Category Archives: B) The course of priests

1) What is the first verse indicating Jesus’ date of birth?

Question

What is the first verse indicating Jesus’ date of birth? What is its importance?

Answer

Ezra 7: 8-10.

8 He came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.

9 For on the first of the first month he began to go up from Babylon; and on the first of the fifth month he came to Jerusalem, because the good hand of his God was upon him.

10 For Ezra had set his heart to study the law of the LORD and to practice it, and to teach His statutes and ordinances in Israel. (Ezra 7: 8-10)

Fifth month in Nisan Calendar is Av.

Month Hebrew Transliteration
1 נִיסָן Nīsān
2 אִיָּר / אייר ʼIyyār
3 סִיוָן / סיוון Sīwān
4 תַּמּוּז Tammūz
5 אָב ʼĀḇ
6 אֱלוּל ʼĔlūl
7 תִּשׁרִי Tišrī
8 מַרְחֶשְׁוָן / מרחשוון Marħešwān
9 כִּסְלֵו / כסליו Kislēw
10 טֵבֵת Ṭēḇēṯ
11 שְׁבָט Šəḇāṭ
12 אֲדָר א׳
12 אֲדָר / אֲדָר ב׳ ʼĂḏār

This verse indicates that the course of priests referred to in Luke 1: 5 began at Av, although it does not mention the date. It, then, refutes an assumption that the course began at Nisan.


 

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2) On which date of Av did the course of priests begin?

Question

On which date of Av did the course of priests begin?

Answer

Ezra 7: 8-10 points out that  the course of priests began in Av and implies that the beginning date of the course was not so long from arrival date in Jerusalem. Meanwhile, according to Jerusalem Talmud Taanith Tract about fast and fast day, Rabbi Jose ben Halafta c. 150 AD (80 years after destruction of Jerusalem temple) said that course of Jehoiarib was in charge when destruction of the temple happened.

Whence do we know that the second Temple was also destroyed on the 9th of Abh? We have learned in a Boraitha: “A happy event is credited to the day on which another happy event happened, while a calamity is ascribed to the day when another calamity occurred; and it was said that when the first Temple was destroyed it was on the eve preceding the 9th of Abh, which was also the night at the close of the Sabbath and also the close of the Sabbatical year. The watch at the time was that of Jehoyoreb, and the Levites were chanting in their proper places, at that moment reciting the passage [Psalms, xciv. 23]: “And he will bring back upon them their own injustice, and in their own wickedness will he destroy them”; and they did not have time to end the passage, which concludes, “yea, he will destroy them–the Lord our God,” before the enemy entered and took possession of the Temple. This happened also at the destruction of the second Temple. (http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/taanit4.html)

First course of priests was Jehoiarib  (1 Chronicles 24:7).

Division Name Scriptural Reference
First Jehoiarib 1 Chronicles 24:7
Second Jedaiah 1 Chronicles 24:7
Third Harim 1 Chronicles 24:8
Fourth Seorim 1 Chronicles 24:8
Fifth Malchijah 1 Chronicles 24:9
Sixth Mijamin 1 Chronicles 24:9
Seventh Hakkoz 1 Chronicles 24:10
Eighth Abia 1 Chronicles 24:10
Ninth Jeshua 1 Chronicles 24:11
Tenth Shecaniah 1 Chronicles 24:11
Eleventh Eliashib 1 Chronicles 24:12
Twelfth Jakim 1 Chronicles 24:12
Thirteenth Huppah 1 Chronicles 24:13
Fourteenth Jeshebeab 1 Chronicles 24:13
Fifteenth Bilgah 1 Chronicles 24:14
Sixteenth Immer 1 Chronicles 24:14
Seventeenth Hezir 1 Chronicles 24:15
Eighteenth Happizzez 1 Chronicles 24:15
Nineteenth Pethahiah 1 Chronicles 24:16
Twentieth Jehezkel 1 Chronicles 24:16
Twenty-first Jachin 1 Chronicles 24:17
Twenty-second Gamul 1 Chronicles 24:17
Twenty-third Delaiah 1 Chronicles 24:18
Twenty-fourth Maaziah 1 Chronicles 24:18

Temple destruction happened in Sabbath, Ab 9, 3830 Hebrew Calendar, hence, first course of priests began on 9th day of Ab.


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3) First course of priests began in Av or Nisan?

Question

First course of priests began in Av or Nisan?

Answer

Av.

Once Ezra arrived at Jerusalem from Babylon in Av, the fifth month, he established the course of priests as a requirement of worship. He did it in accordance with the law of the LORD.

And he came to Jerusalem in the fifth month, which was in the seventh year of the king.  For upon the first day of the first month began he to go up from Babylon, and on the first day of the fifth month came he to Jerusalem, according to the good hand of his God upon him.  For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments. (Ezra 7: 8-10)

This verse indicates that the course of priest began in Av month (fifth month), instead of Nisan (first month). Rabbi Jose ben Halafta (150 AD) corroborated Ezra.

Whence do we know that the second Temple was also destroyed on the 9th of Abh? We have learned in a Boraitha: “A happy event is credited to the day on which another happy event happened, while a calamity is ascribed to the day when another calamity occurred; and it was said that when the first Temple was destroyed it was on the eve preceding the 9th of Abh, which was also the night at the close of the Sabbath and also the close of the Sabbatical year. The watch at the time was that of Jehoyoreb, and the Levites were chanting in their proper places, at that moment reciting the passage [Psalms, xciv. 23]: “And he will bring back upon them their own injustice, and in their own wickedness will he destroy them”; and they did not have time to end the passage, which concludes, “yea, he will destroy them–the Lord our God,” before the enemy entered and took possession of the Temple. This happened also at the destruction of the second Temple. (Jerusalem Talmud, Tractate Taanite, Chapter 4)

Any calculation of Jesus birth leading to September or October was based on false assumption that the course of priests began in Nisan. In fact, Ezra 7: 8-10 and historical testimony pointed to Av as a month the course began in. Hence, Bible indicates that Christmas falls on December 25.

 


Bibliografi

1http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/Talmud/taanit4.html; access 26/4/2015

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