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As they were lunar months they formed a mean year of 354 days, a year consequently shorter than the solar year by ten or eleven days.
This difference, as can be readily seen, would have, in the course of time, completely disordered the months in relation to the seasons of the year; thus the first month, or Nîsan , (corresponding to the end of March or the beginning of April), in the middle of which the first ripe barley was to be presented to Yahweh in connection with the paschal feast ( Exodus 12:1 sqq.
These twelve names are as follows: The twelve months thus named made up the ordinary year ( shanah ), or next important element in the Jewish calendar. (Firstfruits of wine and oil) Márhéshwan (Héshwan) 8 2 29 29 Oct.
As a matter of fact, the Hebrew months have always been lunar, and extended from one new moon to another. Siege of Jeru- salem Shebbat 11 5 30 30 Jan.2- Jan.
The beginning of the month with the appearance of the new moon was--as it is still--of great practical importance among the Hebrews, inasmuch as the first of every month was to be observed as New Moon's Day, and certain feasts were affixed to the 10th, 14th, or other days of the month.
The earliest appearance of the new moon was long ascertained by direct observation, and authoritatively settled by a commission of the Sanhedrin, and the intelligence then made known to the Jews at large, first by means of fire signals, and later on through special messengers.
In the present day, and for many centuries, this very primitive manner of fixing the beginning of the month has given way to a systematic calculation of the latter's duration, and the Jewish calendar is now constructed on the basis of a mean lunation of 29 days, 12 hours, 44 min., and 30 sec. Feast of the Dedi- cation of the Temple Tebheth 10 4 29 29 Dec.
There now remains to consider the era, or last element of the Jewish calendar. Taking of Jeru- salem by Titus 'Abh 5 11 30 30 July 9- Aug.