The early Hebrews used a lunar calendar, and the first of each month was signalled by the new moon. The names of the months were Canaanite: several are mentioned in the OT (e.g. Ziv, the second month, 1 Kgs. 6:1; Bul, the eighth month, 1 Kgs. 6:38). During the Exile numbers were adopted, followed after the Exile by the Babylonian names which had been learnt; those months mentioned in the OT begin with Nisan (March–April), during which Passover was celebrated; then Chislev (Neh. 1:1), Tebeth (Esther 2:16), Shebat (Zech. 1:7), and Adar (Ezra 6:15). When a solar calendar was adopted, the old lunar calendar was retained in some religious circles (e.g. at Qumran). In the NT there are no names of months.

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