10th Month of God’s Calendar – Tevet

After sunset next Tuesday 12th December we will enter a new Biblical month, the 10th month of God’s calendar. Named by man, Tevet, probably during the Babylonian exile. In the Babylonian calendar the name was Araḫ Ṭebētum, meaning the “muddy month”, possibly related to the heavy winter rainfall that can fall during this month.

We also enter the 6th night of Channukah. As we light the 7 candles, we will see the light getting brighter as we bring the Chag of Channukah, the miracle of Channukah, from the 9th month of Kislev, seen as the darkest month, into the first two days of this 10th month.

This a short snippet  from the Book of Maccabees, which I much enjoy re-reading this time of year. Reminding us, sadly, that the descendants of The Children of Israel have never stopped having to fight for their very existence.

2 Maccabees 4:12

“When the foreigners looked up and saw them coming against them, they went forth from their camp to battle. Then the men with Judas blew their trumpets and engaged in battle. The gentiles were crushed and fled into the plain, and all those in the rear fell by the swords.

On their return they sang hymns and praises to Heaven, for He is good, for His mercy endures for ever. Thus Israel had a great deliverance that day.

Then said Judas to his brothers: ‘Behold our enemies are crushed; let us go up to cleanse the sanctuary and dedicate it.’”

Last month certainly was a very dark month for Israel again, and our prayers  continue for the darkness and evil of Hamas, and all Israel’s enemies, to be overcome with light and truth, and crushed.

This tenth month is recorded in Jeremiah 39, when we read: “In the tenth month, Nebuchadnezzar King of Bavel marched against Jerusalem with his entire Army, and began to lay siege against it.” This ultimately culminated in the destruction of Solomon’s Temple, and the conquest of the Kingdom of Judah.

Now there is a minor fast on the 10th day of this 10th month to mourn and remember this siege.

BUT the good news is that in Zecharia we read: “The Lord God of the Armies says, The fast days of the 4th, 5th seventh and TENTH months are to become times of joy, gladness and cheer for the house of Judah…” Remembering that all these fasts were  instituted by man in memory of calamities and disasters related to Jerusalem and the destruction of both temples.

This 10th month is also mentioned during the story of Esther. “Esther was brought to King Achashverosh in his royal palace in the tenth month, Tevet. The king liked Esther more than any of his wives…..” This, of course, with the happy ending, that the  Jews eventually were given the right to fight for their lives, as the edict for their destruction could not be revoked.

In Ezekiel Chapter 29 we have it recorded that in this tenth month the Word of The Lord come to Ezekiel telling him to turn his face against Pharaoh King of Egypt, and declaring that The Lord God of Israel was against Pharaoh describing him as a big crocodile lying in the Nile! Prophesying that Egypt will become a desolate waste, and The Lord God will scatter the Egyptians among the nations and disperse them through the countries, to the gather them and bring them back, but for them to be a humble kingdom. Never again to dominate other nations. Then……. They will know that I am Adonai Elohim.”

Interestingly during the reign of Ptolemy, an Egyptian monarch from 305 BCE,  ordered the translation of The Torah into Greek. He knew it would be a complicated job, and gathered 70 scholars, and hoped it would give the Greeks a literal understanding of the Five Books of Moses.

This was seen as a tragedy by many, as Ptolemy wanted to Hellenise The Torah, and just add it to the classics in his library. It was inconceivable to him that a ‘God given document’ should be treated any differently to books written by man.

The translation was completed on the 8th day of the 10th month Tevet.

Other historical events that have happened in this month include the ejecting of the Sadducees from the Sandhedrin on 28 Tevet in 81 BCE. This happened because they were seen as a sect that denied the Oral Law and authority of the Sages, who dominated the Supreme Court. They were then replaced the with ”Torah-loyal disciples.”

In 1808 during this  10th month, civil rights were eventually granted to the Jews living in Westphalia, a region of Germany. Many Jews had lived in the area since the early 13th century. They were then victims of the black death persecution during 1348-49, during which they either fled or were expelled. During the second half of the 14th century they returned with Jewish autonomy severely restricted by government control.  But then eventually on 27th January 1808 (27th Tevet) they were granted civic rights, and were able to engage in the profession of their choice for the first time.

So once again a month full of almonds and raisins, bitter sweet.

Abba father, we dedicate ourselves afresh to you as we enter and receive this new 10th month, this new portion of time. May we be daily  mindful that you are Adonai Tzaviot, and we pray that you will continue to neither slumber nor sleep as you Watch over Israel. May your Kingdom Come, and as your perfect will is done in Heaven, may it be done here also on earth.

יהי  רצון מלפנין יהוה אלהינו ואלהי אבותינו שתחדש עלינו חודש טוב, באדנינו ישוע המשיח

May it be Your will Lord our God and God of our fathers, that you renew for us a good month in our Lord Yeshua the Messiah.