Easton's Bible Dictionary


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 Chr. 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.

MonthLengthCivil Equivalent
1Nisan (pre-exilic 'Aviv')30 daysMarch-April
2Iyar29 daysApril-May
3Sivan30 daysMay-June
4Tamuz29 daysJune-July
5Ab30 daysJuly-August
6Elul29 daysAugust-September
7Tishrei30 daysSeptember-October
8Marcheshvan (Cheshvan)29 or 30 daysOctober-November
9Kislev (Chisleu, Chislev)29 or 30 daysNovember-December
10Tevet29 daysDecember-January
11Shvat (Shebat)30 daysJanuary-February
12Adar29 or 30 daysFebruary-March

*Pre-Exilic refers to the period in Jewish history prior to the Babylonian exile; 586BC.

Arab. = Abbreviation for "Arabic". Used to denote the Arabic variation of a word.
A.V. = Authorized Version of the Bible; same as King James Version; published in 1611
Gr. = Abbreviation for "Greek". Used to denote the Greek variation of a word.
Heb. = Abbreviation for "Hebrew". Used to denote the Hebrew variation of a word.
Lat. = Abbreviation for "Latin". Used to denote the Latin variation of a word.
LXX = The symbol employed for the Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament.
MSS. = Abbreviation for "Manuscripts".
q.v. = Abbreviation for the Latin phrase quod vide 'which see'. It is used to direct a reader to another part of a book for more information.
R.V. = Revised Version of the Bible; published in 1881-1885
source: Matthew George Easton; edited by
Return to