What is a…
month in the Bible

Hebrew: חֹדֶשׁ —transliteration: chodesh —meaning: new moon, a month

Greek: μήν —transliteration: mén —meaning: a (lunar) month

Among the Egyptians the month of thirty days each was in use long before the time of the Exodus, and formed the basis of their calculations. From the time of the institution of the Mosaic law the month among the Jews was lunar.

The cycle of religious feasts depended on the moon. The commencement of a month was determined by the observation of the new moon. The number of months in the year was usually twelve (1 Kings 4:7; 1 Chronicles 27:1-15); but every third year an additional month (ve-Adar) was inserted, so as to make the months coincide with the seasons.

“The Hebrews and Phoenicians had no word for month save ‘moon,’ and only saved their calendar from becoming vague like that of the Moslems by the interpolation of an additional month. There is no evidence at all that they ever used a true solar year such as the Egyptians possessed. The latter had twelve months of thirty days and five epagomenac or odd days.” —Palestine Quarterly, January 1889.

Jewish months

Month Number
Civil Name Days Rough
1 7 Nisan / Abib 30 Mar–Apr
2 8 Zif (Ziv) / Iyar 29 Apr–May
3 9 Sivan / Siwan 30 May–Jun
4 10 Tammuz / Tamuz 29 Jun–Jul
5 11 Av / Ab 30 Jul–Aug
6 12 Elul 29 Aug–Sep
7 1 Ethanim / Tisri (Tishrei)) 30 Sep–Oct
8 2 Bul / Marcheshvan (Cheshvan) 29/30 Oct–Nov
9 3 Chisleu / Chislev / Kislev 30/29 Nov–Dec
10 4 Tebeth / Tevet 29 Dec–Jan
11 5 Sebat / Shevat / Shvat / Shebat 30 Jan–Feb
12 6 Adar 29 Feb–Mar

More information

Article Version: June 4, 2021