[from a root meaning “yield; produce”].
The eighth lunar month of the sacred calendar of the Israelites corresponding to the second month of the secular calendar. (1Ki 6:37, 38; Ge 7:11) It included part of October and part of November. Following the Babylonian exile, this month was called Marheshvan or Marchesvan, later abbreviated to Heshvan. These postexilic names do not appear in the Bible but are found in the Jewish Talmud, the writings of Josephus, and other works.
Bul came at about the start of the rainy season in the autumn. (De 11:14; Joe 2:23; Jas 5:7) It was a month in which the sowing of barley and wheat went on, and in northern Galilee olives were gathered. The shepherds were now bringing their flocks of sheep back in from the open fields to put them under cover during the winter months of cold and rain.
According to Genesis 7:11 and 8:14, the Flood of Noah’s day began on the 17th day of “the second month,” and by the same month a lunar year and ten days later the earth had dried off. Concerning this, Josephus (Jewish Antiquities, I, 80 [iii, 3]) commented: “This catastrophe happened in the six hundredth year of Noah’s rulership, in what was once the second month, called by the Macedonians Dius and by the Hebrews Marsuan, according to the arrangement of the calendar which they followed in Egypt.” Therefore, according to Josephus, the second month in Noah’s time corresponded to the month Bul, or Marheshvan.
Following the Exodus from Egypt, Bul became the eighth month in the sacred calendar, and it was during this month that Solomon completed the construction of the temple at Jerusalem. (1Ki 6:38) Jeroboam, the founder of the separatist northern kingdom of Israel, arbitrarily made this month a festival month, as part of his plan to divert the people’s attention from Jerusalem and its feasts.—1Ki 12:26, 31-33.