This Month in Ancient Israel

During October, the Former Rains came, wetting the ground and making plowing possible. The porous limestone beneath the top soil, collected moisture, making the ground suitable for planting. Excess water ran into the wadies, bringing them to life after a season of dry beds. It was the failure of both the Former Rains and the Latter Rains that led to the drought in the Book of Ruth.

October was also the month of the olive harvest. One olive tree could supply a family for a year with olives, oil for cooking, and oil for their lamps. Pickers usually beat the olives from trees with long poles, loaded them into baskets, and then (probably) trod them in the same vats they’d trod the grapes. Olives were very important to the Israelites as both food and a source of oil for their lamps.