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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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the name of a month and also of a place. (See ADDAR). Also the name of an Assyrian deity (see below).

1. (Heb. and Chald. Adar', אֲדָר, large; Esther 3:7, 13; 8:12; 9:1, 15, 17; 19:21; Ezra 6:15; Sept. Ἀδάρ .) The sixth month of the civil and the twelfth of the ecclesiastical year of the Jews (comp. 1 Maccabees 7:43); from the new moon of March to that of April; or, according to the rabbins, from the new moon of February to that of March. The name was first introduced after the captivity, being the Macedonian Dystrus (Δύστρος ). (See Michaelis, Gram. Arab. p. 25; Suppl. p. 25; Golius, in Lex. ad Alferg. p. 17, 34; Hyde, De rel. vet. Pers. p. 63.) The following are the chief days in it which are set apart for commemoration: The 7th is a fast for the death of Moses (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). There is some difference, however, in the date assigned to his death by some ancient authorities. Josephus (Ant. 4, 8, 49) states that he died on the first of this month.; which also agrees with Midrash Megillath Esther, cited by Reland (Antiq. Hebrews 4:1-16; Hebrews 10:1-39); whereas the Talmudical tracts Kiddushim and Sotah give the seventh as the day. It is at least certain that the latter was the day on which the fast was observed. On the 9th there was a fast in memory of the contention or open rupture of the celebrated schools of Hillel and Shammai, which happened but a few years before the birth of Christ. The cause of the dispute is obscure (Wolf's Biblioth. Hebr. 2, 826). The 13th is the so-called "Fast of Esther." Iken observes (Antiq. Hebr. p. 150) that this was not an actual fast, but merely a commemoration of Esther's fast of three days (Esther 4:16), and a preparation for the ensuing festival. Nevertheless, as Esther appears, from the date of Haman's edict, and from the course of the narrative, to have fasted in Nisan, Buxtorf adduces from the rabbins the following account of the name of this fast, and of the foundation of its observance in Adar (Synag. Jud. p. 554); that the Jews assembled together on the 13th, in the time of Esther, and that, after the example of Moses, who fasted when the Israelites were about to engage in battle with the Amalekites, they devoted that day to fasting and prayer, in preparation for the perilous trial which awaited them on the morrow. In this sense, this fast would stand in the most direct relation to the feast of Purim. The 13th was also, "by a common decree," appointed as a festival in memory of the death of Nicanor (2 Maccabees 15:36). The 14th and 15th were devoted to the feast of Purim (Esther 9:21). (See PURIM).

In case the year was an intercalary one; when the month of Adar occurred twice, this feast was first moderately observed in the intercalary Adar, and then celebrated with full splendor in the ensuing Adar. (See VE-ADAR). The former of these two celebrations was then called the lesser, and the latter the great Purim. Home has erroneously stated (Introduction, 3, 177) that these designations apply to the two days of the festival in an ordinary year. For the Scripture lessons of this month, see Otho, Lex. Rabb. p. 8. (See CALENDAR); (See MONTH).

2. (Heb. Addar', אִדָּר, splendor, otherwise threshing-floor; Sept. Ἀδδαρά, apparently mistaking the appended ה local for a part of the word; Vulg. Addar) a contracted form (Joshua 15:3) of the name elsewhere (Numbers 34:4) written HAZAR-ADDAR (q.v.). (See ATAROTH-ADAR).


an Assyrian deity, the god of the thunderbolt and storm-cloud, was called " the Sun of the South," and was also the deity of physical power, corresponding to the Greek Hercules. He was frequently also called Bar and Ninip.

In the Persian religion, Adar is the breath of the holy fire, also the spirit which animates it. Of the holy fire there are many kinds:

(1) Berezeseny, fire in the earth, proved by the burning naphtha springs; a purified form was worshipped in three different holy places of Persia;

(2) Wefreitn, fire in living beings: (animal. heat ),

(3) Qruzesht, the fire in plants;

(4) Wazesht, the fire in the clouds ( lightning);

(5) Spenesht, the fire in houses, kitchens, etc.;

(6) Ormuzd, the pure fire burning on the altars, whose highest potency was the Brahma fire;

(7) Ferobun, worshipped under Jemshid;

(8) Gochasp, adored under Chosroes; and

(9) Burzin Matun, worshipped under Zerdusht. To touch the holy fire with the hand was forbidden, and was punishable by death, even though a priest became guilty of it, (See FIRE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Adar'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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