Is the Month Determined by the Moon?

by Jonathan Walther

© Copyright September 24, 2013

Some people have been saying that the Biblical month isn't related to the heavenly body known as the moon. Let us see if the Bible agrees with them.

All Bibles today are translations from the Hebrew language. The word "yareach" in Hebrew means moon. The word "chodesh" in Hebrew means month. I'm going to present Bible verses. Whenever the word "yareach" or "chodesh" shows up in the original language, I will show it. Then you can see for yourself the relationship between the month and the moon.

Chodesh means New Moon, or Month

Genesis 7:11 In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the second chodesh, the seventeenth day of the chodesh, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened.

There are "chodesh" inside a year, and there are days inside a "chodesh". Just like a month! A week is 7 days, so the fact there are at least 17 days in the chodesh means it isn't a week. It can only refer to a month.

Exodus 12:2 This chodesh shall be unto you the beginning of chodeshim it shall be the first chodesh of the year to you.

So, the year is divided into chodesh. Just like a month.

Num 10:10 Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the rosh chodeshim, ye shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God: I am the LORD your God.

Here, "rosh chodeshim" means "beginnings of your months" or "heads of the months". New Moon.

1 Chronicles 23:31 And to offer all burnt sacrifices unto the LORD in the sabbaths, in the chodesh, and on the set feasts, by number, according to the order commanded unto them, continually before the LORD:

Here, "chodesh" means New Moon.

Yareach means Moon, or Month

Genesis 37:9 And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the yareach and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.

Here, "yareach" must mean "moon".

Exodus 2:2 And the woman conceived, and bare a son: and when she saw him that he was a goodly child, she hid him three yareach.

Here, the word "yareach" can only mean "month"

Deuteronomy 4:19 And lest thou lift up thine eyes unto heaven, and when thou seest the sun, and the yareach, and the stars, even all the host of heaven, …

Here, "yareach" must mean "moon".

Deuteronomy 21:13 And she shall put the raiment of her captivity from off her, and shall remain in thine house, and bewail her father and her mother a full yareach and after that thou shalt go in unto her, and be her husband, and she shall be thy wife.

Here, the word "yareach" can only mean "month"

Deuteronomy 33:14 And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the yareach

Here, the word "yareach" can only mean "moon".

Isaiah 60:20 Thy sun shall no more go down; neither shall thy yareach withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be thine everlasting light, and the days of thy mourning shall be ended.

Here the yareach is clearly the moon.

A Yareach is a Chodesh

1 Kings 6:1,37 And it came to pass in the four hundred and eightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the chodesh Zif, which is the second chodesh, that he began to build the house of the LORD. In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the yareach Zif:

Here, Zif is the second "chodesh" (month), but Zif is also a "yareach" (moon/month).

1 Kings 6:38 And in the eleventh year, in the yareach Bul, which is the eighth chodesh, was the house finished throughout all the parts thereof, …

Here it is saying that a Yareach (moon) is the same as a Chodesh (month)

1 Kings 8:2 And all the men of Israel assembled themselves unto king Solomon at the feast in the yareach Ethanim, which is the seventh chodesh.

Here it is saying that a Yareach (moon) is the same as a Chodesh (month)

How are Chodesh and Yareach Different?

Chodesh and Yareach both mean "month". But Chodesh also means "New Moon". Yareach has the additional meaning of "moon". Chodesh does NOT mean moon, and Yareach does NOT mean New Moon.

Length of the Year

The Hebrew year sometimes has 12 months, and sometimes has 13 months. This is only possible if the Hebrew month is based on the moon, and the first month is anchored to a particular time of year. The first month of the Hebrew year is anchored, to the spring time, when the sun ascends over the equator, the year's equivalent of sunrise.

If the year was independant of the moon, if it was based only on the sun, then it would be 12 months every year, and never have a 13th month.


In addition to the testimony of the Bible, the five main descendants of the Hebrew faith agree through their received tradition that the month is determined by the moon. These descendants form a majority of the world's population. That is, Muslims, Christians, Jews, Samaritans, and Lemba.

The Israelite historians Philo and Josephus, lived 2000 years ago. They also testify that the month is determined by the moon. You can find the references in the writings of Matthew Janzen and Troy Miller.

So we have the triple testimony of Scripture, Tradition, and History. All agree, the month is determined by the moon. Let noone trouble you about this matter.