Field (usually שָׂדֶה, sadeh' [poetic שָׂדֵּי;saday'], ἄγρος; but occasionally אֶרֶוֹ, e'rets, land [Chald. בִּר, bar, open country], χώρα; הוּוֹ, chuts, out-doors; חֶלקָה, chelkah', a portion or plot, χωρίον; שׁדֵמָה, shedemah', a cultivated field, according to Gesenius and Furst from the context, in the plur. De 32:32; 2Ki 23:4; Isa 16:8; Jer 31:40; Hab 3:17; also יֶגֵב, fageb', an arable field, in the plur. Jer 39:10). The Hebrew sadeh is not adequately represented by our "field:" the two words agree in describing cultivated land, but they differ in point of extent, the sadeh being specifically applied to what is unenclosed, while the opposite notion of enclosure is involved in the word field, SEE DESERT. The essence of the Hebrew word has been variously taken to lie in each of these notions, Gesenius (Thesaurus, p. 1321) giving it the sense of freedom, Stanley (Palest. p. 484) that of smoothness, comparing arvum from arare. On the one hand sadeh is applied to any cultivated ground, whether pasture (Ge 29:2; Ge 31:4;

34:7; Ex 9:3), tillage (Ge 37:7; Ge 47:24; Ru 2:2-3; Job 24:6; Jer 26:18; Mic 3:12), woodland (1Sa 14:25, A. V. "ground;"' Ps 132:6), or mountain-top (Jg 9:32,36; 2Sa 1:21): and in some instances in marked opposition to the neighboring wilderness, as in the instance of Jacob settling in the field of Shechem (Ge 33:19), the field of Moab (Ge 36:35; Nu 21:20, A. V. "country;" Ru 1:1), and the vale of Siddim, i.e. of the cultivated fields, which formed the oasis of the Pentapolis (Ge 14:3,8), though a different sense has been given to the name (by Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 1321). On the other hand, the sadeh is frequently contrasted with what is enclosed, whether a vineyard (Ex 22:5; Le 25:3-4;. Nu 16:14; Nu 20:17; compare Nu 22:23; "the ass went into the field," with ver. 24, "a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side and a wall on that side"), a garden (the very name of which, גִּן, implies enclosure), or a walled town (De 28:3,16): unwalled villages or scattered houses ranked in the eye of the law as fields (Le 25:31), and hence the expression εἰςτοὐς ἀγροὐς = - houses in the fields (Vulg. in villas; Mr 6:36,56). In many passages the term implies what is remote from a house (Ge 4:8; Ge 24:63; De 22:25) or settled habitation, as in the case of Esau (Ge 25:27; the Sept., however, refers it to his character, ἄγροικος): this is more fully expressed by פּנֵי הִשָּׂדֶה, " the opez field" (Le 14:7,53; Le 17:5; Nu 19:16; 2Sa 11:11), with which is naturally coupled the notion of exposure and desertion (Jer 9:22; Eze 16:5; Eze 32:4; Eze 33:27; Eze 39:5). SEE MEADOW.

The separate plots of ground were marked off by stones, which might easily be removed (De 19:14; De 27:17; comp. Job 24:2; Pr 22:28; Pr 23:10); the absence of fences rendered the fields liable to damage from straying cattle (Ex 22:5) or fire (ver. 6; 2Sa 14:30); hence tile necessity of constantly watching flocks and herds, the people so employed being in the present day named Nature (Wortabet, Syria, i, 293). A certain amount of protection was gained by sowing the tallest and strongest of the grain crops on the outside: "spelt" appears to have been most commonly used for this purpose (Isa 28:25, as in the margin). From the absence of enclosures, cultivated land of any size might be termed a field, whether it were a piece of ground of limited area (Ge 23:13,17; Isa 5:8), a man's whole inheritance (Le 27:16 sq.; Ru 4:5; Jer 32:9,25 ;

Definition of field

Pr 27:26; Pr 31:16), the ager publicus of a town (Ge 41:48; Ne 12:29), as distinct, however, from the ground immediately adjacent to the walls of the Levitical cities, which was called מַגרָשׁ (A. V. "'suburbs"), and was deemed an appendage of the town itself (Jos 21:11-12), or, lastly, the territory of a people (Ge 14:7; Ge 32:3; Ge 36:35; Nu 21:20; Ru 1:6; Ru 4:3; 1Sa 6:1;. 27:7, 11). In 1Sa 27:5, "a town in the field" (Auth. Vers. "country")=a provincial town as distinct from the royal city. A plot of ground separated from a larger one was termed חֶלקִת שָׂדֶה (Ge 33:19; Ru 2:3; 1Ch 11:13), or simply חֶלקָה (2Sa 14:10; 23:12; comp. 2Sa 19:29). Fields occasionally received names after remarkable events, as Helkath-Hazzurim, the field of the strong men, or possibly of swords (2Sa 2:16), or from the use to which they may have been applied (2Ki 18:17; Isa 7:3; Mt 27:7). SEE LAND.

It should be observed that the expressions "fruitful field" (Isa 10:18; Isa 29:17; Isa 32:15-16) and "plentiful field" (Isa 16:10; Jer 48:33) are not connected with sadeh, but with karmel, meaning a park or well- kept wood, as distinct from. a .wilderness or a forest. The same term occurs in 2Ki 19:23, and Isa 37:24 (A.Vers. " Carmel"); Isa 10:18 ("forest)," and Jer 4:26 ("fruitful place"). SEE CARMEL. Distinct from this is the expression in Eze 17:5, שׂדֵהאּזֶרִע (AV. " fruitful field"), which means a field suited for planting suckers. SEE AGRICULTURE.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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