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The Jewish Calendar


An interesting post at  Click Here  re The Jewish Calendar.  And Copied Below


The Jewish Calendar  comment by this Trevor is very good.  Further is another comment which is also very good.

  • Wanted to share a few things I have learnt and discuss a few points that will surely arise.

    Much is written in scripture about time, times and half a time, 42 months, 1260 days, 1290 days (Daniel) and 1335 days (also Daniel).

    All these times and lengths are typically characterized as 3 1/2 years (or thereabouts).

    I am quite happy to be corrected on anything I present here.

    I have lost count of how many times I have heard people say something like “1260 days is 3 1/2 years OR 42 Jewish months of 30 days per month”. There seems to be an assumption that each month in the Jewish calendar is 30 days long. Therefore a Jewish “Year” is 360 days. This is incorrect.

    Firstly. The Jewish Calendar is a Luni-Solar Calendar. ie, each Jewish month starts at a new moon BUT the calendar is also an agricultural calendar where the feasts correspond to certain Solar seasons. Since the Jewish Perpetual calendar was commenced in the 4th Century, it follows the “Metonic Cycle”. (I’ll post a good link for this later but you can search it. The Metonic Cycle is the fact that 19 Earth Years almost exactly equals 235 Lunar months. (the difference is only a couple of hours).

    It takes a bit over 365 days for the earth to go around the sun. (365 +1/4 +1/76 days).
    A Lunar month (from new moon to new moon (called a “Synodic Month”) is almost exactly 29.5 days.

    In the Jewish calendar each month IS NOT 30 days in length. Each month alternates (usually ) between a 30 day month, followed by a 29 day month, followed by a 30 day month, and so on. This keeps each month starting at a new moon.

    This means a “Standard” Jewish year is not 360 days, it is 354 days. What this means though is that with 12 “lunar months” in a Jewish Year, the year is about 11 1/4 days too short compared to the seasons. Therefore every 2, 3 or 4 years in the Metonic cycle the Jewish calendar has to add a “leap Month” (called an “intercalary month”). Over the 19 solar years of the Metonic cycle you have to add 7 “Leap Months (Adar 1). This month is added  prior to the month of Nisan (passover month) so that the Passover and harvest festival always stays at the correct Seasonal time of the Solar year.

    Prior to the “perpetual calendar” the Sanhedren  simply periodically added the Leap month when the Harvest festival was getting too much “out of whack”
    Depending upon when the new moon crescent was sighted determined the start of Nisan.

    Therefore to put it all together, (and to thoroughly confuse everyone).

    A Jewish year is NEVER 360 days (as is often assumed)

    A “Normal” Jewish year has 354 days
    A “Leap” Jewish year has 384 days (The leap month of Adar 1 always has 30 days)

    However, just to be more tricky. Due to the rules about when Rosh Hashanah must start on, There is also a “Long” year and a “Short” Year. This is where 1 day is either added to or subtracted from a month (different months), so IN FACT. The Jewish yearly calendar has 6 possible lengths. This is correct for NOW and has been so for the last 1500 or so years.

    1) Normal Short Year = 353 days
    2) Normal Year= 354 days
    3) Normal Long year= 355 days
    4) Leap Short year= 383 days
    5) Leap Year= 384 days
    6) Leap Long Year= 385 days.

    Prior to the current “Perpetual Calendar” each jewish month varied between 29 or 30 days depending on when the new moon was sighted. Leap months were added whenever it was deemed necessary.

    Quote from website:,79387/How-does-the-Jewish-calendar-work.html

    The original Jewish calendar wasn’t precalculated. Instead, on the 30th day of every month the Sanhedrin would be in session, awaiting witnesses who saw the crescent new-moon. If witnesses arrived, that day would be consecrated as Rosh Chodesh,
    thus the previous month would be a 29 day month. If no witnesses
    arrived, then automatically the next day was Rosh Chodesh, and the
    previous month was a 30 day month. Similarly, the leap years weren’t
    precalculated. Rather, when the Sanhedrin realized that Passover would
    be too early on any given year, they would add a new month, thus
    ensuring that Passover (and all the other holidays) remained in its
    proper season. As soon as the Sanhedrin established Rosh Chodesh of any
    month, or if they decided to designate the year as a Leap Year, they would send emissaries to all the Jewish communities in the Diaspora, informing them of their decisions.

    Therefore in Christ’s day a similar situation would have existed in regards to the calendar is does now. The Normal Jewish year would have been still about 354 days based on Lunar months, but may have varied by a day or two based on the sighting of the new moon and Leap year were still added. It’s just that the structure wasn’t formalised as it has been since the 4th Century CE

    So to get back to the starting point on this comment.

    Where in scripture it talks about 1260 days and everyone says “Oh, 3 1/2 years”. NO IT IS NOT. It is close to 3 1/2 years. But 3 1/2 jewish years is NEVER 1260 days. It will always either be a bit more or a bit less. In ANY 3 1/2 year jewish period there will either be at least one “leap” month and somethimes there will be two leap months. I personally lean towards, the view, that where we take the 1260 days mentions as being “literal” days, is is only ABOUT 3 1/2 years, never exactly. Likewise, 42 months is exactly 42 months, but 3 1/2 jewish years MUST be exactly 43 months or even 44 months. To me the terms, “time, times and half a time” are flexible to accomodate this. But literal days and months should usually be taken as such.  Additional quote

    Quote from


In the 5th year of Jehoiachin’s captivity, in the 5th day of the 4th month, Ezekiel was given commanded to lay on his side for 390 days for the iniquity of Israel.  Following this he was commanded to lay on his other side for 40 days for the house of Judah.  This was a total of 430 days.

In the 6th month of the following year as Ezekiel was sitting in his house with some of the elders of Judah.  YHWH took him by the hair to show him the departure of the Shekinah from Jerusalem. (Eze. 8-10)  There are three possible ways to calculate the time between the 4th month of the 5th year and the 6th month of the 6th year:

12 +2  months of 30 days each for 420 days
12 +2 lunar months of 29.53 days each for 413.42 days
13 +2 lunar months of 29.53days each for 442.95 days.

Only the 3rd option is possible given the chronological evidence provided in the text. In order for Ezekiel to have lain on his side for 430 days, the 5th year of Jehoiachin’s captivity must have had an intercalary or 13th month.  As far as I know this is the only place in the Scripture which provides evidence of an intercalary month.  Contextually, this shows that during the captivity period the Jewish people understood time in the sense of an intercalated lunar/solar calendar.  Their religious calendar 12 or 13 months each year.

Ezekiel 4:4-64 Lie thou also upon thy left side, and lay the iniquity of the house of Israel upon it: according to the number of the days that thou shalt lie upon it thou shalt bear their iniquity.  5 For I have laid upon thee the years of their iniquity, according to the number of the days, three hundred and ninety days: so shalt thou bear the iniquity of the house of Israel.  6 And when thou hast accomplished them, lie again on thy right side, and thou shalt bear the iniquity of the house of Judah forty days: I have appointed thee each day for a year.

Ezekiel 1:1-3  KJV Ezekiel 1:1 Now it came to pass in the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I was among the captives by the river of Chebar, that the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God.  2 In the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of king Jehoiachin’s captivity,  3 The word of YHWH came expressly unto Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of YHWH was there upon him.

Ezekiel 8:1And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord YHWH fell there upon me.

Barry Gumm of says

Is it any wonder why working things out via the Musical Clocks of The Solar System Musical Clock is must easier – well for me anyway!

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