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    September 28    Scripture

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    Agriculture in Easton's Bible Dictionary Tilling the ground (Gen. 2:15; 4:2, 3, 12) and rearing cattle were the chief employments in ancient times. The Egyptians excelled in agriculture. And after the Israelites entered into the possession of the Promised Land, their circumstances favoured in the highest degree a remarkable development of this art. Agriculture became indeed the basis of the Mosaic commonwealth. The year in Israel was divided into six agricultural periods:- I. SOWING TIME. Tisri, latter half (beginning about the autumnal equinox.) Marchesvan. Kisleu, former half. Early rain due = first showers of autumn. II. UNRIPE TIME. Kisleu, latter half. Tebet. Sebat, former half. III. COLD SEASON. Sebat, latter half. Adar. [Veadar.] Nisan, former half. Latter rain due (Deut. 11:14; Jer. 5:24; Hos. 6:3; Zech. 10:1; James 5:7; Job 29:23). IV. HARVEST TIME. Nisan, latter half. (Beginning about vernal equinox. Barley green. Passover.) Ijar. Sivan, former half., Wheat ripe. Pentecost. V. SUMMER (total absence of rain) Sivan, latter half. Tammuz. Ab, former half. VI. SULTRY SEASON Ab, latter half. Elul. Tisri, former half., Ingathering of fruits. The six months from the middle of Tisri to the middle of Nisan were occupied with the work of cultivation, and the rest of the year mainly with the gathering in of the fruits. The extensive and easily-arranged system of irrigation from the rills and streams from the mountains made the soil in every part of Israel richly productive (Ps. 1:3; 65:10; Prov. 21:1; Isa. 30:25; 32:2, 20; Hos. 12:11), and the appliances of careful cultivation and of manure increased its fertility to such an extent that in the days of Solomon, when there was an abundant...

    Agriculture in Fausset's Bible Dictionary While the patriarchs were in Canaan, they led a pastoral life, and little attended to tillage; Isaac and Jacob indeed tilled at times (Genesis 26:12; Genesis 37:7), but the herdsmen strove with Isaac for his wells not for his crops. The wealth of Gerar and Shechem was chiefly pastoral (Genesis 20:14; Genesis 34:28). The recurrence of famines and intercourse with Egypt taught the Canaanites subsequently to attend more to tillage, so that by the time of the spies who brought samples of the land's produce from Eshcol much progress had been made (Deuteronomy 8:8; Numbers 13:23). Providence happily arranged it so that Israel, while yet a family, was kept by the pastoral life from blending with and settling among idolaters around. In Egypt the native prejudice against shepherds kept them separate in Goshen (Genesis 47:4-6; Genesis 46:34). But there they unlearned the exclusively pastoral life and learned husbandry (Deuteronomy 11:10), while the deserts beyond supplied pasture for their cattle (1 Chronicles 7:21). On the other hand, when they became a nation, occupying Canaan, their agriculture learned in Egypt made them a self subsisting nation, independent of external supplies, and so less open to external corrupting influences. Agriculture was the basis of the Mosaic commonwealth; it checked the tendency to the roving habits of nomad tribes, gave each man a stake in the soil by the law of inalienable inheritances, and made a numerous offspring profitable as to the culture of the land. God claimed the lordship of the soil (Leviticus 25:23), so that each held by a divine tenure; subject to the tithe, a quit rent to the theocratic head landlord, also subject to the sabbatical year. Accumulation of debt was obviated by prohibiting interest on principal lent to fellow citizens (Leviticus 25:8-16; Leviticus 25:28-87). Every seventh, sabbatic year, or the year of Jubilee, every 50th year, lands alienated for a time reverted to the original owner. Compare Isaiah's "woe" to them who "add field to field," clearing away families (1 Kings 21) to absorb all, as Ahab did to Naboth. Houses in towns, if not redeemed in a year, were alienated for ever; thus land property had an advantage over city property, an inducement to cultivate and reside on one's own land. The husband of an heiress passed by adoption into the family into which he married, so as not to alienate the land. The condition of military service was attached to the land, but with merciful qualifications (Deuteronomy 20); thus a national yeomanry of infantry, officered by its own hereditary chiefs, was secured. Horses were forbidden to be multiplied (Deuteronomy 17:16). Purificatory rites for a day after warfare were required (Numbers 19:16; Numbers 31:19). These regulations, and that of attendance thrice a year at Jerusalem for the great feasts, discouraged the appetite for war. The soil is fertile still, wherever industry is secure. The Hauran (Peraea) is highly reputed for productiveness. The soil of Gaza is dark and rich, though light, and retains rain; olives abound in it. The Israelites cleared away most of the wood which they found in Canaan (Joshua 17:18), and seem to have had a scanty supply, as they imported but little; compare such extreme expedients for getting wood for sacrifice as in 1 Samuel 6:14; 2 Samuel 24:22; 1 Kings 19:21; dung and hay fuel heated their ovens (Ezekiel 4:12; Ezekiel 4:15; Matthew 6:30). The water supply...

    Agriculture in Naves Topical Bible Divine institution of Ge 2:15; 3:19,23 -Practiced by Cain Ge 4:2 -Practiced by Noah Ge 9:20 -Practiced by Elisha 1Ki 19:19 -Practiced by David 1Ch 27:26-31 -Practiced by Uzziah 2Ch 26:10 -Practiced by Solomon Ec 2:4-6 -God to be acknowledged in Jer 5:24; Ho 2:8 -Requires wisdom Isa 28:26 -Requires diligence Pr 27:23,27; Ec 11:6 -Requires patience Jas 5:7 -Requires toil 2Ti 2:6 -Persons engaged in, called husbandmen 2Ch 26:10 -Called laborers Mt 9:37 -Called tiller of the ground Ge 4:2 -Planters of vineyards, exempted from military service De 20:6 -Fruits blasted because of sin Isa 5:10; 7:23; Jer 12:13; Joe 1:10,11 -LAWS CONCERNING Ex 20:9; 22:5,6; 23:10-12; 34:21,22; Le 19:9,10,19,23-25; 25:2-12,15,16,19-28; De 5:13,14; 22:9,10; 23:24,25; 24:19-21; Pr 3:9,10; Ec 5:9; Pr 27:23-27; Mt 12:1 -FACTS ABOUT Ge 8:22; 1Sa 13:19-21; Isa 28:24-28; Mt 13:3-8; 2Co 9:6; Ga 6:7 See HUSBANDMAN -FIGURATIVE Fallow ground Jer 4:3 Sowing wheat, but reaping thorns Jer 12:13 Parable Of the sower Mt 13:3-8,19-23; Lu 8:5-15 Of the tares Mt 13:24-30,36-43

    Agriculture in Smiths Bible Dictionary This was little cared for by the patriarchs. The pastoral life, however, was the means of keeping the sacred race, whilst yet a family, distinct from mixture and locally unattached, especially whilst in Egypt. When grown into a nation it supplied a similar check on the foreign intercourse, and became the basis of the Mosaic commonwealth. "The land is mine," Le 25:23 was a dictum which made agriculture likewise the basis of the theocratic relation. Thus every family felt its own life with intense keenness, and had its divine tenure which it was to guard from alienation. The prohibition of culture in the sabbatical year formed a kind of rent reserved by the divine Owner. Landmarks were deemed sacred, De 19:14 and the inalienability of the heritage was insured by its reversion to the owner in the year of jubilee; so that only so many years of occupancy could be sold. Le 25:8-16, 23-35 Rain.-- Water was abundant in Israel from natural sources. De 8:7; 11:8-12 Rain was commonly expected soon after the autumnal equinox. The period denoted by the common scriptural expressions of the "early" and the "latter rain," De 11:14; Jer 5:24; Ho 6:3; Zec 10:1; Jas 5:7 generally reaching from November to April, constituted the "rainy season," and the remainder of the year the "dry season." Crops.--The cereal crops of constant mention are wheat and barley, and more rarely rye and millet(?). Of the two former, together with the vine, olive and fig, the use of irrigation, the plough and the harrow, mention is made ln the book of Job 31:40; 15:33; 24:6; 29:19; 39:10 Two kinds of cumin (the black variety called fitches), Isa 28:27 and such podded plants as beans and lentils may be named among the staple produce. Ploughing and Sowing.--The plough was probably very light, one yoke of oxen usually sufficing to draw it. Mountains and steep places were hoed. Isa 7:25 New ground and fallows, Jer 4:3; Ho 10:12 were cleared of stones and of thorns, Isa 5:2 early in the year, sowing or gathering from "among thorns" being a proverb for slovenly husbandry. Job 5:5; Pr 24:30,31 Sowing also took place without previous ploughing, the seed being scattered broad cast and ploughed in afterwards. The soil was then brushed over with a light harrow, often of thorn bushes. In highly- irrigated spots the seed was trampled by cattle. Isa 32:20 Seventy days before the passover was the time prescribed for sowing. The oxen were urged on by a goad like a spear. Jud 3:31 The proportion of harvest gathered to seed sown was often vast; a hundred fold is mentioned, but in such a way as to signify that it was a limit rarely attained. Ge 26:12; Mt 13:8 Sowing a field with divers seed was forbidden. De 22:9 Reaping and Threshing.--The wheat etc., was reaped by the sickle or pulled by the roots. It was bound in sheaves. The sheaves or heaps were carted, Am 2:13 to the floor--a circular spot of hard ground, probably, as now, from 50 to 80 or 100 feet in diameter. Ge 1:10,11; 2Sa 24:16,18 On these the oxen, etc., forbidden to be muzzled, De 25:4 trampled out the grain. At a later time the Jews used a threshing sledge called morag, Isa 41:15; 2Sa 24:22; 1Ch 21:23 probably resembling the noreg, still employed in Egypt --a stage with three rollers ridged with iron, which, aided by the driver's weight crushed out, often injuring...

    Agriculture in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE ag'-ri-kul-tur, ag'-ri-kul-chur: I. DEVELOPMENT OF AGRICULTURE II. CLIMATIC CONDITIONS AND FERTILITY III. AGRICULTURAL PURSUITS 1. Growing of Grain (1) Plowing and Sowing (2) Reaping (3) Threshing 2. Care of Vineyards 3. Raising of Flocks I. Development of Agriculture. One may witness in Syria and Israel today the various stages of social progress through which the people of Bible times passed in which the development of their agriculture played an important part. To the East the sons of Ishmael still wander in tribes from place to place, depending upon their animals for food and raiment, unless by a raid they can secure the fruits of the soil from the peoples, mostly of their own blood, who have given up wandering and are supporting themselves by tilling the ground. It is only a short step from this frontier life to the more protected territory toward the Mediterranean, where in comparatively peaceful surroundings, the wanderers become stationary. If the land which they have come to possess is barren and waterless, they become impoverished physically and spiritually, but if they have chosen the rarer spots where underground streams burst forth into valleys covered with alluvial deposits (Ex 3:8), they prosper and there springs up the more complicated community...

    Agriculture Scripture - 1Chronicles 27:26 And over them that did the work of the field for tillage of the ground [was] Ezri the son of Chelub:

    Agriculture Scripture - 1Kings 19:19 So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who [was] plowing [with] twelve yoke [of oxen] before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.

    Agriculture Scripture - 2Chronicles 26:10 Also he built towers in the desert, and digged many wells: for he had much cattle, both in the low country, and in the plains: husbandmen [also], and vine dressers in the mountains, and in Carmel: for he loved husbandry.

    Agriculture Scripture - Ecclesiastes 2:4 I made me great works; I builded me houses; I planted me vineyards:

    Agriculture Scripture - Genesis 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou [art], and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Agriculture Scripture - Genesis 3:23 Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.

    Agriculture Scripture - Genesis 4:2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

    Agriculture Scripture - Genesis 9:20 And Noah began [to be] an husbandman, and he planted a vineyard:

    Agriculture Scripture - Jeremiah 5:24 Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.

    Agriculture Scripture - Proverbs 27:23 Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, [and] look well to thy herds.

    Caring for the Vineyard Parable of the sluggard. A good indication of the care required in growing a vineyard may be derived by looking at this parable as given in the book of Proverbs. "I went by the field of the slothful, and by the vineyard of the man void of understanding; and, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down" (Proverbs 24:30, 31). The sluggard failed to keep his vineyard-wall in repair, and he failed to keep his growing vines free of thorns and weeds. These two activities are absolutely necessary. As in the case of raising a crop of grain, the native farmer does not usually fertilize the ground of his vineyard. Liming of the ground is dependent upon the many small and soft limestones so often present in Israel. Some of the lime in the stones is dissolved with each rainstorm, and mixing with the soil helps it in the growth of the grapes. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Children of the East Practice in Old Testament days. In the book of Judges, bands of desert people called "the Children of the East," were a constant menace to the Israelites. When these pastoral encampments neared the borders of agriculture, a raid would be planned against the harvest of Israel, or any of their flocks, herds, or other valuable goods. Scripture says of these people: "And so it was, when Israel had sown, that . . . the children of the east, even they came up against them; and they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth . . . and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass" (Judges 6:3, 4). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Early and Latter Rains The Israel grainfields are largely dependent upon the rain that falls, for their fruitfulness. No rain falls in the land from May to September. The former rain, spoken of in scripture, falls in the latter part of October or the first part of November usually. It is this rain that is the signal for the farmer to begin his ploughing and plant his seed. The Bible also speaks of the latter rain, which ordinarily falls in March and April, and it is this rain that is of so much value in maturing the barley and the wheat crops. The heavy winds come the latter part of December and during January and February. The prophecy of Joel mentions all three of these kinds of rain: "And he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month" (Joel 2:23). The word rain here means heavy, gushing rain that falls in winter months, and the rainy season starts with the former rain in the fall, and ends with the latter rain in the spring. Barley harvest is usually in April and May, and wheat harvest in May and June. Thus we see that Jeremiah was quite correct in his order of seasons in relation to the harvest time, when he said: "The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved" (Jeremiah 8:20). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Growing and Harvesting Grain THE NUMEROUS REFERENCES to the growth of grain, which are found in the law of Moses, indicate that it was expected that the Israelites would become an agricultural people after entering the land of Canaan, and that the cultivation of grain would become one of their chief industries. It is a remarkable fact that the methods used by them in growing and harvesting this crop are virtually the same as those that have been used by the Palestinian Arab peasants for centuries down to the present day. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Parable of the Sower Sowing as illustrated by the parable of JESUS. The process of sowing, and what happens to the seed, is well illustrated by the Parable of the Sower. No better picture could be given of the Oriental process of sowing the grain than that given by JESUS in this parable (Matthew 13:3-8; Mark 4:3-8; Luke 8:5-8). "Behold, a sower went forth to sow; and when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up" (Matthew 13:3, 4). Israel had few roads in the modern sense of the word until the Romans built their roads, and these only connected the most important places. Because traveling was either on foot, or by means of donkeys, or camels. a simple footpath was usually all that was necessary. These paths were given over to public use by ancient custom. If a farmer had such a path running across his land. he would plough the earth to the edge of the narrow path. but would leave it for the use of travelers. The Synoptic Gospels tell of JESUS and His disciples traveling in this manner through a grainfield (Matthew 12:1; Mark 2:23; Luke 6:1). Hedges or fences were seldom erected along such a footpath. When the farmer scattered his seed, some was quite apt to fall on this "way." and not being covered by the plough soon enough, the birds would discover it and eat it. "Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away." (Matthew 13:5, 6). The thought here is not of a soil that is mingled with stones. but rather a thin layer of mould covering a rock. Under such conditions, the grain would spring up quickly. but lacking depth of root. would be scorched by the sun. and fail to mature. "And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them." In Israel and Syria, there are many thornbushes present that are apt to grow adjoining the grainfields. and some of them will spring up in the midst of the grain. The native farmer uses these thornbushes in the summer for the outdoor fires for cooking the meals. Hence he is not so careful to get rid of them in the near vicinity. and so some of these will choke the wheat or barley shoots. "But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit. some an hundredfold: some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold." The native farmers of Bible lands often have poor returns on the seed they sow, because their methods are primitive. But there are instances of good crops in modern times. George Mackie, who was a missionary to Syria, has said: "The soil is in many places exceedingly fertile, and the return corresponds to the standard cited in the parable." When Isaac farmed in the rich Negeb section of Southern Canaan. Scripture says: "Then Isaac sowed in that land, and received in the same year an hundredfold" (Genesis 26:12). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Ploughing PREPARING THE SOIL FOR THE CROP Ploughing. The ploughing of the ground in Oriental fashion is quite primitive. The plough, which at best is a slight implement, can be carried if necessary two miles to the farmer's place of work. Of course by comparison with modern ploughs, it could be said merely to scratch the surface at the soil. The ploughman holds the one handle of the plough with one of his hands, while he carries the goad in the other hand, with which to prod the animals. JESUS said, "No man, having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God" (Luke 9:62). He described the operation accurately in saying hand, i.e. one hand, rather than two hands, as is the case with a Western farmer. It would be fatal for the Palestinian farmer to look back, because his implement is so light that the worker often has to press down with all his weight upon it to keep it from leaving the furrow.8 The Eastern farmers will sometimes plough together, each man having his own plough and team of oxen, and one following close behind the preceding one. This sort of farmer's club is adopted as a protection from roving Bedouin robbers, and also because co-operation is desired when the wheat farms are large. Thus Elisha was found ploughing with eleven other ploughmen and a total of twenty-four oxen (I Kings 19:19). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Ploughing After the Rain Getting ready for ploughing. The farmer gets ready for ploughing after the first rain starts falling, if he has not already done so before. He will spend the time making sure that his plough is in good repair and ready for action. He may need to cut and point a new goad to use in prodding his team of oxen. He must also see to it that his yoke is smooth and fits the necks of the animals. An ill-shaped or heavy yoke would gall them. The LORD JESUS spoke of "the easy yoke" promised to His obedient followers (Matthew 11:30). When the ground has been softened sufficiently by the rain, then the ploughing can begin. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Potter Scripture - Isaiah 64:8 But now, O LORD, thou [art] our father; we [are] the clay, and thou our potter; and we all [are] the work of thy hand.

    Preparing the Soil The soil prepared for planting. The ground for hillside vineyards is not usually ploughed on account of its rocky character. Rather is the more arduous method of hoeing or spading by hand used. Isaiah pictures the process of cultivation the soil in the words, "and he fenced [digged] it" (Isaiah 5:2). If the farmer in charge of the vineyard does not have a small vineyard, he will probably need to have some workmen to help him, as was the case of the householder in CHRIST's Parable of the Laborers in the Vineyard (Matthew 20:1-3), and in such a case it is to the marketplace that he will go to secure his workers. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Sowing Seed How and when the seed is sown. The farmer usually carries his seed to his field in a large sack on the back of his donkey. and then the leather bag which he carries under his arm is replenished with seed from the sack.13 As a rule, the seed is scattered broadcast on the ground, and then it is covered over by the ploughing. Often the sower walks along, scattering his seed, and then one of his family, or a servant if he has one, follows directly with the plough. The Biblical word "to sow" as used in the Pentateuch (Genesis 26:12; Leviticus 25:3, etc.), means "to scatter seed." [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Vineyards on Hills Hillsides often used. Although vineyards are to be found in various locations in Israel, it has been customary during past years for the hillsides to be utilized for the purpose, or the ground at the foot of a hill that slopes gently. Grapevines like a sandy or loose soil. They need plenty of sunshine and air by day, and dew by night, and their roots will penetrate deep crevices of rock to get nourishment. It was "in a very fruitful hill" that Isaiah's vineyard grew (Isaiah 5:1). [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]

    Waiting for Rain Before Ploughing PRELIMINARY PREPARATION FOR PLANTING THE GRAIN Waiting for rain before beginning to plough. In Israel, ploughing is done after the early rains have softened the earth (cf. Psalm 65:10). These rains usually come the latter part of October or the first part of November. If they do not come then, the farmer must wait for them before he can plough his ground. Job said, "They waited for me as for the rain" (Job 29:23). Jeremiah described lack of rain thus: "There was no rain in the earth, the ploughmen were ashamed, they covered their heads" (Jeremiah 14:4). Once the rain has come, the industrious farmer will start his ploughing. "The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold" (Proverbs 20:4). Such a man will retreat into his home and enjoy the warmth of his fire, but he will miss the harvest. Dr. Thomson tells of one year when the farmers waited until the month of February for sufficient rain to enable them to plough the ground for the grain crop. The harvest came late, but was abundant. [Manners And Customs of Bible Lands]