Placement of Intercalary Months

When seven ‘weeks’ as described are spread over one Jubilee, a pattern of eighteen intercalary months appears that can be repeated indefinitely in each subsequent Jubilee cycle. Please examine the next diagram showing fifty years divided into blocks of seven. The seventh year (Sabbath) is indicated by a red square and the position of leap-months indicated by green dots. The fiftieth year is shown in purple; and notice how it is superimposed over the forty-ninth year and first year of the following cycle. A typical pattern of leap-months may be summarised as follows:

1st 7 years                     1+2 leap months

2nd 7 years                   1+1 leap months

3rd 7 years                   1+2 leap months

4th 7 years                   1+1 leap months         TOTAL 18 leap months

5th 7 years                   1+2 leap months

6th 7 years                   1+1 leap months

7th 7 years                   1+2 leap months

Ancient calendar diagram

As can be seen, the eighteen intercalary months added over forty-nine years created the same overall effect as our modern Metonic system does, but it had a different way of going about it. The Metonic cycle moves gradually through each year, adding seven months over nineteen years, whereas the Hebrew method was ‘Sabbatical’ and avoided adding to Sabbath years. It is mentioned in the Rabbinic writings, (Tos. Sanhedrin 2:9) because a 13th month would have increased the seventh year, extending the Sabbath planting restrictions and creating an unnecessary burden on the people.

When compared with modern calendars, a few intercalary months are offset by one year but never did it wander off the seasons. The calendar given to Moses all those years ago worked. Moreover, it worked as well as, if not better, than any system we have today!

There are implications here for liberal scholars and their theories of a primitive Israelitish nation evolving out of Canaan, whose knowledge of astronomy was only copied from the ‘sophisticated’ cultures around about. On the contrary; not only was the Hebrew calendar superior to Egypt’s wandering year, but it predated Meton by a thousand years. There was nothing anywhere else quite like it.

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