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Special Note:   Sources outside this web site are reference sources only God's Word is held as the only source of truth. Accordingly, where the references differ from the original Bible text they are considered to be in error.

Example: The major reference sources appear to be very sketchy on wheat harvesting in July-August, but God clearly states that wheat was still being harvested at this time (Deut 16:13).

“…‘You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress.’…” [NKJV].

The early harvesting of wheat was done in May and shortly thereafter the festival of firstfruits was celebrated (Pentecost), but the major part of the harvest (the late wheat harvest) was not completed until after Pentecost, thus extending well into the harvest season of grapes and other fruits – this is known by God's reference to both the "threshingfloor" and "winepress" in Deut 16:13. The grain harvests were comprised of three major elements, being reaping, threshing and winnowing, all of which were done in quick succession in the grain field itself in order to prevent theft. Accordingly, where one of these three elements is mentioned we can know that the reference is to harvesting as a whole.



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I.S.B.E. WebBible Encyclopaedia Smith's Bible Dictionary


In April, if the hot east winds have not blasted the grain the barley begins to ripen. The wheat follows from a week to six weeks later, depending upon the altitude. Toward the end of May or the first week in June, which marks the beginning of the dry season, reaping begins. Whole families move out from their village homes to spend the time in the fields until the harvest is over. Men and women join in the work of cutting the grain. A handful of grain is gathered together by means of a sickle held in the right hand. The stalks thus gathered in a bunch are then grasped by the left hand and at the same time a pull is given which cuts off some of the stalks a few inches above ground and pulls the rest up by the roots. These handfuls are laid behind the reapers and are gathered up by the helpers, usually the children, and made into piles for transporting to the threshing-floor. The reaping of the grain was performed either by pulling it up by the roots, or cutting it with a type of sickle, according to circumstances. The grain when cut was generally put up in sheaves (Gen. 37:7; Lev. 23:10-15; Ruth 2:7, 15; Job 24:10; Jer. 9:22; Micah 4:12), which were afterwards gathered to the threshing-floor or stored in barns (Matt. 6:26). The wheat etc., was reaped by the sickle or pulled by the roots. It was bound in sheaves.  


The threshing-floors are constructed in the fields, preferably in an exposed position in order to get the full benefit of the winds. If there is a danger of marauders they are clustered together close to the village. The floor is a level, circular area 25 to 40 ft. in diameter, prepared by first picking out the stones, and then wetting the ground, tamping or rolling it, and finally sweeping it. A border of stones usually surrounds the floor to keep in the grain. The sheaves of grain which have been brought on the backs of men, donkeys, camels, or oxen, are heaped on this area, and the process of tramping out begins. In some localities several animals, commonly oxen or donkeys, are tied abreast and driven round and round the floor. In other places two oxen are yoked together to a drag, the bottom of which is studded with pieces of basaltic stone. This drag, on which the driver, and perhaps his family, sits or stands, is driven in a circular path over the grain. In still other districts an instrument resembling a wheel harrow is used, the antiquity of which is confirmed by the Egyptian records. The supply of unthreshed grain is kept in the centre of the floor. Some of this is pulled down from time to time into the path of the animals. All the while the partly threshed grain is being turned over with a fork. The stalks gradually become broken into short pieces and the husks about the grain are torn off. This mixture of chaff and grain must now be winnowed. The process of threshing was performed generally by spreading the sheaves on the threshing-floor and causing oxen and cattle to walk repeatedly over them (Deut. 25:4; Isa. 28:28). On occasions flails or sticks were used for this purpose (Ruth 2:17; Isa. 28:27). There was also a "threshing instrument" (Isa. 41:15; Amos 1:3) which was drawn over the grain. The Hebrews called this moreg, a threshing roller or sledge (2 Sam. 24:22; 1 Chr. 21:23; Isa. 3:15). It was somewhat like the Roman tribulum, or threshing tool. The sheaves or heaps were carted, Amos 2:13 to the floor—a circular spot of hard ground, probably, as now, from 50 to 80 or 100 feet in diameter. Gen 1:10, 11; 2 Sam 24:16, 18 On these the oxen, etc., forbidden to be muzzled, Deut 25:4 trampled out the grain. At a later time the Jews used a threshing sledge called morag, Isai 41:15; 2 Sam 24:22; 1Chr 21:23 probably resembling the noreg, still employed in Egypt—a stage with three rollers ridged with iron, which, aided by the driver's weight crushed out, often injuring, the grain, as well as cut or tore the straw, which thus became fit for fodder. Lighter grains were beaten out with a stick. Isai 28:27 The use of animal manure was frequent. Psa 83:10; 2 Kin 9:37; Jer 8:2 etc.


This is done by tossing it into the air so that the wind may blow away the chaff. When the chaff is gone then the grain is tossed in a wooden tray to separate from it the stones and lumps of soil which clung to the roots when the grain was reaped. The difference in weight between the stones and grain makes separation by this process possible. The grain is now poled in heaps and in many localities is also sealed. This process consists in pressing a large wooden seal against the pile. When the instrument is removed it leaves an impression which would be destroyed should any of the grain be taken away. This allows the government offers to keep account of the tithes and enables the owner to detect any theft of grain. Until the wheat is transferred to bags some one sleeps by the pries on the threshing-floor. If the wheat is to be stored for home consumption it is often first washed with water and spread out on goats' hair mats to dry before it is stored in the wall compartments found in every house. Formerly the wheat was ground only as needed. This was then a household task which was accomplished with the hand-mill or mortar. When the grain was threshed, it was winnowed by being thrown up against the wind (Jer. 4:11), and afterwards tossed with wooden scoops (Isa. 30:24). The shovel and the fan for winnowing are mentioned in Ps. 35:5, Job 21:18, Isa. 17:13. The refuse of straw and chaff was burned (Isa. 5:24). Freed from impurities, the grain was then stored in granaries till used (Deut. 28:8; Prov. 3:10; Matt. 6:26; 13:30; Luke 12:18). The shovel and fan, Isai 30:24 indicate the process of winnowing—a conspicuous part of ancient husbandry. Psa 35:5; Job 21:18; Isai 17:13 Evening was the favorite time, Ruth 3:2 when there was mostly a breeze. The fan, Matt 3:12 was perhaps a broad shovel which threw the grain up against the wind. The last process was the shaking in a sieve to separate dirt and refuse. Amos 9:9 Fields and floors were not commonly enclosed; vineyard mostly were, with a tower and other buildings. Num 22:24; Psa 80:13; Isai 5:5; Matt 21:33 comp. Jud 6:11 The gardens also and orchards were enclosed, frequently by banks of mud from ditches.



from The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia




I. Development of Agriculture.


One may witness in Syria and Palestine today the various stages of social progress through which the people of Bible times passed in which the development of their agriculture played an important part. To the East the sons of Ishmael still wander in tribes from place to place, depending upon their animals for food and raiment, unless by a raid they can secure the fruits of the soil from the peoples, mostly of their own blood, who have given up wandering and are supporting themselves by tilling the ground. It is only a short step from this frontier life to the more protected territory toward the Mediterranean, where in comparatively peaceful surroundings, the wanderers become stationary. If the land which they have come to possess is barren and waterless, they become impoverished physically and spiritually, but if they have chosen the rarer spots where underground streams burst forth into valleys covered with alluvial deposits (Exodus 3:8), they prosper and there springs up the more complicated community life with its servants, hirelings, gardeners, etc. A division of labour ensues. Some leave the soil for the crafts and professions but still depend upon their farmer neighbours for theft sustenance. (1 Kings 5:11.) Such was the variety of life of the people among whom Jesus lived, and of their ancestors, and of the inhabitants of the land long before the children of Israel came to take possession of it. Bible history deals with the Hebrews at a period when a large proportion of that people were engaged in agrarian pursuits, hence we find its pages filled with references to agricultural occupations.


II. Climatic Conditions and Fertility.


With climatic conditions and fertility so varied, the mode of cultivation, seedtime and harvest differed even in closely adjacent territory. On the coastal plains and in the low Jordan valley the soil was usually rich and the season was early, whereas the mountainous regions and high interior plains the planting and reaping times were from two weeks to a month later. To make use of the soil on the hillsides, terracing was frequently necessary.


Examples of these old terraces still exist. On the unwatered plains the crops could be grown only In the winter and spring, i.e. during the rainy season. These districts dried up in May or June and remained fallow during the rainless summer. The same was true of the hilly regions and valleys except where water from a stream could be diverted from its channel and spread over the fields. In such districts crops could be grown irrespective of the seasons.


Scripture List


Ex 12:19 

Seven days shall there be no leaven found <04672> in your houses: for whosoever eats that which is leavened, even that soul shall be cut off from the congregation of Israel, whether he be a stranger, or born in the land.


Alternate renderings of <04672> matsa’ (maw-tsaw’) and the context of the word in Ex 12:19 show that in this verse it should be rendered “brought into”.


Leviticus 9:13

And they presented the burnt offering unto him, with the pieces thereof, and the head: and he burnt them upon the altar. KJV

Leviticus 12:8

And if she be not able to bring a lamb, then she shall bring two turtles, or two young pigeons; the one for the burnt offering, and the other for a sin offering: and the priest shall make an atonement for her, and she shall be clean.  KJV

Leviticus 25:26

And if the man have none to redeem it, and himself be able to redeem it;  KJV

Numbers 11:22

Shall the flocks and the herds be slain for them, to suffice them? or shall all the fish of the sea be gathered together for them, to suffice them?  KJV

1 Samuel 25:8

Ask thy young men, and they will shew thee. Wherefore let the young men find favour in thine eyes: for we come in a good day: give, I pray thee, whatsoever cometh to thine hand unto thy servants, and to thy son David.  KJV

Genesis 26:12

Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold: and the LORD blessed him.  KJV

Genesis 44:34

For how shall I go up to my father, and the lad be not with me? lest peradventure I see the evil that shall come on my father.  KJV

Exodus 18:8

And Moses told his father in law all that the LORD had done unto Pharaoh and to the Egyptians for Israel's sake, and all the travail that had come upon them by the way, and how the LORD delivered them.  KJV









Second Day of Judgement


The second day of judgement is a 100 year period also known as the Great White Throne judgement (Rev 20:11, 12). This period will commence after the second resurrection (a resurrection to physical life) following the thousand year rule of Christ on Earth (Rev 20:5). This second resurrection will comprise all of humanity who have not previously been given a real opportunity to choose between God's way of life and Satan's way of life, including all of those born during the Millennium. The second day of judgement is pictured by the Feast of Tabernacles and was expounded in detail in that article: Meaning of the Feast of Tabernacles.


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