In February (674 B.C.) the Assyrians entered upon their invasion of Egypt (see also Egypt: History), and in Nisan (or March) 670 B.C. an expedition on an unusually large scale set out from Nineveh.
A tablet dated 275 B.C. states that on the 12th of Nisan the inhabitants of Babylon were transported to the new town, where a palace was built as well as a temple to which the ancient name of E-Saggila was given.
Mr Fotheringham is of opinion that the evidence from Christian sources is too uncertain, and that the statements of the Mishnah must be the starting-point of the inquiry: taking then the phasis of the new moon as the true beginning of Nisan, he concludes that Friday cannot have coincided with Nisan 14 in any year, within the period A.
These were presented in the month Rajab, corresponding to Nisan (Smith, Religion of Semites, p. 210).
As before remarked, there seems no direct connexion between the paschal sacrifice and what appears to be essentially an agricultural festival; the Hebrew tradition, to some extent, dissociates them by making the sacrifice on the 14th of Nisan and beginning the Feast of Unleavened Bread on the 15th.
These four lines of inquiry have shown that the Crucifixion fell on Friday, Nisan 14 (rather than 15), in one of the six years 28-33 A.D.; and therefore, if it is possible to discover (i.) exactly which moon or month was reckoned each year as the moon or month of Nisan, and (ii.) exactly on what day that particular moon or month was reckoned as beginning, it will, of course, be possible to tell in which of these years Nisan 14 fell on a Friday.
Hitzig maintained that in the Hebrew calendar 14th and 21st Nisan were always Sabbaths, and that 1st Nisan was always a Sunday, which was the opening day of the year.
It will be seen at once that Friday cannot have fallen on Nisan 14th in any of the three years A.D.
Before the departure of the Israelites from Egypt their year commenced at the autumnal equinox; but in order to solemnize the memory of their deliverance, the month of Nisan or Abib, in which that event took place, and which falls about the time of the vernal equinox, was afterwards regarded as the beginning of the ecclesiastical or legal year.