Aviv Barley in the Biblical Calendar

6-Row-BarleyBiblical Leap Years

The Biblical year begins with the first New Moon after the barley in Israel reaches the stage in its ripeness called Aviv. The period between one year and the next is either 12 or 13 lunar months. Because of this, it is important to check the state of the Barley crops at the end of the 12th month. If the barley is Aviv at this time, then the following New Moon is Hodesh Ha-Aviv ("New Moon of the Aviv"). If the barley is still immature, we must wait another month and then check the barley again at the end of the 13th month.

By convention, a 12-month year is referred to as a Regular Year while a 13th month year is referred to as a Leap Year. This should not be confused with Leap Years in the Gregorian (Christian) Calendar, which involve the "intercalation" (addition) of a single day (Feb. 29). In contrast, the Biblical Leap Year involves the intercalation of an entire lunar month ("Thirteenth Month", also called "Adar Bet"). In general, it can only be determined whether a year is a Leap Year a few days before the end of the 12th Month.

Where is Aviv Mentioned in the Hebrew Bible?

The story of the Exodus relates "This day you are going out in the the month of the Aviv." (Ex 13:4).

To commemorate that we left Egypt in the month of the Aviv, we are instructed to bring the Passover sacrifice and celebrate the Feast of Unleavened Bread (Chag HaMatzot) at this time of year. In Dt 16:1 we are commanded:

"Keep the month of the Aviv and make the Passover (sacrifice) to Yehovah your God at night, because in the month of the Aviv, Yehovah your God took you out of Egypt".

Similarly, we are commanded in Ex 23:15,

"You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as I have commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in it you went out of Egypt."

The same is commanded in Ex 34:18,

"You will keep the Feast of Unleavened Bread; seven days you will eat unleavened bread, as have I commanded you, at the time of the month of the Aviv, because in the month of the Aviv you went out of Egypt."

What is Aviv?

Aviv indicates a stage in the development of the barley crops. This is clear from Ex 9:31-32 which describes the devastation caused by the plague of hail:

"And the flax and the barley were smitten, because the barley was Aviv and the flax was Giv'ol. And the wheat and the spelt were not smitten because they were dark (Afilot)."

The above passage relates that the barley crops were destroyed by the hail while the wheat and spelt were not damaged. To understand the reason for this we must look at how grain develops. When grains are early in their development they are flexible and have a dark green color. As they become ripe they take on a light yellowish hue and become more brittle. The reason that the barley was destroyed and the wheat was not is that the barley had reached the stage in its development called Aviv and as a result had become brittle enough to be damaged by the hail. In contrast, the wheat and spelt were still early enough in their development, at a stage when they were flexible and not susceptible to being damaged by hail. The description of the wheat and spelt as "dark" (Afilot) indicates that they were still in the stage when they were deep green and had not yet begun to lighten into the light yellowish hue which characterizes ripe grains. In contrast, the barley had reached the stage of Aviv at which time it was no longer "dark" and at this point it probably had begun to develop golden streaks.

Parched Aviv

We know from several passages that barley which is in the state of Aviv has not completely ripened, but has ripened enough so that its seeds can be eaten parched in fire. Parched barley was a commonly eaten food in ancient Israel and is mentioned in numerous passages in the Hebrew Bible as either "Aviv parched (Kalui) in fire" (Lev 2,14) or in the abbreviated form "parched (Kalui/ Kali)" (Lev 23:14; Jos 5:11; 1Sam 17:17; 1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 17:28; Ruth 2:14).

While still early in its development, barley has not yet produced large enough and firm enough seeds to produce food through parching. This early in its development, when the "head" has just come out of the shaft, the seeds are not substantial enough to produce any food. At a later stage, the seeds have grown in size and have filled with liquid. At this point the seeds will shrivel up when parched and will only produce empty skins. Over time the liquid is replaced with dry material and when enough dry material has amassed the seeds will be able to yield "barley parched in fire".

Aviv and the Harvest

The month of the Aviv is the month which commences after the barley has reached the stage of Aviv. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month the barley has moved beyond the stage of Aviv and is ready to be brought as the "wave-sheaf offering" (Hanafat HaOmer). The "wave-sheaf offering" is a sacrifice brought from the first stalks cut in the harvest and is brought on the Sunday which falls out during Passover (Chag HaMatzot). This is described in Lev 23:10-11,

"When you come to the land which I give you, and harvest its harvest, you will bring the sheaf of the beginning of your harvest to the priest. And he will wave the sheaf before Yehovah so you will be accepted; on the morrow after the Sabbath the priest will wave it."

From this it is clear that the barley, which was Aviv at the beginning of the month, has become harvest-ready 15-21 days later (i.e by the Sunday during Passover). Therefore, the month of the Aviv can not begin unless the barley has reached a stage where it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.

That the barley must be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks into the month of the Aviv is also clear from Dt 16:9 which states:

"From when the sickle commences on the standing grain you will begin to count seven weeks."

From Lev 23:15 we know that the seven weeks between Passover (Chag Hamatzot) and Pentecost (Shavuot) begin on the day when the wave-sheaf offering is brought (i.e. the Sunday which falls out during Passover):

"And you shall count from the morrow after the Sabbath, from the day you bring the sheaf of waving; they will be seven complete Sabbaths."

Therefore, the "sickle commences on the standing grain" on the Sunday during Passover, i.e. 2-3 weeks after the beginning of the month of the Aviv. If the barley is not developed enough so that it will be ready for the sickle 2-3 weeks later, then the month of the Aviv can not begin and we must wait till the following month.

It should be noted that not all the barley ripens in the Land of Israel at the same time. The wave-sheaf offering is a national sacrifice brought from the first fields to become harvest-ready. However, the first-fruit offerings brought by individual farmers can vary in ripeness anywhere from "Aviv parched in fire" to fully ripe grain which may be brought "crushed" or "coarsely ground". This is what is meant in Lev 2:14,

"And when you bring a first-fruit offering to Yehovah; you shall bring your first-fruit offering as Aviv parched in fire or crushed Carmel" (Carmel is grain which has hardened beyond Aviv to the point where it can be "crushed" or "coarsely ground").

All of the above passages have been translated directly from the Hebrew and it is worth noting that the King James translators seem to have only understood the various Hebrew agricultural terms very poorly. In Lev 2:14 they translated Carmel as "full ears" and "Aviv" as "green ears" whereas in Lev 23:14 they translated Carmel as "green ears"!

In summation, barley which is in the state of Aviv has 3 characteristics:

  1. It is brittle enough to be destroyed by hail and has begun to lighten in color (it is not "dark").
  2. The seeds have produced enough dry material so it can be eaten parched.
  3. It has developed enough so that it will be harvest-ready 2-3 weeks later.

22 thoughts on “Aviv Barley in the Biblical Calendar

  1. I’m trying to understand what Adar Bet is, or, more precisely, how it may fit into a prophetic application of an amount of time possibly being added to God’s calendar of events, as they are generally understood, if He perceives that the fields are not quite ready for the final harvest.

    Any thoughts on that?

  2. Rabbi Tovia Singer uses the rabbinic calendar as proof that the oral law is divine. He maintains that a lunar calendar would gradually lead us away from observing Pesach in the spring. Which we are biblically commanded to do. My question is: Is the ripening of the barley in Israel a divine regulator to keep us on track? And if so cannot this be mathematically verified?

    • The Creator’s calendar is made to be observable by natural man using his natural senses and does not require math or science. The Abib barley is akin to a hard stop on a mechanical device to prevent error due to accumulated tolerances over a time span. in other words it’s a reset back to zero.

    • I like Rabbi Singer and have chatted with him a couple of times. However, you answered your own question when you said ‘Rabbinic Calendar’ and not ‘Creator’s Calendar’. Something made by men is of religion. Religion is always the opinion of mortal men.

  3. Shalom Nehemia. We just concluded a wonderful Shabbat gathering in anticipation of the sighting of the renewed moon in Israel that unfortunately did not occur. Yahovah is in control obviously. But that was cool.

    The question did come up during our gathering today: where in Torah was the instruction given for Adar Bets and the month automatically beginning the next day if the renewed moon is not sighted on the day we believed it would be sighted but could not be sighted due to environmental hindrances such as cloud cover or haze? Where are these rules found in Torah? We turn to you because you have knowledge base for the biblical calendar. I’ve conducted a search of the internet for the answer to this nagging question, but have come up with nothing.

    Your help with this question would be greatly appreciated Nehemia

    Warmest Blessings
    Rod Thomas, Lake Forest, CA

    • Great questions. Please check out my study Aviv Barley and the Spirit of Constantine. Solomon’s tax system had 12 tax officers and “one tax officer over the land”, which was understood since ancient times to be for leap years. Also, David and Jonathan knew “tomorrow is the new moon”. The simplest explanation is that the moon had not been sighted after the 29th day, so they knew it would be new moon the next day whether it was sighted or not. If they had 31+ day months, they could not have said “tomorrow is the new moon”.

      • Shalom Nehemia
        In the reference you just provided, the scriptures only mentions 12 governors…not 13.
        “Solomon had twelve district governors over all Israel, who supplied provisions for the king and the royal household. Each one had to provide supplies for one month in the year”. 1 Kings 4:7-19

        Where is the 13th?…I’m trying to understand. Also the 2nd reference about David in 1 Samuel 20:18 there’s no reference to a 13th month neither. I can see what you mean by the fact that King David knew that the following day will be “chodesh”..but again..”chodesh” does not mean moon according to the biblical text. In fact what the text said is “hiNëh-chodesh” The new month it’s at hand, or behold new month.
        Again…I still believe there’s has to be another wait to identified the month. At the end, I dont see any of these rules of adding a 13th month in the biblical text. I need to see it. Please guide me to it. There has to be something tangible in scriptures rather that the traditions.

        Thanks again
        -Ely

        • There’s proof for a 13th month in Ezekiel chapters 1-8. There’s a math formula.

          Ezekiel is commanded to lay on his side for 430 consecutive days. Then after that 430 days he meets in his house with the elders.

          There are dates given, totaling 1 year, 1 month and 23 days from the time Ezekiel started to lay on his side until he met with the elders. 430 days (at a minimum) can only be accounted for in the lunar calendar with a 13th month. The solar 365 or Enochian 364 day year leave you short. Only a 13 month lunar calendar can accommodate those days because that YEAR would have had to be a 13 month year. – see the short study at my site—- tfer DOT info —

          Shalom

  4. he leido el comentario, pero no es muy explicito aùn,quedan muchas interrogantes flotando, no hay templo fisico en Jerusalem,Israel està esparcido en los cuatro angulos y existe, como se puede saber año Abib y sincronizar a los cuatro angulos donde esta las tribus perdidas de Israel, y hay remanentes q desean celebarar Pascua y Fiesta., azimos. La otra forma es saber cuando inicia el nuevo año hebreo, de acuerdo a las constetalaciones ò señales de los cielos.Disculpe ,creo que hay mucha confusiòn, ojala haya luz. Gracias.

  5. Hello Nehemiah. Thank you for your very clear teaching. Are you in Israel yet? Is the barley aviv?

    I ask because I am excited about celebrating passover this year. It will be my first passover and I would like to do it when The Lord said to do so.

    The Lord is restoring all things.

    • Peace.

      I am trying to find out when Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread will be this year 2016.

      If anyone could please advise if they have more information it would be appreciated.

      Thank you and all the best for your Passover 2016.

      Peace.

  6. Sr. Nehemias, por favor tengo una duda, puede ser explicito en que parte de torah dice, que el mes de Primavera ò Abib, tiene por ley que coincidir con la cebada, ahora que no hay templo fisico –.-Las personas que viven fuera de la tierra de Israel y deseen guardar Pascua, como pueden saber cuando comienza el mes de Abib en su pais, por ejemplo Colombia? gracias espero su ayuda.

    • Hola Luis, no se si Nehemia ya le contesto su pregunta. Pero el articulo le da todos los versiculos. Si todavia tiene preguntas, quizas le pueda yo aclarar alguna duda.

  7. Thank-you Nehemia, for this very clear, Scripture-based presentation on this important subject. It will be helpful in sharing with others.

  8. Thank you, Nehemiah for keeping me abreast of the condition of the Aviv and consequently, Passover and more. This history is fascinating – the visuals in my mind concerning communication in the past and the ease thereof today, amazing. Now I know I can expect to hear more from you about the Aviv search in coming weeks between the 10 and 14th. Happy hunting!

    • Nehemia will be looking as soon as he gets to Israel and I am sure he will post reports. The “official” search is March 9th.

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