The Second Month

New Moon Day Bible Study

John Plunkett

May 16th 2018

It has been more than a year – actually, fourteen of God’s lunar months – since we had one of our Bible studies detailing the specific month of the relevant New Moon Day.

We’ve covered all the biblical months except for the second, third and fourth, as well as the thirteenth – "intercalary" – month, which Warren covered in his recent two-part update on the Sacred Calendar.  So, we’ll rectify these omissions by covering the third and fourth month on future New Moon Days; and tonight, we’ll have an overview of the scriptures pertaining to the second month.


For our first “Second Month” scriptures then, let’s go all the way back to the time of beginning of the Flood:

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

Verses 13 to 16 tell us that this was the very day that Noah and his family entered the ark; also, that it was the LORD Himself who shut them in.

13:  In the selfsame day entered Noah, and Shem, and Ham, and Japheth, the sons of Noah, and Noah’s wife, and the three wives of his sons with them, into the ark;
14:  They, and every beast after his kind, and all the cattle after their kind, and every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth after his kind, and every fowl after his kind, every bird of every sort.
15:  And they went in unto Noah into the ark, two and two of all flesh, wherein is the breath of life.
16:  And they that went in, went in male and female of all flesh, as God had commanded him: and the LORD shut him in.

Various scholars give different estimates for just when the flood occurred -- none of which we can be truly dogmatic about.  The estimates range all the way from the Hebrew Bible’s 2288 BC to the Septuagint Bible’s 3246 BC.  That’s a difference of 958 years! 

When I think of these ancient dates, though, I can’t help thinking about the Neolithic buildings that Trish and I have had the privilege to visit in Europe – some of which were built (or so say the experts) around 3200 BC.  To enter a building that is as old as – or possibly even older than – the flood is just astonishing to me.  The older I get, the older the stuff is that tends to impress me! ��

Anyway, back to Noah.  A whole year and ten days after the deluge began:

Genesis 8:
13:  And it came to pass in the six hundredth and first year
{of Noah’s life}, in the first month, the first day of the month, the waters were dried up from off the earth: and Noah removed the covering of the ark, and looked, and, behold, the face of the ground was dry.
14:  And in the second month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, was the earth dried.

i.e. Dry enough for them all to exit the ark.  The same month; but of the following year. 

After more than a year, this was the day that the LORD told Noah that he and his family could exit the ark.  And they must have all been very happy to do so, I’m sure.

Israel in the Wilderness

Moving forward in time, now, to the early days after the Exodus. 

As with the Flood, several estimates for the Exodus date have been put forward – varying between 1400 BC and 1500 BC. 

As we’ll see in more detail later, modern scholarship puts the date at 1446 BC or 1447 BC.

Exodus 16:
1:  And they took their journey from Elim, and all the congregation of the children of Israel came unto the wilderness of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after their departing out of the land of Egypt. 
2:  And the whole congregation of the children of Israel murmured against Moses and Aaron in the wilderness.

The Israelites, who had just one month earlier left Goshen during the night beginning the fifteenth day of the first month (amid numerous astonishing miracles), now arrived at the Wilderness of Sin – which, in the English language, at least, is very aptly named – because it was here that the Israelites continued their infamous murmuring that had begun back at Marah.

Just a mere month or less since they had all personally witnessed such wonderful miracles, the like of which the world has never seen since, and there they were whining and complaining! 

Just less than a year later, we find the Israelites still in that same general area – now at the Wilderness of Sinai, where the LORD, for His own good reasons, decided to call a census:

Numbers 1:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the tabernacle of the congregation, on the first day of the second month, in the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying, 
2:  “Take you the sum of all the congregation of the children of Israel, after their families, by the house of their fathers, with the number of their names, every male by their polls,”
3:  From twenty years old and upward, all that are able to go forth to war in Israel: you and Aaron shall number them by their armies.
4:  And with you there shall be a man of every tribe; every one head of the house of his fathers…

Moses and Aaron didn’t waste any time! They got to it right away:

Verse 17:  And Moses and Aaron took these men which are expressed by their names:
18:  And they assembled all the congregation together on the first day of the second month, and they declared their pedigrees after their families, by the house of their fathers, according to the number of the names, from twenty years old and upward, by their polls.

I have no doubt that the LORD didn’t actually need the numbers.  I’m sure that He already knew – or could know if He wanted to – the details on every single individual – up to and including the number of hairs on each person’s head (Matthew 10:30). 

But Moses, Aaron and the other leaders needed to know these details so that they could effectively and strategically arrange their armies.  Also, a special count was needed for the redemption of the firstborn and the setting apart of the Levites (Numbers 3). 

Still in this second year after leaving Egypt, a few days after this census, the LORD reminded Moses that the Israelites should be preparing for the Passover – not just that year; but every year! 

Numbers 9:
1:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they were come out of the land of Egypt, saying,
2:  Let the children of Israel also keep the Passover at his appointed season
{Hebrew: mow-ed} …

But if you think about it, their keeping of the Passover in the second year was very different from the first one! 

Please note that the correct timing of the Passover was very important to the LORD!  It still is!
But it turned out that some special arrangements needed to be determined:

Verse 6:  And there were certain men, who were defiled by the dead body of a man, that they could not keep the Passover on that day: and they came before Moses and before Aaron on that day:
7:  And those men said unto him, “We are defiled by the dead body of a man: why are we kept back, that we may not offer an offering of the LORD in His appointed season
{mow-ed – in this case Abib 14!} among the children of Israel?”

Notice that they had not just a preference – but seemingly a great zeal – to keep the Passover with their fellow Israelites.  Great example for us!

8:  And Moses said unto them, “Stand still, and I will hear what the LORD will command concerning you.
9:  And the LORD spoke unto Moses, saying,
10:  “Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, ‘If any man of you or of your posterity shall be unclean by reason of a dead body, or be in a journey afar off, yet he shall keep the Passover unto the LORD.
11:  The fourteenth day
{N.B. NOT the fifteenth day as the Jews later decided to change it to!} of the second month at even {Hebrew: beyn ha ar bayim} they shall keep it, and eat it with unleavened bread and bitter herbs.

With the second Passover, just as with the first, please notice once again that the English phrase “at even” is translated here from the Hebrew phrase “beyn ha ar bayim,” which refers to the beginning of the fourteenth day!  Not the end!  The Hebrew phrase for the evening at the end of a day is “ba erev” or “ba arev” (Ref: Exodus 12:18).

With regards to the keeping of what we call “the Second Passover,” taking advantage of it should be a very last resort!  It would be extremely rare for any of God’s people in the Twenty-first Century to have contact with a dead body – especially just prior to Passover.  But there are certain other circumstances that could prevent us from keeping the First Passover.  Illness – especially serious or contagious illness – is one very valid and understandable reason.  

Also, the other circumstance mentioned by the LORD in verse 11 is for those who might be “in a journey afar off.”  The LORD God has given His people the freedom to keep the Passover virtually anywhere.  But preferably with our spiritual brothers and sisters.  Preferably – but not mandatorily – with those we know well.  With our normally speedy and efficient modes of transportation, travel should not normally prevent us from keeping the (First) Passover with “our local church groups,” as it might have done back in “Bible times.”  But even if we plan our travel and other arrangements – as we should – with the ultra-important Passover timing in mind, bad weather, delayed or cancelled flights, etc. could still prevent a person from keeping Passover with his/her usual, local church group. 

Trish and I found it necessary on one very interesting occasion, when (due to a requirement for me to officiate at an out-of-town memorial service) we were unable to be together with “our” own local group, to keep the First Passover, we kept it – just the two of us – in a hotel room – via a speakerphone hook-up with Warren and Sue!

Even though our loving God has given us a way of dealing with these special and uncommon circumstances, it’s still not quite the same as attending the First Passover along with our beloved brethren. 

At another time a couple of years back, Trish and I held a Second Passover service for a lady in Ontario.  I seem to remember that she had been ill and so, had been unable to attend the First Passover in her local area.  It was unique.  And OK, of course.  But still, it was not quite the same.  So, I would recommend avoiding the Second Passover if at all possible.


Shortly after the keeping of the Second Passover, still in that second year after leaving Egypt, the time eventually came for the Israelites to move out from the Wilderness of Sinai and to move on according to the LORD’s command and guidance – in the direction of the Promised Land; but actually, into yet another wilderness area:

Numbers 10:
11:  And it came to pass on the twentieth day of the second month, in the second year, that the cloud was taken up from off the tabernacle of the testimony.
12:  And the children of Israel took their journeys out of the wilderness of Sinai; and the cloud rested in the wilderness of Paran.
13:  And they first took their journey according to the commandment of the LORD by the hand of Moses.

The LORD had commanded them that, whenever His cloud lifted off from the tent-tabernacle, it was time for them to move on – following His cloud, of course; and whenever it came to rest – as it did here in the Wilderness of Paran – that was the place He desired them to stop.

Military Divisions under David

Now we leap forward about 470-odd years to the latter years of David’s life.

I’m sure you’ll remember from previous “month” studies that David appointed a special captain of the guard for each month of the year.  Here’s the one for the second month:

I Chronicles 27:4:
And over the course of the second month was Dodai an Ahohite, and of his course was Mikloth also the ruler: in his course likewise were twenty and four thousand.

Dodai or Dowday (Strong’s 1737) is a name that means "loving" or "amorous."  I have no idea why!  Maybe he was something of a Don-Juan- or Casanova-type character!  

But, giving him the benefit of the doubt, maybe the love he was noted for was the brotherly kind.  Why?  Because he was an Ahohite – in the Hebrew – Achowchiy – which means "brother of rest."  An Ahohite was a person of the clan – or sub-tribe – of Ahoah – of the tribe of Benjamin.

There are two other Ahohites mentioned in the scriptures – both of them included in other listings of David’s “mighty men.”  There’s Zalmon who is mentioned in II Samuel 23:28 and Ilai who is mentioned in I Chronicles 11:29.

Back to Dodai, though.  We only find his name once in the KJV; but the scholars opine that Dodai is the same man as the ‘Dodo’ who we find mentioned in a couple of other scriptures:

II Samuel 23:9: 
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo the Ahohite, one of the three mighty men with David, when they defied the Philistines that were there gathered together to battle, and the men of Israel were gone away…

I Chronicles 11:12: 
And after him was Eleazar the son of Dodo, the Ahohite, who was one of the three mighties…

Among David’s warriors, he had thirty top officers.  And of this thirty he had three top generals.  Dodai (or Dodo) was one of them.  

This is just a speculation that came to my mind; but I wonder if David patterned his three generals after the LORD’s three angelic “generals” – Gabriel, Michael and Heylel (who became Satan). 

I Chronicles 27:4 also mentions a man by the name of Mikloth, whose name means stave, rod or staff and is thought to have been an officer who served with or under Dodai – but of a lower rank.

Solomon Builds the Temple

Moving on just one generation – from David to his son Solomon – and referring to the beginning of the building of his apparently wonderfully impressive temple:

II Chronicles 3:2:
And he began to build in the second day of the second month, in the fourth year of his reign.

I Kings 6:1: 
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 month Zif, which is the second month, that he began to build the house of the LORD…

In the subsequent verses, the writer then goes into the detail of the building of the temple; but we’ll skip over those details for tonight – and we’ll jump down to see a repetition of the timing… in:

Verse 37:  In the fourth year was the foundation of the house of the LORD laid, in the month Zif:

Assuming that the 480 years mentioned in verse 1 is accurate and that the Exodus took place between 1400 and 1500 BC, then the date of the commencement of the building of the temple was some time between 1020 BC and 920 BC. 

Some modern scholars opine that Solomon’s reign began some time in 970 BC; so, depending how one counts it (i.e. inclusively or exclusively), the fourth year of his reign would have been some time during either 966 BC or 967 BC (which would place the Exodus at 1446 BC or 1447 BC).

The writer of the book of Kings gives a name to this second month, which only appears in these two verses: “Zif” – or in the Hebrew, “Ziv” (Strong’s 2099).  Strong says of this month name: 

• It is the name of the second month of the year, corresponding to April-May.

• It probably stems from an unused root verb meaning to be prominent. 

• Its name means "brightness"… 

Which is quite apt for this time of year, I think.  And certainly a good time of year to begin a large building project such as this one, the building of Solomon’s amazingly beautiful temple.

King Hezekiah keeps the Second Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread

Once again, we jump forward in time – about 240-odd years – to approximately 725 BC.  A lot of water – lots of it dirty! – had flowed under the bridges of the houses of Israel and Judah in those 240 years since Solomon’s reign. 

The northern house of Israel would soon be carted off to Assyria as a result of their incessant idolatry.  Judah fared only slightly better.  But when they came to 725 BC, they had a new, young and relatively decent king – Hezekiah.  He had the Levitical priesthood reinstated, the temple cleansed and re-consecrated and, with great zeal to obey the LORD, he commanded that the Holy Days be kept – beginning, of course, with the Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread:

II Chronicles 30:
1:  And Hezekiah sent to all Israel and Judah, and wrote letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come to the house of the LORD at Jerusalem, to keep the Passover unto the LORD God of Israel.
2:  For the king had taken counsel, and his princes, and all the congregation in Jerusalem, to keep the Passover in the second month… 
3a:  For they could not keep it at that time
{NKJV: at the regular time} because a sufficient number of priests had not consecrated themselves...

N.B. Not for the home-based, family Passover ceremonies; but for the temple-based Feast of Unleavened Bread services and Holy Day offerings.

3b:  ... nor had the people gathered together at Jerusalem.
4:  And the matter pleased the king and all the assembly.
5:  So they established a decree to make proclamation throughout all Israel, from Beersheba even to Dan, that they should come to keep the Passover unto the LORD God of Israel at Jerusalem: for they had not done it of a long time in such sort as it was written.

Written where?  In Exodus 12, Leviticus 23 and other Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread scriptures?  Yes!  Not only did they keep the second Passover.  They also kept the second Feast of Unleavened Bread:

Verse 13:  And there assembled at Jerusalem much people to keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread in the second month, a very great congregation…
Verse 15:  Then they killed the Passover on the fourteenth
{not the 15th!} day of the second month: and the priests and the Levites were ashamed, and sanctified themselves, and brought in the burnt offerings into the house of the LORD.

Not for the Passover; but for the Feast of Unleavened Bread Holy Day offerings. 

Did all this please the LORD?  Yes, it did!  

Nevertheless, Judah reverted to its customary idolatry and was taken into captivity in Babylon.

Post-Exile Temple Restoration Begins

Let’s speed forward another 180-odd years to the other end of Judah’s 70 year captivity – when we come to approximately 537 BC:

Ezra 3:8:
Now in the second year of their coming unto the house of God at Jerusalem, in the second month, began Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel, and Jeshua the son of Jozadak, and the remnant of their brethren the priests and the Levites, and all they that were come out of the captivity unto Jerusalem; and appointed the Levites, from twenty years old and upward, to set forward the work of the house of the LORD.

So, just like at the time of the initial building of the temple by Solomon beginning in the second month of the year 967 BC, here we see the rebuilding of the temple beginning – again, in the second month of the year 537 BC.  Interestingly, 430 years later – the same period of time as “the sojourning of Israel” mentioned in Exodus 12:40-41 and Galatians 3:17.