What Is A Sheave In The Bible

The Bible has referenced many terms that may be hard to understand, and one of those is the sheave. Sheave, which is derived from the Old English sceafa, has been used throughout Scripture to refer to the wheels or pulleys of a mill, or to the amount of grain harvested in a field. In today’s terms, the sheave of the Bible is often referred to as a pulley.
A pulley is a mechanical device that’s used to change the direction or magnitude of a force. It consists of a grooved wheel over which a belt or rope is passed in order to reduce the amount of effort necessary to lift or move a load. The sheaves allow for a user to lift heavy objects with significantly less effort.
When discussing the sheave in Biblical contexts, it’s important to consider the Bible’s frequent references to large farming operations and milling. The pulley would be an invaluable tool for the farming process, allowing for grain to be harvested more efficiently and saving a lot of time and manpower. It’s also referenced in various passages as a means of easing the various activities of the Israelites during their travels in the desert and as they wandered through the wilderness.
Throughout Scripture, the sheave is often associated with the symbolism of harvest time, with food being reaped from the land. In Genesis 30:14-16, the sheave is mentioned when Rachel gives her younger son Joseph a special gift of mandrakes that are “in her hand as a sheaf of barley”. In Deuteronomy 25:4, the sheaves are referred to when Moses, speaking to the people of Israel, says, “You shall not muzzle the ox when he is threshing.” This reference is meant to remind people to be kind to their animals while they are working.
Moreover, the sheave is mentioned in the book of Proverbs, which is considered to be a collection of wisdom and advice passed down from the Israelites’ elders. Proverbs 11:26 states, “He who withholds grain, the people will curse him, But blessing will be on the head of him who sells it.” Here, the sheave could metaphorically represent the act of sharing, with the wise giving and not withholding goods, even during difficult times.
The sheave is certainly an important and symbolic element of the Bible. But its primary purpose is to make physically demanding activities such as threshing and harvesting much more bearable. Using the pulley, workers don’t have to struggle with the weight of a load, and the amount of work that needs to be done is often reduced. As a result, it’s easy to understand why the sheave was so important to the Israelites during their desert wanderings and why it’s been incorporated into Biblical wisdom.

What is the Significance of the Sheave in the Bible?

The Bible has referenced the sheave many times throughout its pages, and its significance can be found in each passage. The sheave is a symbol of power and strength—as much physically as spiritually. In a physical sense, the sheave helps to make difficult labor much easier, by providing a means of lifting heavy loads with less effort. This can be seen in passages like Deuteronomy 25:4, in which Moses speaks of the need to be kind to animals while they are working with the sheave.
The sheave is also a symbol of spiritual strength, understanding, and thoughtfulness. In Proverbs 11:26, the sheave is used to illustrate the idea that wise people are generous and giving, even during difficult times. The sheave, in this sense, can represent the idea of sharing resources, providing for those in need, and showing love and compassion.
Overall, the sheave is an important part of the Bible. It is a tool used to make physically demanding work easier, as well as a symbol of strength and wisdom. Each passage in which the sheave is mentioned can be looked to for insight into how the Israelites viewed their labor, and how they applied that to their faith.

What Other Symbols Are Used in the Bible?

The Bible is full of symbols, each of which has its own special meaning and purpose. Other potentially familiar symbols from the Bible include:
The Cross – The most widely-known Christian symbol, the cross signifies faith, hope, and a reminder of the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ.
The Fish – The Greek word for fish is “ichthys” and is formed from the initials of the phrase “Iesous Christos Theou Yios”, which translates to “Jesus Christ Son of God”.
The Lamb – The lamb is a symbol of innocence and purity, often used to represent Jesus in his role as the Lamb of God, who was sent to Earth to atone for humanity’s sins.
The Snake – The serpent, or snake, is often seen as a symbol of evil, tempering with knowledge and life in stories such as the Garden of Eden.
The Olive Branch – The olive branch is a symbol of peace and abundance, often used to refer to the renewed pleasantness of the world after the Great Flood.
The Star – The five-pointed star can be seen in religious insignia, such as Jewish Stars of David, the Virgin Mary’s nimbus in the Christian faith, and the Islamic star and crescent.
The Palm Tree – The palm tree is often referenced in Scripture, particularly Isaiah 9:66 where palm branches were used to celebrate Jesus’ entrance into Jerusalem. The palm is seen as a symbol of victory and triumph.

What is the Meaning Behind the Sheave in the Bible?

The sheave carries immense meaning in the Bible. In addition to being a useful tool to make difficult labor easier, it serves as a metaphor for many spiritual lessons. The sheave brings to mind the idea of abundance, harvest, and sustenance. It is a reminder of how careful planning, hard work, and sharing can lead to something beautiful and life-giving.
The sheave is also a reminder of how important it is to be kind to one another and take care of both our animal friends and fellow human beings. In Moses’ words in Deuteronomy 25:4, the sheave is seen as a reminder to be considerate and humane when doing labor.
The sheave is also a symbol of strength, courage and wisdom. By seeing the sheave as a metaphor for the hard labor endured by the Israelites during their desert wandering, it is a reminder to have faith and persevere.

What Are The Benefits of Using a Sheave?

There are many benefits to using a sheave as a practical tool, particularly when it comes to farming and milling operations. For one, it reduces the amount of physical effort needed to lift heavier objects. This means less time and manpower is needed to complete the same activities.
Using the sheave also reduces stress and strain on the body. The pulley helps to evenly spread out the load on the body, which can help to reduce the chance of injury. This is important to keep in mind when considering the importance of the sheave in the lives of the Israelites.
In addition, using a sheave can also increase efficiency. By not having to lift heavier objects on your own, you can go through the harvesting process much quicker. This would be especially beneficial when looking back at the Bible and how it talks about how the Israelites were able to efficiently gather and store their food during their desert journeys.


The sheave is a common symbol in the Bible, which has physical and spiritual significance. On the physical side, the sheave is an invaluable tool that helps to make the process of threshing and harvesting much easier and less laborious. On the spiritual side, the sheave carries immense meaning, symbolizing strength, courage, and wisdom.
The Bible’s references to the sheave thus show how an understanding of practical tools can also be used to illustrate spiritual values. The sheave can be seen as a metaphor for the hard labor and great sacrifices that were endured by the Israelites, while still maintaining faith, persevering, and showing love towards fellow human beings and animals.

Marcos Reyna is a Christian author and speaker. He is dedicated to helping create disciples of Christ through spreading the power of the gospel to others. He has written several books and articles on a variety of theological topics, including matters of faith, worship, biblical studies, practical ethics, and social justice. A trained theologian and devotee of spiritual writing, Marcos has a mission to spread Christian love everywhere. He lives with his family in Nashville, TN where he spends his days encouraging others to seek Christ's grace in all things.

Leave a Comment