Please note: This brief study is an excerpt from a larger work I am about to publish on this blog entitled, “When Does the Biblical Month Begin? Refuting 14 Pro-Conjunction Arguments in Favor of the Visible Crescent.” Stay tuned. — Natan
A Study on Psalm 81 — Is the Word Keseh Proof That the Month Is Conjunction-Based?
A source of great controversy has been the meaning of the Hebrew word keseh as used in Psalm 81:3. The conjunctionists use this word as definitive proof that the new moon starts at the conjunctions. Complicating the issue is the fact that this word occurs only two times in the Tanakh, making its meaning all the more difficult to quantify. Let’s now look at the issues surrounding the meaning of this word.
New Moon Conjunctionist Assertion: In Psalm 81:3 (also Prov 76:10; Job 26:7–9), the phrase full moon is the Hebrew word keseh meaning “concealed, dark, hidden or covered.” This points to a full or dark new moon. The overwhelming use of keseh in the Tanakh (Old Testament) fits the definition above. Job 26:9 to backs up this claim, when you link it back to keseh in Psalm 81:3.
Refutation A: There are several problems with this argument. The word keseh/vxf in Job 26:9 is not the same keseh found in Psalm 81:3. These are two Hebrew words that sound similar and are transliterated the same. In Psalm 81:3, keseh/vxf (Strong’s H3677) ends in the Hebrew letter heh, while the Job 26:9 kiseh/txf (Strong’s H3678) ends with the letter aleph and has a completely different meaning. This keseh means “seat (of honour), throne, seat, stool, throne; royal dignity, authority, power.” This different Hebrew word has nothing to do with concealing or covering. Some lexicons say that both words have the Hebrew word kasah as their root, but as we shall see below, scholars aren’t certain whether keseh derives from kasah or from a similarly sounding Aramaic loan word that doesn’t mean “concealed or covered” at all, but means “fullness or full moon” and hence the alternate reading in Psalm 81:3. Strong’s and TWOT both state that keseh/vxf in Psalm 81:3 can also be spelled keseh/txf, although it is vowel pointed differently and thus pronounced differently than the keseh/txf meaning “throne.” Both TWOT and Strongs list these words separately in their indexes, but the confusion comes when they list the alternate spelling of keseh (with the ending aleph/t under the heading of the keseh that Continue reading