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When you beat the olives off your olive tree, you are not to examine the boughs again; that will be left for the foreigner, for the fatherless and for the widow. Bible other translations

“beat the olives off your olive tree.” This refers to the biblical custom of harvesting the olives off the olive tree by beating the branches of the tree with long poles until the olives fell off. This custom was common around the biblical world, and is illustrated on Greek vase paintings; in fact, it was in use in some places until very modern times. Sheets of cloth were spread under the tree to collect the olives. Sadly, when the olive tree is beaten, some of the new tender shoots that would produce olives the next year are damaged, and so it often happens that olive trees only yield a good crop every other year.


Commentary for: Deuteronomy 24:20