A warehouse or building in which foodstuffs—wine, and oil—as well as even precious metals or stones and other articles are stored. A granary is a structure used to store threshed grain. Barns, towers, and other storage facilities were common in ancient times (1Ch 27:25; 2Ch 32:27, 28; Joe 1:17; Hag 2:19), and certain cities served principally as storage centers.—Ex 1:11.
Storehouses were needed in conjunction with the sanctuary to take care of the tithes and contributions from the fields, orchards, and vineyards given by Israel to the Levites. (Mal 3:10) Certain Levites were put in charge of the stores and they distributed such provisions to their brothers.—1Ch 26:15, 17; Ne 12:44; 13:12, 13.
In ancient Egypt granaries varied in structure, one type resembling the present-day silo. It had a door at the top for depositing grain (by ascending a ladder) and small sliding doors at ground level for its removal. Underground granaries have also long been used in the Middle East, these evidently being preferred in sparsely populated areas because they are concealed from marauders.
Illustrative Use. Jesus Christ, in urging his disciples not to be anxious about material needs, but to seek only their “bread for this day,” reminded them that God feeds the birds though they do not gather things into storehouses or barns. (Mt 6:11, 25, 26; Lu 12:22, 24) To show that life does not result from the things one possesses, Jesus gave an illustration of a rich man who considered replacing his storehouses with bigger ones to hold his many goods, only to face death; his material riches therefore were of no benefit to him.—Lu 12:13-21.
Instead of encouraging us to look to earthly goods and accordingly build up a great store of them, the wise writer of Proverbs says: “Honor Jehovah with your valuable things . . . Then your stores of supply will be filled with plenty.” (Pr 3:9, 10) This was exemplified in the experience of the nation of Israel, which, when obediently serving Jehovah and bringing full tithes to the sanctuary, was blessed with abundance. (De 28:1, 8; 1Ki 4:20; 2Ch 31:4-10; Mal 3:10) Apparently King David referred to such material blessings for obedience at Psalm 144:13-15. After rescuing David and his people and giving them victory over their enemies, Jehovah’s blessing would include filling their storehouses with produce and giving them material prosperity. Showing that Jehovah was the true source of their prosperity and happiness, David concludes this psalm with the words, “Happy is the people whose God is Jehovah!”
Figurative Use. John the Baptizer warned the Pharisees and Sadducees of their dangerous situation, likening truly repentant ones to wheat to be gathered, but comparing those leaders to chaff. He said to them: “The one coming after me . . . will gather his wheat into the storehouse, but the chaff he will burn up with fire that cannot be put out.” (Mt 3:7-12; Lu 3:16, 17) Jesus foretold a “harvest,” which he equated with “a conclusion of a system of things” and in which angelic “reapers” would gather symbolic “weeds” to be burned, whereas “the wheat” would be gathered into God’s “storehouse,” the restored Christian congregation, where they would have God’s favor and protection.—Mt 13:24-30, 36-43.
Jehovah speaks of things around which he has put boundaries by means of created forces, or natural laws, as well as of things he has reserved under his control for special purposes, as being in “storehouses.” The sea is said to be ‘gathered like a dam, put in storehouses.’ (Ps 33:7) Also of other natural phenomena that he has at times used against his enemies, he asked Job: “Have you entered into the storehouses of the snow, or do you see even the storehouses of the hail, which I have kept back for the time of distress, for the day of fight and war?” (Job 38:22, 23; compare Jos 10:8-11; Jg 5:20, 21; Ps 105:32; 135:7.) Even the armies of the Medes and Persians under King Cyrus were included by Jehovah among “the weapons of his denunciation” brought out of his “storehouse” against Babylon.—Jer 50:25, 26.