Manure Although the Scriptures do not furnish us with many details respecting the state of agriculture in Judaea, yet we may collect from various passages many interesting hints that will enable us to form some idea of the high state of its cultivation. SEE AGRICULTURE. It is not probable that the Hebrews derived their knowledge of manures from Egypt, but they doubtless adopted and preserved the customs which existed among the previous inhabitants of the country. In the parable of the fig-tree which had for three years been barren, and which the proprietor therefore doomed to be cut down, the gardener is represented as praying for delay, until he should "dig about it and dung it" (Lu 13:7). To explain this, Lightfoot quotes the following from the Talmud: "They lay dung to moisten and enrich the soil; dig about the roots of trees; pluck up the seckers; take off the leaves; sprinkle ashes; and smoke under the trees to kill vermin." In addition to the various modes of irrigation, the soil was likewise enriched by means of ashes; to which were added the straw (תֵּבֶן, teben), stubble (קִשׁ, kash husks, or chaff (מוֹוֹ, mois), together with the brambles and grass that overspread the land during the sabbatical year; all being reduced by fire and used as manure (Pr 24:31; Isa 7:23; Isa 32:13). The burning over the surface of the land had also another good effect, that of destroying the seeds of noxious herbs (Jahn, Bibl. Arch. § 57). Dunghills are mentioned in 1Sa 2:8; Ezr 6:11; Da 2:5; Da 3:29, and one of the gates at Jerusalem was called the Dung-gate. from dung being carried out there (Ne 2:13). That the soil was manured with dung, we learn from 2Ki 9:37; Ps 83:10; Jer 8:2; Jer 9:22; Jer 16:4; Jer 25:33; Lu 14:35. The Israelites had comparatively few horses and few swine, two sources of excellent strong manure. Their animals consisted chiefly of oxen, camels, asses, sheep, and goats. The dung of the cow and camel was used to a considerable extent for fuel, and the dung of the sacrifices was directed to be burned — circumstances calculated to diminish the supply. That salt was used for manure we learn from Mt 5:13 and Lu 14:34-35, and it would appear that salt was sometimes sown by itself on the land, at others mixed in the dunghill. From the Talmud we learn that a dunghill in a public place exposed the owner to the payment of whatever damage it might occasion, a an any person might remove it as a nuisance. Dung might not, during the seventh year, be transported to the neighborhood of the fields intended to be manured. Under certain restrictions it was, however, permitted to fold cattle, for the sake of their manure, upon the lands that required it in the sabbatic year, and it is from this only we learn that the practice existed among the Jews, who would seem more generally to have folded their sheep within walled enclosures (Joh 10:1-5), the occasional clearance of which must have afforded a principal supply of manure. It would seem that gardens, except a few old rose-gardens, were not allowed within the walls of Jerusalem, on account of the manure they would have required, and "because of the stench," as the Mishnah states, this produced, as well as because of that arising from the weeds thrown out from gardens. From another passage of the Talmud we are informed that the surplus blood of the sacrifices offered in the Temple, that is to say, the blood which was poured out at the foot of the altar, after the altar had been duly sprinkled, was conducted by a subterraneous channel to the outside of the city, and was sold to the gardeners as manure for their gardens; by which we are to understand that the gardeners were allowed to use it on paying the price of a trespass-offering, without which it could not be appropriated to any common use after having been dedicated at the altar. SEE DUNG.

"Man." topical outline.

Bible concordance for MANURE.

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