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§ 63. Threshing floor. 71
side, Is. 9: 3. 61: 7. Ps. 126:6. Travellers congratulated them on the rich harvest; which was attributed to the beneficence of Deity and considered a great honour; while on the other hand, sterility of the soil was supposed to be a divine punishment and a disgrace, Lev. 26:4. Deut. 11: 14. 28: 12–24. Is. 4:2. Hag. 1: 5–11. Mal. 3: 10, 11. Anciently the ears were plucked off, or the stalks pulled up by the roots, which is still the custom in some eastern countries. It was esteemed servile labour by the Pharisees, and a profanation of the sabbath, when done on that day, Matt. 12: 1–5. The Hebrews used the sickle, Ug-ri, Ho, Deut. 16:9. Joel 3: 13. Jer. 50: 16; so that the stubble op remained in the earth. The crops when reaped were gathered up by the arms, and bound in bundles, Gen. 37: 7. Levit. 23: 10–15. Job 24: 10. Ruth 2:7, 15, 16. Amos 2: 13. Mic. 4: 12. Jer. 9:21, 22. At length the bundles were collected into a heap, Hony, or conveyed away on a wagon, Amos 2: 13. Ps. 126:6. But the corners of the field Hop nse, and the gleanings tops, were required to be left for the poor, Levit. 19: 9. Deut. 24; 19. Ruth 2: 2, 23. The land in the East generally yields ten fold, rarely, twenty or thirty; but Matt. 13: 8, the land yielded thirty, sixty and an hundred fold, and, Gen. 26: 12. an hundred fold. Herodotus, Strabo, and Pliny mention the increase of crops at the rate of one hundred and fifty, two hundred, and even three hundred fold. This great increase is owing to the circumstance of the kernels being put into the soil at a distance from each other, so as to send out several stalks, Gen. 41: 5, 47. some of which, (according to Pliny, N. H. xviii. 21, 55.) have from three to four hundred ears; and in Africa at the present time, they bear at least ten and fifteen.
The bundles were transported into the threshing floor either by hand, or by beasts of burden, or in wagons, Amos 2:13. and piled in a heap, Exod. 22:6. Judg. 15: 5. A bundle left in the field, even though discovered, was not to be taken up, but left to the poor, Deut. 24; 19. The threshing floor was in the field, in some elewated part of it; it was destitute of walls and covering; and indeed was nothing more than a circular space thirty or forty paces in diameter, where the ground had been levelled and beaten down, 72 § 64. Threshing.
Gen. 50: 10. 2 Sam. 24:16, 24. Judg. 6:37, etc. The assemblage of bundles in the floor for threshing, was used figuratively to denote reservation for future destruction, Mic. 4: 13. Is. 21:10. Jer. 51: 33.
§ 64. Threshing.
At first the grain was beaten out with cudgels. Afterwards this method was retained only in respect to the smaller kinds of grain and in threshing small quantities, Ruth 2: 17. Is. 28:27. At a later period, it was trodden out by the hoofs of oxen, Is. 28: 28. Deut. 25: 4. or beaten out with machines of the same kind, that are used in the East at the present day. All these modes of threshing are called u:17. Three kinds of instruments, however, are mentioned. The first, called ":Enz, is not well known. Perhaps it was a square piece of wood, armed on the lower side with sharp stones. The second, called 3-hip was composed of four beams joined so as to form a square, between which were set three revolving cylinders, each one of which was furnished with three iron wheels, having teeth like a saw ; (see Archaeol. Germ. P.I. T. 1. tab. IV. no. VII.) The third, yo-ri, was formed like the preceding, except that the cylinders were not furnished with iron wheels, but with sharp pieces of iron six inches long and three broad. Possibly this may be the same kind with the first. These machines, upon which the driver sat, were fastened to the oxen, and were driven round upon the bundles, which were broken open and were deposited in the circle of the area six or eight feet in height. In this manner the grain was beaten out of the ears, and the straw itself broken in pieces, which in this state was called jar. Another man followed the machine with a wooden instrument, and placed the grain in order. Threshing frequently stands figuratively for a great slaughter; and if the machine is said to be new, when it is usually the sharpest, it denotes a slaughter proportionably greater. The victorious people are sometimes represented, as a huge machine, that threshes and crumbles even mountains and hills, like straw. But the conquered are always prostrated upon the earth, like the bundles on the threshing floor, and ground to powder by the instruments, Judg. 8: 7. 2 Sam. 12: 31. Amos 1: 3. Micah 4: 12, 13. In Deut. 25:4, it was for§ 65. veNTILATION. 73
bidden to muzzle the ox, that was treading out the corn, comp. 1 Cor. 9: 9–12. 1 Tim. 5: 18. and the cattle which drew the threshing machine, were allowed to eat of it to the full. In reference to this circumstance, threshing denoted figuratively a splendid manner of life.
§ 65. VENTILATION.
The grain being threshed, was thrown into the middle of the threshing floor; it was then exposed with a fork to a gentle wind, Jer. 4: 11, 12. which separated the broken straw, Tor, and chaff, yon; so that the kernels and clods of earth with grain cleaving to them, and the ears not yet thoroughly threshed fell upon the ground. The clods of earth, as is customary in the East at the present day, were collected, broken in pieces, and separated from the grain by a sieve, noz. Sifting was accordingly used as a symbol of misfortune and overthrows, Amos 9: 9. Luke 22:31. The heap thus winnowed which still contained many ears, that were broken, but not fully threshed out, was again exposed in the threshing floor, and several yoke of oxen driven over it for the purpose of treading out the remainder of the grain. At length the grain, mingled with the chaff, was again exposed to the wind by a fan which was called Hon, troov; which bore off the chaff yān, so that the pure wheat fell upon the floor, Ruth 3: 2. Is. 30: 24. This operation was symbolical of the dispersion of a vanquished people; also of the separation between the righteous and the wicked, Is. 41: 15, 16. Jer. 13:24. 15: 7. 51: 2. Job 21: 18. Ps. 1: 4. 35: 5. 83: 13. Matt. 3: 12. Luke 3: 17. The scattered straw, as much at least as was required for the manufacturing of bricks and the fodder of cattle, was collected, but the residue, with the chaff and stubble, as has been stated above, was reduced to ashes by fire; which afforded a figurative illustration to denote the destruction of wicked men, Is. 5: 24. 47: 14. Joel 2: 5. Obad. 18. Nahum 1: 10. Jer. 15: 7. Malach. 4: 1. Matt. 3: 12. Originally the grain thus obtained from the earth was kept in subterranean storehouses, and even caverns; but in progress of time granaries above the earth were built, both in Egypt and Palestine, see Gen. 41: 35. Exod. 1: 11. 1 Chron. 27:28.
74 § 66. of vines AND vineyARDs.
§ 66. Of WINEs AND WINEYARDs.
Among other objects of agriculture, the vine may justly be considered worthy of particular attention.
Vines, E*::1, in some parts of the East, for instance on the southern shore of the Caspian sea, grow spontaneously, producing grapes of a pleasant taste, which, in the very first ages of the world, could not but have invited the attention of men to their cultivation. Hence mention is made of wine at an early period, Gen. 9: 21. 14: 18. 19: 32–35. 27:25. 49: 11, 12. The Hebrews were no less diligent in the culture of vineyards, than of fields for grain; and the soil of Palestine yielded in great quantities the best of wine. The mountains of Engedi in particular, the valley of saltpits, and the vallies of Eshcol and Sorek were celebrated for their grapes. Sorek indeed, was not only the proper name of a valley, but also of a very fruitful vine, which bore small, but uncommonly sweet and pleasant grapes. In the kingdom of Morocco at the present time, the same vine is called Serki, the name being slightly altered, see Pliny, xvii. 35. no. 5. In a few instances the wine of mount Libanus and Helbon is extolled in the scriptures, Hos. 14: 7. Ezek. 27: 18. In Palestine even at the present day, the clusters of the vine grow to the weight of 12 pounds; they have large grapes, and cannot be carried far by one man, without being injured, Num. 13:24, 25. The grapes of Palestine are mostly red or black; whence originated the phrase, “blood of grapes,” boy to Gen. 49: 11. Deut. 32: 14. Is. 27: 2. Some vines in eastern countries, when supported by trees, grow to a great height and magnitude; of such are made the staves and sceptres of kings.
The vine growing spontaneously, of which we have spoken, is not that which in 2 Kings 4:39, is called the “wild vine,” Top: Tea, for that, (as the Vulgate rightly translates) is the colocyntis or wild gourd, which in Jer. 2:21. is called H.-: jea, the degenerate or strange wine. The vine of Sodom the Tes is the solanum melangenae, the fruit of which, as was said above, is called wā-, *:::, or the poisonous clusters.
§ 67. SITUATION AND ARRANGEMENT of vineyARDs. 75
§ 67. Situation AND ARRANGEMENT of WiNEYARds.
Vineyards, Bonz, Enz, were generally planted on the declivity of hills and mountains. They were sometimes planted in places, where the soil had been heaped by art upon the naked rocks, and was supported there merely by a wall, Is. 5: 1. Jer. 31: 5. Joel 3: 18. Amos 9:13. Micah 1:6. According to Strabo and Pliny, there were also very fine vineyards in moors and wet lands, in which the vines grew to a very great height. Of the vines, that grew upon such a kind of soil, were fabricated the sceptre, &c. spoken of above, whilst the branches of other vines were destined to be fuel for the flames, Ezek. I7: 1–8. 19:10, 11, 12. 15: 1–5.
Vines were commonly propagated by means of suckers, Eon'ss. Pliny (xvii. 35. no. 6.) says, vines were of four kinds; viz, those that ran on the ground; those that grew upright of themselves ; those that adhered to a single prop; and those that covered a square frame. It is not my design to treat of all these : it may suffice merely to mention, that Pliny is by no means correct, when he says, the custom prevailed in Syria and all Asia, of letting the vines run on the ground. This indeed accords with Ezekiel 17; 6, 7; but that vines frequently grew to a great height, being supported by trees and props, or standing upright of themselves, the proverbial phrase, which so often occurs, of sitting under one's own vine and fig-tree, i. e. enjoying a prosperous and happy life, is sufficient proof, Jer. 5: 17. 8: 13. Hos. 2: 12. Mic. 4:4. Zech. 3: 10. The prohibition, Deut. 22:9, to sow vineyards with divers seeds, and the command, that what was thus sown should be given to the priests, are not to be understood of the vines, but of herbs, which were sown in the intervals between them. Vineyards were defended by a hedge or wall, Hour, -ia, Num. 22: 24. Ps, 80: 12. Prov. 24; 31. Is. 5: 5. 27: 2, 3. Jer. 49: 3. Neh. 4:3. Matt. 21: 33. In the vineyards were erected towers, Is. 5: 2. Matt. 21: 33; which, at the present time in eastern countries, are thirty feet square, and eighty feet high. These towers were for keepers, who defended the vineyards from thieves, and from animals, especially dogs and foxes, Cant. 1: 6. 2: 15. By the law in Deut. 23:25, the keeper was commanded not to prohibit the passing tra