Why do you use the barley to determine the start of the year?

Q  Why do you use the barley to determine the start of the year? To begin the month, do you use the crescent or full moon? Also, what about the lunar Sabbath belief?


A  Support for the barley can be found in the meaning of the word Abib, the name of the first biblical month, and in biblical scholarship.

A reference to the first biblical month is in Deuteronomy 16:1. “Observe the month of Abib….” The word “Abib” refers to young ears of grain: “…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),” Brown 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.

Strictly speaking, the first month, Abib, describes the stage of barley that is in the dough stage or later. The minimum allowance for Abib was a wave 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 time of the new moon crescent. We reject the idea of projecting the barley in anticipation of the wave sheaf offering.

Because Israel observed the barley from the Holy Land and there is a need for a unified year throughout the globe, we observe the barley in Israel.

Scholarship also supports the use of barley to commence the first biblical month: “…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. See also New Unger’s Bible Dictionary.

Scripture and scholarship confirm the new moon for the start of the month. The word month, as seen in Exodus 12:2 and Deuteronomy 16:1, comes from the Hebrew chodesh and is defined as “…from OT:2318; the new moon; by implication, a month: -month (-ly), new moon.” OT:2318, chadash, is “a primitive root; to be new; causatively, to rebuild.” Strong’s Hebrew Dictionary used in both definitions.

“The Hebrew or Jewish calendar had three stages of development: the preexilic, or Biblical; the postexilic, or Talmudic; and the post-Talmudic. The first rested solely on observation, the second on observation coupled with calculation, and the third on calculation only. In the first period the priests determined the beginning of each month by the appearance of the new moon,” International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia.

“Originally, the New Moon was not fixed by astronomical calculation, but was solemnly proclaimed after witnesses had testified to the reappearance of the crescent of the moon… By the middle of the fourth century, the sages had established a permanent calendar and the public proclamation of the New Moon was discontinued,” Encyclopaedia Judaica, Vol. 12, p. 1039.

Reckoning the start of the week and Sabbath by the moon is nowhere in the Bible, The week was already in its fourth day of creation before the moon was established to divide day and night, Genesis 1:14-18. Starting a week by the moon results in a partial week at the end of the month. Lunar Sabbaths don’t work in counting out the Feast days. For additional information see our booklet: The Lunar Sabbath Illusion. We show that this belief is nowhere found in the Word and is totally untenable.

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Posted in Q&A - Biblical Calander, Q&A - Sabbath.
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Azigbeotu Mecca Ebimone
Azigbeotu Mecca Ebimone
6 months ago

I’m am grateful to YRM for the little explanation on barley and new month.

Gary Mankus
Gary Mankus
1 month ago

March 10-11, and now I see that Passover is again in month 2. The 13th month isn’t mentioned in the Bible.