Based on several reports, we can confirm that there is sufficient barley in the land of Israel in the Abib stage to begin the biblical year. Therefore, the upcoming new moon, scheduled to be seen the evening of March 18, will mark the first biblical month. For those not familiar with Abib and why we use the barley to begin the first biblical month, below is a recent Q&A explaining this process:
Evidence for the barley can be found in the meaning of the word Abib, the name of the first biblical month, and in biblical scholarship.
We find a reference to the first biblical month in Deuteronomy 16:1. It states, “Observe [watch] the month [new moon] of Abib….” The word “Abib” literally refers to young ears of grain. Consider the following sources on the word Abib:
- “…from an unused root (meaning to be tender); green, i.e. a young ear of grain; hence, the name of the month Abib or Nisan,” Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance.
- “Month of ear-forming, of greening of crop, of growing green Abib, the month of the Exodus and the Passover (March or April),” Driver & Briggs Hebrew Lexicon.
- “…barley that is already ripe, but still soft, the grains of which are eaten either rubbed or roasted,” The Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament.
- “The name of the month, so called because corn [grain] was then forming in the ear, a few weeks before harvest; falling somewhere about March or April; afterwards called Nisan, the first month of the Hebrew year,” Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies.
Since Abib refers to young grain, i.e., barley, this is what we use to mark the first biblical month. Strictly speaking, Abib describes the stage of barley that is within the dough stage or later. The minimum allowance for Abib was a sheaf used in bundling or about two dry quarts. Also, since the Bible confirms that the barley precedes the new moon crescent (Exodus 9:31 and 12:2), you must have barley that meets the minimum stage of Abib by the new moon crescent. We reject the idea of projecting the barley in anticipation of the wave sheaf offering.
Since Israel observed the barley from the Holy Land and there is a need for one unified year throughout the globe, we observe the barley from Israel. While we do not personally look for the barley, we rely on several independent witnesses who travel and document the barley from Israel.
Scholarship also confirms the use of barley to commence the first biblical month of the biblical year:
- “…Abib is not properly a name of a month, but part of a descriptive phrase, ‘the month of young ears of grain.’ This may indicate the Israelitish way of determining the new year (Ex 12:2), the year beginning with the new moon nearest or next preceding this stage of the growth of the barley,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.
- “The months began with the new moon, but the first month was fixed (after the Exodus and by the necessities of the Passover) by the ripening of the earliest grain, namely, barley,” New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.