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reckoned, which, with the exception of the eighth or rain month, Bul, [corresponding to November,] had not, at the time when the Pentateuch was written, any distinctive appellation; for the month Ethanim (the powerful) scarcely sounds like a settled name. The Passover was celebrated with the offering of the firstlings on the fourteenth day of the first month,-at a similar time with the festival of the Sun among all Oriental nations'. In the seventh month was held the feast of thanksgiving for the gathering-in of the fruits and the vintage; and the feast of Tabernacles took place between the harvest and the rainy season2: thus the whole arrangement of the year was in strict accordance with the festivals and other appointments.
During the Babylonish Exile, however, without any change in the period of the festivals, the Chaldæan arrangement of the year was adopted, by transposing the two halves of the year, and beginning to reckon from what was before the seventh month (Ethanim), corresponding to our October. The Chaldæan names of the months were likewise introduced as part of the new system, and they appear subsequently in the writings of Nehemiah, Daniel, Ezra and Esther. The Rabbins state this expressly, and yet at the same time, by the adoption of a civil year, in contrast to the ecclesiastical year (a distinction which existed only in their own imagination), they appeared to reject the new (Chaldæan) arrangement.
1 Levit. xxiii. 5.
2 Levit. xxiii. 34. Compare also 1 Kings vi. 38; viii. 2; 2 Kings xxv. 8; Jerem. xxxix. 1.
3 Rosch haschana 1; Aben Esra on Exodus xii. ["The names of the months are none of them in the sacred (Hebrew) tongue, but in the tongue of the Chaldees."] Compare also Ideler, Handbuch der Chronol. i. 510.
But if we suppose that the year commenced with the autumn, as it did in the Chaldæan system, which was in use during the æra of the Seleucidæ (в.C. 312-B.C. 65),`as well as at the present day occasionally by the Persians', -and it may be remarked that such a system is natural among agricultural nations2,-we shall then observe that the myth of the flood follows the year exactly. The first month is Tisri (from shěra, to open, as the commencement of the year), and on the seventeenth of the second month (November) the torrents of rain come on. This second month is called Marcheshvan, (from rachash, to well up,) and another name of it is Bul (rain-month), an allusion to which occurs in Genesis vi. 17. in the word mabbul, flood. The Rabbins have thus understood it in this passage; for the Rabbin Eliesar, in Jarchi, places Marcheshvan in this place, and the Targum of Jonathan mentions Thammuz (July) as the tenth month. According to the Jewish division of the year, on the contrary, the heavy rains occur in the beautiful summer month of May, Siv, which takes its name of brightness,' either from the beauty of the flowers or the clearness of the atmosphere, when the light showers are over, which had given to the corn its last ripening, and which were called "the late rains" (Malk'osh): while on the same system the wet winter months would have been the period for the drying up of the earth after the flood. Credner5 rightly observes, on this subject, that "such an arrangement could not have entered into the mind of any inhabitant of that country."
1 Niebuhr, Arab. p. 110.
2 Compare Introduction to Chapter IV.
4 Chap. viii. 5.
3 Gen. vii. 11.
5 On Joel, p. 209.
The flood in Genesis commences with forty days of rain, thus corresponding with the longest duration of the autumnal rains), although forty is here a round number: it then continues 150 days', that is to say just five months of thirty days each, and consequently lasts until the month Nisan, or Abib, corresponding to April; which will also be found correct, if the second or later rain is added, and allowance is made for poetical exaggeration. It may be of little consequence to us to know that the ark landed2 on the seventeenth day of the month Nisan, and that the mountains appeared on the first of Thammuz; yet the concluding date is very important, as it fixes the termination of the inundations on the twenty-seventh day of the month Bul; indeed in this date we may notice a fact, which was advanced by Ephraem the Syrian^, and which Voss erroneously considered as an interpolation,—namely, that the whole narrative of the deluge was based on an acquaintance with a complete solar year of 365 days, or, in other words, seven months of thirty days and five months of thirty-one days; whilst the Hebrews were only thoroughly acquainted with the lunar year of 355 days, and when the feasts were brought into confusion from their adoption of the lunar year they intercalated a whole month.
Rosenmüller and Schumann ably observe, that the narrator of the deluge had the rainy season in view; and Credner has shown more precisely that the year here alluded to commences with the autumn, and that the flood begins with the winter-rains. We differ however decidedly from the opinion of Credner, that the more ancient Hebrews were acquainted with the use of a regular solar year
1 Gen. vii. 24.
3 Gen. viii. 14.
5 Mythol. Briefe iii. 42.
2 Gen. viii. 4.
4 Comment. ad Genes.
6 On Joel ii. 25.
of 365 days, and that this solar year was in the course of time superseded by the lunar year. Credner considers that the months originally derived their names from circumstances of climate and cultivation, that they were then numbered, and that they afterwards received the Chaldæan names. According to him the original names of the months referred to the solar year alone, but this is not the case; the months retained their names, without reference to the commencement of the year; thus Abib (April) remained as the month of (the young) ears of corn,-Ethanim (October) as the month of the flowing brooks,-and Bul (November) as the rain-month'. The numbering of the months also agrees with these few names, until the appearance of the Chaldæan appellations for them, without the slightest question of any previous alteration.
It is besides an hypothesis wholly without foundation, that the word Shana (year) could only be applied to a solar year, for this word shana is merely the repetition of a cycle, the precise determination of which is immaterial; and the passage in Joel (ii. 25) by no means implies that the change of the year took place in the autumn; it is merely said, "I have restored to you the years that the locusts have eaten," after a previous allusion to the "floors full of corn." In the same manner there is a reference in Exodus to the corn-harvest: for chag hak'k'açir (feast of harvest) and chag ha'asif (feast of in-gathering) are synonymous; but there is no mention of the fruits of trees, and běçe'th hashshana (at the end of the year) is determined by the addition of the words "When thou hast gathered in from the field," because the harvest took
1 The month Bul was never the first, as stated in the Anmerk. (notes), p. 217. 2 Exodus xxiii. 16.
* Compare Exodus xxxiv. 22.
place at the end of the year, and at the beginning of the new year1. Neither is it possible to conceive how a regular year of 365 days can be deduced from statements of time, such as those employed at the first erection of the temple: indeed the usual arrangement of the year is expressly given in 1 Kings vi. 1, 38, without any reference to the length of the year. Nor is anything proved with respect to the Hebrews from the circumstance that some other nations, and especially nomadic peoples, began the year with the autumn. Josephus is also no authority for the more ancient period of the year, since he has the later arrangement in view. In this more recent mode of computation, the word Rebi'ih, which is not found in the Old Testament, was usually applied to the spring. Lastly it is incorrect to suppose that in our text only months were adopted of thirty days each, leading to the formation of a mythical year of 360 days3, and thus passing over to the complete solar year. We are not authorized to change the number of the twenty-seventh day into the seventeenth, as in the translation of Augusti and De Wette, in order to discover a lunar year; and besides the chief difficulty would still remain, that the year would begin with the month Tisri. Credner also starts another difficulty:-how could the Hebrews begin with the more perfect system of a solar year, and then go back to the use of a lunar year? It is however his opinion, that this change might have been effected in later times by the influence of the priesthood, in order that the number of the feasts might induce the people to visit Jerusalem after the abolition of the high places in different parts of
1 See the Introd. in Volume I. Chapter XVIII. p. 225.
2 Archæologie 1. 3. 3. Compare St. Jerome on Ezek. i. 1. 8 See Alt. Indien ii. 270.
4 Gen. viii. 14.