Priestly Service on New Year’s Day 4Q330 (Mishmerot H)

The first portion of the present work records the name of the priestly course serving in the Temple on New Year’s Day. New Year’s Day, according to the Qumran calendars, fell on the first day of Nisan, which equates to about March 20 or 21 in modern terms. This was the day of the vernal equinox. Even the proper day for New Year’s Day was a matter of strife among Second-Temple Jewry, for some held that the year should begin on the first day of Tishri, that is, the seventh month.

The beginning of 1. 2, “in the sixth week,” does not fit the New Year pattern, so additional information must have been included. but we can only guess what it could have been.

[In the third year,] the course of Mijamin serves on the first of the f[irst] month [ . . . ] in the sixth week. In the [fourth] year, [the course of Shecaniah serves on the first of the first month . . . ] 3In the {second year} f[ifth] year, the course of Jeshebeab serves on the [first of the first month . . . ]

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