With the exception of one reference (Ex 12:2) the New Year is never specifically dated. The religious calendar apparently began in the spring and the agricultural calendar in the autumn. Later Judaism began its calendar in the autumn.
Evidence that the autumn was regarded as the New Year
The dedication of Solomon’s temple1Ki 8:2Solomon waited 11 months after the completion of the temple (see 1Ki 6:38), before dedicating it, most likely because the great Feast of Tabernacles marked the beginning of the year.
Instructions for celebrating the Year of JubileeLev 25:8-9The Year of Jubilee was to be proclaimed on the tenth day of the seventh month, which was also the Day of Atonement. See alsoLev 16:29
Ezekiel’s vision of the new templeEze 40:1This vision of the new temple takes place at the beginning of the year. The “tenth of the month” refers presumably to the seventh month.
Jeroboam’s institution of an autumnal festival1Ki 12:32This autumn festival was clearly intended to be equivalent not only to the feast in Judah, but also to other pagan New Year festivals, in spite of the eighth month being distinctive. See also1Ki 12:33
Evidence that the spring was regarded as the New Year
The institution of the PassoverEx 12:2This clearly links the spring Feast of Passover to the New Year. See alsoLev 23:5; Nu 9:2
Ezekiel’s vision of the worship of the new templeEze 45:18-19This purification of Ezekiel’s (ideal) temple resembles the Day of Atonement but takes place in the spring. See alsoEze 45:21
Occasions associating the New Year with the autumn
Dictionary of Bible Themes Scripture index copyright Martin H. Manser, 2009. As Editor, Martin Manser wishes to thank all those who compiled or edited the NIV Thematic Study Bible, on which this work is based.
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