Solomon divided his kingdom into 12 areas and had 12 individuals overseeing those areas. Then he had each area provide food for him for a month:

Solomon had twelve officers over all Israel, who provided food for the king and his household. Each man had to make provision for one month in the year. (1 Kings 4:7) [ESV]

David had a similar division:

This is the number of the people of Israel, the heads of fathers' houses, the commanders of thousands and hundreds, and their officers who served the king in all matters concerning the divisions that came and went, month after month throughout the year, each division numbering 24,000 (1 Chronicles 27:1)

Chronicles continues by naming the person responsible for the first month, the second month, and so on. As with Solomon's provisioning, there are 12-leaders for 12-months.

These functions seem to follow the 12-month solar calendar not a lunar calendar requires intercalating a 13th every 2-3 years. Are these evidence a solar calendar was in use at the time, at least for these civil matters?


1 Answer 1


Not strictly, no. The ancient Hebrew calendar was a luni-solar calendar based upon the sighting of the new moon for the months, and would play catch up to the solar with an intercalary month of "ve-adar", or Adar Bet which would add a second Adar at the end of the twelve month lunar period every 2nd or 3rd year. It is actually still a very accurate calendar cycle, as is explained here. So, most probably, the second Adar would just fall in with the 12th officer David had set over the 1st Adar in the intercalary or "leap" year.

  • Your reference is interesting. But it notes that the Sabbath year was kept to 12 months to avoid burdening the people, which is the case whenever the added months fall. In particular is Solomon's provisioning, which will require one of the leaders to "double up" in the years of an added month. Moreover, if it is always Adar, then the same leader will always have the requirement of provisioning the extra months - this seems contrary to the passage which is to divide this task equally throughout the land. Commented Mar 22, 2019 at 14:24

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