[26] The Biblical New Moon relates to the Sighting of the New Crescent

Notice: Undefined variable: output in curlypage_help() (line 38 of /home/613commandments/public_html/sites/all/modules/curlypage/curlypage.module).

Without using Isa 47:13, we have seen that a month is a cycle of the moon, and the full moon typically occurs about the 14th or 15th day of the biblical month. We have also seen from Gen 1:14-18 that a month begins using the light from the moon as a visual indicator. The only visual discernible candidates for the biblical new moon that are available from this information are the old crescent and the new crescent. Isa 47:13 points to the new crescent. Gen 1:14 puts emphasis on the “lights”, that is, what can be seen.

Ancient Egypt had a civil calendar that ignored the cycle of the moon. But according to page 140 of Depuydt 1997, ancient Egypt also had a religious calendar that began its month with the morning one day after the old crescent was seen in the morning. The reason they waited until the morning after the morning on which the old crescent was seen, is that they could not know that the old crescent was actually the old crescent until one morning later when nothing was seen. When a narrowing crescent is not especially thin, maybe it will not be the old crescent or maybe it will. This can only be known one morning later because the old crescent is, by its definition, the last of the narrowing crescents during the moon’s cycle. This requirement to wait until one morning after the old crescent is one significant difference between the determination of the old crescent and the determination of the new crescent. When the new crescent is seen, it is immediately known because it had not been seen the night before.

In a previous chapter it was mentioned that the Hebrew noun chodesh [2320] (meaning month as well as new-month or new-moon) has the same consonants as the Hebrew adjective chadash [2319] (almost always translated “new”, and having the meaning “new”) and the Hebrew verb chadash [2318] (about half the time translated “renew” and half the time “repair”). Hence the collective association of new, renew, and repair is associated with the Hebrew word chodesh, rather than the concept of old,
dwindling, or thinning, which is associated with the old crescent.

Therefore, from the choice of the Hebrew word chodesh for the new-moon, it must refer to the new crescent rather than the old crescent. An astronomical reason for a biblical month consisting of a whole number of days is that each new crescent first becomes visible close to sundown, which is the time that the Sabbath begins and a numbered day of the month begins. We thus see that from the biblical viewpoint, the average synodic month as a precise fraction of days, hours, and minutes is never hinted at in Scripture and is foreign to biblical thought.

Ezra 6:15 mentions the month Adar and Neh 6:15 mentions the month Elul. These are Hebrew transliterations of month names in the Babylonian calendar, but these verses are in the context of Jerusalem. Scripture is a witness here that ancient Israel adopted the month names of the Babylonian calendar at the time of Ezra and Nehemiah. This would cause severe confusion unless a biblical month began by the same concept as the Babylonian calendar.

This evidence from Ezra 6:15 and Neh 6:15 is also in harmony with the conclusion from Isa 47:13, yet the reasoning from the books of Ezra and Nehemiah is independent of Isa 37:13. Indeed, a month in the Babylonian calendar began with the day whose beginning evening was close to the time that the new crescent was seen in the western sky. But no month was permitted to have more than 30 days in the Babylonian calendar.