top of page
Hebrew Boy.png

Is The First Slither The Real New Moon?


Take this lightly because I don’t know the conclusion ultimately, but essentially the New Moon has always been an important symbol of the cycle of life, death, time, and rebirth for many nations of the earth for thousands of years including many more reasons than stated, both biblical and pagan. Different cultures, including ancient Israelites, have relied on the New Moon to mark their calendars and celebrate significant events. Throughout the Old Testament, it regarded the new moon as an important event and time of the month, with specific rituals and offerings carried out to honor it. It coupled with and was recognized as a Sabbath in itself, and is a marker for other important religious feasts and celebrations.

However, the question that arises is, what is the New Moon Biblically speaking? Is it the complete dark moon stage of the cycle or the first sliver of light after the complete dark moon period? This article aims to provide a fairly brief analysis of the subject and clear up any doubts surrounding the issue, at least to some extent. It will at least give us some things to consider and further investigate if interested. I am writing this with a completely open mind as currently I acknowledge the new moon as the dark moon stage of the cycle, but I suppose it's about time I put some more pressure on that method pertaining to evaluating its credibility according to the scriptures.

What is The Dark Moon?

First, we need to understand what the Dark Moon is. The Dark Moon, also known as the "Invisible Moon," is when the moon is not visible from the Earth. This phase occurs approximately every 29.5 days. The Dark Moon phase lasts for about three days, during which no portion of the Moon is visible to the naked eye.

What is The New Moon?

Despite the significance of the new moon in the Bible, there is no clear definition of what the term actually refers to in a visual, descriptive sense since it is vague and descriptive only to a certain degree. In fact, the term "new moon" is only used a few times times in the Bible, and in each case, they seem to assume that the readers would have clearly understood what it meant. We can, however, discern confidently that the new moon is somewhere at the very beginning of the progression of light, being the completely dark moon or the first slither.

Ecclesiasticus 43:8

“The month is called after her name, increasing wonderfully in her changing, being an instrument of the armies above, shining in the firmament of heaven;”

The modern traditional understanding of the term "new moon" is that it signifies the complete absence of a visible moon in the night sky. This interpretation is based on an ancient astronomical phenomenon known as the "dark moon", which is when the moon is between the Earth and the Sun and is therefore invisible to the naked eye. In this interpretation, the "new moon" referred to in the Bible is often seen as synonymous with the dark moon.

Unlike the Dark Moon, the New Moon, according to the Slither theory, is visible, albeit faintly. The New Moon occurs when the Moon reveals its first sliver of light after the Dark Moon phase. This usually happens one or two days after the Dark Moon and marks the beginning of a new lunar month.

What is The Biblical Significance of the New Moon?

The New Moon holds great significance in Israelite biblical traditions and even now within our contemporary societies increasingly, marking the beginning of the months and years. In ancient Yashara'al, they considered the New Moon a holy day and a time for rest and acknowledgment. We commemorated this by the blowing of trumpets and offerings of burnt sin offerings.

The Israelite biblical calendar is based on the lunar cycle, with the New Moon marking the beginning of each month. It is also worth noting that all Israelite holidays are directly tied to the New Moon, such as Passover and Feast of Unleavened Bread and the rest of them.

What Does The Sliver Theory Actually Postulate?

In recent years, there has been growing support for an alternative interpretation of the term "new moon". This theory, known as the sliver theory, postulates that the term refers not to the complete absence of the moon, but to the first sliver of light that appears in the early stages of the new lunar cycle.

The sliver theory is supported by several lines of evidence and logic. Foremost, the Hebrew word used for "new moon" in the Old Testament is "Chadash", which comes from a root word meaning "to renew". This word is also used throughout the Old Testament to refer to the first day of each new month. It is therefore logical to assume that the "new moon" referred to in the Bible is when the first sliver of light is visible in the night sky, begining to renew, showing the start of a new month.

The sliver theory, to a certain degree, is supported by a close reading and presumption of several Biblical passages that mention the new moon, and for that matter, any event concerning Israelites looking out for a 'what should be a visible' new moon. Even if faintly visible by virtue of being only a slither.

For example, in 1 Samuel 20:5, David asks Jonathan to let him go and observe the "new moon" in order to carry out a secret plan. If the new moon referred to the dark moon, then this passage would make less apparent sense, as there would be nothing to observe unless it was the observance of absence! However, if the new moon refers to the first sliver of light, then David's request makes more sense, as he would need to observe the lunar cycle to accurately carry out his plans. These are just presumptions but fairly credible ones, I would say. It also still correlates with the presuppositions and arguments required to support the dark moon is the new moon theory in opposition to the full moon is the new moon theory since we still propose the beginning of the month to be almost a completely dark moon, which still increases until the middle of the month when full and then begins to decrease until the end of the month.

For a quick counter-argument, considering David says that tomorrow is the new moon, considering there are upto a few days of the complete dark moon period, I'm not sure how easily one could determine and be sure that the first slither will appear on the following day. That is unless it had already been completely dark for 2 days. I'm not quite sure if it would be easier to determine the following day to be the first day of the completely dark moon period considering there is a clear visible last slither before it goes completely dark. But again, who's to be certain the following day would be a complete absence of light. Again, something to think about, equally compelling I suppose.

However, the sliver theory is also supported by the fact that it was the first sliver of light that was traditionally used to mark the beginning of a new month in ancient Hebrew recorded culture. This practice is confirmed by several contemporary sources, including the Dead Sea Scrolls and the works of the first-century Jewish historian Josephus. Additionally, the sliver theory is consistent with the descriptions of the new moon in other ancient Near Eastern cultures, which also referred to the first sliver of light as the "new moon", which we know was heavily influenced by the Israelite people throughout antiquity.

What Does The New Moon Look Like In Pagan Artifacts Around the World?

The appearance of the new moon as a slither has held significant cultural and symbolic importance throughout history. Not that we seek to imitate pagans, however, we more so seek to inquire about the consensus view on what the new moon was in archaic times and throughout antiquity.

Many ancient civilizations used lunar calendars to track time and plan their activities. The phases of the moon were used to determine when to plant crops, gather certain foods, and schedule religious ceremonies. The new moon was often associated with the beginning of a new cycle, and it was seen as a time for new beginnings, renewal, and growth. Because of this, the new moon has also been associated with the divine feminine and the goddess in many cultures even since ancient Mesopotamian sun and moon worship and has perpetuated itself throughout the ages even into modern religions such as Christianity and Islam with it's crescent moon. When it comes to depicting the new moon as a crescent moon for idolatry, biblically speaking, that was considered pagan and insubordinate and a complete abomination, it was used to govern the times and feasts.

In ancient Egyptian mythology, the goddess Isis was associated with the new moon, and her symbol was, in fact, a crescent moon. Similarly, in Hindu mythology, the goddess Durga is often depicted riding a tiger with a crescent moon on her forehead. The new moon depicted as a crescent moon was often seen as a time for women to come together and celebrate their connection to the divine feminine.

Now the only reason for delving into the pagan territory was to gain a consensus view on what a new moon looked like to the world. Having said that, it would be wise to consider the influence the Israelites have had on the nations of the world, even if they have the propensity to corrupt them.

As I said, ultimately, I don't know the conclusion, but it makes some sense to me at least. I suppose it's something to look into further. Just a little conversation with myself you could say. Shalawam

bottom of page