Stewarton Bible School

Part 2 ... File 4 of 10

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Question 4

What are the harvest times in Israel?


The agricultural year in Israel begins in the autumn (after the harvest festival of Tabernacles) with ploughing and sowing. Harvests in Israel begin in spring in the month of Adar (February/March). The following harvest times in ancient Israel are obtained from the Readers Digest book entitled Jesus and His Times, pages 100-101.

MonthsWeatherCrops & activity
Tishri (Sep/Oct)First rainsPloughing begins
Heshvan (Oct/Nov) Ploughing / grain planting
Kislev (Nov/Dec) Grain planting continues
Tebeth (Dec/Jan)Main rains 
Sebat (Jan/Feb)  
Adar (Feb/Mar)Spring rainsAlmond in bloom / flax harvest
Abib (Mar/Apr) Barley harvest begins
Zif (Apr/May) Barley harvest completed
Sivan (May/Jun)Dry seasonWheat harvest begins
Tamuz (Jun/Jul) Wheat harvest completed / first figs
Ab (Jul/Aug)Summer heatVintage (grape harvest) begins
Elul (Aug/Sep) Date harvest / summer figs

From the above, one can see that the harvest season in ancient Israel began in Adar (Feb/March) and continued by stages into autumn. The barley harvest began in March-April: the first sheaf being cut and waived in the middle of Abib, which could be any time between 21st March and the middle of April. It is the same in modern Israel. Concerning the wheat and grape harvests, the Westminster Dictionary of the Bible says this:

"In Palestine wheat was sown in November or December, after the rains began. The harvest was in April, May or June in Palestine varying according to the locality and the weather at the time." (page 635)

"The vintage began in the middle of September and continued into October. It was a season of festivity. In the vineyards there were singing and joyful noise, and the treaders in the press kept time by shouting as they trod the grapes. (page 629)

These details concerning harvest times in Israel are vital when determining the start of a year in the sacred calendar and the sacred Festivals in it. The answer to the next question will clarify this point further.

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Author: David B Loughran
Stewarton Bible School, Stewarton, Scotland
Updated: August 1998