|Noah Webster's Dictionary|
1. (n.) A sheave.
2. (n.) A quantity of the stalks and ears of wheat, rye, or other grain, bound together; a bundle of grain or straw.
3. (n.) Any collection of things bound together; a bundle; specifically, a bundle of arrows sufficient to fill a quiver, or the allowance of each archer, -- usually twenty-four.
4. (v. t.) To gather and bind into a sheaf; to make into sheaves; as, to sheaf wheat.
5. (v. i.) To collect and bind cut grain, or the like; to make sheaves.
Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia
shef, shevz ('alummah, `omer, `amir): When the grain is reaped, it is laid in handfuls back of the reaper to be gathered by children or those who cannot stand the harder work of reaping (Psalm 129:7). The handfuls are bound into large sheaves, two of which are laden at a time on a donkey (compare Nehemiah 13:15). In some districts carts are used (compare Amos 2:13). The sheaves are piled about the threshing-floors until threshing time, which may be several weeks after harvest. It is an impressive sight to see the huge stacks of sheaves piled about the threshing-floors, the piles often covering an area greater than the nearby villages (see AGRICULTURE). The ancient Egyptians bound their grain into small sheaves, forming the bundles with care so that the heads were equally distributed between the two ends (see Wilkinson, Ancient Egyptians, 1878, II, 424; compare Joseph's dream, Genesis 37:5-8). The sheaves mentioned in Genesis 37:10-12, 15 must have been handfuls. It is a custom in parts of Syria for the gatherers of the sheaves to run toward a passing horseman and wave a handful of grain, shouting kemshi, kemshi (literally, "handful"). They want the horseman to feed the grain to his horse. In Old Testament times forgotten sheaves had to be left for the sojourner (Deuteronomy 24:19); compare the kindness shown to Ruth by the reapers of Boaz (Ruth 2:7, 15).
Figurative: "Being hungry they carry the sheaves" is a picture of torment similar to that of the hungry horse urged to go by the bundle of hay tied before him (Job 24:10). The joyful sight of the sheaves of an abundant harvest was used by the Psalmist to typify the joy of the returning captives (Psalm 126:6).
James A. Patch
Sheaf (11 Occurrences)
Genesis 37:7 for behold, we were binding sheaves in the field, and behold, my sheaf arose and also stood upright; and behold, your sheaves came around, and bowed down to my sheaf." (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 23:10 "Speak to the children of Israel, and tell them,'When you have come into the land which I give to you, and shall reap its the harvest, then you shall bring the sheaf of the first fruits of your harvest to the priest: (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 23:11 and he shall wave the sheaf before Yahweh, to be accepted for you. On the next day after the Sabbath the priest shall wave it. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 23:12 On the day when you wave the sheaf, you shall offer a male lamb without blemish a year old for a burnt offering to Yahweh. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Leviticus 23:15 "'You shall count from the next day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering; seven Sabbaths shall be completed: (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Deuteronomy 24:19 When you reap your harvest in your field, and have forgot a sheaf in the field, you shall not go again to get it: it shall be for the foreigner, for the fatherless, and for the widow; that Yahweh your God may bless you in all the work of your hands. (WEB KJV JPS ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV)
Job 24:10 They cause him to go naked without clothing, and they take away the sheaf from the hungry; (KJV DBY WBS YLT)
Jeremiah 9:22 Speak, Thus says Yahweh, The dead bodies of men shall fall as dung on the open field, and as the handful after the harvester; and none shall gather them. (See NAS)
Amos 2:13 Lo, I am pressing you under, As the full cart doth press for itself a sheaf. (YLT)
Micah 4:12 They have not known the thoughts of Jehovah, Nor have they understood His counsel, For He hath gathered them as a sheaf 'into' a threshing-floor. (YLT)
Zechariah 12:6 In that day will I make the governors of Judah like an hearth of fire among the wood, and like a torch of fire in a sheaf; and they shall devour all the people round about, on the right hand and on the left: and Jerusalem shall be inhabited again in her own place, even in Jerusalem. (KJV DBY WBS YLT)