[b-hebrew] Genesis 41: 1: "Two Years of Days"

James Read J.Read-2 at sms.ed.ac.uk
Fri Jul 17 06:12:28 EDT 2009

Hi Jim,

I see two major issues here:

1) I agree with Karl's sentiments. There is no doubt that Hebrews  
considered the new year to start in spring. However, there is no  
mention of their celebrating a new year. They just celebrate the  
passover. New year celebration is very much of pagan origin. What you  
need to do is explain why you believe the Hebrews to have observed a  
new year in fall. Perhaps you mean an end of year? (i.e. equinox)?

2) I was under the impression that manhood started at age 30. Hence  
why both Jesus and John the baptist started their prophethood at age  
30 rather than at age 13.

James Christian

Quoting JimStinehart at aol.com:

> Karl:
> Let me set forth some more evidence now for the Hebrews celebrating a
> spring New Year.  (I believe that you and I do agree that from   
> ancient times, the
> Hebrews celebrated a fall New Year.  So the next question then is whether
> the Hebrews also, or alternatively, celebrated a spring New Year as well.)
> 1.  As to the antiquity of a spring New Year for the Hebrews, consider
> Exodus 12: 1-2, concerning the Passover.  Passover occurs in the   
> spring.  Here
> is Exodus 12: 1-2:
> “And the LORD spoke unto Moses and Aaron in the land of Egypt, saying:
> 'This month shall be unto you the beginning of months;  it shall be the first
> month of the year to you.’”
> Thus as of the composition of the Book of Exodus, the Hebrews had the
> tradition that March was the first month of the Hebrew year.  That   
> is a spring
> New Year.
> For people like yourself who view the Book of Exodus as being very old,
> that shows that the tradition of the Hebrews celebrating a New Year in the
> spring is very old.  At least, the first month of the Hebrews’ year   
> was in the
> spring.  That is a type of spring New Year.
> For modern scholars who claim that the Book of Exodus is very late,
> consider #2 below.
> 2.  Some may recall that on October 24, 2007, Rev. Bryant J. Williams
> posted some interesting facts about calendars in ancient Canaan.    
> Here are a few
> brief excerpts, where Rev. Bryant J. Williams quoted jewishencyclopedia.com:
>  “There is much difference of opinion as to whether or not there was in
> preexilic times a second mode of reckoning from the vernal [spring]   
> equinox [as
> opposed to the Hebrews only celebrating a New Year in the fall].  This
> inference [that there was a spring New Year for the Hebrews] has   
> been drawn from
> such passages as II Sam. xi. 1, I Kings xx. 22, 26, and II Chron. xxxvi.
> 10. The expression used here, "at the return of the year," is, however,
> sufficiently explained as "the time when kings go out"; that is to   
> say, the usual
> time for opening a military campaign. Of course if the law of the Passover
> (Ex. xii. 1;  Lev. xxiii. 5; Num. ix. 1-5, xxviii. 16-17) is pre-exilic, the
> question admits of no further argument. It seems, however, to be now very
> generally accepted that this law in its present form is not earlier than the
> sixth century and that
> it represents post-exilic practise. According to this legislation, which
> henceforth prevailed, the month Abib, or Nisan (March-April), became the
> first
> of the year. It is possible that this change was due, in part at least, to
> the
> influence of the Babylonian sacred year, which likewise began with the month
> Nisan. It appears, however, that the festival of the New-Year continued to
> be
> observed in the autumn, perhaps originally on the tenth, and later on the
> first
> day of the seventh month, Tishri.
> [Note the following in particular:]  Josephus asserts (l.c. i. 3, § 3) that
> while
> Moses appointed Nisan to be the first month for the sacred festivals and
> other
> Solemnities [per Exodus 12: 2 above], he preserved the original order of
> the months for buying and selling and for the transaction of other business.
> The Seleucidan calendar, from 312 B.C., placed the beginning of the year in
> the autumn; but it appears that
> the Palestinian Jews still reckoned from the spring and dated the
> Seleucidan era
> according to that reckoning (see Schürer, "The Jewish People in the Time of
> Jesus Christ," 2d ed., Eng. transl., I. i 36-46, on the dates in the Books
> of
> Maccabees; comp. Esth. iii. 7)."
> _www.jewishencyclopedia.com_ (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/) .
> *       *       *
> We see that amid a sea of contradictory evidence, the one thing that is
> clear is that the Hebrews were very familiar with both a fall New Year and a
> spring New Year.  From the above, it seems clear that scholars cannot agree
> among themselves which New Year was more important to the Hebrews in which
> exact time periods.
> 3.  Karl, how do you interpret II Samuel 11: 1 and Exodus 12: 1-2?  Aren’t
> they showing that a spring New Year was an ancient practice among the
> Hebrews?
> Jim Stinehart
> Evanston, Illinois
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