KJV Deuteronomy 1 : 3

And it came to pass in the fortieth year, in the eleventh month, on the first day of the month, that Moses spake unto the children of Israel, according unto all that the LORD had given him in commandment unto them;

In the above text it is just stated that it was the fortieth year when Moses addressed the children of Israel between Paran and Tophel.

But there is no mention from which event this fortieth year is reckoned

Fortieth year from which event?

2 Answers 2


The "beginning" of the Hebrew calendar is marked by the epoch of the exodus as marking the the day, month and year that the nation of Israel was created. This was specified in several ways:

  • Passover was to be a permanent memorial. Ex 12:14, 17 - and this day will be a memorial for you, and you are to celebrate it as a feast to the LORD, as a permanent statute for the generations to come ... You must keep this day as a permanent statute for the generations to come
  • The Passover was to mark the first month of the year, Ex 12:18 - In the first month you are to eat unleavened bread, from the evening of the fourteenth day until the evening of the twenty-first day. See also Lev 23 and Num 29.
  • Ex 16:1 - On the fifteenth day of the second month after they had left the land of Egypt, the whole congregation of Israel set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai.
  • This exodus event was the moment when most significant time events were counted. Ex 16:35 - The Israelites ate manna forty years, until they came to a land where they could settle; they ate manna until they reached the border of Canaan.
  • Note that time for the Israelites was counted from the exodus - Num 1:1 - On the first day of the second month of the second year after the Israelites had come out of the land of Egypt, the LORD spoke to Moses in the Tent of Meeting in the Wilderness of Sinai.
  • The Exodus was still recalled in places like Num 33:1-3.
  • The same time epoch is used again in Deut 1:3, in the 40th year of the exodus.
  • Even in the time of Solomon, we still find this same epoch used: 1 Kings 6:1 - In the four hundred and eightieth year after the Israelites had come out of the land of Egypt, in the month of Ziv, the second month of the fourth year of Solomon’s reign over Israel, he began to build the house of the LORD.

There are other numerous references to this exodus from Egypt as the most significant event in Israel's history such as:

  • Deut 9:7 - Remember this, and never forget how you provoked the LORD your God in the wilderness. From the day you left the land of Egypt until you reached this place, you have been rebelling against the LORD.
  • Judges 19:30 - And everyone who saw it said, “Nothing like this has been seen or done from the day the Israelites came out of the land of Egypt until this day. Think it over, take counsel, and speak up!”
  • 1 Kings 8:9 - There was nothing in the ark except the two stone tablets that Moses had placed in it at Horeb, where the LORD had made a covenant with the Israelites after they had come out of the land of Egypt.
  • Jer 7:25 - From the day your fathers came out of the land of Egypt until this day, I have sent you all My servants the prophets again and again.
  • Eze 23:27 - So I will put an end to your indecency and prostitution, which began in the land of Egypt, and you will not lift your eyes to them or remember Egypt anymore.’

"In [the] Fortieth Year" : בְּאַרְבָּעִ֣ים שָׁנָ֔ה (Be-Arbaim Shanah) in [Deuteronomy 1:3] refers to 40th year - "after the exodus from the land of Egypt" לְצֵאתָם מֵאֶרֶץ מִצְרַיִם which continues the timeline of [Numbers 1:1].

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