2013-12-22 - Harvest Time
Ruth ~ Part 16
To Summarize: Naomi and Ruth have entered Bethlehem and it is there we pick up at the end of Chapter 1 and move on into Chapter 2.
These verses serve as an introduction to all the action to follow. First, we are told the time of year the two women came back to Judea. It was the time of the barley harvest.
According to the Gezer calendarthe oldest-known calendar yet found in Palestinebarley harvest was the eighth month of the agricultural calendar (i.e., April/May). Wheat harvest followed a few weeks later. 1
The NIV Study Bible Notes describe the harvest this way:
Harvesting grain in ancient Canaan took place in April and May (barley first, wheat a few weeks later; see 2:23). It involved the following steps: (1) cutting the ripened standing grain with hand sickles (Dt 16:9; 23:25; Jer 50:16; Joel 3:13)usually done by men; (2) binding the grain into sheavesusually done by women; (3) gleaning, i.e., gathering stalks of grain left behind (2:7); (4) transporting the sheaves to the threshing flooroften by donkey, sometimes by cart (Am 2:13); (5) threshing, i.e., loosening the grain from the strawusually done by the treading of cattle (Dt 25:4; Hos 10:11), but sometimes by toothed threshing sledges (Isa 41:15; Am 1:3) or the wheels of carts (Isa 28:28); (6) winnowingdone by tossing the grain into the air with winnowing forks (Jer 15:7) so that the wind, which usually came up for a few hours in the afternoon, blew away the straw and chaff (Ps 1:4), leaving the grain at the winnowers feet; (7) sifting the grain (Am 9:9) to remove any residual foreign matter; (8) bagging for transportation and storage (Ge 42-44). Threshing floors, where both threshing and winnowing occurred, were hard, smooth, open places, prepared on either rock or clay and carefully chosen for favorable exposure to the prevailing winds. They were usually on the east sidei.e., downwindof the village. 2
The second piece of information found here is the relationship between Naomi and Boaz. He is described as a kinsman of Elimelech. Rashi says he was actually Elimelechs nephew 3, but of course there is no proof of this. We are given this information as background for what is to come. At this point in time, Naomis relationship to Boaz was an irrelevancy to her.
To be continued.
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