The Day Before The Wave Sheaf Offering

From The Lunar Sabbath Encyclopedia

The day before the Wave Sheaf Offering is often cited as a Pinpointed Lunar Sabbath because it is always offered on the "Morrow after the Sabbath" and was observed on the sixteenth of the month.

This page presents the rationale for considering it as a Pinpointed Lunar Sabbath, and discusses several objections.


During the Feast of Unleavened Bread, the Wave Sheaf Offering is to be brought on the day after the Sabbath:

And YHVH spake unto Moses, saying, Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye be come into the land which I give unto you, and shall reap the harvest thereof, then ye shall bring a sheaf of the firstfruits of your harvest unto the priest: And he shall wave the sheaf before YHVH, to be accepted for you: on the morrow after the sabbath the priest shall wave it. (Lev 23:9-11)

We know from the writings of Philo and Josephus that this was always done on the 16th of the first month. For example, Josephus writes:

On the second day of unleavened bread, that is to say the sixteenth, our people partake of the crops which they have reaped and which have not been touched till then, and esteeming it right first to do homage to God, to whom they owe the abundance of these gifts, they offer to him the first-fruits of the barley in the following way. After parching and crushing the little sheaf of ears and purifying the barley for grinding, they bring to the altar an assaron for God, and, having flung a handful thereof on the altar, they leave the rest for the use of the priests. Thereafter all are permitted, publicly or individually, to begin harvest.[1]

If the Wave Sheaf offering occurs on the 16th every year, and it is always the day after the Sabbath, then this means that the Sabbath is always on the 15th of the month every year, and that the other Sabbaths fall on the 8th, 22nd and 29th days of the month.


History of the Wave Sheaf Offering Debate

The timing of the Wave Sheaf Offering has been debated for thousands of years[2], and there is still no agreement today on whether the "Sabbath" referred to in Lev 23:11 is the weekly Sabbath or the First Day of Unleavened Bread. See The Wave Sheaf Offering page for more information.

The "Sabbath" of Leviticus 23

Although Rabbinical Judaism observes the sixteenth of the month as the "morrow after the Sabbath", this is because they interpret the festival on the First Day of Unleavened Bread as the "sabbath" and not as a weekly sabbath. In contrast, the Karaite Jews and Israelite Samaritans observe it the day after the weekly Sabbath (Sunday), not on the sixteenth.

Fallacy of Equivocation

The argument in question uses the fallacy of Equivocation to conclude that the 15th of the month must be a weekly Sabbath. This is because, in this case, the "sabbath" of Leviticus 23:11 could refer to either the weekly Sabbath, or the Holy Day (the First Day of Unleavened Bread). Using Equivocation, it's argued that the day is not only the 15th (as claimed by extra-Biblical writings), but also the weekly Sabbath (with no proof given)... and therefore it must be a Lunar Sabbath because it is a Sabbath occurring on the 15th of the month.

See Also

Passover in Gilgal


  1. Josephus, Antiquities 3.250-251, in Josephus IV Jewish Antiquities Books I-IV, Loeb Classical Library, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1930, pp. 437-439.
  2. Jaubert, The Date of the Last Supper, pg23