The Truth About Shavuot

Joshua 5:11 in the 1611 King James VersionShavuot is a biblical festival known in English as the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost. Shavuot is a pilgrimage-feast, in Hebrew chag. As a chag, Shavuot is one of the three annual biblical festivals on which every male Israelite is commanded to make a pilgrimage to the Temple. Shavuot is also referred to in the Torah as Chag Ha-Katzir, the Feast of Harvest (Exodus 23:16) and Yom Ha-Bikurim, the Day of Firstfruits (Numbers 28:26).

The Hebrew Bible does not associate any historical event with Shavuot, although in later times it was connected with the Revelation at Sinai. The Book of Exodus says that the Revelation at Sinai took place shortly after the Israelites arrived in the Sinai Desert some time in the beginning of the Third Hebrew Month (Exodus 19:1). Like Shavuot, the exact date of the Revelation of Sinai is not specified, and it is tempting to connect the two.

Shavuot is unique among the biblical festivals in that it is not given a fixed calendar date. Instead, we are commanded to celebrate it at the end of a 50-day period known today as the Counting of the Omer. The commencement of this 50-day period was marked in Temple times by the bringing of the Omer offering and ended on the 50th day with the festival of Shavuot, as described in the Book of Leviticus:

“And you shall count from the morrow of the Sabbath from the day you bring the Omer [sheaf] of waving; seven complete Sabbaths shall you count... until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath shall you count fifty days... and you shall proclaim on this very day, it shall be a holy convocation for you.” (Leviticus 23:15-16,21).

In late Second Temple times there was a famous debate between three different Jewish factions about the meaning of the Hebrew phrase “morrow of the Sabbath” and hence about the timing of Shavuot. All three factions agreed that the “morrow of the Sabbath” was associated with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, although the precise connection led to the festival being observed on different days. The seven-day Feast of Unleavened Bread runs from the 15th day to the 21st day of the First Hebrew Month (Nissan) and marks the Exodus from Egypt, as well as the beginning of the barley harvest in Israel. All three factions connected the “morrow of the Sabbath” with the Feast of Unleavened Bread, but differed as to the exact timing and connection. The three factions who argued over the timing of Shavuot were the Pharisees who wrote the Mishnah and the Talmud, the Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Sadducees who made up the Temple Priesthood.

The Pharisees argued that Shavuot is to be counted from the first day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which they designated a “Sabbath.” According to the Pharisees, “morrow of the Sabbath” means the “morrow of the 1st day of Unleavened Bread.” The ancient Pharisees and their modern day successor the Orthodox rabbis begin the 50-day count to Shavuot on the second day of Unleavened Bread, which is always the 16th day of the First Hebrew Month. As a result, the Pharisee Shavuot always fell out in ancient times from the 5th to the 7th day of the Third Hebrew Month (Sivan). After the destruction of the Temple, the Pharisees became the predominant surviving faction among the Jewish leadership and their interpretation is followed by most Jews until this very day. In 359 CE, the Pharisee leader Hillel II established a pre-calculated calendar and ever since the Pharisee Shavuot has always been observed on the 6th of Sivan.

The Essenes who wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls began the 50-day count to Shavuot on a different Sabbath from the Pharisees. In their reckoning, the Omer offering was to be brought on the morrow of the weekly Sabbath, in modern terms: “Sunday.” The Essenes began their count on the Sunday after the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. As a result, they always began their count on the 26th day of the First Hebrew Month. The Essenes had a 364-day solar calendar, which began every year on a Wednesday and had fixed lengths for each month. Based on the Essene calendar, Shavuot always fell out on the 15th day of the Third Hebrew Month. The Essenes are presumed to have been wiped out when the Romans invaded Judea in 66-74 CE and only their documents survive today.

The third faction, the Sadducees, agreed with the Essenes that Shavuot must be counted from a weekly Sabbath, but disagreed as to which one. The Sadducees believed the 50-day count must begin on the weekly Sabbath that falls out during the seven-days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. According to their reckoning, the counting towards Shavuot could begin anywhere from the 15th to the 21st day of the month, depending on what day of the week the Feast of Unleavened Bread began. If Unleavened Bread began on a Sunday, the count would begin on the 15th day of the month. If Unleavened Bread began on a Saturday, the count would begin on the 16th day of the month, and so on. Based on this counting, Shavuot could fall out from the 4th to the 12th of the Third Hebrew Month. Karaite Jews have accepted the Sadducee reckoning as the only one to be consistent with the plain meaning of the biblical text.

The Sadducees and Essenes agreed that the 50-day count to Shavuot had to always begin on the morrow of a weekly Sabbath. They only differed as to whether this referred to the Sunday during the Feast of Unleavened Bread or the Sunday following the Feast of Unleavened Bread. In contrast, the Pharisees believed the 50-day count must begin with an annual “Sabbath,” rather than a weekly Sabbath. According to the Torah, work is forbidden on the 1st day and the 7th day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Pharisees began their count from the morrow of the 1st day of Unleavened Bread. Although work is forbidden on this day, it is never referred to in the Hebrew Bible as a “Sabbath.” The only annual feast day to ever be referred to in the Hebrew Bible as a Sabbath is the Day of Atonement, on the Tenth day of the Seventh Hebrew Month. Work is forbidden on six other annual feast days, but the days are never referred to in the Tanakh as Sabbaths.

The bigger problem with the Pharisee interpretation of “Sabbath” is when it comes to the end of the 50-day count. Leviticus 23:16 says,

“Until the morrow of the seventh Sabbath shall you count fifty days.”

The 1st day day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread could theoretically be called “Sabbath,” even though the Hebrew Bible never uses this terminology. However, the 49th day of the Pharisee counting is not a Sabbath, unless it happens to fall out on a weekly Sabbath - the 7th day of the week. Consequently, the Pharisee Shavuot is rarely the “morrow of the Seventh Sabbath” as required by Leviticus 23:16. About once every seven years, the Pharisee Shavuot does happen to fall out on the “morrow of the seventh Sabbath.” For example, in the year 2018 the Feast of Unleavened Bread begins in the Pharisee reckoning at sunset on Friday March 30. In that year, the Pharisee counting begins on Sunday April 1, 2018 and ends 50 days later on the “morrow of the seventh Sabbath,” Sunday May 20, 2018. However, this is the exception to the rule. In most years, Shavuot according to the Pharisee reckoning is actually the morrow of seventh Monday, the morrow of seventh Tuesday, etc. The only way for Shavuot to consistently be the “morrow of the seventh Sabbath” is for the counting to begin on the morrow of a weekly Sabbath, in modern terms on a “Sunday.” Of course, Scripture did not call this a “Sunday,” because that term did not exist in ancient Hebrew. The ancient Hebrew term for Sunday morning is “morrow of the Sabbath.”

An important verse that confirms the timing of Shavuot appears in the Book of Joshua:

“And they ate of the produce of the land on the morrow of the Passover, unleavened and parched grain on this very day. And the Manna ceased on the morrow when they ate of the produce of the land...” -Joshua 5:11

This verse describes the events surrounding the cessation of the Manna, shortly after the Children of Israel entered the Land of Canaan. To understand this the significance of this verse, we must go back to the Book of the Leviticus, where the Israelites were forbidden to eat of the new crops of the Land of Israel until the day of the Omer offering:

"And bread and parched grain and ripe grain you shall not eat until this very day, until you bring the sacrifice of your God; it shall be an eternal statute for your generations in all your habitations." Leviticus 23:14

When Joshua 5:11 describes the eating of “unleavened bread and parched grain... on this very day" it is using almost the precise wording of Leviticus 23:14 “and bread and parched grain... you will not eat until this very day.” The new produce of the land was forbidden until the Omer offering was brought. Joshua 5:11 is saying that when the Israelites entered the Land for the first time, they observed this commandment and waited until the terms of Leviticus 23:14 were fulfilled. In other words, they waited for the Omer offering before eating the grain of Israel. This has been widely recognized by Jewish Bible commentators throughout history, such as the 11th Century rabbi Rashi who explains on Joshua 5:11, “morrow of the Passover is the day of the waving of the omer.”

Joshua 5:11 is saying that the first Omer offering in the Land of Israel was brought on the “morrow of the Passover.” Immediately after this, the Children of Israel were permitted to eat of the new crops of the Land. For the first time, the Israelites pulled out their sickles and ate of the good bounty of their new homeland.

To understand the phrase “morrow of the Passover” we need to define two terms: “morrow” and “Passover.” The Hebrew word for “morrow” is mi-mocharat which refers to “the morning after.” In the phrase “morrow of the Sabbath” it describes Sunday morning, the morning after the 24-hour Sabbath.

Today we commonly refer to the Feast of Unleavened Bread as “Passover.” However, in the Hebrew Bible, the term “Passover” (Pesach) always refers to the Pascal sacrifice. The “morrow of the Passover” is the morning after the Passover sacrifice. The sacrifice was slaughtered at twilight at the end of the 14th day of the First Hebrew Month (Nissan) and eaten on the evening that began the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month (see Exodus 12:18; Deuteronomy 16:4). The morrow of the Passover is therefore the morning of the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month.

Confirmation of the meaning of the phrase “morrow of the Passover” can be found in a verse in the Book of Numbers:

“And they traveled from Ramesses in the first month on the fifteenth of the month; on the morrow of the Passover the Children of Israel went out with a high hand in the eyes of all Egypt.” - Numbers 33:3

This verse describes the day of the Exodus from Egypt as both the 15th of the First Hebrew Month and as the “morrow of the Passover.”

What all this means is that the first Omer offering in Israel took place on the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month. The first year that the Israelites entered Canaan, the 14th of the First Hebrew Month must have fallen out on a Sabbath so that the 15th of that month was a Sunday. In that year, the “morrow of the Passover” happened to also be the “morrow of the Sabbath,” what we call “Sunday morning.” This proves the Pharisee interpretation of Leviticus 23:15 to be wrong. According to the Pharisees, the Omer offering could only be brought on the morning of the 16th of the First Hebrew Month, but in the year that the Israelites entered Canaan, they brought the sacrifice one day earlier.

The great 12th Century rabbinical Bible commentator Ibn Ezra mentions a “Roman sage” who brought Joshua 5:11 as proof for the Pharisee interpretation. According to this Roman rabbi, Joshua 5:11 is no less than the silver bullet, the irrefutable proof for the Pharisee position. This Roman rabbi argued that since Passover begins on the 15th of the First Hebrew Month (Nissan), the “morrow of the Passover” must be the 16th. This is exactly when the Pharisees believe the Omer offering is supposed to be brought, on the 16th of the First Hebrew Month. If the Israelites brought the Omer on the 16th day of the First Hebrew Month in the year they entered the Land of Israel, argues the Roman rabbi, it proves that the Pharisees are correct in beginning the 50-day count to Shavuot on the 16th.

According to Ibn Ezra, bringing up Joshua 5:11 was a disaster for the Pharisee position:

“[The Roman Rabbi] did not know that it cost him his life, for the Passover is on the fourteenth and its morrow is the fifteenth, and so it is written, “And they traveled from Ramesses in the first month, etc.” (Numbers 33:3). Eating parched grain is forbidden until the waving of the Omer.”

Desperate to salvage the situation, Ibn Ezra proposes a novel re-interpretation of Joshua 5:11. Previous rabbis understood this verse to describe the Israelites eating the new grain of the Land of Israel, which only becomes permissible each year after the Omer offering is brought (Leviticus 23:14). The time between harvest and the Omer offering might be anywhere for a few hours to a couple of weeks. During this interim period, the new grain must be stored and only old grain may be eaten, that is, grain from a previous year’s harvest. Since the Israelites were new in the Land of Israel, they did not have any grain from previous years. They had been wandering in the desert eating Manna for 40 years. As soon as they entered the Land, they harvested the grain they found growing in the fields of Jericho. They then waved the Omer, the first sheaf of the harvest, making all their new harvest permissible to eat and began the 50-day count to Shavuot.

From Ibn Ezra’s perspective, the Israelites did this one day too early, on the morning of the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month. According to the Pharisees, the Omer must always be brought on the 16th day of the First Hebrew Month. Ibn Ezra’s ingenious solution to this embarrassing biblical fact of history is to add the word “old” to Joshua 5:11. If the Israelites ate “old grain,” that is, grain harvested in a previous year, then the verse has nothing to do with the Omer offering or the 50-day count to Shavuot.

Ibn Ezra’s new interpretation was highly influential, more than most people realize. When Christian scholars started translating the Bible into English, they went to Jewish rabbis to learn the Hebrew language. When it came to Joshua 5:11, the rabbis told the Christian translators to add the word “old” to the verse. More precisely, they told them that the word “grain,” in Hebrew avur, actually means “old grain.” As a result, Ibn Ezra’s novel interpretation is reflected in the most famous English translation of all time, the King James Version:

And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. Joshua 5:11 –King James Version

A scan of the original 1611 King James Version is reproduced at the top of this page.

Most translations do not employ the Ibn Ezra translation trick of adding the word “old.” This is true for both Christian and Jewish translations. Here are a few examples:

“On the day after the passover, on that very day, they ate the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain.” New Revised Standard Version

The day after the Passover, that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land: unleavened bread and roasted grain.” New International Version

“And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched corn, in the selfsame day.” Jewish Publication Society 1917

“On the day after the passover offering, on that very day, they ate of the produce of the country, unleavened bread and parched grain.” Jewish Publication Society 1985

“And they ate of the grain of the land on the morrow of the Passover, unleavened cakes and parched grain on this very day.” Judaica Press

These translations were made by people who read Hebrew and they knew that the word “old” was simply not there. The Christian translators of the King James Version, on the other hand, did not know this and took someone else’s word for it.

Ibn Ezra himself must have known that adding “old” to the verse was not the correct linguistic interpretation. In his introduction to his commentary on the Torah, Ibn Ezra declares that the rules of language and grammar must be bent to fit rabbinical interpretation when it affects practical religious observance. Adding the word “old” to Joshua 5:11 is a clear example of bending the rules of the language. Ibn Ezra reveals his true understanding when he points out in response to the Roman rabbi, “Eating parched grain is forbidden until the waving of the Omer.” He only mentions the “parched grain” from Joshua 5:11 and not the “unleavened bread” because he knows it disproves the very thing the Pharisees wanted to prove.

“Parched grain,” in Hebrew kali, refers to nearly ripe grain that is still slightly moist. The farmers would harvest this moist grain early and parch it in fire to make it crunchy and delicious. Parched grain could only come from a freshly harvested crop, not from old grain! Joshua 5:11 says the Israelites ate “parched grain” on the morrow of the Passover, on the morning of the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month. The “unleavened bread” could theoretically have come from the old grain, as Ibn Ezra suggested, but the parched grain had to be new grain. Year-old moist grain would go bad, so parched grain could only be “new” grain from that year’s harvest. This new crop would be forbidden to eat until the waving of the Omer, which took place on the “morrow of the Passover,” which Ibn Ezra knew from Numbers 33:3 was the morning of the 15th day of the month. That first year in the Land of Israel, the Israelites ate the new grain and began the 50-day count to Shavuot on the 15th of the First Hebrew Month. This was one day too early for the rabbinical reckoning, which is why Ibn Ezra says that bringing Joshua 5:11 into the discussion of the timing of Shavuot cost the Roman rabbi his life - figuratively speaking, of course.

One technical point to consider is that the word “morrow” is the operative term in the phrase the “morrow of the Sabbath.” Joshua 5:11 makes it clear that the “morrow” has to be during the seven days of the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The Sabbath itself might actually precede these seven days, as it did that first year the Israelites entered the Land of Israel.

In ancient times, the Pharisee Shavuot would coincide with the Biblical Shavuot about once every seven years. This would happen whenever the First Hebrew Month began with the sighting of the new moon on a Friday night. In years such as these, the 16th day of the month would be both the second day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread and the morrow of the weekly Shabbat. The modern rabbinical calendar established by Hillel II in 359 CE calculates the beginning of the month using the dark moon, making this a less common scenario.

 

189 thoughts on “The Truth About Shavuot

    • Hi Pam,
      Just to clarify. I don’t mean to speak for Nehemiah, but I believe he meant six appointed times. There are 3 festival times or pilgrimages. Teruah and Kippurim are Yom’s, not Chag’s because of the intent and meaning of these days.

      Shalom

      • Seven days on which work is forbidden:
        Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread) Day #1
        Feast of Unleavened Bread Day #7
        Chag HaShavuot (Feast of Weeks) aka Chag HaKatzir (Feast of Harvest) aka Yom Habikurrim (Day of Firstfruits)
        Yom Teruah
        Yom Kippur
        Sukkot Day 1
        Sukkot Day 8 aka Shemini Atzeret

  1. Joshua 5:11 is reffering to the grains that the Unleavened is made off. It serms abit awkward to eat on the night of Pesach unleavened bread from the old produce (where did they get it from?) and then the next morning harvest new grain and do all the hard work to create flour and bake unleavened bread, on a day that the commandment is to refrain from Melacha.
    I believe that the harvest for the omer and its offering at that specific year occured before Pesach.

    See my article about Shavuot that was published in Makor Rishon several years ago:
    http://www.tapuz.co.il/blogs/viewentry/2007618

  2. Excellent research, I was glad to see historical backing for the same conclusion I reached by muddling past the confusion and contradiction in our “standard” Bibles.

  3. Question for Nehemia, you quote: “The ancient Hebrew term for Sunday morning is “morrow of the Sabbath.”” Also, “The Hebrew word for “morrow” is mi-mocharat which refers to “the morning after.” In the phrase “morrow of the Sabbath” it describes Sunday morning, the morning after the 24-hour Sabbath.”

    This is an important question for me! So is the Hebrew text actually saying that Shavuot should be observed in the “morning” (not the evening, i.e. Saturday evening)? If so, is there Is there a Hebrew lexicon or dictionary that you could refer to me regarding this?

  4. Interesting — I was unaware that Karaites dated Shavuot differently from the rabbis.

    I’d independently come to the conclusion that Shavuot had to be counted from a weekly Sabbath during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, simply by reading the Bible and chewing it over (it’s not obscure, and one has a huge clue in that it is necessary to count out the days). It was nice to read that others had discovered the same thing, though.

    Incidentally, anyone who believes the New Testament (i.e. every Christian) should accept the Karaite reckoning of Shavuot, since the New Testament effectively endorses the Karaite date — Acts 2 tells us that the Holy Spirit was given at Pentecost/Shavuot, the date of which would have been that affirmed by the Sadducees since they dominated the priesthood and the Sanhedrin at that time. To a Christian, this is God’s seal of approval on the Karaite date. And another rebuttal to the Pharisees and the rabbis…

  5. It seems to be a misleading that the new vs. old grain in Joshua 5:11-12 is pivotal or an impact to the Pharisaic count. The latest Torah scrolls that have been translated to English don’t include this distinction. It isn’t a necessary correct for the Pharisaical count because the (morrow) next day after the Pesach is when the wave sheaf was offered. It is only an issue if one insists that the Pesach was killed and eaten at the beginning of the 14th of Aviv.

    One other comment, the idea of complete Shabbats does not make sense unless it is weeks. Hag Shavuot is translated Feast of Weeks. It seems consistent with Torah and makes sense for how weeks are used in other parts of Scripture, including the Shabbatical years followed by the Jubilee.

    This is why there was so much debate in the second temple period and why it will continue. Can one be a Karaite and agree with the Pharisaical count for Shavuot?

    • The centrality of the new vs. old grain argument was introduced by Ibn Ezra, a great Rabbi who was being intellectually honest about the Rabbinical position. Shavuot means “weeks”; Shabbatot means “Sabbaths”.

      • Nehemiah..
        Good study….You are a patient dude.
        You had said earlier (6/23/2014) “Also, the omer is a national offering whereas the Bikurim on Shavuot is brought by individual farmers. I hope this helps.”
        Fascinating point.. can you source this concept? Most appreciated

  6. I have almost read your entire post! I was interrupted because I remembered to go out and take pictures of the grain behind my house. (Lawn tractor broke) I shot only a few plant’s that were dark green and the rest are TALL! and turning white–unto harvest!. Seems like I read that somewhere ; ) I am now looking at the Biblical Calendar (MR) and if I am reading it correctly, it is the 41st day of the counting of the Omer! What am I missing? Rick from Battle Ground WA

  7. Nehemia, could you please provide the Link to the App for counting the Omer the karaite way. I love it, but I would like to point others so they can download it for themselves. Thank you very much.

  8. 2 Morrows?

    My sister, looking at Joshua 5, thought that Passover in this case was 2 days before the wave sheaf. If you look at the KJV, it says “11And they did eat of the old corn of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day. 12And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” The King James, with its continuous “And the manna ceased on the morrow after they had eaten of the old corn of the land”, seems to imply the manna ceased on the second day after the Passover.

    Looking at Biblehub, where you can compare different English versions, I noticed that the ASV has, “11And they did eat of the produce of the land on the morrow after the passover, unleavened cakes and parched grain, in the selfsame day. 12And the manna ceased on the morrow, after they had eaten of the produce of the land; neither had the children of Israel manna any more; but they did eat of the fruit of the land of Canaan that year.” The comma before “after they had eaten” in the ASV gives the idea that this verse could be a reprise, explaining verse 11, but not adding another day.

    Looking at all the versions on BibleHub, about 10 implied 2 morrows, 8 implied 1 morrow and about 4 weren’t clear enough.

  9. First of all thanks Nehemia for all the work and time you put into things. I have been following/enjoying/learning from your writings and thoughts for maybe 15 years now. I rarely comment, it never really seems that I have anything to say out side of what has been said. But a ‘THANKS’ is long over due.
    This conversation did bring up a question that occurred to me only now. What if the Sabbath that kicks off the counting has nothing to do with Passover/unleavened? You mentioned that the three groups Pharisees Essene and Sadducee, all agreed that it was concerning this week of unleavened but no verses, proofs or reason was given. What if the very first premise is wrong? Everything about this discussion is being based on that assumption!
    Deut 16 tells us that one is to start from putting the sickle to the grain. That is the only verse in all of this that I can see that gives us a definitive time frame. In a year that the month started later then other years the Aviv would have already been being harvested possibly weeks before the count started. I.e. the month of aviv did not start because the grain was not ready. So the harvest started at the end of the 13th? month. Thus you have potentially 2-3 weeks that the sickle has been at the grain before the ‘sabbath of the week of unleavened’ clearly not in line with Deut 16.
    Lev 23:15 says from the day after the Sabbath. What if in all simplicity one was to start counting the day after the Sabbath-which sabbath?- when/after you put your sickle to the grain. What if it has nothing to do with Passover and unleavened other then overlap some years? So can I ask that we start from square one?
    –Why does it have to be a Sabbath connected to Passover/Unleavened?–
    What if the holidays in question Omer and Savout simply floated according the beginning of the harvest exactly as the month of Aviv floats with the Aviv?
    Josh 5 would fit as well if they had started harvesting earlier that week then after the sabbath offered the wave offering/omer then started eating.
    I realize this puts a spanner/wrench in the works of deciding the month of Aviv as well, which may put a shiver up some spins. But it seems to me to be a question worth addressing.
    There seems to be more of an interest in making sure that this particular sabbath falls in unleavened week -which is not written anywhere- rather then begin counting when (the sabbath after?) you put the sickle to the grain, which is clearly written.
    sorry to muddy the waters just ask’n

      • Hi all,
        Thought I might offer a thought. Duet 16:9 is stating a generality of a season and as such, should not be used as a marker of a specific day to begin from. Lev 23 is a given as a specific to determine an established beginning. It is important to note that there was no restriction as to the beginning of harvest or putting the sickle to the grain, as each location in the land will be ready at a different times within a season. The restriction was solely on eating. Fields are harvested when ready and stored until that time when the offering was made and it is permissible to eat.

        Shalom

    • If we allow Scripture to be the only source from which we can make this determination, Vayikra (Leviticus) 23 and Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16 make it abundantly clear that the counting starts at the end of the week that the harvest begins.

      The issue has been clouded for so long by traditions of men, esp. by those who were kicked out of the land into the diaspora for disobedience to the instructions of the Father.

      As thorough as the research in this article is, the conclusions are based primarily on traditional Jewish interpretations.

      Yet if we let Scripture and agricultural common sense be our guide, we find that the start of the count has absolutely nothing to do with Chag HaMatzot (Feast of Unleavened Bread), other than the occasional coincidental overlap of the harvest with the timing of Chag HaMatzot.

      How many times have we heard the ‘fact’ that the grain was stored until the time of the festival? Yet where is that in Scripture? You guessed it, NOWHERE.

      The Hillel II calendar has clouded the issue for so long. Please keep in mind that the Hillel II calendar was established for a widely dispersed people who would have *absolutely no option* to observe the crop cycles in Israel. Therefore it makes a lot of sense to pin the bikkurim offering of the barley harvest to the spring festival, as a matter of convenience.

      After all, no one who would be observing the festival would be present in the land to observe and report on the crop cycle anyway, so it made no difference when the crop was actually harvested.

      Whats more, with no temple and no priesthood there would be no vehicle with which to bring the bikkurim offerings anyways.

      Today people buy this traditional interpretation hook, line and sinker because the vast majority of people who are looking at this are not living an agricultural lifestyle, and are coming into the practice of Torah from a standpoint of complete ignorance of the ways of the Father and are learning them for the first time.

      As a result people are turning first to the ‘teachers’ who seem to be ‘in the know’, that is the traditionalists and their interpretations based upon tradition. Sadly, this includes the Karaites (Scripturalists).

      Yehoshua (Joshua) 5:11 has as much to do with the determination of the observance of the bikkurim offering of the barley crop and the counting of the omer instruction as a fish has to do with the space shuttle.

      Even the Ivrit (Hebrew) text bears this out; the instruction for the observance of Chag HaMatzot is a parsha p’tuchah (major topical shift), as is the instruction for observing the bikkurim. In other words, in the Hebrew text, these are two totally separate topics. One in no way is dependent on the other.

      The entire concept of the bikkurim and the counting of the 7 weeks is simply an acknowledgement that Yehovah is the One who provides the crops upon which our lives depend. So when the crop is harvested, we take the first sheaf of the crop – or in the case of the wheat crop/Shavuot, two leavened wheat loaves of bread from the harvest – and give them to the Levitical kohen, who waves them before Yehovah as an acknowlegement that He has provided ALL of the conditions that are required to enjoy the fruits of the 3 harvests – barley, wheat, and fruit.

      Trust in Yehovah, and trust in His instruction. It’s always right, even when it doesn’t agree with the majority opinion… especially when it doesn’t agree with the majority opinion.

  10. Yah, have mercy. This certainly precipitated a lengthy discourse. I have been confused about the counting of the omer most of my life and only recently came to an understanding that leaves me comfortable (my comfort is not the important part – it’s that I seek truth and am usually uncomfortable until I find it). I will illustrate it with what actually is happening this year:

    * Barley is found aviv in Jerusalem (by Nehemia’s report)

    * Next new moon is spotted a day later than expected due to clouds. So, first month begins on the eve of March 21st.

    * I counted 10 days until March 31st & then bought a kosher leg of lamb and tended it in my refrigerator with marinades, etc.

    * The 14th day of the 1st month (Pesach) began at sundown April 4th and ended at Sundown April 5th. I cooked my leg of lamb during Pesach and we sat down to seder at 7:00pm that evening. We studied about ha Pesach until sundown when we served the lamb and began haggadah. Thus, Sunday night we began ha Matzot. THE SABBATH HAS NOT YET INTERSECTED WITH HA MATZOT! The dates have all been verified by Nehemia – the only source I use for correct dates.

    * The day following the weekly Shabbat is Sunday the 12th which is also First Fruits. I began counting the omer.

    Now we need to make sure that my understanding matches Torah or it is for naught:

    Lev.23:4-15 ….In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, there shall be a passover offering to YHWH, and on the fifteenth day of the same month is the festival of unleavened bread to YHWH; seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not work at your occupations. For seven days you shall present YHWH’s offerings by fire; on the seventh day thee shall be a holy convocation: you shall not work at your occupations….10…..When you enter the land that I am giving you and you reap its harvest, you shall bring the sheaf of the FIRST FRUITS of your harvest to the priest. He shall raise the sheaf before YHWH….on the day after the sabbath the priest shall raise it…..14 you shall eat no bread or parched grain or fresh ears until that very day, until you have brought the offering of YHWH;…..15 And from the day after the sabbath, from the day on which you bring the sheaf of the elevation offering, you shall count off seven weeks….You shall count until the day after the seventh sabbath, fifty days; then you shall present an offering of new grain to YHWH. (That is the holy convocation we call Shavuot)

    For the first time in my life this progression is very clear to me and I could not have done it without Nehemia’s help. Although we differ on the dates of beginning to count the omer…..I remain grateful.

  11. Dear Nehemia,
    I love what you do and have a request. After we read out the information you give, I ask my girls what the take-away message is and we have a discussion.

    I just wonder if you would consider to do a synopsis when there is a lengthy post/explanation of some kind?

    The reason I ask is because occasionally, well more than once (we’re girls), we disagree and don’t always get to check with you on what was meant and if we got the points exactly as you intended.

    For that reason a take-away message at the bottom of the post would be good for us.
    Love you.

    Mimi

  12. Aron, Angela, Tom, and Jean:

    I suspect that you will have a better chance of getting a reply from Nehemia if you post your comments on a similar article he published this year, at https://www.nehemiaswall.com/counting-omer .

    I have been necroposting some comments here because I have also been trying to ascertain the reasons for some suggesting 4/4 and others 4/11 this year. In looking around the internet, I noted that the only widely-published source I found suggesting 4/11 was/is Michael Rood (listed on his calendar and discussed in his video: http://www.aroodawakening.tv/biblical-feasts/the-feast-of-first-fruits/ ).

    Those two actually agree on almost everything about Passover and ULB (except the Messianic fulfillment, of course). I think I can boil (not parch) down the differences to this:

    NG: Based on Joshua 5:1-12, and proper Hebrew translation which does not specify “old” grain, the grain eaten could only have been new, still-moist grain, parched, sacrificed, and eaten in accordance with the wave offering. The text in Joshua states that this happened on “the morrow after the Passover”. The Passover is the sacrifice, the *eating* of the Passover on ULB1 is not the same thing. The wave offering had to be offered on the morrow after the Sabbath. Therefore, according to NG, this Aviv14 Passover sacrifice in Joshua took place *on* the weekly Sabbath, and thus this wave offering in Joshua was offered *on* ULB1 (the day/morrow *after* the Sabbath). By example, the NG would say that “the morrow” must fall within the week of ULB, rather than “the Sabbath” having to fall within the week of ULB.

    Rood: MR agrees with NG’s translation from Joshua, except that he (MR) says that this is a case of Ellipsis structure in Hebrew and that in context we should understand “the morrow after the Passover” to mean “the morrow after *they ate* the Passover”. This is important, as it inserts an extra day into the narrative. Furthermore, MR says, the work of the priests in preparing the wave offering would not be permitted on ULB1 (or any Sabbath or High Day), and therefore the day of the wave offering (necessarily on the 1st day of the week) could not also be on ULB1. Thus, MR explains, the Passover sacrifice in Joshua took place on the day *before* the Sabbath, and then the wave offering was offered on ULB2 (the day/morrow after the Sabbath). Rood goes on to explain that although this difference in date calculation this year does affect the start of the counting of the omer and thus the date of Shavuot (moving each by one week), that (especially since it is so confusing) the end result is not all that important; both the wave offering (omer-count start) and Shavuot are tied to “the place” where Yehovah has put His name (the tabernacle/temple) which does not exist, so these mo’adim can not be “kept”, but only “remembered”.

    Well, I thought that would be a bit shorter explanation, but I do believe I’ve captured the differences properly. If anyone thinks I have inaccurately represented either position, please speak up.

  13. Our group discussed the timing of this (2015) year today, too. We have the same questions as Tom, Angela, and Aron. And the answer is??? Thank you Nehemia for all your work, patience with us newbies, and your posts.

    • Greetings Jean,

      Is there a common thread (of scarlet?) that links the three “hag” together? (Psa 126:5-6)
      The instruction for “Hag ha Matsa” is to eat unleavened for seven days, but is this the main event and a common link to the other two “hag”? The instructions for getting to “Hag ha Katsir” are to count seven weeks, count 50 days, but are these the main events and common links to the other two “hag”? The instruction for “Hag ha Sukot” is to live in “huts”, “tents”, for seven days, but is this the main event and a common link to the other two “hag”?
      Is there an event “within” each “hag” that has a similar attribute to the other two? “Within” each “hag” are things being either “reaped”, “harvested”, or “gathered” and either “waved before”, or “presented to” “the LORD” (Yehovah?)? Is this the common thread (of scarlet?) that takes place “within” each “hag”?
      If this is so, then should our focus for, and the goal for, “Hag ha Matsa” be to make sure the “sheaf” of the “first” of the “harvest”, the thread (of scarlet?), that is a link to the other two “hag”, occurs “within” the “hag” “on the morrow after the Shabbath” (Lev 23:10-11)?
      Also, the very first time the three titles for these “hag” were given in one place (Exo 23:16), didn’t their wording reflect this very link, except for “Hag ha Matsa”, with its true event being hidden from us?

      Yara shalam

  14. Shalom Nehemiah. I have a question for year 2015. You have said that the Feast of Unleavened Bread is/was to begin on the evening of April 4 … also known as Saturday night. You have also said that Shavuot will begin on the evening of May 23. If we are supposed to count from the weekly Sabbath that falls during the week of Unleavened Bread, wouldn’t we start the count from the evening of April 11, as opposed to April 4? If we start counting from April 4, we are counting from the weekly Sabbath that falls just before the beginning of Unleavened Bread? I would appreciate your help on this one. Shalom to your heart and home, Tom

  15. First, we love you, Nehemia. Second, we’ve been beginning the counting of the omer for years along with you beginning the morrow after the weekly Sabbath that falls WITHIN the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Today may be a weekly Sabbath, but it is NOT the Feast of Unleavened Bread yet, so tomorrow will NOT be the morrow after the Sabbath that falls WITHIN Unleavened. How can we start counting the omer on the FIRST day of Unleavened when a weekly Sabbath hasn’t occured yet WITHIN Unleavened? At the end of the day, love and blessings regardless of any differences. 🙂

  16. Thanks Nehemia.

    This is not a question to cause debate, but in genuine seeking I ask you about starting of the counting in 2015.

    After reading your great Shavuot Truth page (again), this year in my mind is a new-to-me arrangement. Passover begins at [after] the close of the weekly Sabbath, with the first day of Unleavened Bread following. As I read it (and welcome a correction), the weekly Sabbath is over at the time the ‘Passover week’ begins, right?

    Then, the qualifying Sabbath to begin the count would be the following weekly Sabbath on 1st Month 21 [April 11] that occurs during the Feast of Unleavened Bread, even though it occurs on the last day of YeHoVaH’s Feast. So, that would begin the Count on what is called April 12 with Shavuot occurring 50 days later on May 31st. Your recent email indicates an April 4th start and May 24th Shavuot.

    I’m not challenging you, but if you will provide some clarity to this first-for-me timing issue do to this years’ Feast being between two weekly Sabbath days, it will be appreciated.

    Chag Shameach,

    Aron

  17. So tell me- according to Numbers 33.3 grain are supposed to store and then it is eaten from there – please shine a light on this for me

  18. Shavuot and the Lunar Sabbath

    Even with all of the historic evidence aside, perhaps the most direct Biblical reference that shows the error of the lunar week is Joshua 5:11, in conjunction with Numbers 33:3 and Leviticus 23. First, consider Leviticus 23.

    10 Speak to the sons of Israel and say to them, “When you enter the land which I am going to give to you and reap its harvest, then you shall bring in the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest. 11 He shall wave the sheaf before Yehovah for you to be accepted; on the day after the sabbath the priest shall wave it…. 14 Until this same day, until you have brought in the offering of your God, you shall eat neither bread nor roasted grain nor new growth. It is to be a perpetual statute throughout your generations in all your dwelling places. 15 You shall also count for yourselves from the day after the sabbath, from the day when you brought in the sheaf of the wave offering; there shall be seven complete sabbaths. (Leviticus 23:10-15)

    Before Israel entered the Promised Land and ate the crops, they were commanded to first give an offering to God. The day of the week set for this offering was the day after the Sabbath after the Passover. In other words, the day set for this offering was the first day of the week (which we call Sunday) after Passover (which fall on the 14th). I consider the day after the Sabbath to be what we call today Sunday, and it can fall on day date during the month. But the lunar week calendar requires the Sabbath to be on the 8th, 15th, 22nd, and 29th. This means that for the lunar week calendar, the day after the Sabbath after the Passover must be the 16th day of the month. Now, consider Numbers 33:3: “They journeyed from Rameses in the first month, on the fifteenth day of the first month; on the next day after the Passover the sons of Israel started out boldly in the sight of all the Egyptians.” This verse shows that the day after Passover is the 15th day of the month, and that this was the date Israel left Egypt. According to the lunar week calendar, this is a Sabbath day. Now consider Joshua 5.

    10 While the sons of Israel camped at Gilgal they observed the Passover on the evening of the fourteenth day of the month on the desert plains of Jericho. 11 On the day after the Passover, on that very day, they ate some of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes and parched grain. 12 The manna ceased on the day after they had eaten some of the produce of the land, so that the sons of Israel no longer had manna, but they ate some of the yield of the land of Canaan during that year. (Joshua 5:10-12)

    Years later, when Israel finally entered the Promised Land, they had the Passover meal and the next day, on the 15th of the month, they ate the crops of the Promised Land. This corresponded to the commandment in Leviticus 23 that they were to eat from the crops the day after the Sabbath. In Joshua 5, Passover of the 14th fell on the Sabbath that year, and they ate the crops on the first day of the week (which we call Sunday) that fell on the 15th that year. According to the lunar week calendar, the 15th must always be a Sabbath, and day after must always be the 16th. This is an irreconcilable problem for the lunar week.

  19. Nehemia,

    I would also like to point out that this study of Joshua 5:11 proves without a reservation that the lunar week (i.e. lunar Sabbath) could in no way have been the calendar used by the ancient Hebrews. I think this connection is important due to the large number of people with non-Jewish and non-Hebrew background who are trying to live Torah. Perhaps it is worth adding to your article.

    • I am in agreement for 1 Samuel 20 david and Jonathan had a very good illustration. The seasons (Genesis 1:14) we set in place so we who are far off could view the intent meant…
      Proverbs 25:1-3 gives insight also

      Thanks and slalom

  20. Notice in verse 15 of Leviticus 23 we are to count 7 full weeks (49 days). Also notice that on the 50th day, an offering is made. Then take special note in verse 21, “that same day” (i.e., the 50th day), it is a “holy convocation” – a High Shabbat…This is Shavuot. Finally, take a hard look at verse 38…YHWH says, unequivocally, that the designated times He has just listed are BESIDES the (regular weekly) Shabbats! So we know the “Shabbat” referred to in verse 15 is NOT the weekly Shabbat, rather, it is the special Shabbat of verse 7. These designated times are “each on its own day” (verse 37). Notice something else that you may not have realized: If we start counting the weeks from day after the regular weekly Shabbat (taking the meaning of “Shabbat” in Leviticus 23:11 as the regular weekly Shabbat), then the 49th day would always be a Saturday. This means Shavuot would ALWAYS fall on a Sunday! Thats definitly not the case.

    • Actually, that (“Shavuot would ALWAYS fall on a sunday” is exactly what Nehemia stated is the case, and which he stated was followed by the Saduccees. So, obviously he did realize it. Why do you state that that timing is definitely not the case?

  21. If the Omer in Josh. 5:11 was brought on the 15th, this means it was brought on the Yom Tov of Pesach. But in that case the Israelites could not have eaten from the produce of the land on that same day, since they had to harvest it first and harvesting is prohibited on a Yom Tov. They had to wait until the 16th. So there seems to be something wrong with your explanation.

    • It’s harvested as a sacrifice and offered in the Temple, so there’s no problem doing it on a holiday. In the rabbinical system, the day of the Omer offering can be on a Shabbat (if Passover begins Thursday night), in which case the rabbis would harvest the Omer on Shabbat without any hesitation. So the rabbinical solution doesn’t solve the problem you raise, which really isn’t a problem anyway.

      • I agree that the harvesting for the purpose of the sacrifice could be done on the Yom Tov itself. But the harvesting for common use and eating is another mattter This is a type of work that cannot be done on the holy day. For if this were permitted, then harvesting and working on the fields could be done on any Yom Tov day.

        Yet the text says that the Israelites did eat from the produce of the land on the day after the Passover, the 15th of Nisan. In your explanation this implies that harvested for themselves on the Yom Tov, which wasn’t permitted.

        To clarify, I’m not defending the rabbinical position.

        • Why could it not be that the “they” was the priests, and the “some of the produce” was simply the sacrifice? The nation did not need the grain to eat, they still had manna for one more day. If the harvesting and preparing was only the portion that was done as part of the sacrifice, then that doesn’t seem to be a problem, since (as Nehemia mentioned above on 6/7/14 11:46pm) work was done in the tabernacle every day.

  22. Nehemiah
    I am looking for a book that just says what Yehovah says. I am so tired of “we wanted to add this or add that” I just want to know Yehovah. Is there a book you can suggest?
    Thank you
    Karen Chavez

  23. Hi Nehemia, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading your write ups and book. My first one was the Hebrew Yeshua vs Greek Jesus. Very revealing. I have been brought up (unknowingly though) to observe Shavuot the Rabbinical way. I have since decided to go with the morrow of the weekly Sabbath explanation. However I have two questions regarding your write up. You have stated that “What all this means is that the first Omer offering in Israel took place on the 15th day of the First Hebrew Month” if this is the case, then there would be no need for Yehovah to give us the complex counting algorithm. If indeed the Omer is always on certain date, then all we need do is add 49 days and the 50th days become s Shavuot.
    I believe you eventually concluded by agreeing that the morrow after the Sabbath is the key, please help clarify.

  24. Hi Nehemiah, I think the counting of the omer begins the day after the sabbath which falls out during the feast of unleavened bread (15-21), what I mean is that the counting of the omer cannot begin in the 15th day of the month, rather on the 22 day of the month, that’s the reason why pharasees were angry with Saducees theory. I agree with the Saducees, but the counting of the omer cant be on the 15th day of Aviv because in that evening they have to eat the passover lamb, and not going to the fields to harvest the barley.

  25. Shalom brother Nehemia
    Excellent work again, brother may Father keep on blessing you and yours with His Spirit to share His truth that He has given you.
    Love when the clear reading of His Word comes out triumphant!!!!!!!!!!

  26. Dear Nehemia,

    Your clarification of certain Torah matters is appreciated. Perhaps you might consider writing a new book that addresses the Festive aspect of Torah and its application in Israelite history. I realise this would be a most difficult subject matter since we are all still trying to learn what was well understood thousands of years ago in a very different culture.

    There are many useful comments in this section but some of the issues are quite confusing. To be frank, the Festival/Calendar matters do my head in somewhat. Your recent clarifications of the Sabbath/Shabbaton matter has been most helpful. Perhaps some of the questions posed by other replies you have not responded to are not so important or will become clearer to me in time.

    One issue with the KJV, can you possibly clarify with Joshua 5:11 why the second reference to corn is italicised? I am aware that repetitive codes present in the Hebrew were highlighted this way. However this does not appear to fit in that category.

    • In the KJV (not the actual original, but the “second edition” which came immediately thereafter, and which (second edition) we pretty much have in all our “KJV” Bibles, italicized words indicate words added for “clarification” but not actually translated from the original text.

      • Great answer, Yah bless. Although I do feel a bit silly for not noticing that one myself, at the time.

  27. p.s. after I printed out the above article with the comments of others, I noticed that my papers printed this with 49 pages at 7:49pm, on Shavuot no less…
    just thought it was kinda fun.
    Thnx Again

  28. Thank you ever so much for all you do. You’ve greatly impacted all of us in a positive, proper, Torah kind of way!!

  29. Thank you for you in-depth study of this issue. I still desire to get with you (or your group) for a LIVE new moon (or crescent moon) observation. Please reply at your convenience.

  30. By the way ‘Happy Shavuot’ to all! May this day be a blessing that it was intended to be.
    Also, if it is excepted that the Biblical calender was 360 days long originally, that would mean that creation was on Sunday with Sabbath 7 days later. That being the case that would make 50 Sabbaths in the first year of creation plus some loose change. 6 days +50 weeks of Sabbaths (350) =356 + 4 extra days.
    Is this a coincidence like Jubilee have 50 years? Humm!

  31. Another point in deciding the day to start counting; doesn’t Lev. 23:16 simply say that the count has to end on the day after the 7th Sabbath. Seems pretty impossible to get 50 days starting from anywhere else but the day after the first Sabbath.

    • Adding to your point Dave, in the Hebrew Text it says the seven Sabbaths are to be “tammim shabbatim” which is directly translated “perfect sabbaths” yet none of the English bibles say this.

  32. My question is doing no customary work on Shavuot a requirement for all.

    All other feasts or High Sabbath events where no customary work is to be done, has this fact stated 2-3 times (law of the witnesses) at least in the Torah. The only place this is stated for Shavuot is in Leviticus (priestly book) It most definitely is a holy convocation but is the stated servile or customary work intended for everyone or just the priests or Kohanim .

    Is it possible this is a real Sabbath for only the priests and not everyone else. The word Priests are mentioned in this restating of all these feast or Moedim a few times. And yes I realize all males were to present themselves in Jerusalem at the temple before Yahovah thus a Holy Convocation.

  33. It was always my understanding the omer offering was waved on the morrow after the first weakly Sabbath after the first day of Chag ha Matzot. I have been following your new moon sightings and projected Holy day dates for years and from my memory our projected and found dates for Shavuot have always been on the same date. Is this how you count the Omer as well.

  34. Nehemia,

    Are we not leaving out an important fact here that the command in Leviticus 23 about not eating of the harvest when they enter into the land is based on grain the children of Israel sow and reap of their own. When the children of Israel came into the land on that particular Passover they had not sown the grain they ate of but more importantly they did not harvest that grain either. The precept in question would pertain to the first crop they sowed and harvested in the land which would take place the next year. How would you speak to this understanding. In verses 5-9 of the same chapter Joshua circumcises all the children that were born in the wilderness, this speaks to me that they had not been observing the commandments in the wilderness for forty years otherwise they would have been circumcised on the eighth day as commanded in Torah.

      • I did not mean to offend you or Rashi, I was not saying the Omer offering was not important, I was saying the Omer offering would not pertain to Canaanite crops.

        • I was thinking the same thing. Any man can read into Joshua 5:11 that the assume that the wave sheaf occurred and an omer count began. However, the record only mentioned that they ate the grain. Period.

  35. Lev 23:17 You shall bring from your dwelling places two loaves of bread to be waved, made of two tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour, and they shall be baked with leaven…

    Question: Shavuot always occurs on the first day of the week. The previous day, Shabbat, requires no work of any kind and no kindling of a fire. That means one must mix, knead, form and bake the two loaves on the day when, “You shall not do any ordinary work.” Lev 23:21 . The baking the two loaves would also require kindling a fire on that day. Either that or one would have to offer two day old bread to be waived before The Eternal One, blessed be He.

    What is your take?

    • As an experienced bread baker, I can assure you that you can grind the grain and have the loaves baked within two to three hours of starting. And if you started after sunset of the Shabbat the bread would be of excellent quality when baked the next morning.

  36. The important point is the first fruits started after the wave sheaf offering. Christ was that and then the harvest of the church or first fruits. In the end at the last day the rest of the harvest which is MUCH larger is picked.

  37. Mr. Gordon,
    In your excellent explanation of Shavuot I find one point that occurs to me about its celebration. It distinctly refers to ‘the children of Israel’ and for them to do ‘when they enter the land’. Other than the ‘Ten Words’, are these ‘in the land’ commands and celebrations just for those there, in the land, God has set apart?
    If so, I would suppose the practice of them would help us to be prepared for when they are again taught from the Throne in Jerusalem.
    Shalom, Dave.

  38. Mr. Gordon, we know that the Dead Sea Scrolls calendars show the Omer waving day on the 26th of the first month, the morrow after the sabbath after the Feast of Unleavened Bread. Where do we find that the Sadducees observed the Omer waving day DURING the feast and not after like the DSS?

    • I’m sorry, Jake – I never saw your replies until now when I was just browsing around. They sure did turn up in an out-of-the-way place.

      So, just to be clear, you are saying that your family refer to the days of the week as “First day”, “Second day”, etc., right?

      • Greetings Neville,

        Exactly!

        We also refer to the months as First Month, Second Month, etc. Keeps It Simple and pure for our family.

        Yara shalam

  39. Greetings Neville (Continued),

    So, for the names of the days of the week, we accept and use the names Yehovah first gave them as found in Genesis; for the names of the months, we accept and use the names He first gave them as found in Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, 2 Kings, and 1 Chronicles; for the names of the three Feasts, we accept and use the names He first gave them as found in Exodus 23. (Continued)

  40. Greetings Neville,

    It seems our posts are not inserting where we intended them. This comment was meant as a reply to Ryan’s “names of other deities” post. Anyway, through the understanding that our family has been allowed to have we have come to see that the names for periods of time, names for feasts, names for the appointments of Yehovah, etc., that He first gave them matches His purpose for them better than any later names that He seemingly assigned them or that man later gave them. (Continued)

  41. Allow me to weigh in on the counting toward Shavot/Pentecost.
    1) Lev 23:15 is clear שֶׁ֥בַע שַׁבָּתֹ֖ות
    “7 Sabbaths” shall be “complete”. תְּמִימֹ֥ת where “complete” and its cognates denote perfect, blameless. This can best be met in a perfect 1st thru 7th day week (beginning Sun- ending Sat)
    2) Note Lev 25 and the counting of the Jubliee…. 7 times 7 years, each ending on a ;and “sabbath rest” with a 50th day as the Jubilee.
    Interesting parallel
    The issue of grain in Josh 5 gives consistency to this Sunday Pentecost count.

  42. Hi Nehemia,

    Why would translators not attempt to provide more clarity in areas like this? Morrow could be any part of the next day while “the morning after” is a specific portion of the following day. Our modern English translations provide an opportunity to procrastinate when providing the Omer offering. (Come on Pastor, I’m getting hungry, don’t wait until just before service at 11am to offer up the Omer to Yehowah. 😉 )

    mi-mocharat = the morning after
    morrow = the next day (Nobody looks at #3 when #1 will do.)
    Current English translations = morrow of the Sabbath
    Suggessted English translation = the morning after the Sabbath

    Am I being too pedantic?

    P.S. I sent the samples of possible new untransliteration words, to ngordon4, returning them to their original Hebrew (I think). If you can take a look at them and provide some feedback or suggestions if you think I’m being too zealous.

  43. Thankyou.
    Have you written about when the next year of Jubilee is? It seems to me people are onto something substantial when they look at 70 Jubilees – G_d is a keeper of promises. These “appointed times” are that much more substantial than mere material worlds.

  44. Shalom v’Chag Sameach Nechemia. You probably don’t remember me, but we chatted while climbing the hill at the Los Lunas NM Decalogue Stone on Shavuot (me in my very rusty Hebrew). Anyhow, thank you so much for this great study/update! My translations don’t add “old” or “stored” – and I read the Hebrew too, so I’ve always assumed/known that the passage in Joshua is speaking of ‘new’ or ‘aviv’ grain/produce. Quick question for you though: I see that the words מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ mean ‘from the produce of the land.’ I’m wondering if you know why מֵעֲבוּר is “produce.” I couldn’t find it translated that way anywhere else (“produce” is usually תבואה, יבול, פרי, תנובה). Is it from עבור the preposition – for/ because of/ for the sake of; or is it related to עִבוּר meaning conception/pregnancy (transfer of seed)? The latter makes more sense to me. Or is it simply the concept of crossing over, as in ‘across’ the land? If none of those are correct and it’s related to עבר – as in ‘the past’, then i can kinda see where they get the idea of ‘old’; although ישן isn’t there. What do you think?
    תודה, ביאנקה

    • Avur is the common word for grain in Aramaic (pronounced Ibur, but same root). Hebrew and Aramaic share many words. Sometimes a word is common in one language and rare in the other. It is also possible for the word to have a difference nuance or meaning between the two languages. Thankfully, the word Avur has also survived in Hebrew in the Tel Arad Ostraca and there it is parallel to the word chitim “wheat”, proving it has the same meaning in Hebrew as it does in Aramaic. It’s just a generic term for “grain.”

  45. Thank you, Nehemia. I have always struggled with which ‘sabbath’ to begin the counting of the omer. This study makes it so clear as I did not realize that the only sabbath other than the weekly sabbath is Yom Kippur. With that understanding the clear teaching of the Scriptures becomes so much clearer. All I want to do is try to do things on the day YHWH wants us to do them. Well, I want to obey Him in all things as He says He values obedience over sacrifice. Again, thank you for your efforts in this regard.

  46. Nehemia–You have showed that Ibn Ezra’s re-interpretation of Josh. 5:11 is fallacious and artificial. But you have not considered an alternative explanation that can reconcile Josh 5:11 and Lev 23 with the rabbinical position on counting Shavuot. To put it simply, the rabbinical method is consistent with the scripture if the Hebrew term “mi-mocharat” is understood to refer generally to any appointed “morrow after” a fixed referenced point, rather than necessarily to the very next morrow. In other words, what if mi-mocharat is “an [appointed] morrow”, not necessarily always a TO-morrow according to the English usage of the word? If that were the case, then Josh 5:11 is not a problem because the Israelites would have eaten the new grain on the appointed morrow, following the 1st high day, after the Passover. Likewise for Lev. 23–the day of Shavuot occurs on the appointed morrow (the 50th day) that occurs following the 7th Sabbath.

  47. Thanks for the article. Can you please explain (and provide source information) when and why the second temple Pharisees came to believe their errant position about which day to start the count of the omer from?

    • No such information exists in the recorded sources. The Pharisees came to believe many erroneous things and we can only guess why. For example, their prohibition to eat milk and meat when the Torah says not to boil a young goat in its mother’s milk. I can offer some fascinating speculation where this error came from, but no one really knows for sure.

  48. Nehenia, I wish I could pique your interest in addressing what looks like another deliberate mistranslation. Jer 31:32 says “I will place” (stone edition), whereas Gen 1:29 translates “I have given” for exactly the same Hebrew word. I perceive the wrongful change from past to future tense enhances the flourishing of the replacement theology of both the Rabbis and the Catholics.

  49. Thanks for your effort to get to the truth on this issue. I have some concerns I hope you will address.

    First, can you please site a reference for Ibn Ezra’s commentary?

    Second, the only use of abuwr in the scriptures is found in Joshua 5:11-12. It is #5669 in Strong’s Concordance and means, “passed, ie. kept over; used only of stored grain.” Abuwr comes from “abar” (#5674) meaning, “to cross over;” It is also translated as, “carry over, bring, pass over, send over.” This seems to refer to old grain that lasted into a new season or “crossed over” into a new season. Therefore, the word “old” was not added to the text, but is part of the definition of abuwr”. Also, why use two different Hebrew words to mean “new grain” (abuwr and tebuwah) in Joshua 5:12? I believe those two words were chosen to make it clear that they ate old grain on one day and new grain the next. A distinction is being made between what they were eating on Abib 15 vs. Abib 16.

    The Israelites also had food that Joshua commanded them to prepare for their journey across the Jordan in Joshua 1:10-11.

    “Then Joshua commanded the officers of the people, saying,
    Pass through the camp and command the people, saying, Prepare food for you. For within three days you are crossing this Jordan to go in to possess the land which YHWH your Elohim is giving to you, to possess it.” I do not believe the Israelites were eating new produce from the promised land on Abib 15. They were eating provisions that were carried over the Jordan as well as stored grain from the land itself.

    In Leviticus 23:10-11, YHWH makes it clear that the wave sheaf or omer must be from the harvest of “the land which I give unto you.” The food that was prohibited in Leviticus 23:14 were foods from the harvest of the promised land. They could not eat “bread, nor parched grain, nor green ears” made from that harvest until they offered the omer. Joshua 5:10-12 makes no mention of green ears [karmel], bread [lechem], or parched grain [kahlee] made from the new harvest. It only mentions old corn [abuwr], and unleavened cakes [matstsah] that were parched.

    Third, I do not believe a grain must be “new” in order to be parched. Grain that was stored for a year could also be parched. In fact, I would think it would taste even better roasted on a fire after being stored for a year.

    Fourth, Joshua 5:12 states the manna ceased the day after they ate the old corn. The miracle of the manna in Exodus 16 taught the Israelites that manna would always cease on the weekly Sabbath. Sunday Pentecost keepers claim that Abib 14 was a weekly Sabbath that year. That would mean the manna ceased on a Monday. If YHWH is consistent, the manna of Joshua 5:12 would have again ceased on the weekly Sabbath.

    I am open to correction if your replies are sound.

    • If the manna ceased on the weekly Sabbath, they would have eaten ‘manna’ that had been gathered on the 6th day for their Sabbath meals on the 7th day and the new grain would have been harvested on the first day of the week, thus fulfilling Yehovahs working on the First day of creation. Does this compute?

      • Yes, that computes if Abib 15 was when they ate the new grain. I believe the word “abuwr” means old grain that passed from one season to another as per the root word “abar”. Abib 16 would then be the day manna ceased and new grain eaten.

      • Weren’t the children of God instructed by Him to gather enough on the 6th day to have for the 7th, so that they wouldn’t work on Sabbath? All the other days they were to gather only enough (as determined by our Creator) for that single day.

        blessings to all,
        cj

  50. Nehemia, re your words “Year-old moist grain would go bad, so parched grain could only be “new” grain from that year’s harvest.” How do we know that ‘parched grain’ was not, as you say, “parch[ed…] in fire” and then stored, even until next year’s harvest?

      • Thanks Nehemia! Sounds like a good idea to me. I’ll see what I can do about that…

        Perhaps I can buy some ‘parched grain’ from this year’s harvest somewhere? Or even from last year’s harvest? Who knows? 🙂

  51. Larry , in my Bible it also says: In the third month after the Exodus from Egypt…” To my understanding that is not the fourth month.
    Maybe replace the word on with in and that way scripture makes more sense. Remember: Translations are NOT the Original, only human interpretation. I know, because I`m a translater myself. Sometimes I have to decide which word would fit best because there are more than one to choose from.

  52. What helps me understand any hard topics of the feasts is how Yahushua fulfilled it. Crucifixion=Passover. In the tomb without sin=Unleavened Bread. Resurrection=Wave Sheaf offering which occurred on a Sunday after the weekly Sabbath.

    Now as for the account in Joshua, I believe it would not apply, as they had not yet come into the land they were being given (Jericho). As the stipulation of the commandment in Leviticus states.

    Jos 5:9 “And the children of Israel encamped in Gilgal, and kept the passover on the fourteenth day of the month at even in the plains of Jericho.

     Jos 5:10 “And they did eat of the produce of the land, unleavened cakes, and parched corn in the selfsame day.”

    This was before they brought down the walls and took the city. They had not planted it, and though they ate of it, when would they have been able to actually harvest and present a sheaf to the priest? I do not think it was applicable in this situation.

    • It is advisable to always figure out the literal meaning before you proceed to apply the allegorical meaning. What you are saying is that you determine the literal meaning based on how you understand it’s allegorical meaning to have played out in history. This is the tail wagging the dog! What if you are missing a much deeper symbolism because you skipped a step? I don’t mean in this particular example, but as a rule.

  53. I noticed that you re-posted this on FB with some corrections. When I read the article here, is it also the corrected/most recent version? Thanks again for this terrific study!

  54. Would just like to add that we know for sure that Shavuot is always on a Sunday because Yeshua (Jesus) is our pattern. He was the “true” first fruits offering and he rose on a Sunday ie (the first day of the week) after the weekly Sabbath and not the day after the yearly Sabbath.

  55. Thank you Nehemia for a thorough study. The Joshua verse had been explained to me years ago when I was attending WWCG, but I never fully understood it until I read your explanations about the parched new grain.

  56. Hi, Nehemia, it is me again with a question. When did Lev 25: 1-7 begin? They did not sow the fields, it was already sown that year. Did they wave the omer in the seventh year? They weren’t supposed to harvest that year or the 50th year.

    • That’s actually a misconception. Read it closely and it says that anyone can harvest your field during the Sabbatical year. They weren’t allowed to sow the fields, but there was always aftergrowth (grain from fallen seeds the previous year, they didn’t use combines).

      • Nehemiah,
        You wrote: “Read it closely and it says that anyone can harvest your field during the Sabbatical year.”

        With respect, I dissent. No reaping of what is called “volunteer” was allowed during the Sabbatical or Jubilee Years.

        Lev 25:5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
        Lev 25:11 A jubile shall that fiftieth year be unto you: ye shall not sow, neither reap that which groweth of itself in it, nor gather the grapes in it of thy vine undressed.

        The reason for this is a practical one. This is how God built into His Law a method for rejuvenating the land. Once every 7th Year the land is to rest. What grew on its own is allowed to grow, mature and die. (Not harvested) This now dead organic material would fertilize the soil. This happened 16 times every 100 years. (Seven land sabbaths and the Jubilee, i.e. 8 years of every 50 years.) It meant a loss of 16 percent in production, but God promised a blessing in the sixth year to compensate.

        Because farmers the world over reject this method laid out by The Father, there is coming a worldwide famine the likes of which will boggle the mind. Even now we see its effects. The food is totally devitalized. Our bodies need nutrients for energy. We don’t get it in the food we eat, so we eat more, because our bodies are starving. This is why so many are obese.

        All because God’s Law is rejected. Sorry this is so long. Thought it needed to be addressed.

          • How would you reconcile these verses?

            Lev 25:20-22 And if ye shall say, What shall we eat the seventh year? behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase: (21) Then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall bring forth fruit for three years. (22) And ye shall sow the eighth year, and eat yet of old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in ye shall eat of the old store.

      • Shalom Nehemia – Re the Sabbatical year. Lev 25:5 That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land.
        Is this a mistranslation? So then we can eat of it just not sow?

  57. Dear Sir Nehemia,
    Yehovah is really proud of you!
    You amazingly Shine Forth His Light with Perfect Credence to Truth!
    What a reward to me back here in Cameroon seeing with no Hebrew language, ‘the morrow issue’ I demonstrated here for others remains correct and was used even then in the wilderness by Moses!
    I exclaim and say ” Yehovah is my Great and Mighty God: The Prophets of Yehovah are true.”
    Yehovah Blesses You Sir Nehemiah for speaking forth His Glory and His Beauty in His Word!
    AMEN AMEN AMEN AMEN

  58. Greetings Dennis (continued),

    Now extend that to the spiritual perfecting of these two rituals.

    Shalom & Shalav,
    Jake

  59. Greetings Dennis (continued),

    “Bikkurim Firstfruits” is a redundancy and should read as only “Bikkurim” or only “Firstfruits. Now, see Lev 23:10, the phrase “sheaf of the firstfruits” (barley) and relate that to “best (first, choicest, beginning) of the firstfruits”, and Lev 23:16 & 17, the phrases “two loaves of bread…as firstfruits” (wheat). This is a separate and secondary “firstfruits (Bikkurim)”. (continued)

  60. Greetings Dennis,

    See Exo 23:19, the phrase “best of the firstfruits”. the word “best”, also translatedas “first”, “choicest”,
    “beginning”, etc., comes from the Hebrew transliterated as “raysheeth”. The word “firstfruits”, also translated as “first produce”, etc., comes from the Hebrew transliterated as “bikkoor”. So, “Resheet Firstfruits” means “first, best, choicest, beginning” of the firstfruits. (continued)

  61. If the counting of the Omer can start on the first day of the unleavened bread, given any other day than the weekly sabbath, how can you count exactly 50 day until the “morrow after the (weekly) sabbath” of the third month? Isn’t more simple to say that the counting ALWAYS started on the “morrow of the weekly sabbath” (Sunday) and ALWAYS ends on the same day (50 day later)?

    P.S. the two loafs of leavened bread was to be brought in the presents (Temple) of the Lord to show us that Jews and Gentiles alike are sinners and need YHVH’s salvation (YESHUA).

    • These two leavened loaves represent the First-Fruits, the 144,000 people redeemed from the earth at the first resurrection. The loaves are leavened, because we humans are leavened with sin – ALL of us. Just look at the sins of King David, a man after Yahuah’s own heart! This should give us HOPE. It certainly does that for me!

  62. Hi Nehemia, thank you so much for this teaching. I would like to translate part of it to Spanish to instruct our people. Could I have your permission to do it? Of course the credit always is yours and we do not charge anything for sharing the truth.

  63. Dear Mr. Gordon,

    First I want to thank you for posting this information about Shavuot. In my own studies on the subject of Shavuot, I have come across a term in which I have never heard of before and I was hoping you could explain it: The term “Resheet Firstfruits”. I read that the firstfruits were offered on the day that the omer count began and was referred to as the Resheet Firstfruits offering, and that was to be distinguished from the Bikkurim Firstfruits which was offered on the last or 50th day of the omer count which of course is Shavuot. Do you have any insight into this thought, and is it correct?

    Sincerely,

    Dennis Regaller

  64. If you want to be technical about it, shouldn’t you differentiate between the Feast of the Unleavened Bread (7 day festival based partially on an old Cannan-ite planting festival) and Passover (a one day celebration as defined in the Old Testament)? After all, that distinction is why the Counting of the Omer begins on the second night of Passover, and not the first.

  65. Absolutely the truth!
    What names do you give the days and the months? Our family now uses the original names that Yehovah revealed. Our young children do this quite naturally. For “old” pop it’s a challenge, but with their help (correction!) he’s coming around.

  66. Thank you nehemia the word stands and there is truth in every jot and tittle
    Is first fruits Passover day after Sabbath plus one day equals eight and first fruits shavuot
    Seven sabbaths plus one equals eight and shimini atzeret the eighth are these connnected
    Thanks for sharing truth
    Jeff

  67. Nehemia, thank you for your research on this topic. My Christian friends and I have been struggling with this issue for a few years trying to determine the meaning and timing of this phrase. You explained it quite clearly. Thank you!

    Please excuse my ignorance on a second issue though. It was my understanding that the counting of the Omer was to be 50 days after “the morrow of the Sabbath”. Correct? If so, doesn’t this make Shavuot/Pentecost on June 3rd – June 4th? Why did you say it was June 7th-8th? Did I miss something? Or miss count somehow? Would you mind explaining further? Thank you!

    Pat

  68. Yes it does!
    And, by accepting this truth, it becomes possible to begin to understand the true purpose of each, window, reap, gather, “chag”.

  69. I looked up Joshua 5:11 in the Interlinear Bible (Bible that has a literal translation from the original) and it uses the word “old” in there. Also, according to the dictionary, the word “parch” can also mean “to roast.” So when the Bible says “parch” it simply means they cooked the grain by roasting it. They could have done this to old grain as well.

    • Great job! According to your interlinear, which word in Hebrew corresponds to “old” and which word corresponds to “grain”? I suppose you are right that old grain could be parched/ roasted. However, the historical sources point to them roasting/ parching moist grain, not old grain, and this verse was associated with the Omer before the need came to impose the rabbinical explanation on it.

      • Nehemia – this is interesting-We in WWCG -HWA-Pastor, kept Pentecost on Mondays for some years and HWA changed it to Sunday after checking with Hebrew scholars in Jerusalem as to the meaning of ‘min-mohorat’. We were very health conscious as a group and would only eat whole wheat – unground wheat berries for breakfast at restaurants. The wheat was hard as rocks and had to be boiled in water to make it chewable. Moist grain would be quite chewable already and fits the acts of Yeshuas disciples eating grain ‘hand threshed’ from the fields-Mark 2.23. Great study and thank you, so much.

      • It seems to me that Leviticus 2:14 makes a connection between Aviv (fresh grain, at the penultimate stage of development) and parched grain. This is not decisive of your last point, but I think it gets us 90% (or more) of the way there.

    • Melody, I think you will find that your “interlinear” does not actually give translations of each hebrew word, but simply forces the KJV into correspondence with the hebrew. I gave mine away years ago, as it is worthless as an aid to translation and understanding hebrew.

  70. Greetings Nehemia,

    Please forgive me, I am very new to all of this but obsessed with learning Torah! I read your study over several times and, I’m sure its obvious to everyone else, but I’m missing it: are you saying that Shavuot would always be on the “morrow,” of the Sabbath? In other words, always on a Sunday? I think that’s what I’m coming away with but want to be sure. Thank you.

    • (I thought I’d help out here)

      Yes; that is correct. Shavuot *must* always begin on the evening of Saturday and end on the evening of Sunday.

      I wish you success on your journey.

  71. I need to remind you of Ex 23:13 regarding mentioning the names of other deities. The text does not say anything about it being ok to do for teaching purposes. For example, with day names that contain the names of deities, etc.

    • Does this mean that Elijah sinned by saying the name of baal? There must be something more to that Scripture. For example, the word/name “nike” means triumph or victor/victory. Don’t you think that the word was in the language before they named a deity after it? In addition, the Hebrew words used in Exodus can have multiple meanings. Could that verse be better translated and explained as saying that the Children of Israel should not remember or call to remembrance the heathen deities … that they/we should not call upon them in the sense of acknowledging them as our Elohim? This makes much more sense. Otherwise, you are going to be in trouble when you say Holy … but equally in trouble when you use “set”, as in “set apart”. And what happens when a demonic group like black Sabbath tries to turn the word Sabbath in to an abomination? If a heathen makes a deity out of something that is holy unto YHWH, do they now get to decide what I can say and what I can’t say? Which came first … the names of the planets … or the deities that share their name? I would lean towards the former and not give honor to any of the other deities … not believe that I am in sin by mentioning their name because I am not calling upon them and recognizing them as a deity.

      • The name Black Sabbath is borrowed from a movie of the same name. Follow Nehemia and do some research, lol!

  72. Hi Nehemia…. You are the best. Thank you for staying strong and bringing the TRUTH through the ORIGINAL word of Yehovah Theeeee one and ONLY Almighty !! I don’t understand why people don’t realize with all the translations out there it’s like playing the game Telephone. Ummm, quite twisted when you get to the end of the game. Yah-va-reh-cheh-cha Yehovah veh-yeesh-meh-reh-cha Ya-air Yehovah pa-naiv ay-leych-cha vee-chu-neh-cha Yee-sa Yehovah pa-naiv ay-leyh-cha veh-ya-same leh-cha Shalom

  73. So to further clarify First fruits and the First day of unleavened bread, ( which is a sabbath day of rest) can occur on the exact same day…. the 15th of Nisan-Abib….correct?

    • Firstfruits (Yom Ha-Bikkurim) is another name in the Torah for Shavuot. The day of the Omer offering (which is not called “Firstfruits” in the Hebrew Bible) can definitely occur on the 1st day of the Feast of Unleavened Bread.

        • The day of the waving of the Omer doesn’t have a name in Scripture. It is described in two verses – Lev 23:10 and Dt 16:9. However, it is not given a name. I now understand the source of confusion in the Christian/ Messianic world. You are using the phrase “Day of Firstfruits” to refer to the day of the omer offering. The Hebrew behind this is Bikurim, a term reserved in the Torah for Shavuot (Numbers 28:26). The omer is not called Bikurim (Firstfruits), it is called Reshit (as in Be-reshit, Genesis, literally, “Beginning”). You could call it Yom Reshit Ketzirchem, the “Day of the Beginning of Your Harvest,” which is based on Lev 23:10. The difference between Reshit and Bikurim is primarily that the former is the barley harvest and the latter is the wheat harvest. Also, the omer is a national offering whereas the Bikurim on Shavuot is brought by individual farmers. I hope this helps.

          • Yom Ha Bikurim (Day of First-Fruits) is, we believe, the day Yahusha Ha Mashyach will marry His bride, meaning we, the bride, ARE the First-Fruits (Ha Bikurim). This is the ultimate fulfillment of the High Day! It was partially fulfilled when the ruach ha qodesh was given on that day. Yahusha also fulfilled Yom Reshit Ketzirchem, the “Day of the Beginning of Your Harvest,” since He was the First of the First-Fruits to be resurrected from flesh to Spirit.

            I’ve really enjoyed reading this discussion and really appreciate your input, Nehemia, especially the historical debates among the various rabbinical sects – very enlightening!

          • I think that if people wanted to get a better understanding and move from theory, they should experience these verses. If they plant a small batch of barley and a separate small patch of wheat in their yards, at the appropriate season, taking a written note of length of seed time to harvest. They then would experience this commandment and historical record first hand understanding agricultural limits and the fullness of scripture. If you live out the Word first hand, you will have greater understanding and insight into the written accounts.

  74. Nehemiah – This is great, thanks for putting this out there, but you still haven’t addressed the issue that I requested that you address a couple of years ago, about the time of the harvest not necessarily falling during the week of Chag Matzah; I’m sure you have or can research an answer for this… in other words, Scripture doesn’t marry the harvest & Yom ha Bikkurim to Chag Matzah… how did we get to the point that we are ‘storing the new grain till Chag Matzah’ when Wayiqra 23 doesn’t make that connection?

    Thanks again for a great study.

    • Actually, this answers that issue quite clearly, as did the original version of the study. Joshua 5:11 clearly connects Passover and the 50-day count to Shavuot. If you nevertheless insist on starting the count based on some other timing, I wish you the best of luck!

      • Nehemia – It seems to me that you are making a mitzvah out of a one time occurrence. I see the connection that you are making, but the question I’m asking concerns the ‘lack’ of connection between Yom ha Bikkurim and Chag Matzah in the Torah.

        “Speak to the children of Yisrael and you shall say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, and shall reap its harvest, then you shall bring a sheaf of the first-fruits of your harvest to the priest. ‘And he shall wave the sheaf before for your acceptance. On the morrow after the Sabbath the priest waves it.
        (Leviticus 23:10-11)

        In the Scripture above there is no reference to ‘storing’ the grain, saving it for Chag Matzah or any other time. It simply gives a timeline that is based on two clear points: 1) When you…shall reap it’s harvest then… and 2) on the morrow after the Shabbat the priest waves it.

        In all fairness it doesn’t explicitly say precisely when to do it i.e. dates, during a festival etc. So while it may not be forbidden it definitely isn’t commanded to be done at that time either.

        I wouldn’t uphold the first observance of the festival as the standard, as the grain that Am Yisrael was harvesting/eating had been planted by the previous residents, right?

        I’m not trying to make up a new way of counting, Nehemia, just trying to move beyond the myopic fog of traditional interpretations to more clearly understand the instructions that were given by our Elohim.

        Thanks.

        • I believe your confusion comes from not understanding the timing of the beginning of the month of Aviv (Nisan) that Nehemia has explained elsewhere. The first month is linked to the barley being ready to harvest. If the barley is not in the aviv state, the month of Aviv (Nisan) is put off (and called the 13th month or Adar II) until it is. So you see according to the scriptural calendar the barley harvest, Pesach, Chag Matsot, and Yom Omer Reysheet are always linked.

          • Thanks for your comment Don.

            I’ve got the aviv barley thing, in fact I’ve had it since the beginning of 2005. It’s just that we’re doing the normal rabbinic/christian/messianic thing here and mixing long held tradition with Scripture (I think that’s called syncretism – look it up).

            Aviv means fully formed heads of barley that are not yet ripe for harvest. The topic here relates to when the aviv barley becomes ripe and ready to harvest, and when from that point in time the sheaf is waved before Yehovah.

            Scripture implies that the sheaf is waved by the kohen when the harvest has been performed. This is important because, if you don’t harvest when the crop is ripe, you’ll lose your crop because the heads will fall off the stalk.

            So then the question is, where does this idea of storing the newly harvested grain until the time of the Shabbat that falls during the festival of Chag Matzah, at which time the firstfruits were to be waved.

            It’s nowhere in Scripture.

            So it must come from somewhere else…

    • Nehemia (and David); It seems to me that Lev 23 really does not explicitly say what sabbath to count from, although implied. Is “when you enter the land” the real clue to understanding? That it was Yah’s will to complete the instruction by the actual experience of the circumstances Yah provided in their entrance to the land?

    • I have been questioning this for at least a year as well – although I have not asked Nehemiah. I believe that if Abba wanted it to absolutely be during the week of the feast of unleavened bread, He certainly would have told them/us. He is very specific about his commandments in every other place it seems. I have seen in this column that many people are questioning the same thing. The very fact that it is confusing makes me believe that we need to just go by the exact commandment in the scripture – when the barley is harvested, the day after the next weekly Sabbath is when the counting would begin. This day seems to be only connected to the feast of Shavuot in the scripture. Scripture should rule.

  75. So is Shavuot this coming Sunday June 8th? And whichever Sunday it is, I presume that the holiday begins after sundown Saturday night before even though “morrow” means the morning?

    • I read the verse in the original language. Look for yourself at Joshua 5:12 in Hebrew:
      וַיִּשְׁבֹּת הַמָּן מִמָּחֳרָת בְּאָכְלָם מֵעֲבוּר הָאָרֶץ וְלֹא הָיָה עוֹד לִבְנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל מָן | וַיֹּאכְלוּ מִתְּבוּאַת אֶרֶץ כְּנַעַן בַּשָּׁנָה הַהִיא:
      Notice the word “old” (yashan) isn’t there!

      • I have the Bishops 1568 without the “old”; King James 1611 with the “old”; Darby 1889 with the “old”; most modern translations, ESV and so forth, without the old; and the NET Bible (2006-ish) without the “old”. In all, about 8 out of 28 with the “old” and most of them clustered around the KJV 1611.

      • Hi Nehemia,

        Interesting, although couldn’t one make a case that the word memeber(?) here and in vs 11 is referring to the foodstuffs they carried over the Yordan River?

        Tom

  76. Just an FYI; none of the images are loading on this page. Every single image link is broken. Thank you.

  77. am I missing something here. doesn’t the scriptures say they ate of the “stored” grain on the morrow after Pasach, and then ate of the produce of the land (new) on the morrow after they ate of the “stored” grain?

    • Hi David, The translators added the word “stored” to make the verse fit the rabbinical calendar. The fact that they needed to add this word in the translation, proves that the original Hebrew contradicts the rabbinical counting method.

      • Hello Nehemia
        I was directed to you by a member of our church (United Church of God, we keep these days).

        Excellent overview on Wave Sheaf Offering. There are Christological concepts as you may know here, but as to Joshua 5:11 and the various English versions, the Westminster-Leningrad Codex is clear
        וַיֹּ֨אכְל֜וּ מֵעֲב֥וּר הָאָ֛רֶץ מִמָּֽחֳרַ֥ת הַפֶּ֖סַח מַצֹּ֣ות וְקָל֑וּי בְּעֶ֖צֶם הַיֹּ֥ום הַזֶּֽה׃
        “old” is not there…
        regards

      • Nehemia. You mentioned how the Pharisaic interpretation of the day of First Fruits is wrong, but you fail to show how the Essene view of First Fruits is wrong.

        Aren’t we also making an “assumption” that they observed First Fruits?

        It does say that when they enter the land is when they start observing it.

        Granted, one could say the did “enter the land” that day, but they had not actually settle the land and start growing their own crops, which is one way to look at “enter the land”

        Your thoughts please.

          • The Essene interpretation has to be wrong because of the same verse, Joshua 5:11. Since they ate the parched grain on the “morrow of Passover”, that meant it was, as Nehemia points out, a Sunday after a Sabbath day Passover, which that year would have been the 15th of Aviv/Nisan. The Essene interpretation requires the omer to be waved on the Sunday after the 21st, so it does not match the account in Joshua.

            It couldn’t have been parched grain from the previous year because, as the article points out, parched grain must be harvested and parched with fire when it is still moist. No moist grain will last a year.

            I would say that since they did not grow the crops of that year, it can reasonably be assumed that what they were eating was growing wildly, and/or had been planted by the Canaanites. As Nehemia mentions in an old video he made about the calendar (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oc2Y1qg2dxA), barley grows wild like grass in Israel, to the point where it’s actually difficult or impossible to stop it. The parched grain eaten in the month of Aviv/Nisan is barley since the sign that actually determines the identity of the month itself is the “aviv” barley, which is in a partially ripe state.

            Hope that helps!

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