By John Henry
November 17, 2012

“And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; 
and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.” (Genesis 1:14)  [1]



   DATE       TYPE ECLIPSE                                                      NOTES


1904 March 02         Penumbral              Purim 1: The 14th of Adar. In all provinces except Shushan the Jews fought on the 13th of Adar and observed the 14th as a day of rejoicing. 
1904 March 31         Penumbral              Passover: The 14th of Nissan. On Sept. 24, the 1st day of Tabernacles, there was another Penumbral eclipse (The 1st & last of the 7 feasts). [1]
1913 March 22         Total (North) [3]        Purim 1 (Eve): This was the 13th of Adar when the Jews were fighting for their lives. 
1914 March 12         Partial                     Purim 1: In The 14th of Adar day of rejoicing.
1915 March 01         Penumbral              Purim 2: In Shushan the Jews waged war on the 13th & 14th of Adar and observed the 15th as a day of rejoicing. 
1922 March 13         Penumbral              Purim 1 (Eve): The 13th of Adar when the Jews were fighting for their lives. 
1923 March 03         Partial                     Purim 2 (Eve): Observed on the 16th of Adar as the day of rejoicing, because the 15th was the Sabbath day in 1923.    
1932 March 22         Partial                     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar day of rejoicing.
1933 March 12         Penumbral              Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.  (Hitler rose to power as chancellor of Germany in 1933.)
1940 March 23         Penumbral              Purim 1 (Eve): The 13th of Adar when the Jews were fighting for their lives.
1941 March 13         Partial                     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar. [4] 
1942 March 03         Total (South)           Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.  (The Nazis hanged 10 Jews in Zduńska Wola, Poland to avenge the hanging of Haman's 10 sons.)
1951 March 23         Penumbral              Purim 2: The 15th of Adar. [4]
1959 March 24         Partial                     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.  
1960 March 13         Total (South)           Purim 1: The 14th of Adar. U. S. Secretary of State, Christian Herter, stated desire to aid Israel in a 13 March 1960 meeting with Ben-Gurion. [5]
1961 March 02         Partial                     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.
1978 March 24         Total (South)           Purim 2: The 15th of Adar.         
1979 March 13         Partial                     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.
1980 March 01         Penumbral              Purim 1 (Eve): The 13th of Adar when the Jews were fighting for their lives.
1988 March 03         Total Penumbral     Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.
1997 March 24         Partial                     Purim 2: The 15th of Adar.
1998 March 13         Penumbral              Purim 1: The 14th of Adar.  

For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling
wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye.

Deliver thyself, O Zion, that dwellest with the daughter of Babylon. For thus saith the LORD of hosts; After the glory hath he sent
me unto the nations which spoiled you: for he that toucheth you toucheth the apple of his eye.
ESTHER 9:24-32:
24  Because Haman the son of Hammedatha, the Agagite, the enemy of all the Jews, had devised against the Jews to destroy them, 
and had cast Pur, that is, the lot, to consume them, and to destroy them;
25 But when Esther came before the king, he commanded by letters that his wicked device, which he devised against the Jews,
should return upon his own head, and that he and his sons should be hanged on the gallows.
26 Wherefore they called these days Purim after the name of Pur. Therefore for all the words of this letter, and of that which they had
seen concerning this matter, and which had come unto them,
27 The Jews ordained, and took upon them, and upon their seed, and upon all such as joined themselves unto them, so as it should
not fail, that they would keep these two days according to their writing, and according to their appointed time every year;
28 And that these days should be remembered and kept throughout every generation, every family, every province, and every city; and
that these days of Purim should not fail from among the Jews, nor the memorial of them perish from their seed.
29 Then Esther the queen, the daughter of Abihail, and Mordecai the Jew, wrote with all authority, to confirm this second letter of Purim.
30 And he sent the letters unto all the Jews, to the hundred twenty and seven provinces of the kingdom of Ahasuerus, with words of
peace and truth,
31 To confirm these days of Purim in their times appointed, according as Mordecai the Jew and Esther the queen had enjoined them,
and as they had decreed for themselves and for their seed, the matters of the fastings and their cry.
32 And the decree of Esther confirmed these matters of Purim; and it was written in the book




1.  The word “seasons” in Genesis 1:14 comes from the Hebrew word “moed” (Strong’s Hebrew #4150).  It is variously translated in the King James Bible as “set time,” “time appointed,” “appointed season,” “due season,” etc.  The word is found 6 times in Leviticus 23 where God established the 7 feasts of Israel (Passover, Unleavened Bread, Firstfruits, Pentecost, Trumpets, Atonement, Tabernacles).  In this chapter it is translated feasts 5 times and seasons once.  In Leviticus 23:4 it is translated as both feasts and seasons:  

“These are the feasts [#4150] of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons [#4150].” 

The first and last of the 7 feasts of Leviticus 23, Passover and Tabernacles, have had lunar eclipses on historic dates such as when Israel was reestablished and when they captured Jerusalem in 1967.  We see a similar phenomenon occurring on Purim.  


2. Biblical days begin at sundown.


3. The total lunar eclipse is the most dramatic and visually compelling type of lunar eclipse. The Moon's appearance can vary enormously throughout the period of totality and from one eclipse to the next. Obviously, the geometry of the Moon's path through the umbra plays an important role. Not as apparent is the effect that Earth's atmosphere has on a total eclipse. Although the physical mass of Earth blocks all direct sunlight from the umbra, the planet's atmosphere filters, attenuates and bends some of the Sun's rays into the shadow.  The molecules in Earth's atmosphere scatter short wavelength light (e.g., yellow, green, blue) more than long wavelength light (e.g., orange, red). This process, which is responsible for making sunsets red, also gives total eclipses their characteristic red-orange color. However, the exact color can vary considerably in both hue and brightness.


4. The reason for the different dates designated for the observance of Purim is that the Jews of Shushan originally observed the festival on a different day than the Jews who lived elsewhere. Whereas Jews in Shushan waged war on both the 13th and the 14th of the month, and observed the 15th as a day of festivity and rejoicing for their victory, in all other provinces the Jews waged war on the 13th and observed only the 14th as a day of festivity and rejoicing.
Purim 1: In all the provinces of the Persian Empire other than the Capital of Shushan Purim was observed on the 14th of Adar (This date is for all unwalled cities).
Purim 2: The 15th of Adar was observed as the day of rejoicing in Shushan (Thus Jerusalem and all walled cities observe this date also).

5. Christian Archibald Herter, United States Secretary of State under President Dwight D. Eisenhower from April 22, 1959 to January 20, 1961 tried to assist Israel in the obtaining of short range defensive antiaircraft Hawk Missiles to counter the Egyptians who had already attacked Israel twice in 1948 and in 1956.  Although Herter desired to aid Israel as indicated in his 13 March 1960 meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, Ben-Gurion his desire was not realized until the Kennedy administration.  Abraham Ben-Zvi writes concerning this with these words:  Faced with the collapse of the long-standing American dream - which had preoccupied the architects of American diplomacy during the 1950's - of forging a broadly based inter-Arab security organization for the purpose of containing Soviet penetrations into the region, Herter (unlike his predecessor Dulles) was now apparently prepared to decouple the American security posture toward Israel from broader American concerns and objectives in the region, and thus to review Israeli request on its intrinsic merits and exclusively within the delimited parameters of the American-Israeli-Egyptian triad.  In the course of his 13 March 1960 meeting with the Israeli Prime Minister, when asked whether his stated willingness to review the Israeli request 'sympathetically and urgently' could be considered 'a positive reply,' Herter confirmed to Ben-Gurion that 'that [was] a fair assumption.'  (Ben-Zvi, Abraham, John F. Kennedy and the politics of arms sales to Israel)