(Ethʹa·nim) [probably, Enduring [Streams]; Everflowing [Streams]].
This was the seventh lunar month of the sacred calendar of the Israelites, but the first of the secular calendar. (1Ki 8:2) It corresponded to part of September and part of October. Following the Babylonian exile it was called Tishri, a name that does not appear in the Bible record but that is found in postexilic writings.
In speaking of the festival that began on the 15th day of this month (or around the first part of October), the historian Josephus writes: “On the fifteenth of this same month, at which the turning-point to the winter season is now reached, Moses bids each family to fix up tents, apprehensive of the cold and as a protection against the year’s inclemency.”—Jewish Antiquities, III, 244 (x, 4).
Start of Agricultural Year. Whereas Abib (or Nisan) became the first month of the year in the sacred Jewish calendar following the Exodus from Egypt, Ethanim continued to be viewed as the first month in a secular or agricultural sense. With this month, almost all the harvesting had been completed, marking the conclusion of the agricultural year. The early rains that thereafter fell softened the ground for the plowing that would follow and that would denote the initiation of new agricultural operations. Jehovah referred to Ethanim as the turning point of the year when speaking of the festival of ingathering as being “at the outgoing of the year” and “at the turn of the year.” (Ex 23:16; 34:22) It is also notable that it was not in the month of Abib but in this month of Ethanim that the Jubilee year began.—Le 25:8-12.
The later name applied to the month, Tishri, means “Beginning of the Year,” and Tishri 1 is still observed by the Jews as their New Year’s Day or Rosh Hashanah (“Head of the Year”).
Festival Month. Ethanim was also a month of festivals. The first day was the “day of the trumpet blast.” (Le 23:24; Nu 29:1) Since each new moon was normally announced with a trumpet blast, this day likely was one of additional or extensive trumpeting. (Nu 10:10) On the 10th of Ethanim the annual Day of Atonement was observed. (Le 16:29, 30; 23:27; Nu 29:7) From the 15th to the 21st occurred the Festival of Booths, or Festival of Ingathering, followed on the 22nd day by a solemn assembly. (Le 23:34-36) Thus, a large part of the month of Ethanim was taken up by these festival seasons.
Events Occurring in Ethanim. Since the Bible, from its first book onward, presents chronological data, and since the first mention of years of life is in connection with the life of Adam, it would seem that the ancient use of the month called Ethanim as the initial month of the year would give some basis for believing that Adam’s start of life was in this month. (Ge 5:1-5) It was on the first day of the first month (later called Ethanim) that Noah, after having already spent over ten months within the ark, removed the ark’s covering and observed that the floodwaters had drained off the ground. (Ge 8:13) Over 1,300 years later Solomon inaugurated the completed temple at Jerusalem in Ethanim. (1Ki 8:2; 2Ch 5:3) After Jerusalem’s destruction in 607 B.C.E., the killing of Governor Gedaliah and the subsequent flight to Egypt of the remaining Israelites in the month of Ethanim marked the full desolation of Judah. (2Ki 25:25, 26; Jer 41:1, 2) These events were involved in the reasons for “the fast of the seventh month” mentioned at Zechariah 8:19. Seventy years later, by this very same month, the released Israelite exiles had returned from Babylon to begin the rebuilding of the temple in Jerusalem.—Ezr 3:1, 6.
The evidence also indicates that Jesus’ birth, as well as his baptism and anointing, took place during this month.—See JESUS CHRIST.