The Tenth Month

New Moon Bible Study

John Plunkett

January 10, 2016

Last month we studied the scriptures that deal with the ninth month of God's sacred calendar.  This evening, we will do the same for the tenth month, which is just beginning this evening.

When I did a search on "the tenth month" in the scriptures, I was surprised that there was quite a lot happening in the tenth months of those approximately 1,900 years that we will be examining them this evening – the approximately 1,900 years between the time of Noah and the time of Ezra.

We will go through all of these "tenth month" scriptures in time order – as well as I could determine – not in the order of the Bible books, which are way out of the correct time sequence.

In this study, you'll notice me throwing some approximate dates around; but please don’t get too excited if your sources on them don't agree exactly with mine. 


Let’s start with Noah’s time, which we think was approximately 2,348 BC or thereabouts.  n, Again, let’s not get too bogged down with the exact years; it is really the months that we are interested in for this study.  Let’s go all of the way back to:

Genesis 8:
1:  And God remembered Noah, and every living thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters assuaged;
2:  The fountains also of the deep and the windows of heaven were stopped, and the rain from heaven was restrained;
3:  And the waters returned from off the earth continually: and after the end of the hundred and fifty days the waters were abated.
4:  And the ark rested in the seventh month, on the seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat.

So if these are specific dates of God's year, the seventeenth day of the seventh month when the ark came to rest on the mountains of Ararat just to give you its time-setting would have been on the second day of the Feast of Tabernacles.

5:  And the waters decreased continually until the tenth month: in the tenth month, on the first day of the month, were the tops of the mountains seen.

Again, that was the same day as today, only that was approximately 4,363 years ago.  This first day of the tenth month must have been something of a happy day of relief for Noah and his family.  

Up to the day that the waters started to abate back in the seventh month  they had been in the Ark for a hundred and fifty days (verses 3-4).  Can you imagine being cooped up in a wooden ship for five months.  It might have been okay if it was a cruise ship!  But of course, the ark certainly did not have the luxurious facilities or manpower of a modern cruise ship.

On the seventeenth day of the seventh month, the Ark came to rest when the keel of the Ark lodged in the top of one of those peaks in the Ararat mountain range.  But those peaks and the the keel of the ark were still below the water level at that time, and the peaks of the mountains still could not yet be seen.

Another seventy-four long days two and a half months went by until those mountain peaks could at last be seen.  At that point they had been in the ark for 224 days, which is seven and a half months.  That is quite a long time!   But it would be another 146 days, almost 21 weeks – or more than 5 months before they would be able to disembark. 

If we think about this in relation to this year
2016 that would be another five and a half months before they would be able to disembark.  That would take us up to the beginning of June!  Can you imagine being cooped up in the ark for that long?

These times may be somewhat arguable.  The way it is written people might be somewhat ambiguous so different people can read it in different ways.  Still, from what we understand, they were in the ark for a total of 371 days, which is more than 12 months!  I am sure that all of us would be getting pretty "antsy" by this time, to say the least!

The lesson that we can learn from this brief account, and what we will see throughout a lot of these tenth month scriptures, is with regards to simple patience and perseverance.  That is what jumps out at me, anyway, in these tenth month scriptures: patience, perseverance and, in some cases, the lack thereof. 

David and Maharai

Now let’s fast-forward about 1,378 years to David’s time approximately 970 BC:

I Chronicles 27:
1:  Now the children of Israel after their number, to wit, the chief fathers and captains of thousands and hundreds, and their officers that served the king in any matter of the courses, which came in and went out month by month throughout all the months of the year, of every course were twenty and four thousand.

This is the 24,000-man royal guard of David, which was changed every month – the same one that we looked at in our Ninth Month Bible study.

13:  The tenth captain for the tenth month was Maharai the Netophathite, of the Zarhites: and in his course were twenty and four thousand.

Is there anything worth noting about this Maharai?  Or is there anything interesting about the Netophathites or the Zarhites?

Let’s start with Maharai.  It is interesting when we compare him with the perseverance that was required of Noah's family, because Maharai's Hebrew name means “impetuous.”  It stems from the verb “mahar” (Strong’s 4116) which is elsewhere translated as: swift, quickly, hasty, soon, speed, headlong, rash, speedily, straightway, and suddenly.  The extended Hebrew meanings of the word “mahar” include to be hurried, precipitate, impetuous, to prepare quickly, to do quickly, or to bring quickly. 

From these, it sounds like this Maharai might have been possibly somewhat impetuous.  When I think of the word "impetuous," I always think of the apostle Peter.  Maybe the personalities of the two men might have been similar in some respects. 

Impetuosity is something of an antonym of patience and perseverance, which we read about in our first tenth month scripture in Genesis.

Still, even though Maharai may have been impetuous, we can be sure that he was also very courageous.  He is mentioned as such, by name, in two other scriptures:

II Samuel 23:
8:  These be the names of the mighty men whom David had...

28:  Zalmon the Ahohite, Maharai the Netophathite,

II Chronicles 11:
11:  And this is the number of the mighty men whom David had...
30:  Maharai the Netophathite, Heled the son of Baanah the Netophathite,

In both of these verses, this Maharai is listed amongst David’s most valiant soldiers; and that is probably why David chose him, despite his (possible) impetuosity, as one of the leaders of his royal guard.

Now let’s look at the Netophathites.  Nehemiah calls them "Netophathi." (Nehemiah 12:28).

They came from a town in Judah called Netophah. The Netophathites and their town of Netophah are mentioned twelve times in the Old Testament.  The modern site of ancient Netophah is in the Arab neighbourhood of a place called Umm Tuba – which is a suburb of Jerusalem.

There is another leader of David’s royal guard who also hailed from Netophah.  His name was Heleb or, in some other scriptures, Heled and Heldai.  We'll "meet" him on New Moon Day number twelve.

Now, who were the Zarhites?  Their name is mentioned six times in the Old Testament.  "Zarhite" is an anglicized form of the Hebrew word "Zarchiy" (Strong’s 2227), which stems from Zerach, Zerah or Zarah (Strong’s 2225 and 2226) and mean rising, dawning or shining, from which lots of interesting scriptures spring (e.g. Isaiah 60:3).

One interesting point here is that the Zarhites were descendants of Zerah.  There are six Zerahs (or Zarahs) mentioned in the Bible; but we believe that the one that engendered the Zarhites was likely the second one, who was one of the sons of Judah and the twin brother of Pharez.  This Zarah and his twin brother Pharez were infamously born of Judah’s daughter-in-law Tamar (Genesis 38:12-30). 


Let’s go forward another 382 years (approximately) to 588 BC.  This was the time when the captivity of the House of Judah had started.  The northern House of Israel had already been taken away captive into Assyria, the first phase of Nebuchadnezzar’s captivity of the Jews had already taken place, and as a result, Ezekiel was in Chaldea.

This is probably the pivotal instance of the tenth month from the Jews' standpoint, because it made such a huge change on their people.

Ezekiel 24:
1:  Again in the ninth year, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2:  "Son of man, write you the name of the day, even of this same day: the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day.

Why did the LORD command Ezekiel to mark this 10th day of the 10th month as being a very special day?  The answer is in the second half of verse 2: "the king of Babylon set himself against Jerusalem this same day."

The single Hebrew word for "set himself against" is "camak."  We don’t have time in this short Bible study to go into the word in fine detail; but Nebuchadnezzar and his armies were "camaking" Jerusalem!  A direct translation is that they were leaning on Jerusalem, similar to modern gangsters leaning on people to extort money or services from them.  

Nebuchadnezzar had already drawn near to Jerusalem, brought up his army, and had started laying siege against the city.  Scholars and historians believe it likely that Nebuchadnezzar had prepared everything to carry out the siege, probably himself in person, that he would have planned the siege with his generals, started it off, then withdrawn and let his generals do the rest of the "dirty work." 

But on this 10th of this 10th month, Ezekiel who wrote this, was in Chaldea, hundreds of miles away from Jerusalem where the siege action was happening.  Again, Ezekiel had been taken captive in the first round of Nebuchadnezzar’s invasion and captivity of the tribal lands of Judah.  But although Ezekiel was many miles from his home in Jerusalem, God inspired him with this message on the very same day that this action was happening.  So, in effect, these words came from the LORD Himself, who is omniscient, omnipresent, unrestricted by physical distance. 

The LORD was basically telling Ezekiel and the exiled Jews – paraphrasing:  "As you're very well aware, of course, you're hundreds of miles away from your beloved city right now; but you need to know that it is being besieged at this very minute."

This event was such an absolutely huge one in the history of the House of Judah – and the nation of Israel as a whole – that it is recorded in at least three other verses, complete with the actual dates:

II Kings 25:1:
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came, he, and all his host, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it; and they built forts against it round about.

Jeremiah 39:1:
In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.

Jeremiah 52:4:
And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.

These verses give us a little better idea of what Nebuchadnezzar was doing there.  Also of minor interest in these two verses from Jeremiah is the alternate spelling of "Nebuchadrezzar" with an "r" instead of the usual "n".

With the siege of Jerusalem, this 10th day of the 10th month was a big day.  But also, on this very same day, another tragedy struck up in Chaldea – a personal tragedy for Ezekiel.  His beloved wife, who the scriptures refer to as "the desire of his eyes" died. 

But, when we read the detailed scriptures about it, not only did the LORD allow this tragedy, it appears that the LORD caused it. 

The LORD tested and proved some of the prophets by having them go through trials that I am not sure we could get through. 

He appears to have caused the death of Ezekiel's wife as a strong symbol of what He had to do on that same day to the southern House of Judah; and what He had already had to do to the northern House of Israel. 

Prior to that time, the southern House of Judah and the northern House of Israel collectively were the Old Covenant "Bride" of the LORD – the LORD’s "desire of His eyes" in the same way that Ezekiel’s wife was the desire of his eyes (Psalm 45:11; Job 14:15; Ezekiel 16:8-14).

And so, just like the northern House of Israel, at the time being referred to here, the House of Judah was in the process of being cut off because of the continued sins of its people.

Probably in memory of all of those events, the modern Jews still hold a fast today on the 10th day of the 10th month (or on their version of it, at least, which, as we know, is often erroneous).  

It is interesting that the Jews hold a fast on the 10th of their 10th month because, if you consult a Jewish calendar (or a truly accurate one), you will see that the 10th day of the 10th month is exactly three months after the Day of Atonement (which is, of course) on the 10th day of the 7th month; and it is also three months before the "Behold the Lamb" day which falls on the 10th day of the 1st month (Exodus 12:1-5).  In years with no intercalary month, the 10th day of the 10th month falls exactly right in-between the two. 

By the way, as a side point, I personally feel that when we are all preparing for Passover, we couldn’t pick a better day to fast, to examine ourselves and to compare ourselves (personally and individually) to the perfect Lamb of God than the 10th day of the first month – the same day that the Old Testament Israelites were commanded to choose their Passover lamb and to behold it.

Let’s go back to Ezekiel again.  Another year has gone by, and this now is in 587 BC:

Ezekiel 29:
1:  In the tenth year, in the tenth month, in the twelfth day of the month, the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,
2:  "Son of man, set your face against Pharaoh king of Egypt, and prophesy against him, and against all Egypt:
3:  Speak, and say, 'Thus says the Lord GOD; "Behold, I am against you, Pharaoh king of Egypt, the great dragon that lies in the midst of his rivers, which has said, 'My river is my own, and I have made it for myself.'"'"

I don’t have a lot to say about this tenth month verse, other than that it is included as part of a section of Ezekiel's prophecies that are speaking against various nations.  This one was the LORD’s opening salvo against this vain Pharaoh who claimed godly powers.  As it describes this Pharaoh as "the great dragon," we may wonder how much he might have been directly influenced by Satan, the great dragon of Revelation 12:9.  

Two more years on, and we are into 585 BC:

Ezekiel 33:21:
And it came to pass in the twelfth year of our captivity, in the tenth month, in the fifth day of the month, that one that had escaped out of Jerusalem came unto me, saying, "The city is smitten."

This person who had escaped from the besieged Jerusalem, doesn’t give any more detail of the level of destruction there.  He merely confirms to Ezekiel, and to the captives who are with Ezekiel in Chaldea, that the LORD’s prophesy which He had given through Ezekiel previously, had been fulfilled.  But there was an interesting follow-up event that occurred.  

22:  Now the hand of the LORD was upon me in the evening, before he that was escaped came; and had opened my mouth, until he came to me in the morning; and my mouth was opened, and I was no more dumb.

For the LORD’s own purposes, He had struck Ezekiel dumb quite a long time prior to this.  It is difficult to get the exact timing of it; but the LORD had foretold to Ezekiel exactly when he would be released from the affliction, and exactly under what circumstances:

Ezekiel 24:
26:  That he that escapes in that day shall come unto you, to cause you to hear it with your ears?
27:  In that day shall your mouth be opened to him which is escaped, and you shall speak, and be no more dumb: and you shall be a sign unto them; and they shall know that I am the LORD.

Again, I am not exactly sure how long he was dumb.  However long it was, it appears to have been quite a long time. 

Again, going back to that idea of patience and perseverance, Ezekiel was a prophet and a preacher, and this dumbness with which the LORD afflicted him must have been a cause for a  great test on his patience and perseverance.

It was, and still is today, a very frustrating trial for a preacher of the truth to be "gagged."   (I have some personal, past experience of that myself).  Ezekiel had been given an important job to do.  I am not saying, of course, that he was frustrated against the LORD because he couldn’t do his job freely; but it must have been difficult for him as I'm sure that he wanted to do the prophesying and the preaching. 

But for His own good reasons God sealed his lips. The LORD first told Ezekiel that He was going to do this way back in Ezekiel 3:26; but it evidently did not happen right away because we read of the LORD commanding Ezekiel to speak and to prophesy on numerous occasions after this.  Ezekiel 3:27 implies that until his release from this miraculous restriction, perhaps Ezekiel was permitted to prophesy and to speak when directly inspired by the LORD; but that the rest of time he would remain dumb.  Another possibility is that during his dumb period, even though Ezekiel was not able to speak freely, perhaps he was able to write any words that the LORD inspired into his mind.


Let’s go forward in time to the Book of Esther.  In the Bible order, we are going way back; but in real time order, we are going forward approximately 103 years to circa 482 BC.

By this date, the Jews had been freed from Babylon and their captivity was ended.  Although the Jews had been freed, we are relocating in our narrative now – not to Jerusalem, Judah or Babylon – but now we are going into the King Ahasuerus' palace in the royal city of Shushan in Persia.  Ancient Shushan is the Hebrew name for Susa (Persian), the ruins of which are located in the modern city of Shush in western Iran, just 35 miles west of its border with Iraq.

Even though the Babylonian captivity was over, there were evidently many Jews who were living in Persia at that time.  

Esther 2:
16:  So Esther was taken unto king Ahasuerus into his house royal in the tenth month, which is the month Tebeth, in the seventh year of his reign.
17:  And the king loved Esther above all the women, and she obtained grace and favour in his sight more than all the virgins; so that he set the royal crown upon her head, and made her queen instead of Vashti.
18:  Then the king made a great feast unto all his princes and his servants, even Esther’s feast; and he made a release to the provinces, and gave gifts, according to the state of the king.

The implication her is that this was a special Feast day – perhaps a whole month! – in honour of the king's new bride, Esther. 

We all know the account, which is not really relevant to our study; so we are not going to into a lot of detail on it.  Its main point of interest for us is that the tenth month is named here as Tebeth

It is not a Hebrew word; but is probably of some foreign derivation, possibly Persian.  The experts on these things tell us that the word Tebeth means goodness, which, I think, is very appropriate when we apply it to Esther and Mordecai. 

I could not find the word Tebeth anywhere else in the scriptures.  It only seems to appear this once.  Nevertheless, it seems to have stuck with the Jews, as they still call their version of the tenth month Tebet, Tevet or Tebeth.


We now move forward about 24 years later after the account of Esther to 458 BC. 

We're back in Judah again, specifically back to the city of Jerusalem, and back in Ezra 10 where we finished last time.  In our Ninth Month Bible study, we went through in more detail this episode about the Jews giving up their "strange wives."  

The Hebrew word for strange is nokriy (Strong's 5237) and is else where in the KJV translated as stranger, alien and foreigner.

I don’t have a lot more to say about it; but let’s pick up the account and the time-setting with the ninth month verse that we read in our last study:

Ezra 10: 
9:  Then all the men of Judah and Benjamin gathered themselves together unto Jerusalem within three days.  It was the ninth month, on the twentieth day of the month; and all the people sat in the street of the house of God, trembling because of this matter, and for the great rain.

You might remember from last time when we talked about the fact that this ninth month was the beginning of one of Israel’s rainy seasons. 

10:  And Ezra the priest stood up, and said unto them, "You have transgressed, and have taken strange wives, to increase the trespass of Israel.
11:  Now therefore make confession unto the LORD God of your fathers, and do His pleasure: and separate yourselves from the people of the land, and from the strange wives."

When the Jews were taken away to Babylon, there may have been some intermarriage with Gentiles there.  Also while they were away, there were Gentile people who moved into the Jews' territory and cities, and when they came back from their exile, there was further intermarriage with these Gentile immigrants.  Without going into all the ins and outs of that detail again, let’s move on:

12:  Then all the congregation answered and said with a loud voice, "As you have said, so must we do.

I think they may have answered through a spokesman for all the Israelites who were present.

13:  But the people are many, and it is a time of much rain, and we are not able to stand without {outside}, neither is this a work of one day or two: for we are many that have transgressed in this thing.

They admitted that they had done something wrong.

14:  Let now our rulers of all the congregation stand, and let all them which have taken strange wives in our cities come at appointed times, and with them the elders of every city, and the judges thereof, until the fierce wrath of our God for this matter be turned from us."

Notice that the sin had not just taken place in Jerusalem only.  It was "in our cities" (plural).   Some of the Jews had likely come in to Jerusalem from quite a long way away.

Just as a reminder, the regular, non-priestly Jews and Israelites were not allowed to enter into the main buildings of the Temple.  And, even though Jerusalem it is a little warmer than it is here at this time of the year, according to the Weather Channel, it is rainy and cool, not the weather to be standing outside in a line-up for a long period of time.  It would not have been very pleasant for those men to be queuing up outside in order to have their cases heard. 

And so, probably through an elected spokesman, this wise and valid suggestion was put forward for consideration by their leadership.  Yes, these men had done wrong; but they accepted that they had done wrong; but there was nothing to prevent them putting forward this wise and valid suggestion that an appointment system be adopted. 

It appears that the leaders didn’t have the authority to enact a carte-blanche mass divorce in order to instantly wipe out all of these illicit marriages.  And to be fair on the wives (even though they were foreigners) and to be fair on the husbands too, each situation had to be examined individually on a case-by-case basis. 

If we think about human nature, perhaps there may have been some husbands who were legally married to non-pagan, non-foreign wives, and just maybe some few of them may have tried to used this situation as an opportunity to get rid of their legal wives who they had become tired of.  I think of it with the idea of them wanting to trade in their 60-year-olds for two 30’s!  We might smile; but this still goes on!  

The point is that all of these cases had to be handled on an individual basis.  Let’s read on, and see what happened: 

15:  Only Jonathan the son of Asahel and Jahaziah the son of Tikvah were employed about this matter: and Meshullam and Shabbethai the Levite helped them.

There were lots and lots of cases to hear, many of them, we believe,  of people who were from out-of- town.  But there were only two qualified judges to hear and examine these cases, plus two helpers who were, perhaps, less- qualified. 

As we read the timing of this event, we see that it was ten days after the initial gathering of the people on the 20th day of the 9th month that the wise Ezra organized some further assistance and put together a kind of appointment system – as recommended by the people.

16:  And the children of the captivity did so.  And Ezra the priest, with certain chief of the fathers, after the house of their fathers, and all of them by their names, were separated, and sat down in the first day of the tenth month to examine the matter.
17:  And they made an end with all the men that had taken strange wives by the first day of the first month. 

So, assuming that there was no intercalary month that year, it took a full three months to resolve all of those cases!


In conclusion, thinking about all of these tenth month scriptures that we have read through, and wondering if there is a common thread or a theme between them, what comes to my mind are the godly qualities of patience and perseverance required in most of these accounts. 

And the bottom line is, patience and perseverance are great things for us to have, and things that we all need to be working on.