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the corn and bound it up in sheaves, but when it was carried off: they might choose also among the poor, whom they thought most worthy, or most necessitous. The conclusion of the harvest, or carrying home the last load, was with the Jews a season of joyous festivity, and was celebrated with a harvest feast. (Psal. cxxvi. 6. Isa. ix. 3. xvi. 9, 10.) The corn, being cut and carried in waggons or carts (Numb. vii. 3-8. Isa. v. 8. xxviii. 27, 28. Amos ii. 13.), was either laid up in stacks (Exod. xxii. 6.) or barns (Matt. vi. 26. xiii. 30. Luke xiii. 18. 24.); and, when threshed out, was stored in granaries or garners. (Psal. xliv. 13. Matt. iii. 12.) David had storehouses in the fields, in the cities, and in the villages, and in the castles. (1 Chron. xxvii. 25.)
IV. After the grain was carried into the barn, the next concern was to thresh or beat the corn out of the ear, which process was performed in various ways. Sometimes it was done by horses (Isa. xxviii. 28.), and by oxen, that trod out the corn with their hoofs shod with brass. (Mich. iv. 12, 13.) This mode of threshing is expressly referred to by Hosea (x. 11.), and in the prohibition of Moses against muzzling the ox that treadeth out the corn (Deut. xxv. 4.), and it obtains in Persia1 and India to this day, where oxen are employed; as buffaloes are in Ceylon, asses in North Africa, and horses in Crim Tartary.3 Another mode of threshing was, by drawing a loaded cart with wheels, over the corn, backwards and forwards; so that the wheels running over it, forcibly shook out the grain (Isa. xxviii. 28.): but the most common mode appears to have been that which is in use in this country, viz. by flails. Thus the fitches are said to be beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. In this manner Gideon and Araunah or Ornan threshed out their wheat (Judg. vi. 11. 1 Chron. xxi. 20.); for it is represented as their own personal action.
The threshing floors were places of great note among the antient Hebrews, particularly that of Araunah the Jebusite, which was the spot of ground chosen by king David on which to build the altar of God (2 Sam. xxiv. 25.), and this was the very place where the temple of Solomon was afterwards erected. (2 Chron. iii. 1.) These floors were covered at the top, to keep off the rain, but lay open on all sides, that the wind might come in freely, for the winnowing of the corn; which being done, they were shut up at night, with doors fitted to them, that if any body lay there, he might be kept warm, and the corn be secured from the danger of robbers (Ruth iii. 6.); the time of winnowing, or separating the corn from the chaff, was in the evening, when the heat of the day was over, and cool breezes began to rise; for this purpose, they had the same implements which are
in common use; for Isaiah speaks of winnowing with the shovel, and with the fan (Isa. xxx. 24.), and God pronounces by his prophet Amos, that he will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve; yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (Amos ix. 9.)
After the corn was thus threshed, it was dried either in the sun, or by a fire, or in a furnace. This is called parched corn (Levit. xxiii. 14. 1 Sam. xvii. 17. and xxv. 18.), and was sometimes used in this manner for food without any farther preparation, but generally the parching or drying it, was in order to make it more fit for grinding. This process was performed either in mortars or mills, both of which are mentioned in Numb. xi. 8. And Solomon speaks of the former, when he compares the braying of a fool in a mortar to the like practice used with wheat. (Prov. xxvii. 22.) But mills were chiefly employed for this purpose; and they were deemed of such use and necessity, that the Israelites were strictly forbidden to take the nether or upper mill-stone in pledge; the reason of which is added, because this was taking a man's life in pledge (Deut. xxiv. 6.), intimating that while the mill ceases to grind, people are in danger of being starved.
The grinding at mills was accounted an inferior sort of work, and therefore prisoners and captives were generally put to it. To this work Samson was set, while he was in the prison-house. (Judg. xvi. 21.) There hand-mills were usually kept, by which prisoners earned their living. (Lam. v. 13.) The expression in Isa. xlvii. 2.-Take the mill-stones and grind meal,-is part of the description of a slave. In Barbary, most families grind their wheat and barley at home, having two portable mill-stones for that purpose; the uppermost of which is turned round by a small handle of wood or iron, that is placed in the rim. When this stone is large, or expedition is required, a second person is called in to assist: and it is in that country usual for the women alone to be thus employed, who seat themselves over against each other with the mill-stones between them. This practice illustrates the propriety of the expression of sitting behind the mill (Exod. xi. 5.), and also the declaration of our Lord, that two women shall be grinding at the mill; the one shall be taken and the other left. (Matt. xxiv. 41.) From Jer. xxv. 10. and Rev. xviii. 22., it appears that those who were occupied in grinding beguiled their laborious task by singing, as the Barbary women continue to do to this day.
The sacred poets derive many beautiful images from the rural and domestic economy of the Jews; and as the same pursuits were cherished and followed by the Jews during the manifestation of our Redeemer, it is natural to imagine that in the writings of Jews there must occur frequent allusions to the implements and arts of agriculture, and to those rustic occupations which in general formed the study and exercise of this nation. Hence the beautiful images
1 Dr. Shaw's Travels in Barbary, vol. i. p. 416.
and apt similitudes in the following passages. No one having put his hand to the PLOUGH and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.-Ye are God's HUSBANDRY, or cultivated field.'—A workman, that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly DIVIDING the word of truth.-Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the ingrafted word. Whatsoever a man SOWETH, that shall he REAP: he that sowETH to the flesh-lives a sensual life, shall from the flesh REAP destruction, but he that SOWETH to the spirit,-lives a rational life,-shall from the spirit REAP everlasting life.-Consider the ravens, they sow not, neither do they REAP, or gather into barns, yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. -I am the good SHEPHERD, and know my SHEEP, and am known of mine. The sheep hear his voice, and he calleth his own sheep by name (John x. 3.) ;3 and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him, for they know not the voice of strangers. (John x. 45.)
-Fear not, LITTLE FLOCK, it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. How strikingly is the parable of the sower, which, by seed, scattered promiscuously, and in every direction by an husbandman, and meeting a various fate according to the respective nature of the soil into which it fell, represents the different reception which Gospel doctrine would experience in the world, according to the different dispositions and principles of that mind into which it was admitted! He that soweth the GOOD SEED, is the son of man; the FIELD is the world; the GOOD SEED are the children of the kingdom; the TARES are the children of the wicked one; the enemy that SOWED them is the devil; the HARVEST is the end of the world; and the RFAPERS are the angels. As therefore the TARES are gathered and burnt in the fire, so shall it be in the end of the world.-Whose FAN is in his hand, and he will thoroughly PURGE his FLOOR, and GATHER his WHEAT into the GARNER, but he will BURN UP the CHAFF with UNQUENCHABLE FIRE. By what an apt and awful similitude does St. Paul represent God's rejection of the Jews and admission of the heathens, by the boughs of an olive being lopped off, and the scion of a young olive ingrafted into the old tree (Romans
1 1 Cor. iii. 9. 2 2 Tim. ii. 15. (Epyarny opdoroμovvra.) A beautiful and expressive image taken from a husbandman (epyarns) drawing his furrow even, and cutting the ground in a direct line.
3 He calleth his own sheep by name. By this allusion it appears that it was customary for the Jewish shepherds to give their sheep particular names, as we do our horses, cows, dogs, &c.
4 Polybius, speaking of the flocks in the island of Cyrmon, notices a practice which illustrates in a very striking manner the allusion of our Saviour. When any strangers land there, in order to lay hold of them, the sheep immediately run away: but when the shepherd blows his horn, they immediately run towards it. Nor, adds the historian, is it at all wonderful that they should thus obey the sound, since, in Italy, the keepers of swine do not observe the custom of Greece in following their herd; but, going before them to some distance, they sound their horn, and the herd immediately follow them, flocking to the sound; and so accustomed are they to their own horn, as to excite no little astonishment at the first hearing of it. Polybius, lib. xiv. pp. 654, 655. Hanoviæ, 1619.
xi. 17., &c.); and, continuing the same imagery, how strictly does he caution the Gentiles against insolently exulting over the mutilated branches, and cherishing the vain conceit that the boughs were lopped off merely that they might be ingrafted; for if God spared not the native branches, they had greater reason to fear lest he would not spare them; that they should remember that the Jews through their wilful disbelief of Christianity were cut off, and that they, the Gentiles, if they disgrace their religion, would in like manner forfeit the divine favour, and their present flourishing branches be also cut down. To inspire the Gentile Christians with humility, he concludes with assuring them that the Jewish nation, though they had experienced this severity of God, as he calls it, were not totally forsaken of the Almighty; that the branches, though cut down and robbed of their antient honours, were not abandoned to perish: when the Jews returned from their infidelity they would be ingrafted an omnipotent hand was still able to reinsert them into their original stock. For if thou, O heathen, the scion of an unfruitful wild olive, wert cut out of thy own native barren tree, and, by a process repugnant to the ordinary laws of nature, wert ingrafted into the fruitful generous olive-how much more will not those, who naturally belong to the antient stock, be, in future time, ingrafted into their own kindred olive! With what singular beauty and propriety is the gradual progress of religion in the soul, from the beginning to its maturity, represented by seed committed to a generous soil, which, after a few successions of day and night, imperceptibly vegetates-peeps above the surface-springs higher and higher-and spontaneously producing, first, the verdant blade-then the ear-afterwards the swelling grain, gradually filling the ear (Mark iv. 27, 28.); and when the time of harvest is come, and it is arrived at its maturity, it is then reaped and collected into the storehouse. Beautiful illustrations and images like these, taken from rural life, must seal the strongest impressions, particularly upon the minds of Jews, who were daily employed in these occupations, from which these pertinent similes and expressive comparisons were borrowed.
V. Palestine abounded with generous wine; and in some districts the grapes were of superior quality. The canton allotted to Judah was celebrated on this account; and it is perhaps with reference to this circumstance, that the venerable patriarch said of his son Judah,-He washed his garments IN WINE, and his clothes in the BLOOD OF GRAPES. (Gen. xlix. 11.) In this district were the vales of Sorek and of Eshcol; and the cluster which the Hebrew spies carried from this last place, was so large as to be carried on a staff between two of them (Numb. xiii. 23.); Lebanon (Hos. xiv. 7.), and Helbon (Ezek. xxvii. 18.), were likewise celebrated for their exquisite wines.
1 Seminis modo spargenda sunt, quod quamvis sit exiguum, cum occupavit idoneum locum, vires suas explicat, et ex minimo in maximos auctus diffunditur. Seneca Opera, tom. ii. epist. 38. p. 134. edit. Gronovii. 1672.
The Jews planted their vineyards most commonly on the south side of a hill or mountain, the stones being gathered out and the space hedged round with thorns or walled. (Isa. v. 1-6. compared with Psal. lxxx. and Matt. xxi. 33.) A good vineyard consisted of a thousand vines, and produced a rent of a thousand silverlings, or shekles of silver. (Isa. vii. 23.) It required two hundred more to pay the dressers. (Song of Solomon, viii. 11, 12.) In these the keepers and vine-dressers laboured, digging, planting, pruning, and propping the vines, gathering the grapes, and making wine. This was at once a laborious task, and often reckoned a base one. (2 Kings xxv. 12. Song of Solomon i. 6. Isa. xli. 5.) Some of the best vineyards were at Engedi, or perhaps at Baal-hamon, which might not be far distant, and at Sibmah. (Eccles. ii. 4. Song of Solomon i. 14. viii. 11. Isa. xvi. 9.) Vines also were trained upon the walls of the houses. (Psal. cxxviii. 3.) The vines with the tender grapes gave a good smell early in the spring (Song of Solomon ii. 13.), as we learn also, from Isa. xviii. 5. afore the harvest, that is, the barley harvest, when the bud is perfect, and the sour grape is ripening in the flower.
"The vintage followed the wheat harvest and the threshing (Levit. xxvi. 5. Amos ix. 13.), about June or July, when the clusters of the grapes were gathered with a sickle, and put into baskets (Jerem. vi. 9.), carried and thrown into the wine-vat, or wine-press, where they were probably first trodden by men and then pressed. (Rev. xiv. 18-20.) It is mentioned, as a mark of the great work and power of the Messiah, I have trodden the figurative wine-press alone; and of the people there was none with me. (Isa. Ixiii. 3.; see also Rev. xix. 15.) The vintage was a season of great mirth. Of the juice of the squeezed grapes were formed wine and vinegar. The wines of Helbon,2 near Damascus, and of Lebanon, where the vines had a fine sun, were reckoned most excellent. (Ezek. xxvii. 18. Hos. xiv. 7.) The wines of Canaan being very heady, were commonly mixed with water for common use, as the Italians do theirs; and sometimes they scented them with frankincense, myrrh, calamus, and other spices (Prov. ix. 2. 5. Song of Solomon viii. 2.); they also scented their wine with pomegranates, or made wine of their juice, as we do of the juice of currants, gooseberries, &c. fermented with sugar. Wine is best when old and on the lees, the dregs having sunk to
1 The same mode of culture is practised in Persia to this day. Mr. Morier has given an engraving on wood illustrative of this custom, which beautifully eluci dates the patriarch Jacob's comparison of Joseph to a fruitful bough, whose branches run over the wall. (Gen. xlix. 22.) Second Journey, p. 232. In the route between Jerusalem and the convent of Saint Elias, (which is situated about an hour's distance from that city,) Mr. Buckingham was particularly struck with the appearance of several small and detached square towers in the midst of the vinelands. These, his guide informed him, were used as watch-towers, whence watchmen to this day look out, in order to guard the produce of the lands from depredation. This fact will explain the use and intention of the tower, mentioned in Matt. xxi. 33. and Mark xii. 1.
2 At one time the wine of Helbon (which place Strabo terms Chalybon) was held in such repute, that it was appropriated exclusively to the use of the kings of Persia. Strabon. Geographia, tom. ii. p. 1043. edit. Oxon.