liable to a like uncertainty, though such may have been the case with the actual day of the new moon.

The later Jews had two commencements of the year, whence it is commonly but inaccurately said that they had two years, the sacred year and the civil. We prefer to speak of the sacred and civil reckonings. Ideler admits that these reckonings obtained at the time of the second temple. The sacred reckoning was that instituted at the Exodus, according to which the 1st month was Abib; by the civil reckoning the 1st month was the 7th. The interval between the two commencements was thus exactly half a year. It has been supposed that the institution at the time of the Exodus was a change of commencement, not the introduction of a new year, and that thenceforward the year had two beginnings, respectively at about the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes.

The former supposition is a hypothesis, the latter may almost be proved. The strongest point of evidence as to two beginnings of the year from the time of the Exodus, strangely unnoticed in this relation by Ideler, is the circumstance that the sabbatical and jubilee years commenced in the 7th month, and no doubt on the 10th day of the 7th month, the Day of Atonement ( Leviticus 25:9-10), and as this year immediately followed a sabbatical year, the latter must have begun in the same manner. Both were full years, and therefore must have commenced on the 1st day. The jubilee year was proclaimed on the 1st day of the month, the Day of Atonement standing in the same relation to its beginning, and perhaps to the civil beginning of the year, as did the Passover to the sacred beginning. This would be the most convenient, if not the necessary commencement of a year of total cessation from, the labors of agriculture, as a year so commencing would comprise the whole round of such occupations in regular sequence from seed-time to harvest, and from harvest to vintage and gathering of fruit. The command as to both years, apart from the mention of the Day of Atonement, clearly shows this, unless we suppose, but this is surely unwarrantable, that the injunction in the two places in which it occurs follows the regular order of the seasons of agriculture ( Exodus 23:10-11;  Leviticus 25:3-4;  Leviticus 25:11), but that this was not intended to apply in the case of the observance. Two expressions, used with reference to the time of the Feast of Ingathering, on the 15th day of the 7th month, must be here noticed. This feast is spoken of as הִשָׁנָה בַּצֵאת , "in the going out" or "end of the year" ( Exodus 23:16), and as תְּקוּפִת הִשָׁנָה [at] the change of the year" ( Exodus 34:22), the latter a vague expression, so far as we can understand it, but quite consistent with the other, whether indicating the turning-point. of a natural year, or the half of the year by the sacred reckoning..

The rabbins use the term תְּקוּפָה to designate the commencement of each of the four seasons into which they divide the year (Handbuch, 1:550, 551). Our view is confirmed by the similarity of the 1st and 7th months as to their observances the one containing the Feast of Unleavened Bread, from the 15th to the 21st inclusive; the other, that if Tabernacles, from the 15th to the 22d. Evidence in the same direction is found in the special sanctification of the 1st day of the 7th month, which. in the blowing of trumpets resembles the proclamation of the jubilee year on the Day of Atonement. We therefore hold that from the time of the Exodus. there were two beginnings of the year, with the 1st of the 1st and the 1st of the 7th month, the former being the sacred reckoning, the latter, used for the operations of agriculture, the civil reckoning. In Egypt, in the present day, Moslems use the lunar year for their religious observances, and for ordinary affairs, except those of agriculture, which they regulate by the Coptic Julian year.

3. We must here notice here theories of the derivation of the Hebrew year from the Egyptian Vague year, as they are connected with the tropical point or points and agricultural phenomena, by which the former was regulated. The Vague year was commonly used by the Egyptians; and from it only. if from an Egyptian year, is the Hebrew likely to have been derived. Two theories have been formed connecting the two years at the Exodus.

(1) Some hold that Abib, the 1st month of the Hebrew year by the sacred reckoning, was the Egyptian Epiphi, called in Coptic, Epepi, and in Arabic, by the modern Egyptians; Abib, or Ebib, the 11th month of the Vague year. The similarity of sound is remarkable, but it must be remembered that the Egyptian name is derived from that of the goddess of the month, Pep- T or APAP-T (?) whereas the Hebrew name has the ense of "an ear of corn, a green ear," and is derived from the unused root אָבִב , traceable in אֵב , "verdure," Chaldee, אֵב , "fruit," Arabic, Ab, "green fodder." Moreover, the Egyptian P is rarely, if ever, represented by the Hebrew ב , and the converse is not common. Still stronger evidence is afforded by the fact that we find in Egyptian the root AB, "a nosegay," which is evidently related to Abib and its cognates. Supposing, however, that the Hebrew. calendar was formed by fixing the Egyptian Epiphi as the 1st month, what would be the chronological result?

The latest date to which the Exodus is assigned is about 1320 B.C. In the Julian year 1320 B.C., the month Epiphi of the Egyptian Vague year commenced May 16, 44 days after the day of the vernal equinox, April 2, very near which the Hebrew year must have begun. Thus, at the latest date of the Exodus, there is an interval of a month and a half between the beginning of the Hebrew year and Epiphi 1. This interval represents about 180 years, through which the Vague year would retrograde in the Julian until the commencement of Epiphi corresponded to the vernal equinox, and no method can reduce it below 100. It is possible to effect thus much by conjecturing that the month Abib began somewhat after this tropical point, though the precise details of the state of the crops at the time of the plagues, as compared with the phenomena of agriculture in Lower Egypt at the present day, make half a month an extreme extension. At the time of the plague of hail the barley was in the ear and was smitten, with the flax, but the wheat was not sufficiently forward to be destroyed ( Exodus 9:31-32). In Lower Egypt, at the present day, this would be the case about the end of February and beginning of March. The Exodus cannot have taken place many days after the plague of hail, so that it must have occurred about or a little after the time of the vernal equinox, and thus Abib cannot possibly have begun much after that tropical point half a month is therefore excessive. We have thus carefully examined the evidence as to the supposed derivation of Abib from Epiphi, because it has been carelessly taken for granted, and more carelessly alleged in support of the latest date of the Exodus.

(2) We have founded an argument for the date of the Exodus upon another comparison of the Hebrew year and the Vague year. We have seen that the sacred commencement of the Hebrew year was at the new moon about or next after, but not much before, the vernal equinox the civil commencement must usually have been at the new moon nearest the autumnal equinox. At the earliest date of the Exodus computed by modern chronologers, about the middle of the 17th century B.C., the Egyptian Vague year commenced at or about the latter time. The Hebrew year, reckoned from the civil commencement, and the Vague year, therefore, then nearly or exactly coincided. We have already seen that the Hebrews in Egypt, if they used a foreign year, must be supposed to have used the Vague year. It is worth while to inquire whether a Vague year of this time would further suit the characteristics of the first Hebrew year. It would be necessary that the 14th day of Abib, on which fell the full moon of the Passover of the Exodus, should correspond to the 14th of Phamenoth, in a Vague year commencing about, the autumnal equinox. A full moon fell on the 14th of Phamenoth, or Thursday, April 21, 1652 B.C., of a Vague year commencing on the day of the autumnal equinox, October 10, 1653 B.C. A full moon would not fall oil the same day of the Vague year within a shorter interval than twenty-five years, and the triple near coincidence of new moon, Vague year, and autumnal equinox would not recur in less than fifteen hundred Vague years (Encyclop. Brit. 8th. ed. "Egypt," page 458). This date of the Exodus, 1652 B.C., is only four years earlier than Hales's, 1648 B.C., and only six years later than that adopted in this Cyclopcedia, 1658 B.C. In confirmation of this early date, it must be added that in a list of confederates defeated by Thothmes III at Megiddo, in the twenty-third year of his reign, are certain names that we believe can only refer to Israelitish tribes. The date of this king's accession cannot be later than about 1460 B.C., and his twenty-third year cannot therefore be later than about 1440 B.C. Were the Israelites then settled in Palestine, no date of the Exodus but the longest would be tenable. (See Chronology).

I Divisions Of The Year .

1. Seasons . Two seasons are mentioned in the Bible, קִיַוֹ , "summer," and חֹרֶ " winter." The former properly means the time of cutting fruits, the latter, that of gathering fruits; they are therefore, originally, rather summer and autumn than summer and winter. But that they signify ordinarily the two grand divisions of the year, the warm and cold seasons, is evident from their use for the whole year in the expression קִיַוֹ וָחֹרֶ , summer and winter" ( Psalms 74:17;  Zechariah 14:8; perhaps  Genesis 8:22), and from the mention of "the winter house" ( Jeremiah 36:22) and "the summer house " ( Amos 3:15, where both are mentioned together). Probably חֹרֶ , when used without reference to the year (as in  Job 29:4), retains its original signification. In the promise to Noah, after the flood, the following remarkable passage occurs: "While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease" ( Genesis 8:22). Here "seed-time," זֶרִע , and "harvest," קָצַיר , are evidently the agricultural seasons. It seems unreasonable to suppose that they mean winter and summer as the beginnings of the periods of sowing and of harvest are not separated by six months, and they do not. last for six months each, or nearly so long a time. The phrase "cold and heat," קֹר וָחֹם , probably indicates the great alternations of temperature. The whole passage, indeed, speaks of the alternations of nature, whether of productions, temperature, the seasons, or light and darkness. As we have seen, the year was probably then a wandering one, and therefore the passage is not likely to refer to it, but to natural phenomena alone. (See Season).

2. Months . The Hebrew months, from the time of the Exodus, were lunar. The year appears ordinarily to have contained 12, but when intercalation was necessary, a 13th. The older year contained 12 months of 30 days each. (See Month).

3. Weeks . The Hebrews, from the time of the institution of the Sabbath, whether at or before the Exodus, reckoned by weeks, but, as no lunar year could have contained a number of weeks without a fractional excess, this reckoning was virtually independent of the year as with the Moslems. (See Week).

4. Festivtals, Holy Days, And Fasts . The Feast of the Passover was held on the 14th day of the 1st month. The Feast of Unleavened Bread lasted 7 days; from the 15th to the 21st; inclusive, of the same month. Its first and last days were kept as Sabbaths. The Feast of Weeks, or Pentecost, was celebrated on the day which ended 7 weeks, counted from the 16th of the 1st month, that day being excluded. It was called the Feast of Harvest, and Day of First-fruits. The Feast of Trumpets (lit. "of the sound of the trumpet") was kept as a Sabbath on the 1st day of the 7th month. The Day of Atonement (lit. "of Atonements") was a fast, held the 10th day of the 7th month. The Feast of Tabernacles, or Feast of Gathering, was celebrated from the 15th to the 22d day, inclusive, of the 7th month. Additions made long after the giving of the law, and not known to be of higher than priestly authority, are the Feast of Purim, commemorating the defeat of Haman's plot; the Feast of the Dedication, recording the cleansing and re-dedication of the Temple by Judas Maccabaeus; and four fasts. (See Festival).

III. Sacred Years.

1. The Sabbatical Year, הִשְׁמַטָּה שְׁנִת , "the fallow year," or, possibly, "year of remission," or שְׁמַטָּה alone, kept every seventh year, was commanded to be observed as a year of rest from the labors of agriculture and of remission of debts. Two Sabbatical years are recorded, commencing and current, 164-3 and 136-5 B.C. (See Sabbatical Year).

2. The Jubilee Year, שְׁנִת הִיּוֹבֵל , "the year of the trumpet," or יוֹבֵל alone, a like year, which immediately followed every seventh Sabbatical year. It has been disputed whether the jubilee year was every forty-ninth or fiftieth; the former is more probable. (See Jubilee).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [17]

The Hebrew year consisted of twelve unequal months, which, previously to the exile, were lunar. The twelve solar months made up only 354 days, constituting a year too short by no fewer than eleven days. This deficiency would have soon inverted the year, and could not have existed even for a short period of time without occasioning derangements and serious inconvenience to the Hebrews, whose year was so full of festivals. At an early day, then, we may well believe a remedy was provided for this evil. The course which the ancients pursued is unknown, but Ideler (Chronol. i. 490) may be consulted for an ingenious conjecture on the subject. The later Jews intercalated a month every two or every three years, taking care, however, to avoid making the seventh an intercalated year. The supplementary month was added at the termination of the sacred year, the twelfth month (February and March), and as this bore the name of Adar, so the interposed month was called Veadar, or Adar the Second. The year, as appears from the ordinary reckoning of the months (; ; ; ; ; comp. ; ), began with the month Nisan (), agreeably to an express direction given by Moses (; ). This commencement is generally thought to be that of merely the ecclesiastical year; and most Jewish, and many Christian authorities, hold that the civil year originally began, as now, with the month Tisri. The ancient Hebrews possessed no such thing as a formal and recognized era. Their year and their months were determined and regulated, not by any systematic rules of astronomy, but by the first view or appearance of the moon. In a similar manner they dated from great national events, as the departure from Egypt (; ; ); from the ascension of monarchs, as in the books of Kings and Chronicles; or from the erection of Solomon's temple (; ); and at a later period, from the commencement of the Babylonish captivity (; ). When they became subjects of the Graeco-Syrian Empire they adopted the Seleucid era, which began with the year B.C. 312, when Seleucus conquered Babylon.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [18]

yēr ( שׁנה , shānāh , Aramaic שׁנה , shenah , "a return" (of the sun), like the Greek ἐνιαυτός , eniautós  ; ימים , yāmı̄m , "days," is also used for "year," and the Greek ἡμέραι , hēmérai , corresponds to it (  Joshua 13:1; Lk 17, 18); ἔτος , étos , is also employed frequently in the New Testament; for the difference between etos and eniautos , see Grimm-Thayer, under the word): The Hebrew year was solar, although the month was lunar, the adjustment being made in intercalation. See Astronomy; Time .