Was the Jubilee Year an Ancient Calendar Formula?

A repeating calendar event occurred in ancient time once every forty-nine years. The special day was announced in Israel on the tenth day, of the seventh month, of the forty-nine year. The trumpets were sounded to emphasize the importance of the occasion, and an auspicious fiftieth year declared. It was called the ‘Jubilee year.’

However, the details given raise some awkward questions. Why would a year begin on the seventh month of the previous year? A common explanation is that the Jewish calendar has more than one New Year. However, that was not always so. Israel’s New Year was originally the first of Abib.

So, we are left with a curious ‘fiftieth year’ that does not synchronise with the Sabbath years, does not start when the others do, and finishes at the wrong end of the calendar. I believe there is an explanation, but it requires an examination of calendar astronomy, and a fresh look at certain unusual numbers that appear in the Bible. In short, I believe there was an old Hebrew calendar, different, but perhaps more accurate than our modern ones. The Jubilee year seems to have been part of that ancient soli-lunar calendar system.

For my paper on the pre-metonic Hebrew calendar, please go here.