The Ancient Hebrew Calendar

The “Ancient Hebrew Calendar” was a lunisolar calendar that depended on both the moon and the sun to calculate its durations. In ancient times, the duration from one new moon to the next determined the duration of what we now refer to as a month, and they based the duration of the days and years on the cycle of the sun.

The time from one sunset to the next sunset was one day, and the time required for the earth to make one complete revolution around the sun was one year. Another way to think of a year is that it’s the time from one vernal (Spring) equinox to the next (365 days, 5 hours, 48 minutes and 45.51 seconds).

The average duration of a new moon cycle is 29.528 days, so a year of 12 lunar moon cycles (months) would be 354.367 days long; and the calendar year is a solar year, which is 365.242199 days long. Therefore, the ancient Hebrew calendar year sometimes has an intercalary (extra) new moon cycle depending on when the vernal equinox occurs in relation to the new moon closest to its date.

Our website calendar uses Hebrew names, and transliterated English names for the holy/set-apart festival days, the new moons and the days of the week.

Since agriculture was the largest part of the economy during ancient times, biblical scribes often use agricultural imagery to describe what Yahweh wanted his people to understand. Likewise, many of the set-apart festivals also have agricultural themes.

The Rosh Chodesh (New Moon) and the Shabbat (Sabbath) are closely associated, as both are holy/set-apart days unto Yahweh and observing the new moon is as equal in importance as keeping Shabbat.

Yahweh chose the children of Yisrael (Israel) to be a beacon of light to the Gentiles, a divine, set-apart nation to reveal His splendid light. At the birth of each new moon the Hebrews were called to put away their routine worldly duties, to ponder the reason they were chosen to reveal His existence to the world.

Relevant Scriptures

Numbers 10:10

And in the day of your gladness, and in your appointed times, and at the beginning of your New Moons, you shall blow the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your fellowship offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your Elohim: I am Yahweh your Elohim.

2 Chronicles 8:12-13

Then Shelomoh (Solomon) offered burnt offerings to Yahweh on the altar of Yahweh, which he had built before the porch, (13) Even as the duty of every day required, he observed the daily requirement for offerings according to the commandment of Mosheh (Moses) for Sabbaths, New Moon’s, and the three annual appointed festivals – the Festival of Matzot (Festival of Unleavened Bread), the Festival of Shavuot (Festival of Weeks), and the Festival of Sukkot (Festival of Booths).

2 Chronicles 2:4

Behold, I will build a temple to the name of Yahweh my Elohim, to dedicate it to him, and to burn before him sweet incense, and for the continual shewbread, and for the burnt offerings’ morning and evening, on Shabbats, and on the New Moons, and on the appointed feasts of Yahweh our Elohim. This is an ordinance for ever to Yisrael.

Isaiah 66:23

And it shall come to pass, from New Moon to New Moon, and from Shabbat to Shabbat, all flesh shall come to worship before me, says Yahweh.

Ancient Hebrew Calendars, Jerusalem (Israel)

Ancient Hebrew Calendar, Georgia (USA)

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