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Created 5929± 09 08 2025 [2008-12-08]
Updated 5929± 10 10 2025 [2009-01-08]
Esther’s book: Calendar Considerations
and the Beginning of the 490 years
Prior to Yeshua’s Victory over Satan and over the Kingdom of Death
What calendar is being used in the book of Esther? Is the year being reckoned from Aviv 1 or else from Tishri 1 or 22? What details if any may we identify in the book of Esther that will shed light upon this issue? Why is this matter a matter of importance? May the book of Esther be used for helping identifying more exactly the beginning of the reign of Ahasuerus? (It does!)
Although the book of Esther is using Hebrew words that could be translated the 7th Day of the week and the 1st Day of the week respectively, and although I do find calendrical support for translating the words “On the seventh day” (Esther 1:10 KJV) in terms of the Seventh Day of the week, I find no calendrical support for translating the words “one day” (Esther 3:13 & 8:12) in terms of Day One of the week. If indeed the 7th Day of the week is being referenced in Esther 1:7, then the calendrical evidence provides for us some valuable data for distinguishing between the regnal years beginning with Aviv 1 versus those beginning with either Tishri 1 or 22.
More importantly perhaps: The strongest evidence for the regnal years in Esther being reckoned beginning with Nisan 1 is the fact that when the 12th month on two occasions are being referenced subsequent to a reference to the month of Nisan in a certain given regnal year of Ahasuerus, then no different or additional regnal year reference is given. I find this fact a strong hint that that 12th regnal year (used in connection with Nisan, the 1st month) is still one and the same regnal year of the latter (abbreviated) time reference (i.e. to the 12th month, Adar.) Had a fall to fall calendar been used by the author of Esther then the 12th month reference would belong to the 13th regnal year, i.e. one regnal year later than the preceding 1st or 3rd month reference, wouldn’t it?!
Accordingly, I conclude that, most likely, in the book of Esther, the Babylonian spring to spring calendar is being used, which calendar begin the reckoning of regnal years with Nisan 1. This matter is of some consequence, e.g. when reckoning the years from the decree of Haman and Ahasuerus in Ahasuerus/Xerxes 12th year of reign unto the crucifixion of Yeshua in 18 CE: Yeshua was crucified and resurrected 490 years after the decrees of Ahasuerus in Ahasuerus’ 12th year of reign, i.e. after the decrees initiated by Haman and Mordecai respectively.
Depending upon which calendar reckoning is being used there will be some subtle differences re said 490 year time period, for instance:
1) Yeshua’s year of crucifixion is found in the 1st year following 490 full biblical years upon the 12th year of Ahasuerus (i.e. based upon the regnal years in the book of Esther being reckoned from Aviv 1.)
2) If the dates in the book of Esther are reckoned using Scriptural fall to fall reckoning, then Yeshua’s crucifixion would fall within the 490th year after said decrees.
3) If the same time period is reckoned using an Aviv 1 to Aviv 1 calendar, then the full 490 years fit very snugly between the Purim event and the crucifixion.
Further, in case anyone may find some significance in it, I find that the decree of Ahasuerus initiated by Mordecai and Esther was most likely issued on the 1st Day of the week and, if so, then the decree initiated by Haman was issued on either the 1st or 2nd Day of the week.
Dating the feast of Esther 1:1, 4, 10, and especially the 7th Day [of the week(?)] referenced in verse 10:
The date “Elul 18 = Pachons 28, year 15 of Xerxes” provided in one of the Elephantine papyrus (AP 5) may be exactly placed in an astronomically defined Julian calendar between sunrise Sept 12 and sunrise Sept 13, 471 BCE. Likewise the date “Kislev 18 = Thoth , year 21” of AP 6 may be exactly placed between sunset Jan 2 and sunrise Jan 3, 464 BCE. Unfortunately there is no direct statement specifying which one of three different calendar reckonings (being used by the Elephantine scribes) is being used in these papyri. Thus we do not know right off hand when “year 15 of Xerxes” began or when “year 21” began. It is very likely, but not certain, that “year 15” began with Thoth 1 of the Egyptian calendar and that “year 21” began on Nisanu 1 of the Babylonian calendar. These uncertainties make it impossible to determine, without more, a more exact date for the beginning of the reign of Xerxes / Ahasuerus.
Because we do not at the outset have a certain date for the beginning of Ahasuerus’ reign, neither do we know straight away the exact placement in time of the words “in the third year of his reign” (Esther 1:3 KJV.) Although it is quite clear that the Jewish scribes at Elephantine did use at times Egyptian calendar reckoning I know of no evidence that the bible is using such Egyptian reckoning. Based upon the evidence provided by the Elephantine papyri alone I find that “the beginning of Ahasuerus’ /Xerxes’ reign began sometime between Thoth 1, 486 BCE and Tishri 21, 485 BCE.”
If I could find a way of ascertaining whether the 3rd year referenced in Esther 1:3 is the Babylonian year beginning with Nisanu 1, 483 BCE or else on Nisanu 1, 482 BCE, I could further narrow down the exact time for the beginning of Ahasuerus’ reign. Considering all reasonable options:
If the beginning of that 3rd year of Esther 1:3 was a Babylonian year reckoned from:
Aviv/Nisanu 1, 483 BCE began at sunset Sat Mar 14 [JD 1545080] (or Sun Mar 15 [JD 1545081,]) or else (Sun April 12 [JD 1545109] or) Mon April 13 [JD 1545110,] 483 BCE; or
Aviv/Nisanu 1, 482 BCE began at sunset Wed Mar 3 [JD 1545434] (or Thu Mar 4 [JD 1545435,]) or else (Fri April 2 [JD 1545464] or) Sat April 3 [JD 1545465,] 482 BCE.
then, given the “hundred and fourscore days” and the “seven days” of Esther 1:4-5 (KJV,) I conclude that the 187th day of Ahasuerus’ 3rd year fell on one of the following days, i.e. provided that the regnal years were reckoned from Aviv 1 (as defined by the visible New Moon crescent:)
The day that began at sunset Wed Sep 16 [JD 1545266] (or Thu Sep 17 [JD 1545267,]) or else (Thu Oct 15 [JD 1545295] or) Fri Oct 16 [JD 1545296,] 483 BCE; or else
The day that began at sunset Sun Sep 5 [JD 1545620] (or Mon Sep 6 [JD 1545621,]) or else (Tue Oct 5 [JD 1545650] or) Wed Oct 6 [JD 1545651,] 482 BCE.
if the beginning of that 3rd year of Esther 1:3 was a Scriptural year reckoned from:
Tishri 22, 483 BCE [beginning at sunset ((Mon Sep 28 [JD 1545278] or)) Tue Sep 29 [JD 1545279,] or else Wed Oct 28 [JD 1545308] (or Thu Oct 29 [JD 1545309,]) 483 BCE;] or
Tishri 22, 482 BCE [beginning at sunset (Sat Sep 18 [JD 1545633] or Sun Sep 19 [JD 1545634,] or else) Sun Oct 17 [JD 1545662] or Mon Oct 18 [JD 1545663,] 482 BCE,]
then the 187th day of that year fell on:
The day beginning at sunset ((Fri April 3 [JD 1545464] or)) Sat April 3 [JD 1545465,] or else Sun May 2 [JD 1545494] (or Mon May 3 [JD 1545495,]) 482 BCE; or else
The day beginning at sunset (Wed Mar 22 [JD 1545819] or Thu April 3 [JD 1545820,] or else) Thu April 20 [JD 1545848] or Fri April 21 [JD 1545849,] 481 BCE.
if the beginning of that year in the book of Esther was a modern Jewish fall-to-fall year reckoned from:
Tishri 1, 483 BCE [beginning at sunset (( Mon Sep 7 [JD 1545257] or)) Tue Sep 8 [JD 1545258,] or else Wed Oct 7 [JD 1545287] (or Thu Oct 8 [JD 1545288,]) 483 BCE;] or
Tishri 1, 482 BCE [beginning at sunset (Sat Aug 28 [JD 1545612] or Sun Aug 29 [JD 1545613,] or else) Sun Sep 26 [JD 1545641] or Mon Sep 27 [JD 1545642,] 482 BCE,]
then the 187th day of that year fell on:
The day beginning at sunset ((Sat Mar 13 [JD 1545444] or)) Sun Mar 14 [JD 1545445,] or else Mon Apr 12 [JD 1545474] (or Tue Apr 13 [JD 1545475,]) 482 BCE; or else
The day beginning at sunset (Wed Mar 1 [JD 1545798] or Thu Mar 2 [JD 1545799,] or else) Thu Mar 30 [JD 1545827] or Fri Mar 31 [JD 1545828,] 481 BCE.
if the beginning of that year in the book of Esther was a year reckoned from (years being defined by the ripe aviv and each month by the astronomical New Moon:)
Nisanu 1, 483 BCE [beginning at sunset Fri Mar 13 [JD 1545079,] or Apr 11 [JD 1545108,] 483 BCE;] or
Nisanu 1, 482 BCE [beginning at sunset Tue Mar 2 [JD 1545433] or Thu Apr 1 [JD 1545463,] 482 BCE,
then the 187th day of that year fell on:
The day beginning at sunset Tue Sep 15 [JD 1545265] or Sat Oct 14 [JD 1545294,]) 483 BCE; or else
The day beginning at sunset Sat Sep 4 [JD 1545619] or Mon Oct 4 [JD 1545649,] or 482 BCE.
If 1) the beginning of the year was defined by the first visible New Moon crescent and the aviv, 2) if there was no intermission between the two feasts referenced in Esther 1:3-5, and 3) if “the seventh day” referenced in v. 10 was also the 7th Day of the week, then:
If the reckoning of regnal years in the Book of Esther is based upon the Babylonian calendar reckoning, then “the seventh day” (Esther 1:10) fell on the day beginning at sunset:
Fri Oct 16 [JD 1545296,] 483 BCE.
If the reckoning of regnal years in the Book of Esther is based upon Scriptural calendar reckoning (the calendar year beginning with Tishri 22,) then “the seventh day” (Esther 1:10) fell on the day beginning at sunset:
((Fri April 3 [JD 1545464,])) 482 BCE; or else
Fri April 21 [JD 1545849,] 481 BCE.
If the reckoning of regnal years in the Book of Esther is based upon modern Jewish fall-to-fall calendar reckoning (the calendar year beginning with Tishri 1,) then “the seventh day” (Esther 1:10) fell on the day beginning at sunset:
Fri Mar 31 [JD 1545828,] 481 BCE.
If the reckoning of regnal years in the Book of Esther is based upon a year beginning with the ripe aviv and each month defined by the astronomical New Moon then “the seventh day” of (Esther 1:10) has no solution in terms of the Seventh Day of the week.
Considering the above four results (I-IV) I find that:
1. Regardless of which of the three first calendars above (those based upon lunar months beginning with visibility of the new moon crescent) that is used in the book of Esther, “the seventh day” of Esther 1:10 could indeed have been the Seventh Day of the week;
a. If the book of Esther is using a Scriptural calendar beginning the year with Tishri 22, then the 3rd year of Ahasuerus could have begun in either 483 BCE or 482 BCE (even though, as indicated by the double parenthesis, “((Fri April 3 [JD 1545464,])) 482 BCE” is an unlikely calendar event;)
b. If the book of Esther is using a modern Jewish fall-to-fall calendar reckoning (the calendar year beginning with Tishri 1,) then the 3rd year of Ahasuerus began in 482 BCE;
c. If the book of Esther is using Babylonian calendar reckoning (the calendar year beginning with Nisanu / Aviv 1,) then the 3rd year of Ahasuerus began in 483 BCE.
So which one is it? Which one of the three calendar reckonings is correct?
1. Given my findings re the beginning and end of the year as defined and used throughout the Holy Scriptures I find that I can safely rule out reckoning based upon a fall-to-fall calendar beginning with Tishri 1. Thus #1.b. above is ruled out!
2. Given the fact that in the book of Esther there is no indication that the 12th month following upon the 1st month is anything but the same regnal year I believe there is good evidence that the book of Esther is using Babylonian calendar reckoning and not the default Scriptural calendar reckoning. Thus #1.a. above is also ruled out!
This leaves me with good evidence, albeit no certain proof, that the 3rd year of Ahasuerus per Babylonian calendar reckoning began Aviv 1, 483 BCE and not Aviv 1, 482 BCE.
It follows that Ahasuerus’ accession year ended at the beginning of Aviv 1, 485 BCE, Ahasuerus’ 1st year of reign. But I have already found that Ahasuerus acceded to the throne no earlier than Thoth 1, 486 BCE. Thus, it follows that Ahasuerus acceded to the throne between Thoth 1, 486 BCE and Aviv 1, 485 BCE, and in consequence thereof that Ahasuerus’ 1st Scriptural year of reign began Tishri 22, 485 BCE.
Next, let’s consider another Esther passage (3:13) referencing a potential double date,
i.e. Day One of the week vs. the 13th day of the 12th month:
Est 3:7 In the first month, that is, the month Nisan, in the twelfth year of king Ahasuerus, they cast Pur, that is, the lot, before Haman from day to day, and from month to month, to the twelfth month, that is, the month Adar.
Est 3:12 Then were the king's scribes called on the thirteenth day of the first month, and there was written according to all that Haman had commanded unto the king's lieutenants, and to the governors that were over every province, and to the rulers of every people of every province according to the writing thereof, and to every people after their language; in the name of king Ahasuerus was it written, and sealed with the king's ring.
Est 3:13 And the letters were sent by posts into all the king's provinces, to destroy, to kill, and to cause to perish, all Jews, both young and old, little children and women, in one day, even upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar, and to take the spoil of them for a prey.
Est 3:13 ונשׁלוחH7971 ספריםH5612 בידH3027 הרציםH7323 אלH413 כלH3605 מדינותH4082 המלךH4428 להשׁמידH8045 להרגH2026 ולאבדH6 אתH853 כלH3605 היהודיםH3064 מנערH5288 ועדH5704 זקןH2205 טףH2945 ונשׁיםH802 ביוםH3117 אחדH259 בשׁלושׁהH7969 עשׂרH6240 לחדשׁH2320 שׁניםH8147 עשׂרH6240 הואH1931 חדשׁH2320 אדרH143 ושׁללםH7998 לבוז׃H962
Est 3:13 (KJV) And the lettersH5612 were sentH7971 byH3027 postsH7323 intoH413 allH3605 the king'sH4428 provinces,H4082 to destroy,H8045 to kill,H2026 and to cause to perish,H6 (H853) allH3605 Jews,H3064 both youngH4480 H5288 andH5704 old,H2205 little childrenH2945 and women,H802 in oneH259 day,H3117 even upon the thirteenthH7969 H6240 day of the twelfthH8147 H6240 month,H2320 whichH1931 is the monthH2320 Adar,H143 and to take the spoilH7998 of them for a prey.H962
Est 3:13 (?TLT?) And the lettersH5612 were sentH7971 byH3027 postsH7323 intoH413 allH3605 the king'sH4428 provinces,H4082 to destroy,H8045 to kill,H2026 and to cause to perish,H6 (H853) allH3605 Jews,H3064 both youngH4480 H5288 andH5704 old,H2205 little childrenH2945 and women,H802 in DayH3117 One,H259 even upon the thirteenthH7969 H6240 day of the twelfthH8147 H6240 month,H2320 whichH1931 is the monthH2320 Adar,H143 and to take the spoilH7998 of them for a prey.H962
Est 8:12 ביוםH3117 אחדH259 בכלH3605 מדינותH4082 המלךH4428 אחשׁורושׁH325 בשׁלושׁהH7969 עשׂרH6240 לחדשׁH2320 שׁניםH8147 עשׂרH6240 הואH1931 חדשׁH2320 אדר׃H143
Est 8:12 Upon oneH259 dayH3117 in allH3605 the provincesH4082 of kingH4428 Ahasuerus,H325 namely, upon the thirteenthH7969 H6240 day of the twelfthH8147 H6240 month,H2320 whichH1931 is the monthH2320 Adar.H143
Est 8:12 Upon one day in all the provinces of king Ahasuerus, namely, upon the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, which is the month Adar.
It seems to me that this Esther 3:13 and 8:12 could well be referring, not merely to any one day duration, but specifically to the First Day of the week. Let me find out whether this assumption of mine is being confirmed by the actual calendar dates vs. the days of the week or not. The question before us is essentially whether Day One and the 13th day of the 12th month of verse 13 belongs to the 12th year referenced in verse 7 per the scribe and author of Esther or whether it belongs to the 13th year, i.e. following the beginning of another Scriptural year on Tishri 22. If said scribe is reckoning the regnal years, as does also Haggai, per the Babylonian calendar, then the Nisan dates of Esther will fall one year earlier (e.g. Est 3:7 references a date in 474 BCE) than otherwise (e.g. ditto in 473 BCE.) It follows that the subsequent Adar, the 12th month fell in either 473 or 472 BCE. The question before us is then whether Adar 13, 473 BCE or Adar 13, 472 BCE fell on Day One of the week, i.e. on the day beginning at the sunset of a Saturday. Per the NASA Phases of the Moon tables and the Julian Day and Civil Date Calculator I find that:
Provided Nisan 1 was based upon aviv and a visible New Moon crescent:
Adar 13, 473 BCE (-472) fell on the day beginning at sunset (Tue Feb 5 or (Wed Feb 6,) or else) (Wed Mar 5 or) Thu Mar 6, 473 BCE; and
Adar 13, 472 BCE (-471) fell on the day beginning at sunset Mon Feb 23 (or Tue Feb 24,) or else (Tue Mar 24 or) Wed Mar 25, 472 BCE.
Provided Nisan 1 was based upon aviv and the astronomical New Moon (not upon a visible New Moon crescent:)
Adar 13, 473 BCE (-472) fell on the day beginning at sunset (Mon Feb 4, or else) Tue Mar 4, 473 BCE; and
Adar 13, 472 BCE (-471) fell on the day beginning at sunset Sun Feb 22, or else Mon Mar 23, 472 BCE.
It seems as though my assumption may have been in error, BUT where? Was it not the First Day of the week, or could it possibly be that the calendar used in Esther is not a lunar based calendar at all, but the Egyptian calendar used on most of the correspondence of the Jewish scribes from Elephantine? On the other hand, if that was so, then why use the names Nisan and Adar, which are names belonging to the Scriptural and Babylonian calendars, but not to the Egyptian calendar. That wouldn’t make much sense, yet, since it is easy to check, let me see what I may find in this regard:
Provided the Egyptian calendar is used, but replacing Egyptian names of months with their corresponding Babylonian names and numbers – very unlikely option indeed and one without precedence!:
???Adar = 12th months = Mesore 13, 473 BCE (-472) fell on the day beginning at sunset Wed Nov 26, 473 BCE; and
???Adar = 12th months = Mesore 13, 472 BCE (-471) fell on the day beginning at sunset Thu Nov 26, 472 BCE.
Well, no reason to see anything in this idea, is there?!!!
But wait a minute… Maybe I made an error here??? Evidently the date of AP 5 is using Egyptian regnal years while providing the date of both the Egyptian and the Babylonian calendars. The 12th Egyptian year began with Thoth 1, 475 BCE. The first Nisan within that year falls in the beginning of 474 BCE and the next subsequent Adar falls in the beginning of 473 BCE. So that seems in order, does it not?! After all, the Scriptures do name the numbered months Nisan and Adar (Esther 3:7 & 13) so it those numbered months could hardly reference the Egyptian months Thoth and Mesore, could they? Well, if they did – supposing the names Nisan and Adar would be some late editor’s additions… - then we could potentially be dealing with Thoth 13, 475 BCE and Mesore 13, 474 BCE, couldn’t we? So let’s check out the days of the week for Mesore 13, 474 BCE:
Mesore 13, 474 BCE = from sunrise Tue November 27, 474 BCE [JD 1548625] to sunrise Wed November 28, 474 BCE.
Well then, that’s not “Day One” either, is it?!!! So that should cover all potential options I can think of for now…
In summary re Esther 3:13 and 8:12:
I find no support in the calendar of actual or potential events to support the idea above that “in one day” did in fact refer to Day One of the week. Then again, how likely is it that such a day was being referenced in future time relative to the Scriptural calendar, considering the near impossibility to predict accurately and reliably which weekday would fall on a certain day of the month during the rainy season? Not likely, is it! Also the context of the dates provided in Esther indicates that the 12th month follows the 1st month and not the other way around, given that no different regnal year is indicated for either one of these two references to the 13th day of the 12th month both of which clearly follows the preceding Nisan date in Ahasuerus’ 12th year of reign!
I conclude that within the book of Esther the dates provided are given on the Babylonian format beginning with Nisan 1st and ending with Adar. The fact that words translated “in one day” could not likely reference Day One of the week when thus used prospectively is probably itself an indication that the New Moons were reckoned by actual observation of the New Moon crescent rather than by the astronomical New Moon.
Considering that fact that the Seventh-day Sabbath observance has always been of great importance Mordecai would not likely get involved in issuing a decree on the Sabbath, thus determining the day of the week of the date given in Esther 8:9, i.e. the 23rd day of the 3rd month, Sivan, or would he? Thus the following considerations might provide a valuable consideration:
Sivan 23, 474 BCE (-473) fell on the day beginning at sunset Fri May 25 (or Sat May 26,) or else (Fri June 22 or) Sat June 23, 474 BCE;
Sivan 23, 473 BCE (-472) fell on the day beginning at sunset Thu June 12 (or Fri June 13,) or else Fri July 11 (or Sat July 12,) 473 BCE.
Thus, so far as this particular is concerned, either year would be possible… I see no problem with Mordecai issuing a decree on either the 1st or the 6th Day of the week.
All things considered, 1) the book of Esther is most likely using a Babylonian calendar, 2) Nisan 1 began not Mar 5 but Apr 3 or 4, 474 BCE, and 3) Mordecai would not likely participate in a kingly decree on the 7th day Sabbath, most likely Mordecai’s and Ahasuerus’ decree was issued on the First Day of the week, i.e. the day beginning Sat June 23, 474 BCE.
What day of the week was Haman’s decree issued?:
Aviv 13, 474 BCE (-473) fell on the day beginning at sunset Sat Mar 17 or Sun Mar 18 or else Sun Apr 15 or Mon Apr 16, 474 BCE;
Aviv 13, 473 BCE (-472) fell on the day beginning at sunset Fri Apr 4 or Sat Apr 5 or else Sat May 3 or Sun May 4, 473 BCE.
Likewise I see no problem with Haman issuing a decree on most any day of the week…
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