Talmud - Mas. Rosh HaShana 2b
This teaches us that Nisan is the New Year for kings, and that one day in a year is reckoned as ayear. ‘But if he ascended the throne on the first of Nisan he is not reckoned to have reigned a year tillthe next first of Nisan comes round’. This surely is self-evident? — It had to be stated in view of thecase where his election to the throne was determined upon
in Adar. You might think that in thatcase we should reckon him [by the next first of Nisan] to have reigned two years. We are thereforetold [that this is not so]. Our Rabbis learnt: If [a king] died in Adar and was succeeded by another in Adar, we candesignate [the rest of] the year [up to the first of Nisan] as belonging to either.
If he died in Nisanand was succeeded by another in Nisan, we can date the year by either.
If he died in Adar and wassucceeded by another in Nisan, the earlier year is dated by the first and the later by the second. The Master has here said, ‘If he died in Adar and was succeeded by another, we can date the yearby either’. Surely this is obvious? — You might think that we never date the same year by twokings;
hence we are told [that this can be done]. ‘If the first died in Nisan and was succeeded byanother in Nisan, the year may be dated by either’. This also seems to be obvious? — You mightthink that when we lay down that a day in the year is reckoned as a year we mean only at the end of the year but not at the beginning;
therefore we are told [that this is not so]. ‘If the first died in Adarand he was succeeded by another in Nisan, the earlier year is dated by the first and the later by thesecond’. This surely is obvious? — It had to be stated in view of the case where his election wasdetermined upon from Adar and he is succeeding his father.
In that case you might think that weshould reckon two years to him. We are therefore told [that this is not so]. R. Johanan said: How do we know [from the Scripture] that the years of kings’ reigns are alwaysreckoned as commencing from Nisan? Because it says, And it came to pass in the four hundred andeightieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon's reign over Israel, in the month of Ziv which is the second month.
Here Solomon's reignis put side by side with the exodus from Egypt,
[to indicate that] just as [the years from] the exodusfrom Egypt are reckoned from Nisan, so [the years of] Solomon's reign commenced with Nisan. But how do we know that the years from the exodus from Egypt itself are reckoned ascommencing with Nisan? Perhaps we reckon them from Tishri?
— Do not imagine such a thing.For it is written, And Aaron the priest went up into Mount Hor at the commandment of the Lord, anddied there, in the fortieth year after the children of Israel were come out of the land of Egypt, in thefifth month,
on the first day of the month,
and it is further written, And it came to pass in thefortieth year, in the eleventh month,
on the first day of the month, that Moses spoke, etc.
Nowsince the text when referring to Ab places it in the fortieth year and again when referring to [thefollowing] Shebat places it also in the fortieth year, we may conclude that Tishri is not the beginningof the year.
[This, however] is not conclusive. I grant you that the former text states explicitly that[the year spoken of was] ‘from the going forth from Egypt’; but how do we know that [the yearmentioned in] the latter text is reckoned from the exodus?
Perhaps it is from the setting up of theTabernacle?
— [We may reply to this] on the model of R. Papa, who said [in another connection]
that the occurrence of the expression ‘twentieth year’ in two contexts provides us with a gezerahshawah:
so here, [I may say that the occurrence of] the expression ‘fortieth year’ in the twocontexts provides us with a gezerah shawah, [showing that] just as in the one case
[the date isreckoned] from the Exodus, so in the other case