Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Exodus 16:16 - An Omer (a Sheaf) of Barley and what it looks like

The main problem with correctly reconstructing the Mishkan lies with sever lack of understanding of basic units of weights and measure, that are mentioned in the original description. I do not know of any reliable and coherent work on this subject. All available materials are either pure speculations or based on comparison between similar units from the antique.

I'm not sure how to approach this problem yet, so I figured I would begin with a brief overview of the "Omer" (literally - "a Sheaf"), first reference to which can be found in Exodus 16:16. Let's take a look:

Exodus 16:16
16 This is the thing which the LORD hath commanded, Gather of it every man according to his eating, an omer for every man, according to the number of your persons; take ye every man for them which are in his tents.

‎16 ‏זֶ֤ה הַדָּבָר֙ אֲשֶׁ֣ר צִוָּ֣ה יְהוָ֔ה לִקְט֣וּ מִמֶּ֔נּוּ אִ֖ישׁ לְפִ֣י אָכְל֑וֹ עֹ֣מֶר לַגֻּלְגֹּ֗לֶת מִסְפַּר֙ נַפְשֹׁ֣תֵיכֶ֔ם אִ֛ישׁ לַאֲשֶׁ֥ר בְּאָהֳל֖וֹ תִּקָּֽחוּ׃

In traditional agriculture, a "Sheaf" basically is a handful of a cut stalks with ears of the specific cereal grass. But since the default cereal of the Pentateuch is Barley, it is a Sheaf of Barley that constitutes a basic unit of measure so to speak.
Here is a nice video that show traditional hand harvest of Barley. Cutting Barley with a Sickle and "Sheaving" can be clearly seen in this video:  

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