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Hebrew Name of MonthN1 The Seven Mosaic Religious Festivals SeasonsN2 Babylonian &
Length Roman (Julian & Gregorian

Nisan [early name was Aviv]

Exodus 12:2

Exodus 13:4

Deuteronomy 16:1

Ezra 7:9

Nehemiah 2:1

Esther 3:7

Related to the Babylonian first month Nisannu, "to start," or perhaps to Hebrew nitzan, "blossoms." See Esther 3:7 and Nehemiah 2:1 and note that the only use of the word Nisan is from the Persian Period. In the Pentateuch its name is Aviv, "spring." Abib refers to an unripe head of barley. The word abib  ("fresh or tender, young ears") is of probable Canaanite origin. The month name Abib occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures only in connection with the Passover. Deuteronomy 16:1-3; Exodus 13:4; 23:15. Leviticus 23 and Numbers 29 begin the year in the spring.

14th. Feast of Passover  (Exodus 12:14; 34:25; Leviticus 23:5).

Israel's deliverance from Egyptian bondage with redemption through the blood of the slain lamb. About 3:00 p.m. on Nisan 14 the high priest would kill the first Passover lamb, by slitting its throat and allowing it to bleed to death. The Israelites would then eat the Passover Seder after sunset on the 15th, an annual Sabbath, as the new day began.

15th. Feast of Unleavened Bread and the 21st the unnamed feast of the last of the days of unleavened bread (Leviticus 23:6).(Exodus 12:15-20; 23:14-15; 34:18; Leviticus 23:6-8; Numbers 28:17). This festival, marked by two annual or chief Sabbaths (holydays), was of seven days duration, known as the days of unleavened bread, when the Israelites were to eat unleavened bread rather than leavened bread. The 1st and 7th days of the feast were annual Sabbaths or chief Sabbaths. 

On Sunday morning during the feast, the high priest offered the wave sheaf. This offering, the first of the first fruits of the early barley harvest, symbolized the dedication of the whole year's crops (Leviticus 23:10-14). The Levitical priests always made this annual offering, known as the Omer, on Sunday morning. An omer was a Hebrew dry measure consisting of a tenth part of an ephah (an ephah was about a bushel). At present, in the tradition of Pharisaic Judaism, rabbis count the Omer from the second day of unleavened bread (from the day following Passover Sabbath not Sunday) but the priests did not do so anciently. The second annual Sabbath celebrates the Israelite crossing of the Red Sea on their way to the Land of promise.

Latter or Spring rains (Joel 2:23; Deuteronomy 11:14).

Streams in flood (Joshua 3:15, cf I Chronicles 12:15; Jeremiah 12:5).

Barley (Exodus 9:31), wheat, figs (Zechariah 10:1; Mark 11:13; Matthew 21:19)

Apricots ripening.

I 7 30 days Mar.-Apr.

Iyar [early name was Ziw or Ziv]

I Kings 6:1

I Kings 6:37

II Chronicles 30:15

Related to the Hebrew 'or, "bright." The word abib is of probable Canaanite origin. The month name Ziv occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures only in connection with the construction of the Solomonic temple. See I Kings 6:1, 6:37.

14th. Second Passover or Little Passover (Numbers 9:10-11) for those who could not keep the first Passover.

Principal harvest month in lower districts (Ruth 1:22).

Wheat begins to ripen.

II 8 29 days Apr.-May

Siwan or Sivan

Esther 8:9

Related to the Assyrian words for "to mark" or "to appoint."

Feast of First Fruits or Pentecost (Exodus 23:19; Leviticus 23:17, 23:20; Deuteronomy 16:9-10, 26:2, 26:10; Esther 8:9). Also called the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16; 34:22), Feast of Weeks (Numbers 28:26), later the day of Pentecost [count fifty] (Leviticus 23:15-21, 23:39; Acts 2:1).

The 50th day reckoned from the morrow (Sunday) after the first weekly Sabbath during the Days of Unleavened Bread. Always on Sunday, dealt with the dedication of the early wheat harvest, the firstfruits, to God. Sanctify Israel and clean her anew for the season's work and rejoicing. At present, but not anciently, Jews identify this feast with the giving of the Torah on Mt. Sinai and refer to it as the Revelation.

Summer begins. No rain until October. Heavy dews (Psalm 133:3; Hosea 6:4, 8:3, 14:5; Job 29:19; I Samuel 12:17; Proverbs 26:1)

III 9 30 days May-Jun.


Zechariah 8:19

Named after the Babylonian god Dumuzi, parallel to the Greeks' Adonis, god of vegetation and plant life.


Hot. Country parched and dry.

Grapes begin to ripen

IV 10 29 days Jun.-Jul.

Av or Ab

Ezra 7:9

Named after wood and reeds used for the erection of shelters in Babylonia.


Intense heat.

Principal fruit month: grapes, figs, olives, walnuts.

V 11 30 days Jul.-Aug.


Nehemiah 6:15

An onomatopoetic derivative from the Akkadian for "women singing." See Nehemiah 6:15.


Intense heat.

General grape harvest (II Kings 4:18-20; Psalm 121:6, Isaiah 49:9-10, Revelation 7:16).

VI 12 29 days Aug.-Sept.

Tishri [early name was Ethanim]

I kings 8:2

II Chronicles 5:3

From Aramaic shera or sherei, "to begin." The word ethanim is of probable Canaanite origin. The month name Ethanim occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures only in connection with the construction of the Solomonic temple. See I Kings 8:2.

1st. Feast of Trumpets (Leviticus 23:24-25; Numbers 29:1)

A day for the blowing of trumpets. There is no emphasis on the fall Feast of Trumpets in the Torah or in the balance of the Hebrew Scriptures. It marks the beginning of the civil year.

10th. Feast of Atonement (Leviticus 16:29-30, 23:27-28; Numbers 29:7).

A day of fasting, where people were to remain in their homes and recall that their high priest was to enter into the Most Holy Place and to bring about their reconciliation with God. It is the only fast day of the seven feasts and annual Sabbaths (Leviticus 23:32 cf. Acts 27:9).

15th-21st. Feast of Tabernacles, or Ingathering. (Deuteronomy 16:13; Leviticus 23:34; Leviticus 23:36, 23:39; Numbers 29:12).

Living in tents or temporary dwellings. Also Booths and the Feast of Ingathering, lasting seven days with the first an annual Sabbath (Leviticus 23:36, 23:39; Numbers 29:12). Now also called the Sukkot Festival, the Harvest Festival, and by some The Festival.

Celebrated the completion of the great fall harvest at the close of the growing cycle with the people rejoicing for God's blessings. Also Booths and the Feast of Ingathering, lasting seven days with the first an annual Sabbath. Now also called the Sukkot Festival, the Harvest Festival, and by some The Festival.

22nd. Feast of the Last Great Day (Leviticus 23:34-36, 23:39; Numbers 29:35; John 7:37).

Marked the conclusion of the festival year. Now Jews celebrate this day as one of marking the end of the feasts and the close of the year-long cycle of Sabbath Torah readings.

  VII 1 30 days Sept.-Oct.

Marcheshwan, Cheshvan, Heshvan [early name was Bul]

I Kings 6:38

Related to the Assyrian, Arahsammu, "eighth month." The word bul is of probable Canaanite origin. The month name Bul occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures only in connection with the construction of the Solomonic temple. See I Kings 6:38.


Wheat and barley sown.

Continued rain.

Gathering of latter grapes; also olives.

VIII 2 29 or 30 days Oct.-Nov.

Chislev or Kislev

Nehemiah 1:1

Unclear, perhaps related to kesil, the biblical word for Orion, the Archer. See Nehemiah 1:1; Zechariah 7:1.


Winter begins (John 10:22).

Snow on highlands.

IX 3 30 or 29 days Nov.-Dec.

Teveth, Tebeth, or Tevet

Esther 2:16

Related to the Assyrian/Babylonian tebetum and Hebrew Lava, it probably meant "to drown" or "to be submerged" (in mud), because of its being the month of the heaviest rainfall. See Esther 2:16.


Mid-winter. Coldest month.

Rain, hail, snow (Joshua 10:11) on higher hills.

Groves, pastures of the Jordan valley scarlet with anemones and poppies.

Oranges ripening.

Lower districts becoming green with corn.

X 4 29 days Dec.-Jan.

Shevat, Shebat, or Sh'bat

Zechariah 1:7

Perhaps related to words for beating or striking implements, a possible allusion to the beating rains of this month. See Zechariah 1:7.


Weather becoming warmer.

In sheltered localities almond and peach trees begin to blossom.

Oranges ripe.

Winter figs on leafless trees.

XI 5 30 days Jan.-Feb.

Adar, Adar I, or Adar Aleph

Esther 3:7

Twelfth Babylonian month A(d)daru. Meaning dubious, perhaps from adaru, "be darkened" "eclipsed." Possibly related to a Moloch-like idol worshipped by ancestors of the Samaritans, or perhaps, "threshing floor." In leap years Adar has 30 days and in common it has 29 days. See Esther 3:7, 3:13; 8:12; 9:1, 9:15, 9:17, 9:19, 9:21; Ezra 6:15.


The latter rains begin on which, plenty or famine, the crops and pastures depend.

Almond trees in blossom.

Oranges and lemons in the lowlands.

XII 6 29 or 30 days Feb.-Mar.

V'Adar, Adar Bet, or Adar II

This thirteenth month appears in the seven leap years in a nineteen-year cycle (years 3, 6, 8, 11, 14, 17, and 19. There is no thirteenth month recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures thus no verifiable evidence therein for an intercalary month (Vanderkam 1998:9). Nevertheless, absence of evidence is not evidence of adsence.

    XIII   29 days Mar.-Apr.

N1Kossey 1971:8.16. See Siegel and Rheins 1980, Brown, Driver, and Briggs 1996, and Vanderkam 1998:8-10.

N2After W. Graham Scroggie (Scroggie 1995:114-115).

Page last edited: 04/08/06 06:11 PM


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