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ages have bred much confusion. The first that introduced a good method, likely to continue, was Meton the Athenian; who, not regarding the Olympiads, and the eighth year's intercalation, devised a cycle of nineteen years, wherein the moon having 235 times run her circuit, met with the sun in the same place, and on the same day of the year, as in the nineteenth year before past she had done. This invention of Meton was entertained with great applause, and passing from Greece to Rome, was there inserted into the calendar in golden letters, being called the golden number; which name it retaineth unto this day. Hereby were avoided the great and uncertain intercalations that formerly had been used; for by the intercalation of seven months in the nineteen
all was so even, that no sensible difference could be found. Yet that error, which in one year could not be perceived, was very apparent in a few of those cycles; the new moons anticipating in one cycle seven hours and some minutes of the precise rule. Therefore Calippus devised a new cycle containing four of Meton's, that is to say, seventy-six years; and afterwards Hipparchus, a noble astrologer, framed another, containing four of Calippus's periods, each of them finding some error in the former observations, which they diligently corrected. The last reformation of the calendar was that which Julius Cæsar made, who, by advice of the best mathematicians then to be found, examining the courses of those heavenly bodies, reduced the year unto the form which is now in use with us, containing 365 days and six hours, which hours in four years make up one whole day, that is intercalated every fourth year, the 24th of February. The correction of the Julian year by pope Gregory XIII. anno Dom. 1582, is not as yet entertained by general consent ; it was indeed but as a note added unto the work of Cæsar, yet a note of great importance. For whereas it was observed that the sun, which at the time of the Nicene council, anno Dom. 324, entered the equinoctial on the 21st day of March, was in the year 1582 ten days sooner found in that time, pope Gregory struck out of the calendar ten days following the fourth of October, so that instead of the fifth day was written the fifteenth; by which means the moveable feasts, depending on the sun's entrance into Aries, were again celebrated in such time as at the Nicene council they had been. And the better to prevent the like alterations, it was by the council of Trent ordained, that from thenceforward in every hundredth year, the leap-day should be omitted, excepting still the fourth hundred; because the sun doth not in his yearly course take up
full six hours above the 365 days, but faileth so many minutes, as in 400 years make about three whole days.
But the cycle of nineteen years, which the Hebrews used, was such as neither did need any nice curiosity of hours, minutes, and other lesser fractions to help it; neither did in summing up the days of the whole year, neglect the days of the moon, confounding one month with another. For with them it fell out so, that always the calends, or first day of the month, was at the new moon, and because that day was festival, they were very careful as well to observe the short year of the moon, passing through all the twelve signs in one month, as that longer of the sun, which is needfully regarded in greater accounts. First therefore, they gave to Nisan their first month, which is about our March or April, thirty days; to Jar, their second month, twenty-nine days; and so successively thirty to one, twenty-nine to another. Hereby it came to pass, that every two months of theirs contained somewhat evenly two revolutions of the moon, allowing twenty-nine days, twelve hours, and odd minutes, from change to change. The spare minutes were bestowed among the superfluous or epact days, which made up seven months in nineteen years; to six of which seven were commonly given thirty days, to one of them twenty-nine days, or otherwise as was found requisite. Their common year (as appeareth by the several days of each month) contained 354 days, which fail of the year wherein the sun finisheth his course eleven whole days, with some fractions of time. But these days, and other broken pieces, howsoever they were neglected in one year, yet in the cycle of nineteen years were
so disposed of by convenient intercalations, that still at the end of that cycle both the sun and moon were found on the same day of the year, month, and week, yea commonly on the same hour of the day, where they had been at the beginning of it nineteen years before.
Divers have diversely set down the form of the Hebrew year, with the manner of their intercalations. b Sigonius tells us, that every second year they did add a month of twenty-two days; every fourth year a month of twenty-three, in the regard of eleven days and a half wanting in twelve moons to fulfil a year of the sun. But herein Sigonius was very much deceived. For the moon doth never finish her course in twenty-two or twenty-three days; and therefore to have added so many days to the end of the year, had been the way to change the fashion of all the months in the years following, which could not have begun, as they ought, with the new moon. cGenebrard saith, that
third second year, as need required, they did intercalate one month, adding it at the year's end unto the other twelve. This I believe to have been true ; but in which of the years the intercalation was, (if it be worthy of consideration,) methinks they do not probably deliver, who keep all far from evenness until the very last of the nineteen years. For (to omit such as err grossly) some there are who say, that after three years, when besides the days spent in thirty-six courses of the moon, thirty-three days are left remaining, that is, eleven days of each year ; then did the Hebrews add a month of thirty days, keeping three days as it were in plussage unto the next account. The like, say they, was done at the end of the sixth year; at which time, besides the intercalary month, remained six days, namely, three surmounting that month, and the epact of three years, besides the three formerly reserved. Thus they go on to the eighteenth year, at which time they have eighteen days in hand; all which, with the epact of the nineteenth year, make up a month of twenty-nine days, that being intercalated at the end of the cycle makes all even.
b Sig. de Rep. Hebr. 1. 3. c. 1.
e Geneb. Chron. 1. 2.
Whether this were the practice, I can neither affirm nor deny ; yet surely it must needs have bred a great confusion, if in the eighteenth year every month were removed from his own place by the distance of forty-eight days, that is, half a quarter of the year and more; which inconvenience by such a reckoning was unavoidable. Wherefore I prefer the common opinion, which preventeth such dislocation of the months, by setting down a more convenient way of inc tercalation in the eighth year. For the six days remaining after the two former intercalations made in the third and sixth years, added unto the twenty-two days, arising out of the epacts of the seventh and eighth years, do fitly serve to make up a month, with the borrowing of one day or two from the year following; and this borrowing of two days is so far from causing any disorder, that indeed it helps to make the years ensuing vary the less from the proper season of every month. This may suffice to be spoken of the Hebrew months and years, by which they guided their accounts.
SECT. VII. Of the passage of Israel from Succoth towards the Red sea; and of
the divers ways leading out of Egypt. FROM Succoth, in the morning following, Moses led the Israelites towards the desert of Etham, to recover the mountain foot, by the edge of that wilderness, though he intended nothing less than to go out that way, of all other the nearest. But being assured of the multitude of horsemen and armed chariots that followed him, he kept himself from being encompassed, by keeping the rough and mountainous ground on his left hand. At Etham he rested but one night, and then he reflected back from the entrance thereof, and marched away directly towards the south; the distance between it and Succoth being about eight miles. That he forbare to enter Arabia, being then in sight thereof, it seemeth to proceed from three respects; the first two natural, the third divine. For Pharaoh being then at hand, and having received intelligence of the way which Moses took, persuaded himself that the numbers which Moses led, consisting of
above a million, if not two millions of souls, (for as it is written, Exodus the 12th, Great multitudes of sundry sorts of people went out with them d,) could not possibly pass over those desert and high mountains with so great multitudes of women, children, and cattle, but that at the very entrance of that fastness he should have overtaken them, and destroyed the greatest numbers of them. For these his own words, They are entangled in the land, the wilderness hath shut them in, do shew his hopes and intents, which Moses by turning another way did frustrate. Secondly, Moses, by offering to enter Arabia that way, drew Pharaoh towards the east side of the land of Gosen, or Rameses ; from whence (missing Moses there) his pursuit after him with his chariots was more difficult, by reason of the roughness of the way; and howsoever, yet while the Hebrews kept the mountain foot on the left hand, they were better secured from the overbearing violence both of the horse and chariots. Thirdly, Moses's confidence in the all-powerful God was such, by whose Spirit, only wise, he was directed, as he rather made choice to leave the glory of his deliverance and victory to Almighty God, than either by an escape the next way, or by the strength of his multitude, consisting of 600,000 men, to cast the success upon his own understanding, wise conduction, or valour. The third day he marched with a double pace from Etham towards the valley of Pihacheroth, sixteen miles distant, and sat down between two ledges of mountains adjoining to the Red sea; to wit, the mountains of Etham on the north, and Baalzephon towards the south, the same which Osorius calleth e Climax; on the top whereof there stood a temple dedicated to Baal. And as Phagius noteth, the word so compounded is as much to say, as dominus speculæ sive custodiæ, “ lord of the “ watch-tower.” For the Egyptians believed, or at least made their slaves believe, that if any of them offered to escape that way into Arabia, this idol would both arrest them,
d It is probable, that all those E- c Climax is rather so called in regyptians and others brought by the spect of a passage up and down, than Hebrews to the knowledge of the true that it is any proper name. God, followed Moses at his departure.