Do Sabbatical Years Start in the Spring (Abib) or the Fall (Tishri)?

by W. Glenn Moore

Introducing Two Calendars From Scripture

Scriptural Evidence for Two Calendars

Historical Evidence for Two Calendars

The Rabbinic Use of Multiple Calendars

'Day of the Dead' Confirms Ancient Fall Calendar

Bible Chronology Confirms Two Calendars

Answering the Critics

Timeline of Evidences Showing Both a Spring and a Fall Calendar

Fall Calendar is the Original Creation Calendar

Footnotes:

Among chronologists there is an ongoing debate over when the Scriptural year begins.  Does it begin in the fall or the spring?  Along with that debate is another related issue―do the Sabbatical and Jubilee years start in the spring or the fall?  As we will shortly discover, the ancient Hebrews were historically known to have used at least two different systems when it comes to counting the years.  One system started the year in the spring, and the other started the year in the fall.  Let's start by looking carefully at a text in Exodus 12 which gives us the first hint of how Israel calculated the years:

Introducing Two Calendars From Scripture

And Yahweh spake unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying, This month shall be unto you the beginning of months: it shall be the first month of the year to you. (Exodus 12:1-2)

Now it is believed by some that in ancient Israel (even before the exodus) they only followed a spring-to-spring calendar.  However, this is not true.  This text in Exodus 12 clearly reveals that Yahweh wanted Moses to change the way they counted their calendar years so that the year should begin in the spring.  This begs the question, "What did they do before this?"

While it is clear that starting at the exodus there was a change in the way they were to determine the months and years, there is some uncertainty regarding what was done prior to that time.  There are, basically, three possible answers:  1) The Hebrews could have used the Egyptian calendar, which began in a certain summer year at the rising of the star Sirius. 2) The Hebrews could have used the fall-to-fall calendar which was in general alignment with the Canaanite calendar.  3) The Hebrews could have used the spring-to-spring calendar.

Regarding this change, one noted commentary has this to say on the subject:

The month in which the Israelites left Egypt was set as the first of the year.  This is called Abib, the "month of ears" of grain.  It was the spring month of the opening Palestinian harvest, later called Nisan, as it is known to the present day (see Ex. 23:15; 34:18; Deut. 16:1; Esther 3:7).  This was evidently a lunar month to which the Hebrews were already accustomed, because nothing is said of instituting a new kind of month.  If the change had been from a solar to a lunar type, some sort of instructions as to how to reckon the new month would have been necessary.  The innovation was merely that "this month" was to be the first, as it had presumably not been before.1

What this statement from the Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary gives is quite convincing.  It basically says here that Moses introduced a change in the way the months would be ordered within the year, but not in the way the months were actually determined.  Such an assessment is in perfect harmony with what is recorded in Exodus 12:1-2.

So, let's stop now and think about this for a moment.  Exodus 12:1-2 does not tell the Hebrews to stop using a solar calendar, nor to go back to a calendar they had used before but were not currently using, but to start using a new calendar and a new order of the months―so this appears to rule out the spring calendar as the original calendar.  We know this because in Exodus 12 they are told to introduce a new calendar (the spring calendar) and that "this month" (Abib) would be the first of the months.  The month of Abib was a month they were already familiar with, and were currently using.  Because of this understanding, it makes it obvious that it was the "order" of the months in the year that was the issue―not a sacred verses pagan calendar.

But what about the Egyptian calendar, could that have been the original calendar?  Moses was highly educated, and would have been familiar with the Egyptian calendar, as well as other calendars.  He would be expected to know how to count the months and the years.  And while it is true that the Egyptians developed a "floating" year which started in a certain summer at the rising of the star Sirius, Yahweh would certainly have told them here in no uncertain terms that they were not to use that method of calculating the years―if, that is how they originally did it.  However, He did not say anything about this.  The reason He did not mention it is obvious―they did not use the Egyptian calendar, so it was not an issue.  He merely made a plain statement of fact:  "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months."  Please note that he does not say this is the only way that the year can be counted, but that it will be "unto you the beginning of months."  Also, Exodus 12 does not tell them to change from a solar calendar, for it simply tells them to reorder the months they were already familiar with, starting with Abib.  We all know that the month he is referring to is the month of Abib, in the spring, for that is when the exodus began (just after Passover, on the 15th day of Abib).  So, Moses is here commanded to start counting the months of the years in the spring.  But consider this―Genesis 7:11 says:

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

In Genesis 7:11 Moses gives a calendar date for an event that predates the exodus by about 900 years.  Based upon this, and the context of Exodus 12, it would seem that they were only told to change the way they began their calendar at the time of the exodus so that the year would begin in the spring and (more specifically) from the month of Abib. What did they do before this, in Genesis 7:11?  I asked someone this question before, and they answered that they did not have a calendar before the exodus!  I was so shocked by this I could only say "what!"  But let's not be tempted to make similar foolish statements, such that they didn't have a calendar or that it doesn't matter, because in Genesis 7:11 a calendar date is given and we can be certain that Moses was not ignorant of that calendar.

Genesis 7:11 plainly indicates a calendar date, and yet this date is of an event which took place about a thousand years before the exodus.  Just what do we do with that?  Do we calculate this date in a spring-to-spring or fall-to-fall calendar, or possibly even the Egyptian calendar? Yes, the Egyptians developed a solar calendar that began in a certain summer (based on the rising of the star Sirius), but it was not very accurate as it lost a whole day every 4 years―which added up to a considerable discrepancy over a period of several centuries.  Surely, Moses was not relying on this very inaccurate solar calendar of the Egyptians, was he?  Moses had to have been using another calendar prior to the Exodus―a calendar which was much more accurate than the Egyptian calendar, but one, nevertheless, that Yahweh commanded to be eclipsed (not eliminated) by a spring calendar.  Remember, Exodus 12:2 says simply "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months. . ."  It does not say to stop using the other pre-exodus calendar, whatever it may be.

Moses is the one who compiled and wrote the first five books of the Bible, but he also relied upon the genealogical records of the patriarchs which came before him.  Moses recorded the date given in Genesis 7:11, but it is clear that this recorded event came down to him from Noah (long before the Egyptians would have come up with their Sothic calendar).  With this in mind, it appears that up until the time of the exodus they were using a “fall-to-fall” calendar (following the same months they were already familiar with, only starting from the month of Tishri, in the fall), and even afterwards they are known to have continued using it in regards to civil matters. This means six months had already expired from the beginning of that calendar year when the exodus came. But let us not depend upon my word as proof of this, for here is more Scriptural evidence:

Scriptural Evidence for Two Calendars

So far, we have shown some indications that in ancient times Hebrew calendars were calculated starting from both the spring and the fall.  For those who would like to see more Scriptural evidence in support of a two calendar system being used by ancient Israel, please consider these references.  While Exodus 12:1-2 tells us to count the months from the spring (specifically, from the month of Abib―a month they already were familiar with), it is obvious from the context and from common sense reasoning that this was a change from the usual way of counting the months of the year.  How do we know this is true? 

First, there is context―the text is clearly speaking of a change in regard to the calendar concerning the beginning of the months.  If the calendar is changing to a "spring" calendar in Exodus 12:1-2, then the prior calendar must start sometime other than "spring," and must also coincide with the months they were already familiar with. We also know that the spring calendar is not the original calendar because of the evidence presented by ancient Jewish historians, and elsewhere in Scripture which speaks of how to count the months.  We do have more definite statements from Scripture, such that there is solid evidence for the idea that the fall was also considered the end of the year:

And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, 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 labours out of the field.  (Exodus 23:16)

And thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the firstfruits of wheat harvest, and the feast of ingathering at the year's end. (Exodus 34:22)

In Exodus 23:16 the word for "end" is yawtsaw, meaning "to go out" or "to come out," as shown here in the Strong's Hebrew Concordance reference H3318: 

H3318

יצא

yâtsa'

yaw-tsaw'

A primitive root; to go (causatively bring) out, in a great variety of applications, literally and figuratively, direct and proximate: - X after, appear, X assuredly, bear out, X begotten, break out, bring forth (out, up), carry out, come (abroad, out, thereat, without), + be condemned, depart (-ing, -ure), draw forth, in the end, escape, exact, fail, fall (out), fetch forth (out), get away (forth, hence, out), (able to, cause to, let) go abroad (forth, on, out), going out, grow, have forth (out), issue out, lay (lie) out, lead out, pluck out, proceed, pull out, put away, be risen, X scarce, send with commandment, shoot forth, spread, spring out, stand out, X still, X surely, take forth (out), at any time, X to [and fro], utter.

According to this text, the feast of ingathering takes place in the "going out" of the year.  But in Exodus 34:22 the word for "end" is tekoofaw, and has an even more specific meaning:

H8622

תּקפה תּקוּפה

teqûphâh teqûphâh

tek-oo-faw', tek-oo-faw'

From H5362; a revolution, that is, (of the sun) course, (of time) lapse: - circuit, come about, end.

With this last text, we have an even stronger indicator that "ingathering" is associated with the "going out" of the year, for tekoofaw clearly tells us that this event comes in the circuit of the year, which would be at the "end" of the year.  Of course, if this is the "end" of the year, then we all know that the "start" of the year is not far away.  These texts are plainly stating that the end of the year is ingathering―an event associated with the fall harvest in preparation for the feast of Tabernacles. This places the end of the year in the fall, even though in the religious calendar the beginning of the year is in the spring.

Now assuming that this is correct, and that they used both a fall and a spring calendar, can we determine which one they used to establish Sabbatical and Jubilee years?  Leviticus 25:9 provides the answer:

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. (Leviticus 25:9)

The Jubilee year was to be announced in the fall, on the tenth day of the seventh month of the religious calendar Yahweh commanded them to follow.  Why is that?  What is the connection?  Some have suggested that he is announcing the coming Jubilee year to arrive later in the spring.  Others have suggested that he is declaring that the Jubilee year had already begun about six months earlier, in the previous spring.  But does that make sense?  No, it does not make any sense whatsoever! Whenever someone gave the blast of a trumpet, the intended meaning was that an alarm was being sounded―for something big was about to happen (See Numbers 10:1-10, Joshua 6:20, Judges 7:18-22, 2 Samuel 18:16, Nehemiah 4:20, Psalm 47:5, Isaiah 27:13, Jeremiah 4:5, 4:19-21, Jeremiah 6:17, Ezekiel 7:14, and Joel 2:15-16).  Notice as we quote five of these texts, and that they clearly reveal the blowing of the trumpet shows immediate action connected with it:

And when they shall blow with them, all the assembly shall assemble themselves to thee at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And if they blow but with one trumpet, then the princes, which are heads of the thousands of Israel, shall gather themselves unto thee. When ye blow an alarm, then the camps that lie on the east parts shall go forward. When ye blow an alarm the second time, then the camps that lie on the south side shall take their journey: they shall blow an alarm for their journeys. But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm. (Numbers 10:3-7)

Declare ye in Judah, and publish in Jerusalem; and say, Blow ye the trumpet in the land: cry, gather together, and say, Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defensed cities. Set up the standard toward Zion: retire, stay not: for I will bring evil from the north, and a great destruction.  (Jeremiah 4:5-6)

Also I set watchmen over you, saying, Hearken to the sound of the trumpet. But they said, We will not hearken. Therefore hear, ye nations, and know, O congregation, what is among them. Hear, O earth: behold, I will bring evil upon this people, even the fruit of their thoughts, because they have not hearkened unto my words, nor to my law, but rejected it.  (Jeremiah 6:17-19)

They have blown the trumpet, even to make all ready; but none goeth to the battle: for my wrath is upon all the multitude thereof. (Ezekiel 7:14)

Blow the trumpet in Zion, sanctify a fast, call a solemn assembly: Gather the people, sanctify the congregation, assemble the elders, gather the children, and those that suck the breasts: let the bridegroom go forth of his chamber, and the bride out of her closet. (Joel 2:15-16)

The blast of a trumpet was always given to call the people to assembly for something that was eminent.  For example, in Jeremiah 4 the command is given to blow the trumpet throughout the land, and the response expected from the people is that they were to assemble themselves together.  In Jeremiah 6 Yahweh declares that He has set watchmen over the people, telling them to listen to the sound of the trumpet, and obey Him.  Their response is that they will not listen to the sound of the trumpet.  Obviously, the blowing of the trumpet indicated that an immediate action on the part of the people was both expected and required.

But since we are dealing with the issue of the "Jubilee," let us consider the meaning of that word as it is given in the original Hebrew.  The truth is that the word for Jubilee is the same word for "clamor," "battle cry," and "alarm." We don't normally think of a "battle cry" as pointing to a far off future occurrence, do we?

H8643

תּרוּעה

terû‛âh

ter-oo-aw'

From H7321; clamor, that is, acclamation of joy or a battle cry; especially clangor of trumpets, as an alarum: - alarm, blow (-ing) (of, the) (trumpets), joy, jubile, loud noise, rejoicing, shout (-ing), (high, joyful) sound (-ing).

We have not even quoted half of the texts from Scripture regarding the blowing of a trumpet, and they all indicate that it is connected with something which is imminent.  The word for trumpet itself (teruah) indicates by its own definition an immediate event.  Can we honestly continue to believe that the blast of the Jubilee trumpet on the day of Atonement meant the Jubilee was going to start six months later?  Think about this for a moment, as we follow this line of reasoning to its logical conclusion.  On the day of atonement someone sounds a great trumpet, with the intention of repeating that sound from village to village throughout all of the land for several hundred miles.  And after all the clamor is over with, a child asks his father what it all means.  Then his father says to his son, "Son, that was the announcement for the year of Jubilee, to release all debts, to return the land to it's former owners, to set the captives free, and to declare freedom throughout the land."  Then the child says to his father, "Well, I am ready to do whatever Yahweh wants me to do.  So, what do we do first?"  Then his father says, "Oh, sorry about that, you misunderstood.  We actually have to wait about six more months before we can do anything."  Then the child says, "But father, they sounded the trumpet to tell us to do something, and I know that the sound of the trumpet always means that we must at least start to take immediate action.  So I don't understand.  If the trumpet is sounded, then we should do something about it now―we cannot wait several months to do something, because the sounding of a trumpet means we must act now!"  The Father, now perplexed, simply sits down in silent contemplation of the wisdom coming from his own child!!

So, does the sounding of the trumpet really mean "Attention, Attention.  OK, can I have your attention now!  Attention!!  . . . Now, in about six months you are going to have to begin to honor the year of Jubilee!!"  Duh!!  The sounding of the trumpet means do it right away!!  Look at it in context, from verses 9 and 10:

Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family.  (Leviticus 25:9-10)

Please notice how in verse 9 it says to sound the trumpet "throughout all your land."  That took place on the day of Atonement.  But in verse 10, where it speaks of what is to actually take place in the 50th year, it says practically the same thing―it says "proclaim liberty throughout all the land."  If the sounding of the trumpet is given "throughout all your land" and then in the fiftieth year they are to "proclaim liberty throughout all the land," then doesn't that mean the blowing of the trumpet must coincide with the task of proclaiming liberty "throughout all the land," at the start of the 50th year?  Yes it does!! This clearly shows that a Jubilee year started in the fall, and the legal requirements of that special year were to begin to be carried out immediately after the day of Atonement.  Of course, Yahweh is merciful―they still had time to fulfill the requirements for the year of Jubilee, to set the captives free, to restore the land to its previous owners, etc.  But it all starts after the day of atonement, and lasts until the end of the civil year on the 29th of Elul. 

But then the question arises, if the Jubilee year comes in the fall, at Tishri one, then why did they wait ten days later to announce the Jubilee year?  Good question.  The answer is actually quite simple.  The first day of Tishri was also the day of the blowing of trumpets (Leviticus 23:24), and that feast of trumpets was extended beyond the first day for nine days, as they prepared for the Day of Atonement on the tenth day (Leviticus 23:7).  This is what is called the "ten days of awe," or "ten days of penance."2  The only reason for waiting till the Day of Atonement to sound the Jubilee trumpet is that the first ten days were festive days and a time to prepare for the Day of Judgment (Atonement), after which the requirements of the year of Jubilee could be carried out.  In other words, the first ten days of that year were used for New Years celebration, but the Jubilee legislation (which required legal transactions to be carried out to fulfill the requirements of the law) could not be completed until they were "open" for regular business.  While it is true that only the first and 10th days were special Sabbath days (not counting the regular Sabbath that came during that time), the intervening days were also special days in which the people were to focus on repentance (both to Yahweh and men) so that they would be worthy to be accepted by Yahweh on the Day of Atonement.  They could work during those ensuing days, but the Israelites were not really fully "open" for all types of business on that Tishri-to-Tishri year until the conclusion of the Day of Atonement, when they could be certain that they were worthy to live in the presence of Yahweh, ten days following the start of that civil year.

Since both Jubilee and Sabbatical year legislation is firmly linked together in Leviticus 25, this would strongly suggest that the year for Sabbaticals would also start in the month of Tishri, just as the Jubilees clearly did.   Actually, because of this we can really be quite certain of a fall calendar for both Sabbaticals and Jubilees because the 49 years leading up to the year of Jubilee would, of necessity, be required to align with whatever yearly cycle was observed regarding the Jubilee year itself, as demonstrated here:

And thou shalt number seven sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month, in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land.  And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family. (Leviticus 25:8-9)

Again, since the seven sabbatical years leading up to the year of Jubilee are in alignment with the 50th year itself, all of these years should be in synchrony.  So, if the 50th year is based upon a fall-to-fall calendar (as we have seen in previous arguments), then the other 49 years must also follow a fall-to-fall calendar. As I demonstrated earlier, the blowing of the Jubilee trumpet must be regarded as an “alarm” for an event which was soon to take place—in this case, the event was the declaration of the start of the year of Jubilee. Later we will show even more concrete evidence that Sabbaticals and Jubilees were to start in the fall, based upon the account of Noah and the flood.

Is there additional Scriptural evidence for the use of a fall calendar?  Yes, in addition to this evidence regarding the start of the year of Jubilee in the month of Tishri we can show, based upon the books of Ezra and Nehemiah, that the Jews were also using the count from the month of Tishri to determine years―based upon Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:1. The first chapter of Nehemiah gives us a specific month and year—“Chisleu, in the twentieth year.” In the second chapter (which describes events only a few months later) it gives the month of “Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.” It is impossible for Nisan to still be in the 20th year of Artaxerxes if he is using spring-to-spring calculations—for Nisan is in the spring, and therefore it should have been the 21st year (in a spring-to-spring calendar). Using a fall-to-fall calendar, however, we can solve the problem easily—since Chisleu and Nisan could both be represented (in that order) as part of the same year. Based upon this, it is clear that Ezra (who was a contemporary of Nehemiah) was using the Jewish civil fall-to-fall calendar to establish dates. Thus, at least during the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the first day of Tishri (the 7th month) was the time to start counting the years for “foreign kings.”  Chronologist Edwin Thiele (whom we will speak of in more detail later) also recognized the calendar issues in Nehemiah 1 and 2, and has this to say of Nehemiah's dating the Persian king by a Tishri calendar:

But why would Nehemiah do this, when it was the custom in Persia to reckon the year from Nisan to Nisan? Is it not reasonable to suppose that Nehemiah was acquainted with the custom formerly followed by the kings of Judah to begin their regnal years with Tishri and, in a spirit of intense nationalism, applied the customary Jewish practice even to a Persian king? In the double-dated Aramaic papyri from Elephantine of the fifth century B.C., the reigns of the Persian kings were also dated according to Judean Tishri years rather than Persian Nisan years.3

Now some will attempt to argue that Artaxerxes was a heathen king, and therefore it would only be natural for Nehemiah to use the method of dating that such a heathen king would use.  However, that argument only produces more problems―for the Persians did not use a fall-to-fall calendar to establish dates!  It is well known that the Persians (as their custom was) used a spring-to-spring calendar!!  And yet, here we find in Nehemiah 1 and 2 that the Jews of the exile were using a fall-to-fall calendar to establish the 20th year of Artaxerxes.  Other nations (including Israel) may use a fall-to-fall calendar to record the reigns of the Persian kings, but the Persians would not themselves do this, as it has been a tradition going back at least 2500 years for the Persians to celebrate the new year at the spring equinox―a celebration which later became known as Nowruz.4

There is, of course, evidence in support of the first month of the Hebrew calendar also being in the spring.  Joel 2:23 speaks of the "early rain," and the "latter rain" which comes in the first month (Abib):

Be glad then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in Yahweh your Elohim: for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. (Joel 2:23)

The word for "month" is supplied by the translators of the King James Version, and other translations will sometimes say "as formerly" or "as at the first."  Irregardless of this, based on our knowledge of the Jewish rainy season it is correct that the "latter rain" does come in the month of Abib, the first month of the Jewish religious year.5  But what of the "former rain" (or "early rain")?   In Israel, Tishri (the 7th month) and Bul (the 8th month) are considered the time of the start of the rainy season, which is called in Scripture the "early rain," or "former rain."

As mentioned earlier, Genesis 7:11 speaks of the 2nd month of the Hebrew calendar in connection with the flood of the days of Noah.  If this is counting from the month Tishri, that 2nd month would actually be the 8th month, called Bul.  So let us go more into depth regarding this 8th month.

Bul is the 8th month of the Hebrew religious calendar that Moses established at the time of the exodus.  It is also the 2nd month of the modern Jewish civil calendar, and is the same as the month Cheshvan, the month in which Jewish tradition says the flood is said to have come.  But is there some way in which we can more directly verify this and connect the month Bul with the flood of Noah, other than just Jewish tradition or the view that Noah was using a Tishri-to-Tishri calendar?  Well, yes there is.  Here is how they are connected:  The actual meaning of the word Bul is "rain." Here is how this word is listed in the Strong's Hebrew Concordance #945 (as referenced in 1 Kings 6:38):

H945

בּוּל

bûl

bool

The same as H944 (in the sense of rain); Bul, the eight Hebrew month: - Bul.

This is simply amazing!  The name of the 8th month in the Hebrew calendar means "rain!"  However, we are not finished yet.  A closely related word, "mabul" means "flood," as can be seen in this reference #3999:

H3999

מבּוּל

mabbûl

mab-bool'

From H2986 in the sense of flowing; a deluge: - flood.

The only difference between the word used to represent the 8th month of the Hebrew calendar, and the word for "the flood" is the addition of one single letter, the letter "Mem."  Clearly, the connection between the month "Bul" and the word "bul" (which means rain, and is in fact the same word) is beginning to become clear.  But there is more!  Now let us look more closely at the Bible texts which make mention of this word "Ma-Bul":

And, behold, I, even I, do bring a flood (maBUL) of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.  (Genesis 6:17)

And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood (maBUL) of waters was upon the earth.  And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons' wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood. (maBUL)  Genesis 7:6-7)

And it came to pass after seven days, that the waters of the flood (maBUL) were upon the earth. (Genesis 7:10)

And the flood (maBUL) was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bore up the ark, and it was lifted up above, the earth.  (Genesis 7:17)

And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters, of a flood (maBUL);  neither shall there any more be a flood (maBUL) to destroy the earth.  (Genesis 9:11)

And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood (maBUL) to destroy all flesh. (Genesis 9:15)

And Noah lived after the flood (maBUL) three hundred and fifty years. (Genesis 9:28)

Now these are the generations of the sons of Noah, Shem, Ham, and Japheth: and unto them were sons born after the flood. (maBUL)  (Genesis 10:1)

These are the families of the sons of Noah, after their generations, in their nations: and by these, were the nations divided in the earth after the flood. (maBUL) (Genesis 10:32)

These are the generations of Shem: Shem was a hundred years old, and begot Arphaxad two years after the flood: (maBUL) (Genesis 11:10)

Yahweh sitteth upon the flood (maBUL);  yea, Yahweh sitteth King forever. (Psalm 29:10)

Please notice that 12 of these 13 references to mabul are found in Genesis 6 through 11, and all of those 12 are clearly referring to the great universal Flood from the days of Noah.  Could it be that the Hebrew month Bul was so-named because of it's connection to the great flood of Noah?  While some will maintain their opinion that this second month is actually the second month of an Abib calendar (which did not even exist until instituted by Moses according to the command of Yahweh in Exodus 12), it would appear that we have strong evidence in favor of the view that this second month is the second month of a Tishri calendar.¢

Historical Evidence for Two Calendars

One of the first things we need to do in searching for historical evidence of a two calendar system among the early Hebrews is to look at the names of the months as they are introduced to us in Scripture.  We already introduced the Hebrew month Bul.  In addition to that the Hebrew months of Abib, Zif, and Ethanium are also mentioned in Scripture as the names of months.  Three of these four names are actually the same names of those same months as found in the ancient Canaanite calendar.6 Evidently, the Hebrew calendar was in close alignment with the ancient Canaanite calendar, which happens to also be a fall-to-fall calendar. We know that the Hebrew civil calendar was essentially equivalent to the Canaanite calendar because both began in the fall (as we will show even more evidence for shortly) and 3 of the 4 pre-exilic month names mentioned in the TaNaK are also found in Phoenician inscriptions to be Canaanite names of months. Abib, 1st month (Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1), Ethanium, 7th month (1 Kings 8:2), Zif, 2nd month (1 Kings 6:37), and Bul, 8th month (1 Kings 6:38).  Because of this connection, and because the Canaanite calendar was a fall-to-fall calendar, we can be certain that the Hebrew calendar (also known as the "original order") is a fall-to-fall calendar.7  It would seem that the Hebrews used the numbering of the months from Abib (the first month), just as commanded in Exodus 12, but then also followed the "original order" of a fall calendar (which was also equivalent to the Canaanite calendar, which used many of the same month names) to count the years from the fall in the month of Tishri―a dual calendar system.  But let us consider other evidence.

In researching ancient Judaism, scholars typically will make use of the testimony of Josephus, a Jew living near the time of Yahushua.  His testimony is considered generally reliable.  Josephus, in speaking about the events surrounding the flood, actually pinpoints the date mentioned in Genesis 7:11 on the calendar in use in his day, and in so doing establishes when they started the year in the days of Noah.  His understanding is that at the time of the flood they used the "original order" for calculating the months and years―an order decidedly different than what was commanded to be used after the exodus.8 Since there is no evidence that the Jews living in Egypt (at the time of the exodus) ever followed the ancient Egyptian method of counting the years (the Egyptian Sothic cycle, which began in the summer of a certain year and drifted over the centuries), we can hardly be inclined to believe that this was the "original order" Josephus had in mind. It is also true that some today believe the original calendar was a “spring-to-spring” calendar, but according to Josephus there was another calendar that came first―the "original order."  Consequently, we can show Scriptural and historical evidence that ancient Israel used both an Abib calendar (spring) and a Tishri calendar (fall), and that the fall calendar was the "original" and was already in existence in the days of Noah, 900 years prior to the exodus.

Having already made reference to the statement of Josephus, it is important to demonstrate that Josephus has clearly and without ambiguity indicated that the flood of Noah came in the second month of a Tishri (fall-to-fall) calendar, the month we know as October.  What amazes me is that some chronologists, historians, and other researchers know of this statement, but will either ignore it completely or quote only a portion of it (skipping that first sentence which identifies the actual month of the flood)!  Why would they ignore this first sentence, unless it goes against their belief that the ancient calendar was a spring calendar?  Please notice how the ancient use of a fall calendar is proven with his complete statement:

3. This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, [age,] in the second month,(14) called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: for so did they order their year in Egypt. But Moses appointed that · Nisan, which is the same with Xanthicus, should be the first month for their festivals, because he brought them out of Egypt in that month: so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the honor of God, although he preserved the original order of the months as to selling and buying, and other ordinary affairs.9

In this reference, Josephus clearly confirms both a fall and a spring calendar in use by the ancient Hebrews.  Josephus is often found using what is called the Macedonian calendar, a calendar in use by the Greeks in his own day.  This calendar is similar to that used by the Hebrews―only the names of the months are different, and it begins the year at a different time.  According to the statement of Josephus found here, the flood came in the month Dios―which is the first month of the Macedonian calendar.  According to our understanding of the Macedonian months, the month Dios is about the same as our October.10  It is also identified in the Hebrew calendar as Marchesuan, which is the 8th month of the Jewish religious calendar.  That same month is also the 2nd month of a Tishri calendar system (fall-to-fall), as it is clearly identified in Genesis 7:11.  Here in this reference from Josephus, he clearly states that there were two calendars in use among ancient Hebrews, a spring and a fall calendar, and that the "original" calendar used by Noah was the fall calendar.

Could this have been the Egyptian calendar?  No, the Egyptian calendar did not start in or near the month Dios, but instead began in summer at the rising of the star Sirius in a certain year, and floated through the seasons as the centuries passed, so this is clearly not the Egyptian calendar Josephus is referring to.

According to Roman writer Censorinus, the Egyptian New Year’s Day fell on July 20 in the Julian Calendar in 139 CE, which was a heliacal rising of Sirius in Egypt. From this it is possible to calculate that the previous occasion on which this occurred was 1322 BCE, and the one before that was 2782 BCE.11

According to the ancient author Censorinus (as referenced in Wikipedia), in ancient Egypt the year began in the summer at the time of the rising of Sirius in a certain year (the previous alignment, and possible starting date, being 1322 BCE).  Since this “Sothic Cycle” is out of sync with the true solar year by ¼th of a day, we can be sure that it was not the calendar used by Moses prior to the exodus―if it even existed in his day (since the exodus was in 1436 BCE).12

Based upon this evidence, those who say that this Egyptian calendar is the calendar Josephus is referring to in his book Antiquities of the Jews, that Moses and the Hebrews also used before the exodus, are really making a "Sirius" mistake!¤  In fact, this statement of Josephus ("although he preserved the original order of the months") specifically shows that the keeping of this pre-exodus calendar continued on into his own day, and used the same monthly cycles as the Abib calendar of Exodus 12:2 (only that the "original order of the months" was changed). Yes, Moses would have understood the Egyptian calendar, but to think that this was the original Hebrew calendar (after seeing all the evidence) would seem to qualify as "selective scholarship"―for there is actually abundant Scriptural and historical evidence of how the Israelites determined the calendar even before the exodus.  And while Josephus does not specifically identify which calendar the Sabbatical and Jubilee years should follow, let us not get sidetracked with that issue now while ignoring the absolutely monumental significance and purpose of his statement:  Josephus is specifically telling us that the calendar in use in the days of Noah was a fall-to-fall calendar!!

Now he does say "so did they order their year in Egypt," but this is simply telling us that the fall calendar was the one they used while they were living in Egypt.  This does not mean they used the Egyptian calendar, for the Hebrews generally kept to themselves in the land of Goshen, and would not have had excessive Egyptian influence. And (as previously shown with the Wikipedia references) the Egyptian calendar followed a "wandering" "Sothic Cycle" which does not in any way correspond to a lunar calendar (whether an Abib calendar or a Tishri calendar).  Nor does the use of the Macedonian names of the months prove that this is referring to some other pagan calendar―for Josephus uses the Macedonian month names in many of his historical presentations, while linking them with the Hebrew months, and such would be expected from a historian seeking to communicate to the general population (of which the Greeks composed a considerable number).  Some have also said that the Tishri calendar is pagan because pagans used it―this also is a logical fallacy.  The Babylonians and Persians themselves (about the 5th and 6th century BCE) used a Nisan calendar (starting in the spring), so does this prove that the Nisan calendar is also pagan?  No, it would be a logical fallacy to say that it does.  We can be certain that a Tishri calendar (starting in the fall) was used by pagans also, and in fact it was used by the Canaanites and some of the Canaanite names of the months were also used by the Hebrews, so what could that prove?  All that this statement proves is that whatever this calendar was that they were using, it was the one they used while they lived in Egypt.  But since Josephus specifically tells us it is the month of Marchesuan (an alternate name for Cheshvan, the 8th month), we know that he is saying that the flood took place in the 8th month of the Abib calendar, which he cross references with Genesis 7:11.  In both this reference from Josephus, and the text of Genesis 7:11, this month is identified as the 2nd month of what must be a Tishri calendar.

But now for clarification I need to explain again (for those who are still having trouble understanding how a dual calendar works) that while the year would typically start on the first of Tishri in a fall calendar, Nisan is still the first month of the counting of months within the calendar.  So, even though a calendar year may start with Tishri, that month is still called the "seventh month," and Abib is still called the "first month" (after the exodus, when the Abib calendar was first introduced).  The numbering of the months (after the exodus) will always start with Abib (Nisan), regardless of which calendar system they are using, whether spring or fall.13

Based upon Scripture and the above testimony of Josephus, the calendar used at the time of the flood was none other than a fall-to-fall calendar―starting from the month of Tishri in the Hebrew calendar, the first month starting about mid September and the second month starting about mid October.  Since the Jubilee cycles start from the time of Creation, and can be clearly seen prior to the exodus in the days of Jacob and Joseph, this would also demonstrate that the Sabbatical and Jubilee years follow a fall-to-fall calendar.14

Philo of Alexandria also strongly suggests that a two calendar system was in place in his day.  While Philo offers his opinion that the Spring vernal equinox is an "imitation and representation" of Creation, his statements regarding the timing of the flood seem to be confusing.£  Nevertheless, he clearly states the same thing as Josephus that the month associated with the autumn equinox could also be considered the first month.  According to his belief, the month associated with the vernal (spring) equinox (the month of Abib, when Passover takes place) is actually the seventh month "according to the revolutions of the sun."  In contrast, he states that the month associated with the autumn equinox (the month of Tishri, in the fall) is the first month according to the "solar orbits," but not according to the Law (that is, the command of Exodus 12).

XXVIII. (150) And there is another festival combined with the feast of the passover, having a use of food different from the usual one, and not customary; the use, namely, of unleavened bread, from which it derives its name. And there are two accounts given of this festival, the one peculiar to the nation, on account of the migration already described; the other a common one, in accordance with conformity to nature and with the harmony of the whole world. And we must consider how accurate the hypothesis is. This month, being the seventh both in number and order, according to the revolutions of the sun, is the first in power; (151) on which account it is also called the first in the sacred scriptures. And the reason, as I imagine, is as follows. The vernal equinox is an imitation and representation of that beginning in accordance with which this world was created. Accordingly, every year, God reminds men of the creation of the world, and with this view puts forward the spring, in which season all plants flourish and bloom; (152) for which reason this is very correctly set down in the law as the first month, since, in a manner, it may be said to be an impression of the first beginning of all, being stamped by it as by an archetypal Seal.{18}{sections 153-154 were omitted in Yonge's translation because the edition on which Yonge based his translation, Mangey, lacked this material. These lines have been newly translated for this volume.} (153) Although the month in which the autumnal equinox occurs is first in sequence according to solar orbits, it is not considered first in the law. The reason is that at that time, after all the crops have been harvested, the trees lose their leaves and everything that springtime produced in the height of its glory is withering under dry winds after it has been made dry by the flaming heat of the sun.15

Whatever system Philo appears to be using, he (like Josephus) also confirms the basic fact that a dual calendar system was used by ancient Judaism.  Of course, there is also the known fact that Jews throughout history have used a spring calendar, including evidence from the Book of Jubilees and the Book of Enoch.¥  Please remember that the Books of Enoch and Jubilees are important documents among the Qumran literature, as referenced later in this study from Roger Beckwith, in his book Calendar and Chronology, Jewish and Christian.  While the Book of Enoch indicates they followed a spring calendar in their day and the Book of Jubilees recognized a spring calendar even at the time of the flood, the Qumran community that it was connected with also recognized a new year on the 1st of Tishri, in the fall (identifying it as Rosh Hashanah).  So, this evidence really does not negate the fact that ancient Judaism used a dual calendar system―for we do not deny the use of a spring calendar, and the Qumran community evidently accepted both.  Indeed, as I have shown, there is much historical evidence for this two calendar system being used by the Hebrews.  However, we still have other evidence to consider.

 
 

Dating from the 10th century BCE (about the time that Solomon built the first temple in Jerusalem) archeologists found evidence of a fall-to-fall calendar being used by Israel.  They found a stone tablet at a place called Tel Gezer which is called the Gezer tablet (see illustration to the right).  This tablet contains a listing of certain activities to be performed during certain months, starting with the month of September.  It basically follows the agricultural cycle in Israel.  Here is what the tablet says, with our current era months supplied in brackets after each statement:

"His two months are (olive) harvest:             [Sept/Nov.]

his two months are grain planting:                 [Nov./Jan.]

his two months are late planting:                  [Jan./March]

his month is hoeing up of flax:                      [March/April]

his month is barley harvest:                         [April/May]

his month is (wheat) harvest and festivity:    [May/June]

his two months are vine-tending:                 [June/Aug.]

his month is summer-fruit:                          [Aug./Sept.]"16

 

William F. Albright gives a very careful and detailed examination of this in light of the calendars in use during that time, showing exactly which months are intended for each of these statements (as shown above). What this tablet basically shows is that the calendar in use during that time followed an agricultural alignment, starting the year in the fall and ending the year in the fall.  This is the famous Gezer calendar, written in Paleo-Hebrew, the oldest known Hebrew calendar in existence.17 

There is more historical evidence for a fall-to-fall calendar being used by the Hebrews.  Just prior to and after the Babylonian captivity, many Jews fled to Egypt.  In Egypt, a temple and fortifications were constructed on an island called Elephantine Island (an island in Upper Egypt, in the Nile river basin), and Jewish beliefs and customs were kept there for several centuries.  They have (over the years) discovered several papyri documents dated to the 5th century BCE.  These documents are typically written in Aramaic (which is similar to Hebrew) and also tend to have 2 or even 3 forms of dating written on the manuscript (Egyptian, Babylonian, Persian, and/or Semitic).  Please note the statement from chronologist Siegfried Horn on the importance of the Elephantine papyri:

That the 5th century Jews actually counted the regnal years of the Persian kings according to their own fall-to-fall calendar is attested not only by Nehemiah, and later on traditionally by the Talmud, but also by some archeological evidence from the well-known Aramaic papyri from Elephantine.18

Based upon the dates listed in these papyri, we can know that the Jews of Elephantine island (from the 5th century BCE) clearly used the Tishri-to-Tishri fall calendar for establishing dates. It is among these double (or sometimes triple) dated papyri documents  (written in Aramaic) that we find that the reigns of the Persian kings were (like Nehemiah 1 and 2) dated according to the Tishri fall-to-fall calendar, instead of a Nisan calendar (the calendar typically used by the Persians).19

For example, in some of the most recently discovered papyri in the Brooklyn Museum20 (the Kraeling papyri) Kraeling papyrus number 6 is dated as the month of Tammuz, in the fourth month of 420 BCE (July).  Kraeling papyrus number 7 is dated as Tishri (or October) of that same year, 420 BCE.  However, the regnal year of Darius II listed there changes from year three in papyrus number six to year four in papyrus number seven.  The only way this could have happened is if the Jewish authors of these scrolls were using a Tishri (fall) calendar, instead of a Nisan (spring) calendar.21  This is explained in more detail by Horn:

One more papyrus, Kraeling 7, should be mentioned in this connection, since it fits into the picture set forth here.  It was written three months after the last-discussed document, "in the month Tishri, that is Epiphi, year 4 of Darius."  After the 1st of Tishri, the Jewish New Year's Day, all three systems of reckoning, the Persian, Egyptian, and Jewish, were in harmony for several months, as can be seen from Figure 4.  Therefore the year number given in this papyrus was the same 4th year (in Tishri which coincided approximately with Epiphi in 420 B.C.) according to all three aforementioned systems.

This document throws some additional light on papyrus Kraeling 6, and agrees with the conclusions derived from it.  Kraeling 6, however, is the important extra-Biblical witness (1) for the existence of a fall-to-fall calendar among the Jews in Elephantine in the 5th century B.C., and (2) for the fact that the Jews there counted the regnal years of a Persian king according to this fall-to-fall calendar in the same way as Nehemiah had done a few years earlier (Neh. 1:1; 2:1).22

Clearly, this evidence proves that the Jews after the time of the Babylonian captivity used a fall-to-fall calendar, as they dated the reigns of the Persian kings with this instead of the spring calendar of the Persians. Siegfried Horn gives much more detail concerning this issue in his paper written on the subject, "The Fifth-century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine."23

The Rabbinic Use of Multiple Calendars

We also have confirmation from the Talmud of multiple calendars being used by Israel, as explained by Siegfried Horn:

That the 5th century Jews actually counted the regnal years of the Persian kings according to their own fall-to-fall calendar is attested not only by Nehemiah, and later on traditionally by the Talmud,8 . . [Footnote 8:] . . .According to the explanation of Rosh Ha-shanah 1:1 given by the Rabbis, the 1st of Tishri is the New Year for foreign kings.  See The Mishnah, "Rosh Hashanah," 1.1 (trans. H. Danby, p. 188).  See also the Gamara on Rosh Hashanah 1.1 in The Babylonian Talmud, "Rosh Hashanah," pp. 3a, 3b, 8a (trans. Isidore Epstein, pp. 7, 30).24

This statement of chronologists Siegfried Horn regarding Rosh Hashanah is more directly explained in the Gemara itself. Not only does this commentary indicate a fall-to-fall calendar for foreign kings, not only does it indicate a spring-to-spring calendar for the kings of Israel, but it also shows accession year reckoning for both:

The rabbis taught: If a king die in Adar, and his successor ascend the throne in Adar, (documents may be dated either) the (last) year of the (dead) king or the (first) year of the new king. If a king die in Nissan, and his successor ascend the throne in Nissan, the same is the case. But if a king die in Adar, and his successor does not ascend the throne until Nisan, then the year ending with Adar should be referred to as the year of the dead king, and from Nissan it should be referred to as that of his successor. Is this not self-evident? The case here mentioned refers to an instance where the new king was a son of the deceased, and, while ascending the throne in Nissan, had been elected in the month of Adar, and being the king's son, it might be assumed that he was king immediately after his election, and thus the following first of Nissan would inaugurate the second year of his reign. He comes to teach us that such is not the case. . . . .
R. Hisda says: The rule of the Mishna—that the year of the kings begins with Nissan—refers to the kings of Israel only, but for the kings of other nations it commences from Tishri.25

To add to this evidence, the Mishnah plainly reveals that there were four ways of counting years, according to Jewish tradition. We can confirm, with Scripture, that at least two of those four methods of counting years have historically been used. One of those ways of determining a year was based upon a spring-to-spring calendar, used to determine the festivals and the reigns of "kings of Israel only." The second way of determining years was by a fall-to-fall calendar. Sabbatical years were determined by this calendar, as well as the reign of foreign kings. Since the Mishnah deals almost exclusively with regulations which affect the nation of Israel, Nisan (the first month) would have naturally been considered the time to begin counting the years for kings of Israel and the feasts, while Tishri (the seventh month) would be the time to begin counting Sabbatical and Jubilee years (and foreign kings, according to the Talmud):

1:1 A. There are four new years:
B. (1) the first day of Nisan is the new year for kings and festivals;
C. (2) the first day of Elul is the new year for tithing cattle.
D. R. Eleasar and R. Simeon say, “It is on the first day of Tishre.”
E. (3) The first day of Tishre is the new year for the reckoning of years, for Sab-batical years, and for Jubilees,
F. for planting [trees] and for vegetables.
G. (4) The first day of Shebat is the New Year for trees, . . .26

Some will argue that this is merely Jewish tradition, and that it is dated rather late in the history of Israel (beginning sometime after the second century of the Common Era), so it cannot be used to establish the truth regarding how to calculate the years.  While it is true that we cannot base all of our arguments upon the traditions of the Talmud and Mishnah, we should at least consider these as valid testimonies of how the Jews of the post-temple era understood such matters.  When added to the Scriptural and historical evidence presented so far, it appears to be a certainty that this evidence demonstrates the Jews kept a two-fold calendar system throughout the time of their existence as a nation.  But, we are not limited to this evidence alone, as there is ample additional evidence of a fall calendar.

'Day of the Dead' Confirms Ancient Fall Calendar

Another way to historically demonstrate that the year originally began in the fall (outside of traditional Jewish sources), is through a study of the flood as it relates to ancient societies. Let us go back to the text of Genesis 7:11, the first mention in Scripture of a calendar date, and consider this:  According to Jewish tradition, the flood came in the 8th month (Bul or Cheshvan), near the end of October.27  We have also established that Josephus confirms this, as well as the use of the Hebrew name for "rain," which is Bul and is connected linguistically with both the 8th month of the spring calendar, and the 2nd month of a Tishri calendar.  In addition to all of this, many other cultures also seem to connect the flood with the months of October and November.  The memory of the flood is deeply ingrained into many of man’s ancient legends, and is memorialized through the celebration of the “day of the dead” (better known as Halloween).

So how does this tie in with Halloween? Halloween is an almost universal celebration, celebrated in many lands, over hundreds of different cultures, and by vastly different religious groups. It comes at a time when many ancient cultures began their New Year.  And yet it is connected with nothing in the heavens to declare its origination. There is no equinox or solstice, and no heavenly sign to identify its coming. But it is celebrated world-wide in totally separate and unrelated cultures. The only answer which makes any sense at all is that the great flood was memorialized by those that survived it as “the day of the dead,” what eventually became Halloween.28 And since we know that the month Bul begins sometime in mid to late October, extending into November, it is understandable why another holiday is typically celebrated today at almost that same time. Because we know the month that this takes place (late October), we can also know the source of this almost universal holiday. In ancient societies, this “day of the dead” was celebrated in remembrance of the Great Universal Flood of Noah.  This serves as additional proof from historical sources that the ancient "original order" that Josephus speaks of (the one prior to the exodus) was indeed a fall-to-fall calendar:

Thus the old world perished in November and a year later a new era commenced in the same month. Both of these facts are indelibly enshrined in the memory of the human race. To many people around the world November brings the Day of the Dead. In a number of ancient and primitive calendars November also brings a New Year at a time which has neither solstice nor equinox nor astronomical event to justify it.29

This reference to the connection between the "day of the dead" and the great universal flood is from the research of Frederick Filby, as he describes ancient traditions from all over the world.  Here is a brief list of some of those connections that he discovered, connections which indicate that the traditions related to Halloween come from the same traditions of a universal flood.  The strongest connections between these traditions and the timing of the flood (in late October or early November) are here listed first, those coming from ancient Egypt and Babylon being the most convincing:

[From Ancient Egypt:]

It has long been known that the ship of Isis and the chest or coffin of Osiris which floated on the waters for a year are confused Egyptian recollections of the Flood. Plutarch says the Osiris was shut up in his box and set afloat ‘...on the seventeenth day of the month Athyr, when nights were growing long and the days decreasing.’ [On Isis and Osiris -note that Athyr is a variant of Hathor the goddess who was guardian of the tombs of the dead]... In Plutarch’s time Athyr did in fact coincide with October-November.

[From Ancient Babylon and Assyria:]

In ancient Assyria the ceremonies for the souls of the dead were in the month Arahsamna, which is Marcheswan [=the month of Heshvan on the Jewish calendar, which is mid-October to mid-November]. In Arahsamna the Sun God became Lord of the Land of the Dead [S. Langdon: Babylonian Menologies and Semitic Calendars, London 1934 p.36]. The month was held sacred to the-rain-and-thunder-god, while in Babylon Marduk was called, in connection with this month, ‘Lord of the Deep’ and also ‘Lord of Abundance who causes plenty of rain to fall’.

[From Ancient Persia:]

The Persians commenced their New Year in November in a month which was named Mordad-month, i.e. the month of the angel of death.

[From Ancient India:]

The Hindu ‘Durga’-festival of the dead-was originally connected with their New Year which commenced in November.

[From the Pacific Islands:]

the inhabitants...pray for the spirits of departed ancestors at the end of their New Year celebration in November.

[From Peru:]

In Peru the [Inca] New Year commenced in November and the festival called Ayamarka - carrying of a corpse - concluded with placing food and drink on graves.30

Please keep in mind that according to Genesis 7:11, the flood came in the second month of the year:

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened. (Genesis 7:11)

After the flood, as these ancient legends indicate, there appears to be a general idea of the flood and even the timing of that event, as they celebrated the month that the flood began (and ended) as the beginning of a new year (Oct./Nov.).  Prior to those days, in the days of Noah, the month of the flood was the second month of a fall-to-fall calendar―as Josephus and these ancient legends confirm.  During the days of Israel's sojourn in Egypt, Israel and the Canaanites followed the same pre-flood calendar of Noah, which began with Tishri.  We can confirm this also as true because of the fact that the Canaanite names of months were identical to those used in the Torah, and the Canaanites are known to have followed a fall-to-fall calendar.31  It was not until the Exodus that Moses changed the calendar to a spring-to-spring calendar. Prior to this it had to have been some other type of calendar. Surely, we will not try to make the claim that Moses was merely using the unreliable Egyptian calendar―if so, how could anyone make sense out of the date given here in Genesis 7:11, even by the time of the exodus when the Torah was written out and given to the children of Israel?  Even the Egyptian months did not correspond to the timing of the Hebrew months.  But by using a fall-to-fall calendar for events that predate the exodus, it would seem that our problems are solved.

Since in the time of Noah they were using a fall-to-fall calendar, we can know from this that the beginning of the year was sometime around mid September. The second month would start in mid to late October, and the 17th day of that lunar month would, therefore, be sometime around the end of October or the early part of November, depending upon which year the flood actually came in. Now here is an interesting fact: Noah and his family were commanded to enter the ark 7 days prior to the beginning of the flood. Therefore, they would have entered the ark on the 10th day of the 2nd month--about 30 days following the Day of Atonement. But remember, this is according to the original fall-to-fall calendar, for Moses did not exist then and had not yet been commanded to change the calendar to a spring calendar.

For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. (Genesis 7:4)

Centuries later, when Yahweh commanded Moses to change the calendar, the 2nd month would have been known as the 8th month (Cheshvan or Marcheshvan in Hebrew, originally called Bul). That means Noah entered the ark on the 10th day of the 8th month according to the post-Exodus “spring-to-spring” calendar. But since we now know exactly which month and day of the Hebrew calendar this takes place, can we give the date according to the Julian/Gregorian calendar? I believe it is possible.  Since the Genesis account gives us an exact date, and we know the actual year through the Jubilee Code, it is therefore possible for us to arrive at an exact date for the start of the flood. Based upon my Jubilee Calendar and known lunar cycles, the start of the flood might be more precisely fixed as the year 2320 BCE, October 24th, on a Sabbath day (i.e., Saturday).32  They left the ark one year and 10 days later, probably on November 3rd, 2319 BCE.

It is possible that before the flood the year may have been a perfect solar year of 360 days, instead of a lunar/solar year of 354/355 days.  That means there could be some variance in the date they left the ark of up to ten days (from November 3 to 13).  But again, all of this took place sometime in late October or early November.  Based upon these ancient traditions, along with the testimony of Josephus, the ancient fall-to-fall Canaanite calendar, the meaning of the 8th month Bul (rain) [today known as Cheshvan], and its closely related word Mabul (flood), the connection between the flood of Noah's day, and the ancient practice of the "day of the dead," is really impossible to miss.

In Israel, Cheshvan is the rainy season, and the months of Cheshvan and Kislev are associated with the story of the Flood. This story from Genesis tells of how God decided to destroy the world by flood because the humans upon it were corrupt and violent. God chose to save one man, Noah, and his family, by hiding them in an ark—a wooden box that floated on the waters.13 Many Near Eastern myths share the notion of a great flood. According to Jewish legend, it was on the 27th of Cheshvan that Noah, Naamah, and their children exited the ark—another kind of emergence from the underworld.14  . . . Rachel’s yahrtzeit (death-anniversary) frequently falls near the Celtic or Wiccan holiday of Samhain, the day when the dead and the living can speak to one another.16 This same day is the Day of the Dead in Mexico, where people go to visit their loved ones in cemeteries, picknicking and celebrating with them.

[Notes:]

[13]In midrash, Noah’s wife is called Naamah and, in some traditions, is believed to have been a musician (Genesis Rabbah 23:3)

[14]Seder Olam 4.

[16]This day, Oct. 31, is called a cross-quarter day (a day halfway between an equinox and a solstice, which draws its power from being a doorway between seasons). The 11th of Cheshvan is also a kind of cross-quarter day, falling almost exactly halfway between the Jewish calendar’s first day of autumn and first day of winter.33

Bible Chronology Confirms Two Calendars

But let us go now to the issue of Bible chronology, for this also has an important bearing upon when to start the months of the year.  It is commonly recognized that the chronological records of the kings of Israel are very difficult to make sense of and harmonize.  All reliable chronologists know of these problems found in the books of Kings, and they have also (over the years) come to accept the fact that the only viable solution to those problems is that solution given to us by a man named Edwin Thiele.  Thiele is not the originator for this solution, but it is through his work that it has become well known and generally accepted.  Thiele recognized that there were major problems in the chronological records found in the book of Kings.  It seems that when we cross check the dates given for one king with the dates given for comparison to another king, the dates do not match and the chronologies appear to be a jumbled mess.  What Thiele found was that there were two main methods by which to correct this apparent discrepancy.  First, he realized that some of the kings were using non-accession year reckoning―which means that they did not count the first year of a king and allowed that year to belong to the previous king.  Second, he realized that the kings of Israel were usually starting their years in the spring and the kings of Judah were usually starting their years in the fall.  Let us consider this testimony from Wikipedia regarding the contribution Thiele has made to the study of Bible Chronology, and please note especially the last paragraph:

The chronology of the Hebrew kings rests primarily on a series of reign lengths and cross references within the books of Kings and Chronicles, in which the accession of each king is dated in terms of the reign of his contemporary in either the southern kingdom of Judah or the northern kingdom of Israel. Unfortunately some of these cross references did not seem to match, so that a reign which is said to have lasted for 20 years results in a cross reference that would give a result of either 19 or 21 years.

Thiele noticed that the cross references given during the long reign of King Asa of Judah had a cumulative error of 1 year for each succeeding reign of the kings of Israel: the first cross-reference resulted in an error of 1 year, the second gave an error of 2 years, the third of 3 years and so on. He was able to demonstrate that this was due to two different methods of reckoning regnal years - the accession year method and the non-accession year method.

If we think in terms of our own calendar, if the old king died on December 31 and the new king started to reign on January 1, there was no problem. However if the old king died on December 1, what did you do with the remaining 30 days of the old year? Under the accession year method, those 30 days were called the "Accession year" and Year 1 of the new king's reign began on January 1. Under the non-accession year method the 30 days were Year 1 of the new king and Year 2 began on January 1.

If this were not complicated enough, Thiele was able to demonstrate that the northern kingdom (Israel) celebrated a spring New Year while the southern kingdom (Judah) held to an autumn New Year. Differing new years and different methods of calculating reigns were responsible for much of the confusion in the cross references, with the additional problem that the southern kingdom appears to have adopted its neighbour's non-accession method during the time when Athaliah seized power. Unknown to Thiele when he first published his findings, these same conclusions that the northern kingdom used non-accession years and a spring New Year while the southern kingdom used accession years and a fall New Year had been discovered by V. Coucke of Belgium some years previously, a fact which Thiele acknowledges in his Mysterious Numbers. (Mysterious Numbers, 3rd ed., p. 59, n. 17, citing V. Coucke, "Chronique biblique," in Supplément au Dictionnaire de la Bible, ed. Louis Pirot, vol. 1, 1928.)34

While some of Thiele's chronological dates may be subject to question (and in the interest of time we will not explore this aspect here), his overall approach has proven itself over the years, and is now generally accepted by many Biblical chronologists.  It is clear that the only way to reconcile the chronology of the Hebrew Kings with the chronological history of the nations (without rejecting the supremacy of Scripture) is to recognize that some of them used a spring new year, while others used a fall new year, and these could be either accession years or non-accession years.  These four points constitute the significant contribution of Thiele to the study of Biblical chronology, such that they have even been used to solve the chronological problems of secular historians.

Let us look more closely at the chronological evidence which Thiele has uncovered, evidence which points unmistakably to the use of a Tishri (fall) calendar in use by Israel. Here is what Thiele has to say regarding the seven year building project to construct the first temple, mentioned in 1 Kings chapter 6:

There is evidence, however, which gives some indications as to the type of regnal year employed by Judah.  That a Tishri-to-Tishri year was used in the reckoning of Solomon's reign is indicated by the date available concerning the building of the temple.  Work on the temple was begun in the second month of the fourth year of Solomon (I Kings 6:1, 37), and it was completed in the eighth month of Solomon's eleventh year, having been seven years in building (I Kings 6:38).  In the Hebrew Scriptures the months are numbered from Nisan, regardless of whether the reckoning of the year was from the spring or fall.11   And Reckoning was according to the inclusive system, whereby the first and last units or fractions of units of a group were included as full units in the total of the group.12  If Solomon's regnal year began in Nisan. then, according to the above method of counting, the construction of the temple would have occupied eight years instead of seven. The graph below makes it clear that the figure of seven years for the building of the temple can be secured only when regnal years are computed from Tishri-to-Tishri but with a Nisan-to-Nisan year employed for the reckoning of ordinary events and the ecclesiastical year.35

I have recreated a graph similar to the one Thiele placed in his book based upon his premise that all counting of months and years given in Scripture should be from Nisan (Abib), whether they used a Tishri or a Nisan calendar.±  Based upon inclusive reckoning (which is typically used in scripture), the result is very interesting.  Using a fall calendar for the start of the year yields seven years to construct the temple, but using a Nisan (Abib) calendar it would have taken almost eight years to complete the temple.

Years it took to build the temple

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Starting Count Based Upon Abib New Year

2nd Month of 4th Year in an Abib Calendar

Dates Given after the Exodus Are Always Counted from the Month of Abib

8th Month of 11th Year in an Abib Calendar

 

Solomon's Reign

(if from Nisan)

4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th

Solomon's Reign

(if from Tishri)

4th 5th 6th 7th 8th 9th 10th 11th  

Starting Count Based Upon Tishri New Year

2nd Month of 4th Year in a Tishri Calendar

Dates Given after the Exodus Are Always Counted from the Month of Abib

8th Month of 11th Year in a Tishri Calendar

 

Years it took to build the temple

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Please note that the texts that this graph is based upon are 1 Kings 6:1 and 6:37-38.  1 Kings 6:1 plainly states that the 480th year after the exodus is also the 4th year of Solomon's reign. 

And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of Yahweh.  (1 Kings 6:1)

And in the eleventh year, in the month Bul, which is the eighth month, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, and according to all the fashion of it. So was he seven years in building it. (1 Kings 6:38)

If the author of the book of Kings was using a spring-to-spring year to determine the reign of Solomon, he should have said it took eight years to finish the temple, not seven.  But if the author of the book of Kings was using a fall-to-fall calendar, then it would have taken closer to seven years to finish the temple―just as the texts above state.

The evidence regarding the seven year temple building project is quite interesting, but let us not rely on this evidence alone.  Another piece of chronological evidence which is even more compelling, which proves conclusively that the Hebrews made personal use of a fall-to-fall calendar even before the Babylonian captivity, is found in 2 Kings 22-23:

Josiah was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned thirty and one years in Jerusalem. And his mother' name was Jedidah, the daughter of Adaiah of Boscath And he did that which was right in the sight of Yahweh, and walked in all the way of David his father, and turned not aside to the right hand or to the left.  And it came to pass in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, that the king sent Shaphan the son of Azaliah, the son of Meshullam, the scribe, to the house of Yahweh, saying, Go up to Hilkiah the high priest, that he may sum the silver which is brought into the house of Yahweh, which the keepers of the door have gathered of the people: And let them deliver it into the hand of the doers of the work that have the oversight of the house of Yahweh: and let them give it to the doers of the work which is in the house of Yahweh, to repair the breaches of the house. . . (2 Kings 22:1-5)

Josiah is said to be in his 18th year in which he decides to make repairs to the temple.  He orders that the temple should be repaired, and money be provided to pay for the services of the builders.  And then something happens that changes everything.  In the temple the Torah scroll is found, upon which is written the instructions of Moses regarding the laws of Yahweh.

And Hilkiah the high priest said unto Shaphan the scribe, I have found the book of the law in the house of Yahweh. And Hilkiah gave the book to Shaphan, and he read it. And Shaphan the scribe came to the king and brought the king word again and said, Thy servants have gathered the money that was found in the house, and have delivered it into the hand of them that do the work, that have the oversight of the house of Yahweh. And Shaphan the scribe showed the king, saying, Hilkiah the priest hath delivered me a book. And Shaphan read it before the king.  (2 Kings 22:8-10)

Imagine that for many centuries the Scriptures were hidden away and not seen by others, and then finally brought to light and read before you for the first time.  It could be quite a shock.  Remember, they didn't have our advanced technology so as to reproduce such a work―so we can be sure that they had very few copies available.  Now let us consider the response of king Josiah:

And it came to pass, when the king had heard the words of the book of the law, that he rent his clothes. And the king commanded Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam the son of Shaphan, and Achbor the son of Michaiah, and Shaphan the scribe, and Asahiah a servant of the king's, saying, Go ye, inquire of Yahweh for me, and for the people, and for all Judah, concerning the words of this book that is found: for great is the wrath of Yahweh that is kindled against us, because our fathers have not hearkened unto the words of this book, to do according unto all that which is written concerning us. So Hilkiah the priest, and Ahikam, and Achbor, and Shaphan, and Asahiah, went unto Huldah the prophetess, the wife of Shallum the son of Tikvah, the son of Harhas, keeper of the wardrobe; (now she dwelt in Jerusalem in the college); and they communed with her. And she said unto them, Thus saith Yahweh Elohim of Israel, Tell the man that sent you to me, Thus saith Yahweh, Behold, I will bring evil upon this place, and upon the inhabitants thereof, even all the words of the book which the king of Judah hath read: Because they have forsaken me, and have burned incense unto other gods, that they might provoke me to anger with all the works of their hands; therefore my wrath shall be kindled against this place, and shall not be quenched. But to the king of Judah which sent you to inquire of Yahweh, thus shall ye say to him, Thus saith Yahweh Elohim of Israel, As touching the words which thou hast heard; Because thine heart was tender, and thou hast humbled thyself before Yahweh when thou heardest what I spoke against this place, and against the inhabitants thereof, that they should become a desolation and a curse, and hast rent thy clothes, and wept before me; I also have heard thee, saith Yahweh. Behold therefore, I will gather thee unto thy fathers, and thou shalt be gathered into thy grave in peace; and thine eyes shall not see all the evil which I will bring upon this place. And they brought the king word again.  (2 Kings 22:11-20)

Let's look at the timeline of events here.  First, it is announced from the start that these events take place in the 18th year of Josiah.  Next, the king orders repairs to be made to the temple, and money be provided to pay the laborers.  Then the Torah scroll is found and given to the king's assistant to read before him.  Upon hearing the whole scroll read to him, he humbles himself and tears his clothing.  He then seeks an oracle from a local prophetess, so that he may know what to do about the problem (the sins of Israel, as described in the Torah).  The prophetess tells him that judgment is coming soon to his city and his people, and that there is nothing that can be done to stop it, but because he humbled himself before Yahweh He will not bring the curses to him personally, but would allow Josiah to die in peace before that time came.

Now here is what the king commands to be done next:

And the king sent, and they gathered unto him all the elders of Judah and of Jerusalem. And the king went up into the house of Yahweh, and all the men of Judah and all the inhabitants of Jerusalem with him, and the priests, and the prophets, and all the people, both small and great: and he read in their ears all the words of the book of the covenant which was found in the house of Yahweh. (2 Kings 23:1-2)

It would have taken a long time for king Josiah to gather together "all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem" and bring them to his royal courts.  In the days of travel by horses and mules over mountainous terrain, this action alone probably took an entire month to bring it about.  But then we should continue with the story to see what came later, after he made a covenant to do all that Yahweh had commanded in the Torah:

And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of Yahweh all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel. And he put down the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had ordained to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah, and in the places round about Jerusalem; them also that burned incense unto Baal, to the sun, and to the moon, and to the planets, and to all the host of heaven. And he brought out the grove from the house of Yahweh, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people. And he broke down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of Yahweh, where the women wove hangings for the grove. (2 Kings 23:4-7)

Looking through this list of things for king Josiah to perform, it would seem a daunting task. He orders all of the vessels made for Baal to be taken out of the temple and burned in the fields of Kidron, and the ashes to be carried to Bethel.  He then "puts down" (i.e., destroys) the idolatrous priests of Baal.  Then he pulls up the grove from out of the temple, to have it burned outside the city and the ashes to be cast into the brook Kidron.  He also breaks down the houses of the male cultic prostitutes ("sodomites"), that were just outside of the temple grounds.

For all of these things to be accomplished would have taken at least a couple of months, not including the month it probably took to bring all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to hear the reading of the Torah.  But this is not all of the story.  In addition to taking this extreme action in Jerusalem and his own nation of Judah, he also commanded that these idolatrous practices should be taken away in the other provinces (from Geba to Beersheba), and that this reform should be carried out in nearby Samaria, that the Ashteroth pole should be taken out and burned, that the bones of those buried on the mount of Bethel should be burnt on the idolatrous alter so as to defile it (except for the bones of the two righteous prophets), and finally he had all the priests of the high places of Samaria killed.  There is really no question about it, this would have taken at least another couple of months to do all of these things.

So now let's recap the chronological timeline of events here.  Josiah orders repairs to be made to the temple, then is told they found the Torah, and it is read to him.  It probably took a couple of weeks just to do this.  Josiah then calls upon a local prophetess to enquire as to what he should do.  After this, he calls all the elders of Judah and Jerusalem to come and hear the Torah, all of which would have taken roughly a month. He then commands that the priests of Baal should be killed and he then pulls up the grove from out of the temple, to have it burned outside the city.  This would have taken another couple of months. Finally he commands that all these same things should be done in Samaria, just as it was done in Jerusalem and his own province.  Again, this would have required another two months. Altogether we have 2 months plus 2 months plus 1 month plus a couple of weeks, for a total of about 5 1/2 months.  Now consider what happens next:

And the king commanded all the people, saying, Keep the Passover unto Yahweh your Elohim, as it is written in the book of this covenant. Surely there was not holden such a Passover from the days of the judges that judged Israel, nor in all the days of the kings of Israel, nor of the kings of Judah; But in the eighteenth year of king Josiah, wherein this Passover was holden to Yahweh in Jerusalem. (2 Kings 23:21-23)

If Judah was following a spring-to-spring calendar only a few years before the Babylonian captivity, and such a calendar year starts only two weeks before Passover, then Josiah has only two weeks to fulfill all of the things listed in 2 Kings 22-23―for it was his 18th year when all of these events began and it was still his 18th year when they began to keep that Passover in Jerusalem that following spring.  Of course, doing all of those things in only two weeks is really an impossibility. It probably took 5 1/2 months to do all of this, but even if it took half that time it was still too long by at least two months.  Several months would have been required to accomplish all of these things, but anything over two weeks would result in a calendar conflict. If they were using a Nisan New Year, then the year they kept the Passover (about 3 to 5 1/2 months later) would have to be the 19th year of Josiah, not the 18th year!!  But 2 Kings 23:23 plainly says it was still the 18th year!!!  Therefore, the 18th year of Josiah, king of Judah, could not have been calculated based upon a Nisan New Year, but instead by a Tishri New Year (starting the 18th year in Tishri, the "seventh month," six months before that Passover, which is in the month of Abib, the "first month").

Answering the Critics

On a personal note, I find it very interesting that some individuals will attempt to introduce doubts regarding all of these findings on Bible chronology and history, especially the idea of a fall (Tishri) calendar being used to establish Sabbatical and Jubilee years.   Here is a breakdown of some of the more significant statements from those critics of this view:

1)  Leviticus 25:8-10 clearly states that the Jubilee is announced in the 50th year, not the 49th year, therefore the Jubilee is already in progress on the day of atonement, when the trumpet is blown in the month of Tishri, and as such the month of Tishri is not the start of the year for Sabbaticals and Jubilees, but instead the Sabbatical and Jubilee years start in Nisan, six months earlier.  One commentary states it this way, "It would make no sense if the trumpet were blown in the middle of the 49th year, for in that case the 49th year would be the year of Jubilee. . ."  [FYI:  I agree with the idea that this cannot happen in the 49th year, but this argument (as a whole) is merely a "strawman argument" (that is, it doesn't apply).  This view that the 49th year is the start of the year of Jubilee is not at issue here, since this was not a settled issue among ancient Jewish rabbis, and neither I nor many other researchers believe that way.  We believe that the Jubilee is the 50th year and it is also the 1st year of the next 49 year cycle.  In addition, while it is true that it would make no sense for the Jubilee trumpet to blow in the middle of the 49th year, it is equally true that it would make no sense for the Jubilee trumpet to blow in the middle of the 50th year.  Why blow a trumpet to announce something if it had already started six months earlier?  And why blow a trumpet to announce something if it is not due to happen until six months later?  The Jubilee trumpet is blown 10 days after the start of the Jewish civil year, in the fall, because the Jubilee year begins in the fall on the first of Tishri.  The reason there is a 10 day delay is because the first ten days of the year make up a special celebration called the "days of awe," and it is after the day of atonement on the tenth day in which the first opportunity to perform legal transactions may begin.  Both arguments, therefore, which say the Jubilee is announced in the middle of a spring-to-spring year (whether the 49th or 50th year) clearly do not make any sense.  As a result, the argument above does not disprove a Tishri New Year, and in fact only strengthens the view of a Tishri New Year as the start of Sabbaticals and Jubilees.]

2)  The idea of numbering the months from Tishri supposedly comes from Egypt, according to the testimony of Josephus, and it is really a pagan calendar.  [FYI:  If you are reading someone's study claiming that Sabbatical years start from the spring, and they are saying that the "original order" that Josephus mentions is the Egyptian calendar, then regardless of how well the study seems to be organized and documented, this would be absolute proof that it is a biased presentation.  Those who make this claim regarding the testimony of Josephus do not generally quote his entire statement (as do I in this study), and they often fail to speak of or explain the part referring to Noah and the 2nd month, for if they did they would find that their comments regarding Josephus are clearly out of context.  Josephus plainly says that the fall-to-fall calendar goes back all the way to Noah by his reference to the 2nd month as the month Marchesuan (the 8th month of the Jewish Abib calendar).  Sadly, this fact is often left out when people seek to justify a "spring only" calendar.  Also, Josephus never says that this calendar is a pagan calendar from Egypt, but that the Hebrews followed this calendar while they were living in Egypt.  The Egyptian calendar begins its year from the month of Thoth (also known as Tekh to the Egyptians), not the month of Tishri, so how could this be the Egyptian calendar that Josephus is referring to?]¤

3)  The names of some of the Hebrew months come from the ancient fall Canaanite calendar, so this would be proof that this fall calendar is a pagan calendar.  [FYI:  No, just the opposite.  This would prove that the Hebrews and the Canaanites shared the same calendar, just as we today share the Gregorian calendar with Indians in the remotest reaches of the Amazon jungle.  The pivotal question is, who gave the calendar to whom?  In fact, when you realize that the Canaanite names are actually mentioned in Scripture and that they are also the Hebrew names of the months, then we must come to realize that Scripture supports a fall-to-fall calendar just through the use of these shared names of the months.]

4)  The numbering of the months is still from Nisan (spring) instead of Tishri (fall), supposedly ruling out a Tishri New Year.  [FYI:  This is not really a problem at all if the Hebrews used a dual calendar system.  The numbering of the months for the religious calendar remains as commanded in Exodus 12 (the Abib calendar), while the start of the civil year remains for the other calendar (starting the year from the month of Tishri, in the fall).]

5)  The Persians supposedly followed a fall-to-fall calendar to date the reign of their kings, so this is where the Jews came up with the idea of a fall calendar, much later in their history.    [FYI:  This is a feeble attempt to explain why the Jews would date the reigns of the Persians based on a fall calendar.  The Persians followed a spring-to-spring calendar at least from the 5th century BCE, not a fall calendar.  If the Jews dated the Persian kings based upon a fall calendar, it is because that is how they typically did this in Judea.]

6)  It supposedly doesn't matter if Israel or Judah used a fall-to-fall year to compute their reigns.   [FYI:  When people begin to realize that not only did Israel use a fall calendar for foreign kings, but even for their own kings (going back at least as far as Solomon), then they begin to get desperate.  The only explanation left for them is that it "supposedly" does not matter.  This is based upon such flawed excuses as the idea that the way ancient kings dated their reigns has nothing to do with a Scriptural calendar, or that such dating is merely limited to the reign of those kings, and has nothing to do with the year to year dating of events.  The argument of one critic is that they would date their reigns from the actual date they took office.  Such a system would not (in his estimation) be used as an all purpose calendar. But there is a big problem with that idea:  The regnal year of ancient kings never start at the exact time they take office, for that is considered his accession date and to use that to establish an exact calendar would only make it even more confusing and difficult to follow.  Instead, the reign is consistently calculated based upon the New Year date following the accession date of the king.]

It is bad enough that chronologists disagree, even amongst themselves.  At the same time I cannot claim to be free of error, as I am continually learning and advancing in my understanding (of Scripture, of history, and of chronology).  But such sentiments as mentioned here by people who have not really seriously studied ancient Bible chronology are beyond belief!!  In recent months I had generally avoided making direct responses to many similar statements, but when someone quotes from a knowledgeable chronologist, without really understanding what that person is truly saying, and follows it up with commentary which does not truly reflect the teachings of that chronologist (or any other that I am aware of), I feel I have no choice but to say something.  Here is the key parts of what one of these critics has said, while quoting a statement from chronologist Edward Knobel: 

"As it turns out, once again, we find that Glenn has conducted shallow research. According to early 20th century British author Edward Knobel, the regnal years of Persian kings appear to have been reckoned in three different ways, one of which coincided with the fall:

'In my paper on these papyri published in the Monthly Notices for March 1908, I referred to the regnal years of the kings of Persia, but without attempting any explanation as to how those years were reckoned. It is important to investigate the question, as the calendar dates must necessarily depend upon the determination of the accession of the kings, whence the commencement of the regnal years can be fixed.

'Regnal years at this period appear to have been reckoned in three different ways. First, they were determined from the accession of the king precisely as the regnal years in this country [i.e., England]: Oppert states that this system was used in Assyria, and was that adopted in the Bible; secondly, they were reckoned as beginning on the 1st. Nisan following the accession; and thirdly, the regnal years were considered to commence with the 1st. Thoth229 of Nabonassarean and Egyptian years preceding the actual accession. This is the system adopted in Ptolemy's canon.

'The records which enable us to determine the dates of accession of the kings from Xerxes the Great to Darius Nothus are fairly clear.

'Xerxes the Great.

'Fynes Clinton (Fasti Hellenici) states that the accession of Xerxes was about the spring of B.C. 485. Oppert, however, has called attention to a Babylonian tablet which records Darius Hystaspes, the father of Xerxes, was living September B.C. 485, and he concludes definitely that the accession of Xerxes was in the autumn of that year.230 I think this may be accepted as the true period of his accession.

 

'Artabanus.

'Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus in the beginning of the archonship of Lysitheus —the 4th. year of the 78th. Olympiad. The commencement of this archonship is well determined as July B.C. 465, consequently the accession of Artabanus can be fixed as July or August B.C. 465.231(35)

"While we do not deny that the Persians, like the Jews, used a spring-to-spring calendar, it appears possible that they may have also recognized a fall-to-fall calendar, at least for the regnal years. In fact, might this be where modern Judaism came up with the notion of a fall-to-fall calendar? . . .

"It is simply absurd to believe that Ezra and Nehemiah arbitrarily chose to reckon the reign of Artaxerxes from fall-to-fall if his reign actually began in the spring, yet this is precisely what Glenn wants us to believe! It only stands to reason that the author of the Talmud wrote, 'the first of Tishri (the seventh month) is the new year for foreign kings' because that is when those foreign kings, including the Persians, reckoned their regnal years."

Now I don't wish to embarrass this person, and I would also prefer not to give links to biased critics, so I will not mention where this was taken from.  But a competent chronologist would never make such a statement as this, even if he did not agree as to which type of calendar a certain group used.  [If you doubt this, then contact a reputable Bible chronologist and ask them yourself.]  I would like to recommend that those who lack knowledge of this subject and at the same time desire to supposedly expose my own lack of knowledge and/or teach others something about Bible chronology, well, they should seek out the personal assistance of several knowledgeable chronologists, instead of simply making blind stabs into the darkness with personal attacks and uninformed statements, such as the one above.

We know that these statements above are totally flawed for several reasons:

1)  The reference to the discussion of Persian chronology by British author Edward Knobel generally reflects the well known fact that Egyptian documents ("papyri") often contain double or triple dating of events.  For instance, Knobel mentions dating a Persian kings reign from the 1st day of Thoth (Thoth is the first month of the Egyptian New Year, not the Persian New Year).  Knobel does not say the Persians dated events from the fall, but that one of the Persian kings came to the throne in the fall, an event chronologists call his "accession."  In ancient times a king could come to the throne at any time, but the numbering of their years does not start with that date. Also, since they are not routinely elected at a certain time of the year, comparisons to our modern Presidents do not really apply here either.

2)  Unlike today, where we have fairly standardized dating methods, this was not so in the ancient past.  Each nation had their own form of dating (often based upon the reign of their kings), and the only way to synchronize a date in one country with a date in another country was to double or even triple date a document. So, the dating of the kings of Persia using various dating methods is typical of Egyptian papyri.  They would date the same king in several different ways, such as from the fall (the Jewish dating system), from the spring (the Persian dating system), and from the month of Thoth (the Egyptian dating system).

3) The Persians (for the past 2500 years) started their years from the spring, for sure, end of discussion!37 Therefore, this issue has nothing to do with why 5th century BCE Jews would use a fall calendar to determine their reigns.

4) The ancients often used accession year reckoning in which they would not start the count of a kings reign from the time he actually came to the throne, but would wait several weeks or months to begin the count of that king's reign (until the start of the next year, in either the spring or the fall, depending on what system the recording party used).38 The reigns of ancient kings (of whatever nation they may have been) were not calculated from the exact date they began to reign.  Whether they use accession year or non-accession year reckoning, the year of their reign is given based upon the start of their own New Year (or, if it is a foreign nation that is making the record, based upon the New Year that the foreign nation uses).  Also, despite the commentary above stating Artaxerxes began his reign in July or August of 465 BCE,§ the documented historical evidence does not support such a conclusion, but instead supports the first day of the accession of Artaxerxes as January 3 or 4, 464 BCE.39  The reference from Edward Knobel mentioned above states that Artabanus killed his father Xerxes in July or August of 465 BCE, and that this date is "the accession of Artabanus," not Artaxerxes. Since Artabanus was himself killed a few months after this, his short attempt to take the throne did not even affect the dating of Persian events. So, while it is often the case that the death of one king leads immediately to the enthronement of another―it does not always happen that way. Sometimes there is a delay between one king and the next for whatever reason, such as a very brief reign, followed by a longer reign, or a struggle for the throne between a rival, as is evidently the case between Artabanus and Artaxerxes.

5) The authors of the Talmud did not stipulate Tishri as the "new year for foreign kings," supposedly "because that is when they calculated their regnal years," since kings that were foreign to Israel (including Judah) actually used a variety of methods to calculate their regnal years (sometimes from Nisan and sometimes from Tishri).40  Did the northern kingdom of Israel consider their brothers to the south (Judah) to be "foreign kings?"  Is that why the Talmud (as quoted earlier) says: "The rule of the Mishna—that the year of the kings begins with Nissan—refers to the kings of Israel only, but for the kings of other nations it commences from Tishri?"  It is quite possible, in light of this knowledge.  We know, for example, based upon the work of Edwin Thiele, that the kings of Judah often used a Tishri calendar to reckon their reigns.  Also, we cannot claim that the teachings found in the Talmud are without error.  The Talmud came much later than the kings of Israel, and therefore may not exactly reflect the way ancient kings of Judah and Israel actually reckoned their reigns at all times.41 

According to the research of Thiele, Israel and Judah changed the way they reckoned their reigns from time to time, but (generally) followed the prescription laid out in the Talmud. Based on what we know of the chronology of the book of Kings (as explained by Thiele) the kingdom of Judah generally used a dating method which began in the fall, whereas the kingdom of Israel generally used a dating method which began in the spring.  Chronologist Edwin Thiele found that Judah and Israel, from time to time, used several methods of calculating their reigns, accession year, non-accession year, spring and/or fall start of the year.42 This legitimate contribution from Thiele is recognized today as valid by many Bible chronologists and historians of various religious backgrounds, and a competent chronologist would know these most basic and fundamental issues in Bible chronology.  Therefore, since it is well documented that the Persians started their years in the spring, this comment regarding the statement from the Talmud (telling us that "Tishri is the new year for foreign kings" because foreign kings reckoned their regnal years from the fall) is totally negated.  Tishri is the "new year for foreign kings" because it is the original start of the creation calendar (as modern day Judaism acknowledges), it is the month that begins the Canaanite calendar (as the Hebrew names of the months proves,43), it follows the agricultural cycle (as the Gezar calendar, the oldest Hebrew calendar known, proves44), and it is the start of "the new year for the reckoning of years, for Sabbatical years, and for Jubilees," as the other reference from the Talmud45 (and Scripture, cf. Leviticus 25:9-10) confirms. While I could never claim to be perfect, and do from time to time make mistakes, the comment quoted above is very lacking in the most basic fundamental knowledge of Bible chronology.  It is very much like the one I recently heard from another person who stated that:

"January 1 is the beginning of the year from the Bible."

Oh, how sad.  Sadly, it would do no good to argue the point with any of these critics, since they are all completely oblivious to their own lack of understanding.  I suspect that they are also unwilling to admit their lack of knowledge in this area while quick to criticize anything (no matter how trivial) from those they disagree with. One example of evidence in support of this is the fact that the person mentioned earlier, who continually criticizes me while quoting from British author Edward Knobel, mentions me by name 2075 times in his 334 page study of the Jubilee Cycles!  Whenever someone puts together a study and directs the bulk of that study toward a person, instead of just an issue, it strongly suggests personal motives and extreme prejudice on the part of the one making the presentation. Ultimately, it leads one to wonder if such a person is really objective and truly interested in finding the truth!

While I present all of these lines of evidence, it is not my objective to simply require the reader to accept my word for it.  Instead, I encourage the reader to study this out for themselves if they have any doubts, and not be so quickly swayed by the doubts of critics who themselves are very lacking in any credibility.

It would be good to go over some basic information regarding the Chronology of the Bible, in the hopes of clarifying this issue.  Here is a simple four point statement describing some of these same issues in Biblical Chronology, showing how to explain the data given in Scripture regarding the dating of historical events:

1.  From the time of the division of the kingdom after the death of Solomon, the official scribes of the southern kingdom of Judah counted the regnal years of their kings from the month Tishri (September - October), while the scribes of the northern kingdom of Israel apparently reckoned the regnal years of their kings from the month Nisan (March - April). Proof that Tishri reckoning was employed in Judah may be found by comparing II Kings 22:3 with 23:23, where the discovery of the law by Hilkiah and the subsequent Passover in Nisan, which must have occurred several months later, are both dated in the 18th year of Josiah. Although no scriptural evidence is available for the time of the beginning of the regnal year in the northern kingdom of Israel, when a Nisan-to-Nisan regnal year is used for Israel together with a Tishri-to-Tishri year for Judah, the perplexing discrepancies disappear and a harmonious chronological pattern results.

2.  The scribes of Israel used the Egyptian nonaccession-year ("postdating") system in reckoning the reigns of their kings from the division of the kingdom down to 798 BC, and the Babylonian accession-year ("antedating") system from that year onward. According to the nonaccession-year system, that portion of a year which followed a king's accession to the throne and which preceded the official New Year (whether Tishri 1 or Nisan 1) was counted as his first official year. But according to the accession-year system, that initial period was called his accession year, and not until after the New Year did his first official year begin. Proof that Israel followed the nonaccession-year system during the 9th century B.C may be found in the fact that Jehu (according to Assyrian records) paid tribute to Shalmanezer III only 12 years after Ahab fought in the Battle of Qarqar, while the scribes of Israel attributed 14 years to the reigns of the two intervening kings, Ahaziah and Joram. On the other hand, the scribes of Judah must have employed the accession-year system for their kings, except during that dark period of their history when the influence of the northern kingdom, through Queen Athaliah, was predominate (848-796 BC); for only by means of this assumption is it possible to harmonize the synchronisms employed by the northern and southern scribes.

3.  When the scribes of one kingdom synchronized the reign of their king with the reign of the neighboring king, they employed their own system of reckoning for both kings instead of employing the foreign system for the foreign king.

4.  Many of the kings of Judah (and also Jehoash of Israel) associated their sons with them on their thrones during the final years of their reigns, thus necessitating the allowance of considerable overlapping or coregencies.46

Timeline of Evidences Showing Both a Spring and a Fall Calendar

Before we continue with this study, I feel it is important that we summarize and chart out the facts which demonstrate what type of calendar the Israelites used.  Yes, we know that according to Exodus 12:1-2 they used a spring-to-spring calendar.  And yes, the 1st month of the Hebrew calendar is still the month of Abib, in the spring.  However, the evidence of Scripture, history, and Biblical chronology show conclusively that they also employed a fall-to-fall calendar, in which they often started the count of the years from the 7th month, the month of Tishri.  Please review this and consider each of these points carefully.

Timeline Showing the Scriptural, Historical and Chronological Evidences

for the Use of Both a Spring and Fall Calendar by Israel

Supports Fall Start of Year Supports Spring Start of Year Supports Both Spring and Fall Start of Year

Scripture and/or Historical Reference

Before the Flood

ê

Time of Exodus

ê

During United Monarchy

ê

Time of Divided Kingdom

ê

After Babylonian Captivity

ê

The Post Temple Era

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Genesis 7:11 600th year, 2nd Month, 17th day This is the first place in Scripture in which a specific date is given.  Is this date based upon a Spring or a Fall calendar?  

Early Jewish Writings, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 3, Section 3.

600th year, 2nd Month, 17th day (Genesis 7:11) This historical reference from Josephus clearly shows that the date given in Genesis 7:11 for the time of the flood is for a Tishri (fall) start of the New Year, in the 8th month of the Abib calendar (Marchesuan), which is also the 2nd month of a Tishri calendar.  "This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, [age,] in the second month,(14) called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: . . ." Marchesuan is also called Bul (or Cheshvan by modern Jews), roughly equivalent to late October or early November.  
Please see Frank Humphrey McGill, Ph.D., The Great Flood and Halloween. 1997. 2320 BCE, 600th year, 2nd Month, 17th day Based upon the research of Frank McGill, the flood took place about the same time as the ancient and current practice of "the Day of the Dead" (Halloween).  If this is true, then this connection also supports a Tishri calendar during the life of Noah, up to and including the year of the Flood.  
Canaanite Calendar   Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1; 1 Kings 6:37; 1 Kings 8:2; 1 Kings 6:38

S. Langdon, Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, p. 24.  Zellig Harris, A Grammer of the Phoenician Language, pp. 84, 87, and 98.

  At or Before the Time of the Exodus, Circa 1500 BCE

The Hebrew calendar was in close alignment with the ancient Canaanite calendar, which is a fall-to-fall calendar.  We know that the Hebrew civil calendar was essentially equivalent to the Canaanite calendar because both began in the fall and 3 of the 4 pre-exilic month names mentioned in the TaNaK are also found in Phoenician inscriptions to be Canaanite names of months.  Abib, 1st month (Exodus 13:4; 23:15; 34:18; Deuteronomy 16:1).  Zif, 2nd month (1 Kings 6:37). Ethanium, 7th month (1 Kings 8:2).  Bul, 8th month (1 Kings 6:38).

 
Exodus 12:1-2   First Year of Exodus, 1436 BCE

Yahweh commands that the counting of the months and years should begin in the month of the Exodus (Abib) which may be used to support the idea of a Nisan (spring) start of the New Year.  Abib is the Canaanite name, and Nisan is the Babylonian name for the month that is roughly equivalent to our March-April.

 
Please see Strong's Hebrew Concordance, reference H945 and H3999.   When Moses wrote the Torah, Circa 1400 BCE

Reference the use of mabul in Genesis 6-11, the word for "flood."

600th year, 2nd Month, 17th day

The Hebrew word for the 8th month of the Jewish religious calendar (the month Bul), means "rain," and a related word mabul means "flood," clearly connecting the flood of Noah with the 8th month of the Jewish religious calendar (which begins the year in Nisan) and the 2nd month of the Jewish civil calendar (which begins the year in Tishri).

 
Exodus 23:16, and 34:22   Soon After the Exodus

Ingathering is said to be at the end of the year, which indicates an agricultural calendar based upon the start and end of the year in the fall.

 
1 Kings 6:1; 37-38.  Please See The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, by Edwin Thiele, p. 28-29.   10th Century BCE, 480 to 487 Years After Exodus

The first temple is begun in the 2nd month of Solomon's Fourth Year, and is completed in the 8th month of his 11th year.  The text says it covers seven years. Chronology of the construction of the first temple indicates this can only involve a fall-to-fall calendar, since a Nisan calendar would require eight years to complete the temple, not seven.  1 Kings 6:38 plainly states that it took seven years to complete the temple (see chart above).

1001 Questions and Answers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Jeffrey M. Cohen

Albright, "The Gezer Calendar," BASOR, 92 (December, 1943), pp. 16-26.

  10th Century BCE A calendar from the tenth century BCE was found at Tel Gezer, which starts with the two months of olive harvest (September, October, November), a clear indication of the use of a fall calendar.  This is the famous Gezer calendar, the oldest known Hebrew calendar.47
Joel 2:23

The "later rain" is said to be in the "first month."  In Israel, the "later rain" actually comes in the spring, indicating that Joel is here referencing a calendar that starts in the spring (Abib).

Circa 8th to 7th century BCE.  Sometime Just Prior to the Captivity of Judah  
II Kings 22:3 and 23:21-23.  Please see The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, by Edwin Thiele, p. 29-30.

Josiah is said to be in his 18th year (2 Kings 22:3).  He orders the temple to be repaired, and the High Priest informs the servant of Josiah that he found the Torah scroll.  The scroll is read to the king and he realizes that his people have broken the Torah by offering sacrifices to baal, and other abominable things (verse 11). He orders idolatry to be taken away from Jerusalem and later in the other provinces (from Geba to Beersheba).  He also commands that the priests of baal should be destroyed, that this reform be carried out in nearby Samaria, and many other things that should be done.  In 2 Kings 23:21-22 the king orders the keeping of Passover, and in verse 23 it clearly states that this Passover was kept in the 18th year of Josiah.  The chronology of events described in chapters 22 and 23 indicates that all of those things could not possibly have taken place in only two weeks, but in fact several months would have been required.  Therefore, the 18th year of Josiah, king of Judah, could not have been calculated based upon a Nisan New Year, but instead by a Tishri New Year.

7th Century BCE.

The 18th year of Josiah, only a few years before the end of the Kingdom of Judah

 
Elephantine Island Papyri.  Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, "The Fifth-century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, XIII (1954), p. 1-20. The Jews of Elephantine island clearly used the Tishri-to-Tishri fall calendar for establishing dates. It is among these double dated papyri documents (written in Aramaic) that we find that the reigns of the Persian kings were dated according to the Tishri fall-to-fall calendar, instead of a Nisan calendar (the calendar typically used by the Persians).  In the Kraeling papyrus number 6 it is dated as the month of Tammuz, in the fourth month of 420 BCE (July).  Kraeling papyrus number 7 is dated to Tishri (or October) of that same year, 420 BCE.  However, the regnal year of Darius II listed there changes from year three to year four between them.  The only way this could have happened is if the Jewish authors of these scrolls were using a Tishri (fall) calendar, instead of a Nisan (spring) calendar. 5th Century BCE  
Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:1

The 1st chapter of Nehemiah gives us a specific month and year—“Chisleu, in the twentieth year.” The 2nd chapter gives the month of “Nisan, in the twentieth year of Artaxerxes.” It is impossible for Nisan to still be in the 20th year of Artaxerxes if he is using spring-to-spring calculations. This proves that Nehemiah is using a fall-to-fall calendar.

The 20th year of Artaxerxes (444 BCE)  
The Book of Enoch, “The Book of the Courses of the Heavenly Luminaries,” ch. LXXII, v. 7-37, translated by R. H. Charles, Hollen Street Press, Ltd, Slough, Great Britain, 1991, pp. 97.

The Book of Enoch indicates from its reference to "portals" of the course of the sun, that the first month of the year comes in the Spring.  "7And in that fourth portal from
which the sun rises in the first month are twelve window-openings, from which proceed a flame when they are opened in their season. 8When the sun rises in the heaven, he comes forth through that fourth portal thirty mornings in succession, and sets accurately in the fourth
portal in the west of the heaven. 9And during this period the day becomes daily longer and the night nightly
 shorter to the thirtieth morning."

The 3rd Century BCE  
The Book of Jubilees, translated from Ethiopic by George H. Schodde, PH.D, first printed by E. J. Goodrich,
Oberlin, OH, 1888, pp. 21-22.

The Book of Jubilees says that the flood came in the spring and that they celebrated the feast of weeks in the 3rd month. "1And at the new moon of the third month he came out of the ark and built an altar on that hill. 2And he appeared on the earth, and he took a young goat and atoned by its blood for all the guilt of the earth, because every thing that had been on it was destroyed except those that were in the ark with Noah; . . . 14And He gave to Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a deluge over the earth; He placed His bow in the clouds as the sign of the eternal covenant that no water of the deluge should again come over the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. 15On this account it is ordained and written on the tablets of heaven that the celebration of the festival of weeks should be in this month, once a year, for a renewed covenant in each year . . ." Please remember that the Book of Jubilees is a major document among the Qumran literature, as referenced below.

The 3rd Century BCE  
The Qumran Community, See J. T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea (ut supra), p. 109.  

"in the Qumran literature also, "Rosh ha-Shanah" (New Year's Day) is a title for the feast on Tishri 1." (Calendar and chronology, Jewish and Christian, by Roger T. Beckwith, p. 83.)

2nd and 3rd Centuries BCE  
Early Jewish Writings, Philo of Alexandria, The Special Laws - II.  

Philo of Alexandria speaks of a two calendar system.  He clearly states that the autumn equinox could also be considered the start of the first month of the year.  According to his statement, the month of Abib (when Passover takes place) is actually the seventh month "according to the revolutions of the sun." In contrast, he states that the month associated with the autumn equinox is the first month according to the "solar orbits," but not according to the Law (that is, the command of Exodus 12).

Circa 50 CE
Early Jewish Writings, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 3, Section 3.  

This historical reference from Josephus clearly shows that the date given in Genesis 7:11 for the time of the flood is for a Tishri (fall) start of the New Year, in the 8th month of the Abib calendar (Marchesuan), which is also the 2nd month of a Tishri calendar.  "This calamity happened in the six hundredth year of Noah's government, [age,] in the second month,(14) called by the Macedonians Dius, but by the Hebrews Marchesuan: . . . But Moses appointed that · Nisan, . . . should be the first month for their festivals,. . . so that this month began the year as to all the solemnities they observed to the honor of God. . ."  In addition to this, his further statement that Moses "preserved the original order of the months" proves that the "original order" (a fall-to-fall calendar) was still in use during his own day.

Circa 100 CE
The Mishnah, A New Translation. Edited by Jacob Neusner. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1988. ROSH HASHSHANAH 1.1, p. 299.  

"1:1 A. There are four new years:
B. (1) the first day of Nisan is the new year for kings and festivals;
C. (2) the first day of Elul is the new year for tithing cattle.
D. R. Eleasar and R. Simeon say, “It is on the first day of Tishre.”
E. (3) The first day of Tishre is the new year for the reckoning of years, for Sabbatical years, and for Jubilees,
F. for planting [trees] and for vegetables.
G. (4) The first day of Shebat is the New Year for trees..."

Circa 200 CE
The Jewish Vertual Library, Talmud, tractate Rosh Hashana, Chapter 1   

"R. Hisda says: The rule of the Mishna—that the year of the kings begins with Nissan—refers to the kings of Israel only, but for the kings of other nations it commences from Tishri."

Circa 200-500 CE

 

Fall Calendar is the Original Creation Calendar

While contemplating the enormous amount of evidence in support of a dual calendar system in Israel, let us consider a statement from another chronologist in regard to the issue of spring verses fall start of the Hebrew calendar.  Godfrey Faussett, author of Sacred Chronology, believed that the year originally started in the fall, and says this about the idea of originally starting the year from the spring:

It is worthy of notice too that even in one sacred institution the old order of the year was of necessity maintained; for if the Sabbatical year had commenced otherwise than in the Autumn, the understood relation between the seed not sown and the harvest not reaped, would have been destroyed. The year of Jubile too was proclaimed by the trumpet in the seventh month. However poetical imagination may point to the spring as the infancy of the World; if by spring is meant the vernal equinox, nature herself seems to repudiate an order of things which cuts off the seed time from the harvest. Even the winter solstice falls too late by many weeks for that actual spring, which is properly indicated by the earliest germs of annual vegetation.48                                             

Faussett makes several good points.  For instance, he talks about the natural order of the seasons.  How can we think of dividing the year between seed time and harvest, when the most natural division of the year would be at the time of the harvest?  Yahweh instituted a religious calendar that calculated the years starting in the spring, according to Exodus 12:1-2.  And yet this appears to be a special calendar given for a special purpose―as an object lesson concerning the celebration of the life cycle of man.  Other than this, logic and nature itself seem to mitigate against the idea of ending and starting the year after the time that the seed has already germinated (the spring equinox), for such a system breaks up the agricultural cycle.  The fact that Faussett refers to the "old order of the year," which is also in alignment with what Josephus says when he speaks of this "original order," lends credence to the idea that there is also an agricultural year which naturally starts in the fall.

Through the research of many chronologists, including Faussett, Horn and Thiele, ancient historical testimonies (including Josephus, Philo and the Elephantine Papyri), ancient Jewish Rabbis, and the Scriptures themselves, we can determine conclusively that even as far back as the days of Noah the beginning of the year was in the fall, and was not changed to the spring until the time of Moses—when Yahweh sought to change the focus of his children from the celebration of “death” to the celebration of “life.” In addition, a fall calendar was used in the days of Solomon, and in the days of Josiah (just before the Babylonian captivity).  And after the captivity it was used by the Elephantine Jews of 5th century BCE Egypt.  It was also used by Ezra and Nehemiah of that same period, as well as the Qumran community two centuries later.  Of course, through the Mishnah and the Talmud we learn that the Rabbis of the 2nd to the 5th century CE also followed a fall-to-fall calendar.  We cannot say that they only used a fall calendar during the time of the existence of the nation of Israel, for there is also evidence (both Scriptural and historical) for the use of a spring calendar during that time.  However, the idea that they only used a spring calendar or that the fall calendar was a later innovation, is proven to be false by the evidence presented in this study.  So, while some believe that the original calendar was a spring-to-spring calendar, the Scriptural and historical evidence conclusively supports the fact that the original calendar was a fall-to-fall calendar, that the spring calendar was introduced to Israel at the time of the Exodus, and that both calendars (the spring and the fall calendar) were in continuous use even up to and including the present day.  In Judaism today, Rosh Hashanah (meaning "the head of the year") is celebrated on Tishri 1 as the beginning of the Jewish civil year, and it would seem this practice can be documented going back at least 2200 years.49

Another chronologist, Roger Beckwith, in his book Calendar and Chronology, Jewish and Christian, points out that it is not just the opinion of the Rabbis that forms the basis of a fall new year, but historical documentation from a wide assortment of sources both prior to and contemporaneous with the days of Messiah:

The Jews had four new-year days, (M. Rosh ha-Shanah 1:1), but much the most important were Nisan 1, the new year for feasts, etc., and Tishri 1, the new year for sabbatical and jubilee years etc.  The former of these is the more prominent in the Old Testament, but the later is also found there, and has lately been the centre of a great deal of attention.  It was recognized at Qumran, as well as in mainstream Judaism: in the Qumran literature  also, "Rosh ha-Shanah" (New Year's Day) is a title for the feast on Tishri 1.   First century evidence for the Tishri New-year is provided by Philo . . . and Josephus . . . and in the rabbinic literature it is attested from the outset.50

It would seem that history and Scripture confirm the use of a Tishri (fall-to-fall) calendar in ancient history, all the way back to the times of Noah (c. 2400 BCE). Now in summary here are some Scripture questions which we should ponder:  Why does the 8th Hebrew month Bul mean "rain," and a closely related word mabul mean "flood," unless these are also connected with the flood of Noah (Genesis 7:11) in the 2nd month of a fall calendar?  Why would the author of the book of Kings say it took seven years for building the temple, yet it would take eight years based upon a Nisan calendar?  How could Josiah still be in his 18th year by the time of Passover using a Nisan calendar (which begins two weeks before Passover), when he was also in his 18th year several months earlier?  Why would Nehemiah and the Elephantine Jews (five centuries before the coming of Messiah) use a fall-to-fall calendar to date the reigns of Persian kings, when the Persians themselves would not typically do this?  Why would Genesis 7:11 give us a fall calendar date for the time of the flood using a fall-to-fall calendar?  Why would Josephus lend support to such a calendar (based on Genesis 7:11) in use prior to the exodus, calling it "the original order"? And finally, why would Moses command that the trumpet of the Jubilee should announce the year of Jubilee (Leviticus 25:8-10) in the month of Tishri, if the Jubilee year did not actually start at that time? Blowing a trumpet to announce something important (like the start of the year of Jubilee), and yet that Jubilee year would have started either six months in the past or six months into the future, does not really make much sense!  We could ask other questions as well, but this will be sufficient.  The only reasonable explanation to all of these questions is that the original calendar from Creation started in the fall and the Jews still continued to use this Tishri calendar for dating "foreign kings," for "the reckoning of years," and other matters, such as buying and selling and the Sabbatical and Jubilee years.  Since we have already clearly established that the Tishri calendar had to have been the original calendar in the time of Noah, it would also (naturally) have to be the calendar used to determine Sabbatical and Jubilee years―since those cycles have also been shown (through the Jubilee Code) to have existed from the time of Creation.

Footnotes:


1Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 2., Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., p. 102.

While I do not always agree with statements from the SDA Bible Commentary, I often find that it contains very useful information.  In my research I have discovered that Adventists are noted for their outstanding contribution to an understanding of certain Biblical issues, such as Robert Gentry and his Scientific contribution to the Creation verses Evolution debate (www.halos.com/), Ron Wyatt and his contribution to Biblical archeology (see Wyatt Archeological Research (WAR) website), and Siegfried Horn and Edwin Thiele for their contribution to Biblical chronology (much of their research incorporated into that same commentary). Like the Mormon's and their knowledge of genealogy, Seventh-day Adventists are noted for their unique contribution to Biblical chronology, creation science, and archeology.  In regards to myself, I am not a Seventh-day Adventist, but I am a former SDA and currently hold no membership in any religious organization.

The Egyptian calendar did not count the months in the same way as the Hebrews (from the sighting of the crescent moon) but instead it was a solar calendar whose months started arbitrarily throughout the year, similar to the present Gregorian calendar, and consisting of 30 days each with an added 5 days every 12 months (for a total of 365 days). Since Exodus 12:1-2 plainly tells us that the change in the calendar was that the months and years should begin in "Abib," therefore, the calendar change commanded by Yahweh in that text is strictly in regard to the order of the months.  Since the Egyptian calendar did not use the crescent moon to determine its months, began its years in the month of "Thoth," and did not include an Abib month (nor did it calculate the months in alignment with the month of Abib), therefore, the original calendar Moses was commanded to change from clearly could not have been the Egyptian calendar.

The lunar calendar is also out of alignment with the solar year by about 10 days per year.  However, both the Greeks and the Babylonians worked out a system whereby about every 3 years an additional month was added to the calendar such that the lunar and solar cycles were made to come into close alignment, and every 19 years the lunar and solar cycles were brought into very close alignment.  While we have no evidence that the ancient Hebrews also had such a system, the modern Hebrew calendar does indeed use such a system and it is only reasonable to conclude that they were able to keep the lunar and solar years in close synchronization, just as they do now.

2Jewish Enclyclopedia.com, The Day of Atonement.

3The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings, A Reconstruction of the Chronology of the Kingdoms of Israel and Judah, by Edwin R. Thiele, William B. Eerdmann Publisihing Company, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1953, p. 30.

4Wikipedia, Nowruz http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nowruz.

5My original comment on Joel 2:23 stated that this text could be used to support a fall new year.  However, after further investigation, it would appear that the "latter rain" is clearly a reference to the spring rain (in the month of Abib, the 1st month of the Jewish religious calendar).  This text actually supports a spring new year, but then I also acknowledge that the Jews used a spring calendar (as commanded in Exodus 12:1-2).  "In Palestine and neighboring lands the agricultural year has always begun in the autumn.  After the spring grass has been parched and the soil baked by the long, rainless summer, the autumn rains moisten the soil for planting.  This is the early rain, beginning perhaps in October and increasing in November.  The wet season lasts through the winter, ending with the "latter rain" of spring, which matures the grain (see. Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hosea 6:3; Joel 2:23)."  (Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, Vol. 2., Review and Herald Publishing Association, Washington, D.C., p. 108-109.)

¢In Genesis 8:14 Noah is commanded to leave the ark in the 27th day of the second month.  In a Tishri calendar, this would have been the early part of November (in the fall).  It could be assumed that this would be cruel of Yahweh to send them forth from the ark so close to winter.  However, weather conditions prior to the flood were much more moderate (even tropical). And while it is clear that after the flood the year round tropical climate changed to something like the four seasons we have today, environmental changes from a moderate to a severe climate may not have taken place so abruptly, but could have changed more gradually after the flood. Genesis 9:20 also states that Noah planted a vineyard at some time after leaving the ark.  Typically, vineyards cannot be grown in harsh winter environments, the general time in which Noah left the ark at the conclusion of the flood.   However, the fact Noah planted a vineyard sometime after leaving the ark cannot be used as evidence against the flood taking place in the fall season, for that verse does not say Noah planted his vineyard immediately after leaving the ark.

6Zellig Harris, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language, pp. 84, 87, and 98.

7S. Langdon, Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, p. 24.

8Early Jewish Writings, Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, Book I, Chapter 3, Section 3.

9Ibid.

10Here are several links showing when the ancient Macedonian calendar was, followed by a listing of the months (starting from the first month of that calendar).  http://www.answers.com/topic/ancient-macedonian-calendar?method=22  , http://www.mlahanas.de/Greeks/Measurements2.htm  and http://www.crystalinks.com/calendars3.html.

Δίος (Dios, moon of October)
Απελλαίος (Apellaios, moon of November, also a Dorian month - Apellaiōn was a Tenian month)
Αυδναίος or Αυδηναίος (Audnaios or Audēnaios, moon of December)
Περίτιος (Peritios, moon of January)
Δύστρος (Dystros, moon of February)
Ξανδικός or Ξανθικός (Xandikos or Xanthikos, moon of March)
Ξανδικός Εμβόλιμος (Xandikos Embolimos, intercalated 6 times over a 19-year cycle)
Αρτεμίσιος or Αρταμίτιος (Artemisios or Artamitios, moon of April, also a Spartan, Rhodian and Epidaurian month - Artemisiōn was an Ionic month)
Δαίσιος (Daisios, moon of May)
Πάνημος or Πάναμος (Panēmos or Panamos, moon of June, also an Epidaurian, Miletian, Samian and Corinthian month)
Λώιος (Lōios, moon of July - Ομολώιος, Homolōios, was an Aetolian, Boeotian and Thessalian month)
Γορπιαίος (Gorpiaios, moon of August)
Υπερβερεταίος (Hyperberetaios, moon of September - Hyperberetos was a Cretan month)
Υπερβερεταίος Εμβόλιμος (Hyperberetaios Embolimos, intercalated once over a 19-year cycle)

¤While some may be of the opinion that the month Thoth and the month Tishri are essentially the same, the problem with this belief is that the Egyptian year was always about one fourth of a day deficient for every year of elapsed time. Even though originally Thoth began in mid-summer, eventually it would quite literally "wander" around until it at some point was in alignment with the month of Tishri, and soon afterwards continue to "wander" around the months until it (eventually) came back to its beginning point in the summer, at the rising of the star Sirius. Based upon my calculations, during the exodus, in 1436 BCE, the month of Thoth would have begun on the date of August 16 or 17. The start of the month of Tishri would still be about two or three weeks away at that point in time.  With this in mind, it would not be correct to say that the Egyptian calendar (which started in the month of Thoth) is somehow connected with a Tishri calendar, which always begins at some time in the fall (mid-September to mid-October).

11Wikipedia, the Egyptian Calendar, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egyptian_calendar

12Wikipedia, Sothic Cycle, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sothic_cycle

13Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Jack Finegan, p. 91.

14Since we have already determined from a study of the Jubilee code that Sabbatical and Jubilee years already existed before the exodus, and could be plotted from the time of Creation to at least the time of the exodus, then whatever calendar Noah was using would also have to align with Sabbatical and Jubilee years.  We know that this is another confirmation that Sabbatical and Jubilee years must follow a Tishri (fall) calendar, for that is the calendar used in Genesis 7, and confirmed by other Scripture texts, the historian Josephus, and many other historical documents.

£While Philo believed that the year began either in the spring or the fall, he also says something else which suggests that the flood may have taken place in the spring.  Please note his statement:

"The deluge took place in the seventh month, not according to time but according to nature, having for its principle and commencement the spring season." (Early Jewish Writings, The Works of Philo, Questions and Answers on Genesis, Part II, Section 31.)

His statement is somewhat confusing, for this does not agree either with Genesis 7:11 (which says it was the 2nd month, without specifying which month) nor with Josephus (who says it was the month of Marchesuan―which is the 8th month of the religious calendar and the 2nd month of the civil calendar).  He in fact gives a suggestion that "perhaps" the flood took place on the actual day of the vernal equinox, in Section 42 of this same reference: "But, perhaps, by this minuteness he intended manifestly to indicate the precise time of the vernal equinox, for that always occurs on the twentyseventh day of the seventh month." Just remember, this 7th month flood of Philo does not agree with either the Biblical account or the statement of Josephus.  Also, Philo is on record as stating his belief that there are indeed two beginnings of the year (one at the spring equinox, and the other at the fall equinox).

15Early Jewish Writings, Philo of Alexandria, The Special Laws - II.

¥In the book of Enoch a description is given of the courses of the sun through various "portals."  It is clear from his statement that he is describing a year which begins in the spring, at the vernal equinox, in much the same way that Philo describes the same event―although, obviously Philo adds the additional commentary that the year can also begin at the fall equinox.  (The Anchor Bible Dictionary, Vol. 1, David Noel Freedman, Editor-in-Chief, Doubleday, New York: New York, 1992, p. 818.)  Since I do not in any way deny the use of a spring calendar, the testimony of this book does not disprove the use of a fall calendar by the ancient Hebrews.

In the first part of chapter 6 of the book of Jubilees, the author describes events in the life of Noah in such a way as to conclude that the flood took place in the spring instead of the fall.  Please note some additional information later in that same chapter regarding how Jubilees understands the calendar in general:

1And on the new moon of the third month he went forth from the ark, and built an altar on that mountain. 2And he made atonement for the earth, and took a kid and made atonement by its blood for all the guilt of the earth; for everything that had been on it had been destroyed, save those that were in the ark with Noah. . . . 15And He gave to Noah and his sons a sign that there should not again be a flood on the earth. 16He set His bow in the cloud for a sign of the eternal covenant that there should not again be a flood on the earth to destroy it all the days of the earth. 17For this reason it is ordained and written on the heavenly tablets, that they should celebrate the feast of weeks in this month once a year, to renew the covenant every year. . . . 23And on the new moon of the first month, and on the new moon of the fourth month, and on the new moon of the seventh month, and on the new moon of the tenth month are the days of remembrance, and the days of the seasons in the four divisions of the year. These are written and ordained as a testimony for ever. 24And Noah ordained them for himself as feasts for the generations for ever, so that they have become thereby a memorial unto him. . . . 29And they placed them on the heavenly tablets, each had thirteen weeks; from one to another (passed) their memorial, from the first to the second, and from the second to the third, and from the third to the fourth. 30And all the days of the commandment will be two and fifty weeks of days, and (these will make) the entire year complete. Thus it is engraven and ordained on the heavenly tablets. 31And there is no neglecting (this commandment) for a single year or from year to year. 32And command thou the children of Israel that they observe the years according to this reckoning- three hundred and sixty-four days, and (these) will constitute a complete year, and they will not disturb its time from its days and from its feasts; for everything will fall out in them according to their testimony, and they will not leave out any day nor disturb any feasts. . . . 36For there will be those who will assuredly make observations of the moon -how (it) disturbs the seasons and comes in from year to year ten days too soon. 37For this reason the years will come upon them when they will disturb (the order), and make an abominable (day) the day of testimony, and an unclean day a feast day, and they will confound all the days, the holy with the unclean, and the unclean day with the holy; for they will go wrong as to the months and sabbaths and feasts and jubilees.

(From The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament, by R.H. Charles, Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1913, Scanned and Edited by Joshua Williams, Northwest Nazarene College)

The author of Jubilees is clearly mistaken in several of his statements given here.  First, he states that Noah came out of the ark on the "new moon" of the third month.  However, Scripture clearly states that it was the 27th day of the second month when Noah was commanded to leave the ark.  That would be at least two days if not three days prior to the "new moon" of the third month.  Second, he says that "there will be those who will assuredly make observations of the moon -how (it) disturbs the seasons and comes in from year to year ten days too soon."  On this basis, he clearly directs us to a commandment which is not found in Scripture, a commandment to count the years based upon a purely solar calendar instead of a lunar-solar calendar, which is fully capable of correcting the ten day difference of the lunar cycles with the occasional addition of a 13th month.  His 364 day calendar, while intriguing, is not taught at all in Scripture, and leads us to conclude that by following his method of observing the feasts he might (at times) be several days off from the true Biblical method (which is based upon lunar sightings).  Since these things are clearly at variance with the Scriptural account, it might cause us to call into question the accuracy of his overall belief that the flood came in the spring, instead of the fall (as the historian Josephus has plainly stated).  And, as stated elsewhere on this website (in the brief study "Is the Book of Jubilees Infallible Scripture"), the chronology of Jubilees itself is based upon the Septuagint chronology--a chronology which is known to be very inaccurate.  Upon weighing this evidence from the Book of Jubilees verses the account of Josephus, it would appear that Josephus provides a much more accurate explanation regarding the calendar used at the time of the flood.  Since we have multiple other ways of confirming this from Scripture (such as the name of the 8th month, Bul, meaning rain, and the fact that the Canaanite calendar used many of the same names of the months as the Hebrew calendar, and yet was a fall-to-fall calendar) it would seem that the bulk of the evidence supports a fall-to-fall calendar as the original calendar.

16William F. Albright, "The Gezer Calendar," BASOR, 92 (December, 1943), p. 23-23.

17Ibid., pp. 30, 32, 37, and 38.

18The Chronology of Ezra 7, by Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, p. 75.

19Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, "The Fifth-century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine," Journal of Near Eastern Studies, XIII (1954), p. 1-20.

20Emil G. Kraeling, The Brooklyn Museum Aramaic Papyri.

21Horn, The Chronology of Ezra 7, Op. Cit., p. 88.

22Ibid., p. 89.

23Horn and Wood, "The Fifth-century Jewish Calendar at Elephantine," Op. Cit., p. 1-20.

24The Chronology of Ezra 7, by Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, p. 75.

25The Jewish Vertual Library, Talmud, tractate Rosh Hashana, Chapter 1 http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/rh1.html

26The Mishnah, A New Translation. Edited by Jacob Neusner. Yale University Press: New Haven and London, 1988. ROSH HASHSHANAH 1.1, p. 299.

27Wikipedia, Cheshvan. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cheshvan.

28For further information please see the article by Frank Humphrey McGill, Ph.D., Senior Pastor, Peoples Church of Montreal, The Great Flood and Halloween (the Hallowed Eve), A Christian response to Halloween, revised October 27, 1997.  See also Flood Legends for more references to ancient legends of the flood.

29Frederick A. Filby, B.Sc., M.Sc., Ph.D. (University College, London): The Flood Reconsidered, Zondervan, 1977, Fifth Printing, p.106.

30Ibid., p. 106-108.

31Harris, A Grammar of the Phoenician Language, Op. Cit.

32The lunar cycles for that month and year can be found at Moon Calendar, by Paul Carlisle, http://paulcarlisle.net/mooncalendar/.

33Tel Shemesh, Cheshvan, Steps of the Season. http://telshemesh.org/cheshvan/.

34Wikipedia, Edwin R. Thiele.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_R._Thiele

35Edwin R. Thiele, Op. Cit., p. 28-29.

±Thiele's research does not include the information regarding the statement of Josephus showing how they counted the years before the exodus, nor does it include the information connecting the timing of the flood with the celebration of Halloween.  As a result, his belief is that the counting of the months and years would always be from Nisan (Abib) throughout Scripture.  I am in general agreement with him on this point, except for one important difference. My research, as extensively documented here in this study, indicates that before the exodus they clearly counted time using a Tishri-to-Tishri (fall) calendar (Genesis 7:11), and the counting of the months and years would be from the month of Tishri, and after the exodus (Exodus 12:1-2) all of the months would be counted from Nisan (Abib), regardless of which calendar they used (whether a spring or a fall calendar).

(36) 231From “Note on the Regnal Years in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan,” by E. B. Knobel, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. LXIX, No. 1, November 13, 1908, London, England, p. 8. This article is available online by accessing the following URL: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1908MNRAS..69....8K.

It is sad that critics, such as the one I previously quoted, are often incapable of even stating the facts correctly―much less coming to the correct conclusions.  Evidently, this critic read my remarks and updated his commentary with remarks of his own. He stated "Glenn believes that it is a matter of fact that, no matter when a Persian king began to reign, the Persians didn’t start that king’s count until the month of Tishri, and he believes that Nehemiah 1:1 and 2:1 prove his theory. Of course, the Bible chronologist whom he cites, Edwin R. Thiele, believes this as well."

While I would never say this person is an "idiot" (for such a designation would be incorrect, since he obviously is capable of rational thought), it would be more accurate to state that his comments pointedly demonstrate his gross "ignorance" and "bias"!  "Ignorance" is simply the result of "ignoring" crucial evidence, a state of unawareness or lack of knowledge―whether intentional or not. We all have blind spots, or ignorance, in certain areas―since none of us can claim to know everything.  However, when bias is added to the equation of ignorance, the result is an unreasonable state of mind. "Bias" is simply prejudice towards something which is not welcome (regardless of reason), and which, when added to ignorance, leads to a hardening of the heart against truth.  When they have reached that state of mind, such a person cannot continue to honestly call themselves a truth seeker.  How exactly does ignorance and bias apply to this statement?

Well, could someone please indicate where in this study I (supposedly) stated that the "Persians" began their count of the year in the "month of Tishri" (i.e.., in the fall)?  Neither I nor Edwin Thiele said anything of that nature.  What Thiele said (and that I affirmed) is that the Jews (whether the Elephantine community living in Egypt, or Ezra and Nehemiah in Israel) used a Tishri calendar (fall-to-fall) to date the Persian kings in the 5th century BCE.  The Persians never used a fall calendar to date the reigns of their own kings, and the references which he uses do not support this strange view!!  The Persians used a spring calendar.  And this idea that a "regnal" year of a king starts in the exact month that the king comes into power (or the month that the previous king dies) is also a flimsy piece of construction "built upon sand!"  Even the scholars and chronologists he is quoting from do not believe such rubbish!!  When a king dies in the X year of his reign, and another king comes to power in that same X year, the point at which the new king officially begins to reign is determined by the start of their new year if using accession year reckoning (typically either the following spring or the following fall).  If it is non-accession year reckoning, the year the king comes to the throne is counted as his first year, but his first year will still follow the calendar year (which ends either in the spring or the fall, depending on how they reckoned it).  With this system, a rule that begins one week before the start of the new year would count that one week as one entire year.  Note this reference from the "patmos papers" website, which explains this more thoroughly:

"Another thing to remember is what is called a king's 'accession year.' This was the period intervening between a new king's coronation and the end of that calendar year. The 'first year' of a king's reign was considered to be the first full calendar year, not the first 12 months, after his coronation. Whatever period remained from the time he became king until that calendar year ended, was considered his accession year." (Determining Biblical Dates, http://www.patmospapers.com/daniel/dates.htm)

PS:  As time permits I will add more documentation for this.

37Handbook of Biblical Chronology, Jack Finegan, p. 91.

38Wikipedia, Edwin R. Thiele. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edwin_R._Thiele.

§While my chief critic would like for his readers to believe that I depend almost exclusively upon the scholarly opinions of Edwin Thiele, let it be understood that I am perfectly capable of doing my own chronological and historical research.  Based upon the available historical evidence, I do not agree that Artaxerxes came to the throne in or before the fall of 465 BCE, for the reasons which shall become apparent after reading the footnote following note 39.

 

39This date can be accurately determined because these months were based upon a repeatable and predictable astronomical event (the phases of the moon), which can be calculated backward thousands of years into the past (with an accuracy of within a few hours). Please search the Nasa Eclipse Home Page for specific lunar dates for certain centuries, found at: http://sunearth.gsfc.nasa.gov/eclipse/phase/phasecat.html.  Please see the footnote below for further information regarding dating the accession year of Artaxerxes.

In regard to the reign of Artaxerxes, it has also been mentioned by this critic that he (supposedly) came to power at the exact time of his father Xerxes death, just before the fall of 465 BCE, and that his regnal year should (supposedly) begin at that time.  He states "I believe that Nehemiah reckoned Artaxerxes’ reign in keeping with the month during which it actually began (most likely July or August)."   While it may be true that a few historians are confused as to the accession date of Artaxerxes, the evidence from ancient documents does not support such a position.  Yes, it is certain that Xerxes died in or near the start of the fall of 465 BCE, based upon the ancient Saros tablet BM 32234, which says "Month V, 14 [?], Xerxes was murdered by his son."  However, this does not state that Artaxerxes came to the throne at this time.  If we want to know when exactly Artaxerxes came to the throne, there is an Aramaic papyrus (AP6) that plainly tells us the exact date of Artaxerxes ascent to the throne:

On the 18th of Kisleu which is the (17th) day of Thoth, in year 21, the beginning of the reign when King Artaxerxes sat on his throne. (The Chronology of Ezra 7, by Siegfried H. Horn and Lynn H. Wood, p. 101-103. See also A. E. Cowley, Aramaic Papyri of the Fifth Century B.C. (Oxford: Oxford University, 1923). AP 6 papyrus is on pages 15-18.)

The “day of Thoth” is in reference to an Egyptian month which (at that time) begins almost the same time as the Hebrew month Kisleu in the Hebrew calendar, and it is the Egyptian start of the New Year. The 18th day of Kisleu would also be the 17th day of Thoth at that time in history. Based upon other chronological data, we can more specifically identify the beginning of this month Thoth as December 17, 465 BCE.  Kisleu 18 would therefore be January 3rd or 4th in the year 464 BCE. (Please see my study The Most Crucial Key to Determine Jubilee Years for much more information and documentation regarding this issue.)

If Artaxerxes came to the throne about 4 months after his father's death, in January of 464 BCE, then that year was still part of his accession year.  During this interim period there was clearly a period of uncertainty over the throne within the Persian empire.  Between the time of the murder of Xerxes (in or near August of 465 BCE) and the time that Artaxerxes officially takes the throne (January 3 or 4, 464 BCE) there is a period of conflict between himself and Artabanus, the one who murdered Xerxes.  The reference from Edward Knobel quoted from earlier plainly states that the accession of Artabanus (not Artaxerxes) came in July or August of 465 BCE, after he murdered Xerxes:

'Xerxes was assassinated by Artabanus in the beginning of the archonship of Lysitheus —the 4th. year of the 78th. Olympiad.  The commencement of this archonship is well determined as July B.C. 465, consequently the accession of Artabanus can be fixed as July or August B.C. 465. (“Note on the Regnal Years in the Aramaic Papyri from Assuan,” by E. B. Knobel, published in Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Vol. LXIX, No. 1, November 13, 1908, London, England, p. 8. This article is available online by accessing the following URL: http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1908MNRAS..69....8K.)

Strangely, my chief critic quotes from this very reference which tells us about the accession of Artabanus at the death of Xerxes, but then completely ignores this fact and declares that it was Artaxerxes who ascended the throne at that time!  Duh!!  Who took the throne, Artabanus or Artaxerxes?  Regardless of whether Artabanus actually ruled in this period of time, or was simply attempting to rule, the point is mute.  Egyptian Papyri AP 6 plainly says that Artaxerxes began to reign about four months later.  So it doesn't matter when Xerxes died―that does not determine the start of Artaxerxes reign.  What matters is that events listed four months after the murder of Xerxes are still identified as part of the 21st year of Xerxes.  This reference also proves that they used an accession year method to calculate their reigns, for this date (January 3rd or 4th, 464 BCE) was both within the accession year of Artaxerxes and "in year 21" of Xerxes (his last year, since he was killed about 4 months earlier). Kings do not begin the count of their regnal years from the exact time they take the throne, regardless of whether they use accession year or non-accession year reckoning―the single ancient historical reference quoted above (AP6) actually proves this point quite readily.  [Please see Determining Biblical Dates reference above.]  While the Persian reckoning of years would start his first full official regnal year in the spring of 464 BCE, his first full year as reckoned by the Jewish nation (as given in Nehemiah 1 and 2 and the Elephantine Papyri) would begin in the fall of 464 BCE, since we have already determined (as mentioned in the Talmud, and Josephus, and proven in many other ways) that the Jews used a Tishri calendar to determine the reigns of foreign kings.

40Edwin R. Thiele, Op. Cit., pp. 25-32.

41Ibid., p. 27.  "Most Biblical chronologists have followed a Nisan-to-Nisan year in dealing with the Hebrew kings.3  The statement in the Mishna tract Rosh Hashana that the first of Nisan is the New Year for kings4 is no doubt largely responsible for this point of view.  Such outstanding authorities as Begrich and Morgenstern point out, however, that, in view of the late date of the Mishna notice, we might expect to find recorded there merely a late tradition.5  It is quite possible that, by the time of the Mishna statement was prepared, all memory of the exact chronological arrangements of the Hebrew kings had disappeared and that any statements from the authorities of that age are as arbitrary as those of more recent investigators."

42Ibid., pp. 27, 30.

43S. Langdon, Babylonian Menologies and the Semitic Calendars, p. 24, and Zellig Harris, A Grammer of the Phoenician Language, pp. 84, 87, and 98.

44William F. Albright, "The Gezer Calendar," BASOR, 92 (December, 1943), p. 23-23. Ibid., pp. 30, 32, 37, and 38.

45The Mishnah, Op. Cit., ROSH HASHSHANAH 1.1, p. 299.  The Jewish Vertual Library, Talmud, tractate Rosh Hashana, Chapter 1.

46Chronology of the Old Testament, http://www.internetdynamics.com/home/spadkins/god/study/oldtest/chron.htm.

471001 Questions and Answers on Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by Jeffrey M. Cohen, and Albright, "The Gezer Calendar," BASOR, 92 (December, 1943), pp. 16-26.

48Sacred Chronology, by Godfrey Faussett, Oxford, p. 42.

7 to 9 months is the normal gestation period for the birth of a child.  This is in perfect alignment with the Jewish feasts which cover from 7 to 9 months in duration, and each of the feasts parallel a certain stage in the growth of a fetus.  All of this shows that the purpose of the Abib calendar was not to correct the Jews regarding their use of another type of calendar, but instead to give an object lesson about our spiritual conception and birth as can be illustrated in the seasons and as this is compared to the human gestation cycle.

49The Qumran scrolls also note that Rosh Hashanah is a feast that comes on Tishri 1.  Please see Calendar and Chronology, Jewish and Christian, by Roger T. Beckwith, p. 83.

See J. T. Milik, Ten Years of Discovery in the Wilderness of Judaea (ut supra), p. 109.

50Calendar and chronology, Jewish and Christian, by Roger T. Beckwith, p. 83.  References by Philo in De Specialibus Legibus 2:150, 153; Quaestiones et Solutiones in Genesin 2:31, 47; in Exodum 1:1 and by Josephus in Antiquities 1:3:3, or 1:80f; 3:10:1-7, or 3:237-257.