Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Artifacts and the Temple 1: The Gezer Calendar

Written in Paleo-Hebrew, the Gezer Calendar dates from the 10th century BC, the time of the building of Solomon's Temple. It contains the following text:

"Two months of harvest
Two months of planting
Two months are late planting
One month of pulling flax
One month of barley harvest
One month of harvest and feasting
Two months of pruning vines
One month of summer fruit"

This calendar shows the the fundamental significance of the agricultural cycle in ancient Israel, which is reflected in Israelite temple festivals of the Shevu'ot ("weeks") or First Fruits in early Summer (the "month of summer" fruit in line 8), and the Feast of Ingathering (the harvest) in the Fall ("two months of harvest" in line 1). The mention of feasting is also reflects the fact that temple pilgrimages, festivals involved feasting.

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