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In Nehemiah 2:1 we read:

"And it came to pass in the month of Nisan, in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes..."

What did the Jews in the postexilic era mean when they only mentioned the month of an event but not the specific day of that month? In Neh. 2:1, for example, only "month of Nisan" is mentioned (without a specific day). For the Jews during that time, did that mean something like "the event occurred in any day of Nisan" or did they implicitly mean the 1st or some other day?

Compared to us today: If we say that something happend in the month of March, it could be any day in March. Was that the same for Jews like Nehemiah?

In summary: What is the semantic of "in the month of Nisan" for the postexilic Jews? Thanks!

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The "month of" means just that - sometime during that month without specifying a particular day. Neh 1:1 has a similar construction, "in the month of Kislev" means some time during that month without specifying a particular day.

One assumes that the specific day was either not important or that Nehemiah had forgotten and could only recall the month. In any case, it does not affect the story and so is not germane.

Esther 2:16, 3:7, 1 Kings 3:38 all have similar expression that do not specify a particular day. We should not be surprised at this because sometimes dates were recorded only by year without even a month; eg, most of the synchronisms in the chronologies of the kings of Israel and Judah only specify a year.

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  • Thanks for your answer. In "The Coming Prince" by Sir Robert Anderson, he says: "The Persian edict which restored the autonomy of Judah was issued in the Jewish month of Nisan. It may in fact have been dated the 1st of Nisan, but: no other day being named, the prophetic period must be reckoned, according to a practice common with the Jews, from the Jewish New Year's Day. On the 1st of Nisan is a new year for the computation of the reign of kings, and for festivals." — Mishna, treatise "Rosh Hash." --- Hence, this source suggests that the 1st of Nisan was meant by Nehemiah. – to_sam Oct 25 '18 at 11:07
  • @to_sam. The Jewish New Year is on 1 Tishri, not 1 Nisan. – fdb Oct 25 '18 at 23:30
  • @fdb which Jewish new year? – Dr. Shmuel Oct 26 '18 at 1:33
  • Bother comments are correct. There was Jewish ceremonial year beginning on Nissan 1 and a civil year beginning on Tishri 1. One has to be clear about which calendar is being used. Since Neh 1:1, 2 is before Neh 2:1, he is clearly using the latter. – user25930 Oct 26 '18 at 8:36
  • We have discussed all this before: hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/33349/… – fdb Oct 26 '18 at 9:15

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