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Calendar

The year was composed of twelve lunar months (beginning on the day of the new moon), with an intercalary month added periodically (see perhaps 1 Kings 12.33). In some traditions, and perhaps originally, the year began in the fall, at the autumnal equinox (see Exodus 23.16; 34.22). In others, following Babylonian practice, the new year was celebrated in the spring. The fall new year became standard in postbiblical Judaism. Months in the Bible are usually identified by ordinal numbers, beginning with the spring new year. Some months (in boldface in the following list) are also designated with names derived either from a Canaanite calendar or, in postexilic texts, from a Babylonian one; the names of months not found in the Bible are known from other ancient sources.

CANAANITE NAME BABYLONIAN NAME MODERN EQUIVALENT
First Abib Nisan March–April
Second Ziv Iyyar April–May
Third Sivan May–June
Fourth Tammuz June–July
Fifth Ab July–August
Sixth Elul August–September
Seventh Ethanim Tishri September–October
Eighth Bul Marheshvan October–November
Ninth Chislev November–December
Tenth Tebeth December–January
Eleventh Shebat January–February
Twelfth Adar February–March
Oxford University Press

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