Chapter 4:  Barley

Ex 9:31-32
And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley [was] in the ear, and the flax [was] bolled.
But the wheat and the rye were not smitten: for they [were] not grown up.

It seems pretty clear here that the Barley was at a young stage of development, while the wheat was not grown. Also, Barley at a young age would be ruined by hail, while if it was ripe, ready to harvest, would only have the seeds knocked out and could be picked up off the ground.

A little about Barley and how it is harvested.

In today's world, barley is combined with machinery. But, before that, it was cut with a sickle. It was cut when it was about ripe, but not quite. There was a reason for that. If it were totally ripe, the barley seeds would fall out when the sickle cut them. So, in order not to lose their grain, they cut it about 2 weeks before the harvest, tied it into sheaves, took it to the threshing floor to dry, see the book of Ruth, then after it was dry, it was harvested by "waving", "shaking", "beating" etc. Before that occurred, they were (each family) a sheaf to Jerusalem to be waved before Yahweh. Lev 23. At that time it was the beginning of the Barley Harvest.

Paraphrase from the "Encyclopedia of Organic Gardening".

Under the heading "Barley" it says to grow barley as you would wheat. Barley is harvested the same as wheat: cut, bundled and shocked to dry.
Under the heading "Wheat" it says that as it ripens, wheat turns dull yellow, and the kernels become brittle, BUT, if you thresh by hand, cut the wheat when it is still slightly green. The stalks should be yellow with green shot through them. It must be bunched for threshing. Tie the bundles, allow them to dry. The grain will ripen in about two weeks and can then be threshed.

I think it is interesting that a farmer knows exactly how to cut, dry and harvest the Barley. This writer had a hand in that when he was young.

The month of Abib is the month when the barley has reached the stage to harvest. The Barley 2-3 weeks or 15 to 21 days after the beginning of the month. The month "Abib" could be called the month when the Barley is green and when it is ripe to harvest.

Young, tender Barley?

Many today seem to think the Wave Sheaf was of Young, tender Barley. Does this sheaf represent the Messiah, Yahshua? Of course it does. Was He young, tender?

No, He was fully mature, ripe just as the Sheaf should be, ready to harvest.

There is one scripture that throws folks a curve. It is:

Deuteronomy 16:9
Seven weeks shalt thou number unto thee: begin to number the seven weeks from [such time as] thou beginnest [to put] the sickle to the corn.

The word time used in this scripture can be rendered "season".

Clearly in the following scriptures the time to count from is found here:

Leviticus 23:15-16
And ye shall count unto you from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day that ye brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be complete:
Even unto the morrow after the seventh Sabbath shall ye number fifty days; and ye shall offer a new meat offering unto Yahweh.

The Year 1999

If you followed the Jewish Calendar in 1999, there was no Barley for the wave sheaf offering. That was attested to by many in Israel attempting to find barley growing.

Here is one report about the barley in 1999!

Karaite Korner Newsletter Barley (Abib) Report March 21, 1999

Today my wife and I went to look at barley fields next to the Arab village of Hizma (near Jerusalem). We looked at fields which I had previously inspected and mentioned in an earlier report. The barley in these fields had grown very little in the last 2 weeks and was still small plants which may never reach maturity because of the drought. We then inspected several fields to the west of the village which we had not previously checked and found much more promising results. The barley in the second set of Hizma fields was lush and green. Most of it had not headed, that is the heads had not come out of the stalks. We found a few stalks that had headed and already had the beginning of a seed that contained a cotton-like substance (very early stage). These crops will almost certainly reach full maturity (eventually) and seem to have survived the drought.

This may be because they are situated in a wadi through which the rainwater naturally drains off the adjacent mountains. I doubt these fields will be Abib by the end of the month as will be the case with barley in other areas but the barley never ripens all at once. This is why it is important to look at numerous fields in different parts of the country.

The barley on Mount Scopus might be Abib in 2 weeks, at least some of it. The spontaneous barley from the Negev described in the first report as "Between water and wax" will definitely be Abib 2 weeks from now (by the beginning of the next lunar month) and will be ready for harvest 2-3 weeks after that, in time for the wave-sheaf offering and when the scythe commences on the standing grain.

P.S. We just carried out an experiment on barley gathered from Mount Scopus and the fields near Hizma. The barley stalks from Mount Scopus used in the experiment had entered the early "Between Wax and Water" stage while some were still in the water stage. The barley stalks from Hizma used in the experiment had just headed and were before the water stage (with part of the seed having a cotton-like texture).

Because the moisture content in the stalks was so high we were only able to remove the seeds by painstakingly opening up the husks and removing them one at a time. We then put the seeds into a dry frying pan on a low heat. The seeds which were in the very early stage with the cotton-like substance were tiny and dried out in the frying pan producing a microscopic crunchy dot. The seeds in the water stage and early "between wax and water" stage dried out in the frying pan and produced a crunchy flat skin, the inside of the seeds having completely evaporated.

We also put stalks in the early "between water and wax" stage in the frying pan without having removed the seeds, thinking that once the stalk was dried out it would be easier to remove the seeds. The result was that the seeds dried out into a flat crunchy skin that fused with the stalk and could not be removed.

Nehemia Gordon
The Karaite Korner
Jerusalem, Israel 

This is just one of the reports from Israel during that time. It seems clear; there was no "barley" for the "wave sheaf" if you followed the early new moon and the Jewish Calendar.


It was because the Jewish Calendar counted the New Moon (Spring) before the Vernal Equinox occurred. In other words, they set Abib in the days of winter instead of Spring.

However, for many of us, who realized that and waited for the New Moon after the V.E., there was plenty of Barley, just right for the Wave Sheaf.