[b-hebrew] Assumptions about ANE ages that just don't work.

Yaakov Stein yaakov_s at rad.com
Tue Oct 23 01:40:43 EDT 2007

I certainly don't have any strong proof regarding the possible meaning 
of $NH as "season".

However, note that in biblical Hebrew there aren't two different words
day=24hours and day= time of light. You have to figure it out
from context. Similarly, year might have been used in two ways,
depending on context or when the text was written.

The solar year seems to have first been discovered by the Egyptians
in the third millenium BCE. But they had a strong agricultural clue -
the flooding of the Nile. Since, coincidentally this corresponded to
the rising of the brightest star in the sky (Sirius) with the setting
this brought about the sidereal year of about 365 days.

Somewhat afterwards, a lunar-solar calendar appeared in Mesopotamia,
before which apparently only months were known.

It is interesting that in the Gezer inscription there are two months
with an extra W at the end of the word month - the first and sixth.
Could this extra W mean "start of new year" ?

Now look at the wording used after the flood, for what wouldn't cease.
It is night/day and summer/winter. No mention of 24hour day and year.
Similarly in Psalms we have the line "you have created summer and
not "you have created the 12 month year". According to Exodus,
the Sabbath is to be observed in XRY$ and QCYR, 
not "all year round". 

Regarding the idea that Moses was closer in time, and thus should have
if the system changed - that doesn't necessarily follow.
We have many examples throughout history where writings of
previous generations were misunderstood because of changes in
In Talmud times each conquering power brought its own system of
and there are lengthy discussions about which weight or size a sage of 
a previous generation meant.

Yaakov (J) Stein

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