Jewish Months (pre exilic)
Chapter Twelve.

This is one of the greatest chapters in the word of God. It is in this chapter that we see outlined for all of us one of the great themes of the Bible - the Blood Atonement. If you will grasp the truths of this chapter, you will understand more of the Bible than most of the so-called "theologians" of the world. It is in this chapter that we find the beginning of Israel's religious calendar, the first of the months, the lamb of God, the picture of the "Passion Week," the sacrifice of Passover commencing, the feast of unleavened bread, the picture of the judgment of God on those not protected by the blood, and many, many other themes. There are 51 verses in this chapter and it may take us 51 weeks to get through it. (Just kidding) Certainly, this is one of the preeminent portions of Scripture to be found. There are so many things to discuss as we go through this chapter. None will ever be able to plumb the depths of the lessons to be learned from studying Exodus 12.

According to Ussher's Chronology of the Bible, these events occurred 1491 years before the actual crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Details listed in this chapter depict His passion so minutely that only the hand of God could have arranged the circumstances. Just trying to outline these events will be demanding upon this feeble brain. Please pray with me to be able to get through the chapter with some particle of order and decorum.

  1. I. The Beginning of Months. Verses 1-2.

    This first month is named Nisan or Abib. Roughly corresponds to our March - April. It is the first month of Israel's 12 month religious calendar. Always started on the first new moon after the blossoming of the Almond trees in the Springtime of the year. After the exile and in the modern era the calendar months are determined in a different manner. The pre-exilic religious monthly calendar is as follows:

Jewish Month
Approximate Month
Scripture References
Jewish Feasts


March - April
Exodus 12:2, Exodus 13:4;
Deuteronomy 16:1
Unleavened Bread


Iyyar or Zif
April - May
1 Kings 6:1, 37


May - June
Esther 8:9


June - July
Ezekiel 8:14


July - August


August - September
Nehemiah 6:15


Ethanim or Tishri
September - October
(Civil Calendar starts)
1 Kings 8:2
Rosh-ha-Shanah (New Year)
Atonement or Yom Kippur


Cheshvan or Bul
October - November
1 Kings 6:38


November - December
Nehemiah 1:1; Zechariah 7:1


December - January
Esther 2:16


January - February
Zechariah 1:7


February - March
Ezra 6:15 and Esther

The spellings of the above words are transliterated from the Hebrew language and may not always agree in spelling with the way they are transliterated into the English language. See Nehemiah 1:1 where the word Chisleu occurs. It is the eight month also spelled Kislev. Under the heading "Jewish Feasts" we have listed and underlined the seven primary feasts as found in Leviticus 23. In the small black letters we list three other very important feasts celebrated by the Jewish people over the centuries. Rosh-ha-Shanah (New Year), Channukkah, and the Feast of Purim are all mentioned in the Scriptures but are not listed in Leviticus 23 where the seven primary feasts are described.

Because the Biblical month was 30 days (Genesis 7 & 8), but the lunar month was only 29 days, the Jewish people interjected a 13th month about every 3 years. This served the purpose of making the solar year correspond to the lunar year. This allowed the feasts to be observed at the proper seasons. These leap years of 13 months occurred 4 years out of every 11 years of their calendar. They would interject a second month Adar (Wa-adar). In pre-exilic times their monthly calendar was not very accurate. Since a lunar month is actually 29 days (the amount of time for the moon to make one revolution around the earth), trying to live a 30 day month would become difficult. Another complication would be the varying length of daylight hours between Summer and Winter. I cannot prove this, but I think that God's perfect month of 30 days was corrupted by the fall. I believe that it disturbed the rotation of the earth and made the days of the lunar and solar years different. There have been many people who have tried to get the years and dates straightened out since these days mentioned here in the Bible, but I believe that only God will be able to bring everything back to order when the Lord Jesus comes again.

Old Paths Baptist Ministries
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Pueblo West, CO 81007

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