Our Websites

Josephus, the Talmud and the Omer

“Josephus, the Talmud and the Omer” is part 6 of the Establishing the Head of the Year series. It explores why Josephus disagrees with the Talmud regarding the Wave Sheaf Offering (or the Omer), as well as why the Karaites (Sadducees) claim not to follow the Talmud, but secretly do.

Aviv Barley Simplified

In “Aviv Barley Simplified”, we explained two main things. Why the wave sheaf (omer) is symbolic of Yeshua, and why the omer must be offered before the harvest. That way, Yahweh is pleased and then blesses the harvest, and sets it apart. We also saw that bringing in the harvest and then offering an ‘anti-sheaf’ does not work, and the reasons why.

  • Why the wave sheaf (omer) is symbolic of Yeshua
  • Why the omer must be offered before the harvest.

Let’s Not Break Deuteronomy 16:9

Then, in “Let’s Not Break Deuteronomy 16:9”, we explained why it is absolutely necessary to bring the very first sheaf of aviv barley as the omer.

  • Bringing in the harvest and then offering a wave sheaf offering violates Deuteronomy 16:9.
  • Barley farmers with early crops lose their crops.

Josephus, the Talmud, and the Omer

In this study, we will examine what Yahweh commands for us to do in Deuteronomy 6:9-10. We will see how the first-century historian Josephus testifies to how the omer was given during the first century and how the Karaite doctrine teaches that it is okay to break Deuteronomy 6:9.

Deuteronomy 16:9-10 and the Wave Sheaf

What Yahweh commands in Deuteronomy 6:9 is this. He says that when we begin the 50-day count to Shavuot (Pentecost), when we begin the count, that is when we begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. Another way to say it is that when we begin cutting, that is when we begin counting. Then, seven weeks later, that is the feast of Shavuot.

Devarim (Deuteronomy) 16:9-10
9 “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain.
10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks [Shavuot or Pentecost] to Yahweh your Elohim…”

It is a very simple equation, but Devorah’s Date Tree insists that “no you can start cutting without beginning the count and then it has always been done that way.” For example, in Devorah’s Date Tree’s report of 1-2 March 2021, Devorah states the following: “Also, it has always been understood that there was no prohibition against the farmers harvesting when needed, they only needed to wait until Yom HaNafat HaOmer (The Day of the Wave Sheaf Offering) before eating of the produce…”

Josephus, the Talmud, and the Omer, Devorah's Date Tree, Deuteronomy 16:9, Yom HaNafat Haomer, Karaite doctrine
Devorah’s Date Tree: barley inspection report, 1-2 March 2021

Josephus and Antiquities of the Jews

Flavius Josephus (Yosef ben Mattityahu) was the son of a priest and a noble woman. He was well educated, multilingual, a war general, and a historian. Jospehus was born around 37 CE (7 years after Yeshua’s sacrifice) and lived (during the second temple era) to about 100 CE. (The second temple was destroyed in the year 70.) He was an eye-witness to how things were done in that time.

We are going to take a look at Josephus’ commentary about how the Omer was done in the first century, second temple period. Specifically, we will discuss Joseph’s commentary written in Josephus Antiquities of the Jews, and how Josephus’ witness of the Wave Sheaf Offering matches the commandments given in Torah (including Deuteronomy 16:9) and disagrees with the Talmud.

“And they offer the first-fruits of their barley, and that in the following manner: they take a handful of the ears [meaning you do not need that many that is why you do not need harvestable fields, you just take a handful of the ears], and dry them [meaning it has to be immature barley, this is an issue because both the Abib of God Calendar and the Karaite Calendar are looking for barley that is basically already hard and dry (it does not need to be dried). But this barley needs to be dried because it needs to be green in keeping with Strong’s Old Testament 24: the barley needs to be tender young and green, so they dry the barley], then they beat them small, and purge the barley from the bran; then they bring one tenth deal to the altar to Elohim; and, casting a handful of upon the fire, they leave the rest for the use of the priest. And after this it is that they may publicly or privately reap their harvest.
[Josephus: Antiquities of the Jews, Book 3, Chapter 10:5]

Babylonian Talmud

We will also take a look at some Babylonian Talmud passages. It is important to remember that, (while an interesting historical reference) The Babylonian Talmud is not Scripture. It was redacted and heavily censored around the year 220 CE, and it contradicts the Torah in many ways and places.

Visit Torah Calendar News for the latest Torah Calendar updates

Support the Great Commission on PayPal
Support the Great Commission on Patreon
We thank  Yahweh Elohim for your love for His kingdom.

Share this Article:
Subscribe to Our Newsletter.
* indicates required
Choose your language

Intuit Mailchimp