The full moon in the Bible

The Bible is undoubtedly one of the most important books in human history – most printed, most translated and worldwide the most widespread. It is the Holy Scripture of Christianity and Judaism (in different forms) and therefore the manifestation of God’s word in two of the major world religions.

The text contains, with its archaic, poetic language, many descriptions of nature and celestial events. So, it is obvious that the Sun, the Moon and the stars are mentioned. But is the full moon also to be found?

When using a search engine, you will get a few results, but not all translations have the same wording. They differ a lot, due to the interpretation of the original scriptures in Hebrew. Additionally, there is not only the »full moon«, but also the moon, which »is full« or simply the »moon«.

We have chosen two passages of the full moon that we would like to take a more in-depth look. In each case we are comparing different translations. Initially a psalm from the Old Testament:

Psalm 81, verse 3–4
(Translation: Darby Bible, 1867)
[3] Raise a song, and sound the tambour,
the pleasant harp with the lute.
[4] Blow the trumpet at the new moon,
at the set time, on our feast day.

(Translation: New International Version, 1984)
[2] Begin the music, strike the tambourine,
play the melodious harp and lyre.
[3] Sound the ram’s horn at the New Moon,
and when the moon is full, on the day of our Feast;

(Translation: New Living Translation, 2007)
[3] Sing! Beat the tambourine.
Play the sweet lyre and the harp.
[4] Blow the ram’s horn at new moon,
and again at full moon to call a festival!

You can see that even though the new moon had been mentioned in the translation of the Darby Bible, but the full moon was not. It is only mentioned in later versions. The scope of interpretation is also noticeable with the recital of musical instruments. A trumpet versus the horn and a lute versus the lyre. Mentioning the new moon however, certainly shows that this is about a time for specific days that relate to the lunar calendar. This time-giving function of the lunar occurrences are of great significance in many religions, for instance in Christianity, in Islam or in Buddhism. It is a concilatory feeling that the Moon plays evidently a major part in all world religions.

A further verse in the Old Testament can be found in the proverbs of Solomon. This is about a sensitive subject, the infidelity:

Proverb 7, verse 18–20
(Translation: Darby Bible, 1867)
[18] Come, let us revel in love until the morning,
let us delight ourselves with loves.
[19] For the husband is not at home,
he is gone a long journey;
[20] he hath taken the money-bag with him, he will come home on the day of the full moon.

(Translation: New International Version, 1984)
[18] Come, let’s drink deep of love till morning;
let’s enjoy ourselves with love!
[19] My husband is not at home;
he has gone on a long journey.
[20] He took his purse filled with money and will not be home till full moon.

(Translation: New Living Translation, 2007)
[18] Come, let’s drink our fill of love until morning.
Let’s enjoy each other’s caresses,
[19] for my husband is not home.
He’s away on a long trip.
[20] He has taken a wallet full of money with him and won’t return until later this month.

 

Here, however, the full moon does appear in most of the translations that we have found, even in the very old versions. Interestingly enough, it is not to be found in the newer translation of 2007.

There is probably more mentioning of the full moon in the Bible. When studying the text, you are quickly drawn into the ban of the language that is of great originality and power, just like in all great books of wisdom.

It feels good to read in it from time to time.

Column: Worth reading | 3 comments | Leave a comment
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Comments

  • The full moon is used as a tool which defines a moment in time.

  • I was looking for the significance of the Full moon in the Bible, and not just where it is mentioned.

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