[b-hebrew] Dates of Ezra and Nehemiah

Peter Kirk peter at qaya.org
Tue Sep 19 09:26:29 EDT 2006

On 18/09/2006 15:44, Yitzhak Sapir wrote:

> ... While your
> identification of arrival at "1/5, 3 days rest, and 55 days building" is
> interesting, there are still problems:
> 1) Nehemiah is consistent in relating the year 20 to Artaxerxes,
> especially in Neh 5:14, where it is pretty much spelled out.
> 2) Nehemiah 2's Nisan after before Nehemiah 1's Kislev on the same
> year.  Either you conclude that the year 20 in Neh 1 is a different
> convention from Neh 2's year 20, or you conclude that Nehemiah
> used an autumnal calendar.  An autumnal calendar would make
> the calculations of the start of work in Ab equivalent to the 11th
> month, not the 5th.  The autumnal calendar bit is further elaborated
> and discussed here:
> http://www.shef.ac.uk/bibs/DJACcurrres/Postmodern1/Autumn.html
> (point 7)
Thanks for your reminder about this, which I received earlier but didn't 
have time to respond to immediately.

Thanks for the article from Clines (I presume). I note that he supports 
me and Young in taking numbered months as starting in spring even if the 
new year was celebrated in the autumn, for he writes:
> late in Jehoiakim's fourth year, say in September, Jeremiah is bidden 
> to write his scroll, and Baruch gives a public reading in December 
> (Kislev, the ninth month) of the fifth year. ...
> some advocates of the autumn new year claim that the year was still 
> regarded as beginning in the autumn even when the months were numbered 
> from the spring.

The implication of this is that even if Nehemiah was using an autumnal 
calendar he left Susa in spring, arrived in Jerusalem in midsummer, 
finished the wall in Elul in late summer, and the "seventh month" 
dedication (8:2) was at the autumn new year festival. And Ezra's travel 
seasons were similar.

Peter Kirk
E-mail:  peter at qaya.org
Blog:    http://speakertruth.blogspot.com/
Website: http://www.qaya.org/

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