Manners & Customs: Harvesting
Harvests and Harvesting in ancient Bible times
Description of an Olive Tree
Characteristics of the olive tree. The young olive tree only bears olives after seven years of growth, and it is about fourteen years before the crop reaches its maturity. Because of the injurious method of harvesting the olives by using sticks to knock off the fruit, the trees only bear a full crop every other year. Some twenty gallons of oil are often derived from the olives of one tree. The berries are harvested in the month of October.
After the olive tree reaches its maturity, its fruitfulness lasts for many years. Its longevity is one of the remarkable characteristics of the tree. It lives and bears fruit for centuries. The old Olive tree is often seen to have several thrifty young shoots springing up all around it from its roots. It was this picture that the Psalmist had in mind when he wrote: "Thy children like olive plants round about thy table" (Psalm 128:3).
The olive tree thrives in Palestinian soil which has so many rocks in it. Thomson says of it: "It insinuates its roots into the crevices of this flinty marl, and draws from thence its stores of oil."
Doubtless it is to this that the song of Moses alludes: "He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock" (Deuteronomy 32:13).
To the Occidental, the olive tree with its dull grayish color of foliage, does not seem to be a particularly beautiful tree, but the Oriental sees in it many charms.
Writers of Scripture often speak of the beauty and attractiveness of the olive. Concerning Israel, the prophet Jeremiah said: "the Lord called thy name, A green olive tree, fair, and of goodly fruit" (Jeremiah 11:16). The prophet Hosea said, "His beauty shall be as the olive tree" (Hosea 14:6). And David asserted concerning himself: "I am like a green olive tree in the house of God" (Psalm 52:8).
Olive trees have a remarkable number of blossoms, many of which fall without ever maturing into fruit. Sometimes the breeze blows upon the tree and the falling blossoms look like a shower of snowflakes.
The Book of Job makes a comparisoto this characteristic of the olive blossoms: "And shall cast off his flower as the olive" (Job 15:33).
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Harvest in Easton's Bible Dictionary
the season for gathering grain or fruit. On the 16th day of
(or April) a handful of ripe ears of corn was offered
first-fruit before the Lord, and immediately after
harvest commenced (Lev. 23:9-14; 2 Sam. 21:9, 10; Ruth
began with the feast of Passover and ended with
lasting for seven weeks (Ex. 23:16). The harvest was a
joy (Ps. 126:1-6; Isa. 9:3). This word is used
Matt. 9:37; 13:30; Luke 10:2; John 4:35. (See
Harvest in Naves Topical Bible
Sabbath to be observed in
-Sabbath desecrated in
-Of wheat at Pentecost, in Palestine
Ex 34:22; Le 23:15-17
-And of wheat before harvest time
-Of barley, before wheat
-Celebrated with joy
Jud 9:27; Isa 9:3; 16:10; Jer 48:33
-Promises of plentiful
Ge 8:22; Jer 5:24; Joe 2:23,24
Job 24:6; Pr 10:5; Jer 8:20; Joe 3:13; Mt 9:37;
10:2; Re 14:15
Harvest in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE
har'-vest (qatsir; therismos): To many of us, harvest time
is of little concern, because in our complex life we are far
removed from the actual production of our food supplies, but
for the Hebrew people, as for those in any agricultural
district today, the harvest was a most important season (Gen
8:22; 45:6). Events were reckoned from harvests (Gen 30:14;
Josh 3:15; Jdg 15:1; Ruth 1:22; 2:23; 1 Sam 6:13; 2 Sam
21:9; 23:13). The three principal feasts of the Jews
corresponded to the three harvest seasons (Ex 23:16;
34:21,22); (1) the feast of the Passover in April at the
time of the barley harvest (compare Ruth 1:22); (2) the
feast of Pentecost (7 weeks later) at the wheat harvest (Ex
34:22), and (3) the feast of Tabernacles at the end of the
year (October) during the fruit harvest. The seasons have
not changed since that time. Between the reaping of the
barley in April and the wheat in June, most of the other
cereals are reaped. The grapes begin to ripen in August, but
the gathering in for making wine and molasses (dibs), and
the storing of the dried figs and raisins, is at the end of
September. Between the barley harvest in April and the wheat
harvest, only a few showers fall, which are welcomed because
they increase the yield of wheat (compare Am 4:7). Samuel
made use of the unusual occurrence of rain during the wheat
harvest to strike fear into the hearts of the people (1 Sam
12:17). Such an unusual storm of excessive violence visited
Syria in 1912, and did much damage to the harvests, bringing
fear to the superstitious farmers, who thought some greater
disaster awaited them. From the wheat harvest until the
fruit harvest no rain falls (2 Sam 21:10; Jer 5:24; compare
Prov 26:1). The harvesters long for cool weather during the
reaping season (compare Prov 25:13).
Many definite laws were instituted regarding the harvest.
Gleaning was forbidden (Lev 19:9; 23:22; Dt 24:19) (see
GLEANING). The first-fruits were required to be presented to
Yahweh (Lev 23:10). In Syria the Christians still celebrate
'id er-rubb ("feast of the Lord"), at which time the owners
of the vineyards bring their first bunches of grapes to the
church. The children of Israel were enjoined to reap no
harvest for which they had not labored (Lev 25:5). In
Proverbs the harvesting of ants is mentioned as a lesson for
the sluggard (Prov 6:8; 10:5; 20:4).
Figurative: A destroyed harvest typified devastation or
affliction (Job 5:5; Isa 16:9; 17:11; Jer 5:17; 50:16). The
"time of harvest," in the Old Testament frequently meant the
day of destruction (Jer 51:33; Hos 6:11; Joel 3:13). "Joy in
harvest" typified great joy (Isa 9:3); "harvest of the
Nile," an abundant harvest (Isa 23:3). "The harvest is past"
meant that the appointed time was gone (Jer 8:20). Yahweh
chose the most promising time to cut off the wicked, namely,
"when there is a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest" (Isa
18:4,5). This occurrence of hot misty days just before the
ripening of the grapes is still common. They are welcome
because they are supposed to hasten the harvest. The Syrian
farmers in some districts call it et-tabbakh el'ainib wa tin
("the fireplace of the grapes and figs").
In the Gospels, Jesus frequently refers to the harvest of
souls (Mt 9:37,38 bis; 13:30 bis,39; Mk 4:29; Jn 4:35 bis).
In explaining the parable of the Tares he said, "The harvest
is the end of the world" (Mt 13:39; compare Rev 14:15).
Harvest Scripture - Jeremiah 5:17
And they shall eat up thine harvest, and thy bread, [which]
thy sons and thy daughters should eat: they shall eat up thy
flocks and thine herds: they shall eat up thy vines and thy
fig trees: they shall impoverish thy fenced cities, wherein
thou trustedst, with the sword.
Harvest Scripture - 1 Samuel 8:12
And he will appoint him captains over thousands, and captains
over fifties; and [will set them] to ear his ground, and to
reap his harvest, and to make his instruments of war, and
instruments of his chariots.
Harvest Scripture - Amos 4:7
And also I have withholden the rain from you, when [there
were] yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain
upon one city, and caused it not to rain upon another city:
one piece was rained upon, and the piece whereupon it rained
Harvest Scripture - Deuteronomy 24:19
When thou cuttest down thine harvest in thy field, and hast
forgot a sheaf in the field, thou shalt not go again to fetch
it: it shall be for the stranger, for the fatherless, and for
the widow: that the LORD thy God may bless thee in all the
work of thine hands.
Harvest Scripture - Exodus 23:16
And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours,
which thou hast sown in the field: and the feast of
ingathering, [which is] in the end of the year, when thou hast
gathered in thy labours out of the field.
Harvest Scripture - Exodus 34:21
Six days thou shalt work, but on the seventh day thou shalt
rest: in earing time and in harvest thou shalt rest.
Harvest Scripture - Genesis 30:14
And Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found
mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah.
Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son's
Harvest Scripture - Isaiah 17:11
In the day shalt thou make thy plant to grow, and in the
morning shalt thou make thy seed to flourish: [but] the
harvest [shall be] a heap in the day of grief and of desperate
Harvest Scripture - Joshua 3:15
And as they that bare the ark were come unto Jordan, and the
feet of the priests that bare the ark were dipped in the brim
of the water, (for Jordan overfloweth all his banks all the
time of harvest,)
Harvest Scripture - Revelation 14:15
And another angel came out of the temple, crying with a loud
voice to him that sat on the cloud, Thrust in thy sickle, and
reap: for the time is come for thee to reap; for the harvest
of the earth is ripe.
Harvesting the olive crop. The Arabs harvest their crop of olives in the Holy Land by beating the trees with sticks in order to knock off the fruit. Instead of hand picking them, they beat the limbs and thus cause the fruit to fall. The tender shoots that would ordinarily bear fruit the following year are thus apt to be damaged, so as to interfere greatly with the next year's crop. This is no doubt the reason for the trees yielding a good crop only every other year. The reason why this method is used is because their forefathers have always done it this way, and they don't believe in change of customs.
As a matter of fact, Moses indicates that the same method was used by Israel when he gave the law concerning leaving some of the olive berries for the poor: "When thou beatest thine olive tree thou shalt not go over the boughs again: it shall be for the stranger, or the fatherless, and for the widow" (Deuteronomy 24:20).
Isaiah also speaks of the obtaining of berries left by the olive harvesters: "Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof" (Isaiah 17:6). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Harvesting the Grapes
HARVESTING OF GRAPES
The vintage begins in the month of September in the Holy Land, and at this period, from ancient times, the inhabitants of many a village move out to the vineyards, where they live in tents or in
lodges. Concerning the men of Shechem, the Book of Judges says: "They went out into the fields, and gathered their vineyards" (Judges 9:27).
Jeremiah tells us about the gathering of the grapes by means of baskets: "Turn back thine hand as a grape-gatherer into the baskets" (Jeremiah 6:9). Isaiah predicts judgment as being a time when "there shall be no singing" in the vineyards (Isaiah 16:10). Thus the gathering of the grapes into the baskets was done with great joy and much singing. Whole families entered into the happiness of this harvest time. This is true among Oriental grape farmers today.
[Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
Three Harvest Times for Figs
THE FIG TREE
Three crops of figs in Israel. The early figs, not very many in number, but large in size, are ripe a month before the main crop; the summer or main crop is used in August and September; and the winter figs remain on the trees until late in the fall of the year. Mention is made in Scripture of the firstripe figs as being desirable (Hosea 9:10), and the ease with which they are secured when the tree is shaken (Nahum 3:12). The summer crop that is not eaten as fresh fruit is dried on the housetops, and then used in the winter months. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]
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