PSALM 81:3 AND WHICH MOON?
PSALM 81:3 AND WHICH MOON?
Psalm 81:3 (HRB), “Blow the ram’s horn in the new moon, on the covered moon, on our feast day.”
Psalm 81:3 (NKJV), “Blow the trumpet at the time of the New Moon, At the full moon, on our solemn feast day.”
Psalm 81:3, (NASB), “Blow the trumpet at the new moon, At the full moon, on our feast day.”
Psalm 81:3, (KJV), “Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.”
Psalm 81:3, (KJV with Strong’s numbers), “Blow upH8628 (taqa: to clatter, blow, blast, or sound) the trumpetH7782 (shophar: horn, curved horn, cornet, ram’s horn) in the new moon,H2320 (chodesh: new moon, month, first day of the month) in the time appointed,H3677 (NOT mo’ed. kese: full moon, fullness, festival) on our solemn feastH2282 (chag: festival, feast, festival-gathering, pilgrim-feast) day.H3117 (yom: day, usually a 24 hour day, sunset to sunset, but can be a period of time determined by the context)”
You wouldn’t think that 6 little Hebrew words could cause so much confusion and misunderstanding, but even the experts do not agree on the reading and meaning of this one verse of Scripture.
BEGIN QUOTES FROM THE EXPERTS
Don Esposito (a possible translator of the HRB, Hebraic Roots Bible quoted above) in his book, The Biblical Calendar states: “This scripture, which was originally written in Hebrew, has always been known to refer to the Feast of Trumpets or in Hebrew Yom Teruah. So if the first day of the 7th month is a new moon and it is “covered” or “concealed” as the scripture states, then it can only be referring to the conjunction and not sighting a crescent. The word for covered moon is “keseh” and in Hebrew means to be fully covered, or concealed, which again can only refer to the conjunction of the moon.
Also on the Feast of Yom Teruah look at the following scripture:
Lev 23:24 Speak to the sons of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first of the month, a Holy Day Sabbath shall be to you, a memorial acclamation of the resounding of trumpets, a holy gathering.
Clearly, the feast of Trumpets is only ONE day; the first day of the 7th
month. However, if you are going by a crescent sighting, then you would not see the crescent till sometime after sunset and not knowing if it would be sighted or not would force the act of keeping this day as a Sabbath whether or not the crescent would actually be seen. This fact alone clearly shows that the calendar has to be calculated
according to conjunction as Holy Day Sabbaths must begin at sunset and the crescent is not seen until later in the evening and how would you know whether this was the first day of the seventh month until later in the evening when the crescent would or would not appear. If the Holy Day is calculated from sunset to sunset, then also the means to calculate the day must also be known before sunset to know whether or not it is the Holyday. It is totally ridiculous to think that Yahweh would command a Holyday to be observed and you would not be able to know whether it was that day until later in the evening after the moon came up or didn’t come up. . . One more point for major consideration on this subject. When I was studying the whole issue of the New Moon by conjunction or visual observance, I went to one scripture that clearly tells us when the New Moon is. Psa 81:3 Blow up the trumpet in the new moon, at the covered moon, on our solemn feast day We have went to several linguistic scholars in Israel asking them for the true definition of “Kehseh” being rendered covered moon, and we have been told the definition means to cover fully. When you put a lid on a garbage can you would use the word “kehseh” to describe putting the lid on the can to fully cover it or putting a cap and covering your head you would use kehseh. We have also been told by experts from Israel that this psalm has always been referred to by the Rabbis as referring to the Feast of Trumpets, or in Hebrew Yom Teruah, the only Holy Day which happens on the New Moon, which clearly shows from this psalm that it would be calculated by the
conjunction, when the moon is fully covered by darkness and not by the sighting of a crescent moon.
This verse dogmatically proved to me [Don Esposito] that the new month starts by conjunction and not visual sighting. Just think about that symmetrically for a moment. If the moon is nothing more than a clock in the sky then a quarter moon would have to be a quarter and a full moon would have to be half month, and what is the opposite of a full moon? Conjunction! If you had a full apple pie on your table, what would be the opposite of that full pie? The answer is no pie. The only problem being when you calculate the new moon up to 23 hours early
calculating by the day of conjunction and not waiting till sunset after
conjunction, when the earth rotates and the month comes to you, you will never have your Holy Day hag or Feast of Sukkot on the full moon.”
Pastor Charles Dowell states this: “One New Moon out of the year is set apart as a Sabbath which is the first day of the seventh month.
The Feast Day of Trumpets is the only commanded Sabbath Day which is celebrated on the New Moon. This would be the day when no man would know the day or the hour when the Messiah would be returning. The Day of Trumpets is only one day, as well. It is celebrated from
evening to evening. We will see Israel celebrating this Feast until the third day. Why? Just to be sure they got the day right.
To the chief Musician upon Gittith,
[A Psalm] of Asaph.
Sing aloud unto God our strength:
make a joyful noise unto the God of Jacob.
Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel,
the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
Blow up the trumpet in the new moon,
in the time appointed, on our solemn feast day.
For this [was] a statute for Israel,
[and] a law of the God of Jacob.
Psalms 81:1-4 (Tehillim)
The first visible sign of the moon (crescent) does not begin the
feast. It was a sign that the feast had ended. The day started
with the New Moon, which is a completely covered dark
moon, and it lasted anywhere from one to three days. The
visible crescent proved the New Moon had already happened.
So the day started with the New Moon, which is a completely
covered dark moon and it lasted anywhere from one to three
days, the visible crescent proved the New Moon had already
My question is: if you’re going to be blowing the trumpet in the New Moon and at the time appointed, which would be the time you blow the trumpet? At the Full Moon like Strong’s suggests, or is this the Covered Moon? Fact is there are only three Feast Days and four appointed days which consist of seven Feasts. It is important to note that there are no commanded feast days on a New Moon. What is being suggested here is that we blow a trumpet in the New Moon and the full moon (feast day).
The question becomes:produce the Commandment that states we are to blow a trumpet on the full moon in Torah!
The only day we are commanded to blow a trumpet is the Day of Trumpets, which falls on the New Moon. Looks like we’ve had some adding-to-Scripture happening, which is sin. I cannot find in the Bible where it says to blow the trumpet on the full moon!”
Nehemia Gordon, a Hebrew language expert and Karaite Jew states this, “Having been confused by the use of the term New Moon in modern astronomy [conjunction versus sighting the first sliver] some people have sought Scriptural support for this incorrect meaning [concealed moon] of the term. Ps 81,3 [Heb. 81,4] is usually cited which says:
“Blow on a horn for the Hodesh (New Moon) On the Keseh (Full Moon) for the Day of our Hag (Feast).”
According to the “Concealed Moon Theory”, the term “Keseh” is derived from the root K.S.Y. meaning “to cover” and thus means “covered moon” or “concealed moon”. According to this interpretation, when the verse says to blow on a horn on the day of Keseh it actually means “[blow on a horn] on the day of Concealed Moon”. However, the language does not support this argument for the second half of the verse also refers to the day of Keseh as “the day of our Feast (Hag)”. In the Scriptures, Feast (Hag) is a technical term which always refers to the three annual pilgrimage-feasts (Matzot, Shavuot, Sukkot; see Ex 23; Ex 34).3 New Moon Day (Hodesh) is never classified as a “Pilgrimage-Feast” so Keseh/ Hag can not possibly be synonymous with New Moon Day (Hodesh). It has further been suggested that Keseh refers to the Scriptural holiday of Yom Teruah (Day of Shouting), which always falls out on New Moon Day. However, the Scriptures describe Yom Teruah as a Moed (appointed time) and never as a Hag (Pilgrimage-Feast) so Keseh/ Hag can not refer to Yom Teruah either.
What Does Keseh Really Mean?
It is likely that Keseh is related to the Aramaic word “Kista” and the Assyrian word “Kuseu” which mean “full moon” (see Brown-Driver-Briggs p.490b) [Hebrew, Aramaic, and Assyrian are all Semitic languages and often share common roots]. This fits in perfectly with the description of Keseh as the day of the Hag since two of the three Pilgrimage-Feasts (Hag HaMatzot and Hag HaSukkot) are on the 15th of the month, which is about the time of the Full Moon!
Another point to consider is that there is no actual “day” of concealed moon. In fact the moon stays concealed anywhere from 1.5 to 3.5 days in the Middle East. It has been proposed that the “day” of concealed moon is actually the day of conjunction (when the moon passes between the Earth and Sun). However, it was 1,000 years after Moses that the Babylonian astronomers discovered how to calculate the moment of conjunction. Therefore, the ancient Israelites would have had no way of knowing when the moment of conjunction takes place and would not have known on which day to observe “Concealed Moon Day”.
It has been suggested that the ancient Israelites could have looked at the “Old Moon” and determined the Day of Conjunction by when the Old Moon was no longer visible in the morning sky. However, such a method would not work in the Middle East where the so-called “concealed moon” can remain concealed for as many as 3.5 days! It is in fact common for the moon to stay concealed for 2.5 days and in such instances how would the ancient Israelites have known which day was the Day of Conjunction?
In contrast, the ancient Israelites would have been well aware of the Crescent New Moon. In ancient societies people worked from dawn to dusk and they would have noticed the Old Moon getting smaller and smaller in the morning sky. When the morning moon had disappeared the ancient Israelites would have anxiously awaited its reappearance 1.5-3.5 days later in the evening sky. Having disappeared for several days and then appearing anew in the early evening sky they would have called it the “New Moon” or “Hodesh” (from Hadash meaning “New”).”
END QUOTES FROM THE EXPERTS
So above I just showed you three great modern men’s understanding, opinion and interpretation of Psalm 81:3. Pastor Dowell did bring up another interesting point. The writer of Psalm 81:3 could have used the word lebanah, Strong’s number 3842, which means white (as in white moon, indicating a full moon), found only three times in the OT and translated as the moon. BUT THAT IS NOT THE WORD USED!! So, between Pastor Dowell and Don Esposito, it seems Psalm 81:3 is talking about blowing a trumpet at the New Moon and not at the Full Moon. And the only Sabbath holy day at the New Moon is Yom Teruah on the 1st day of the seventh month, the only day we’re commanded to blow the trumpet on the New Moon day.
Nehemia Gordon makes a good point in that the word used in Psalm 81:3 for feast is chag, one of the pilgrimage feasts, not a mo’ed, which is what the Feast of Trumpets is. But you can’t get away from the fact that the word chodesh is used, which means new moon, so at least the first half of verse 3 is talking about the New Moon Day, but is it a possibility that the second half of the verse is talking about one of the pilgrimage feasts, Unleavened Bread or Tabernacles, which occur on the 15th of the month, which is the Full White Moon, as Nehemia suggests? The Hebrew word kese comes from the root word kasah, Strong’s # 3680, which means to plump, to fill up hollows, by implication to cover, to cover, conceal, to hide. So, just from looking at the root to kese, Nehemia Gordon has a tall mountain to climb to convince us that this word kese could possibly be indicating a full moon is suggested in Psalm 81:3. Is Nehemia trying to change the very meaning of the root word? It might just be easier to believe that the Arameans and the Assyrians perverted a word they borrowed from ancient Hebrew. You decide.
Here are some challenges for Bible students. Find a verse that commands us to blow a trumpet on the full moon. Find a verse that shows Yom Teruah is a chag. Find the biblical command to sight the crescent of the new moon to begin our lunar month. Answer the question: Does the barley have to be Abib just around Jerusalem, or in most of the nation of Israel in order to declare the New Year?
Gene Benjamin II
July 6, 2013 CE