Sower, Sowing

Sower, Sowing (usually some form of זָרִע, zara, σπείρω). The operation of sowing with the hand is one of so simple a character as to need little description. The Egyptian paintings furnish many illustrations of the mode in which it was conducted. The sower held the vessel or basket containing the seed in his left hand, while with his right he scattered the seed broadcast (Wilkinson, Anc. Egqypt. 2, 12, 18, 39). The "drawing out" of the seed is noticed, as the most characteristic action of the sower, in Ps 126:6 (A.V. "precious") and Am 9:13: it is uncertain whether this expression refers to drawing out the handful of seed from the basket, or to the dispersion of the seed in regular rows over the ground (Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 827). In some of the Egyptian paintings the sower is represented as preceding-the plough: this may be simply the result of bad perspective, but we are told that such a practice actually prevails in the East in the case of sandy soils, the plough serving the purpose of the harrow for covering the seed (Russell, Aleppo, 1, 74). In wet soils the seed was trodden in by the feet of animals (Isa 32:20), as represented in Wilkinson's Anc. Egypt. 2, 12. The sowing season commenced in October and continued to the end of February, wheat being put in before and barley after-the beginning of January (Russell, Aleppo, 1, 74). The Mosaic law prohibited the sowing of mixed seed (Le 19:19; De 22:9): Josephus (Ant. 4, 8, 20) supposes this prohibition to be based on the re pugnancy of nature to intermixture, but there would appear to be a further object of a moral character, viz to impress on men's minds the general lesson of purity The regulation offered a favorable opportunity for Rabbinical refinement, the results of which are embodied it the treatise of the Mishna entitled Kilaim, § 1-3. That the ancient Hebrews did not consider themselves prohibited from planting several kinds of seeds in the same field appears from Isa 28:25. A distinction is made in Le 11:37-38, between dry and wet seed, in respect to contact with a corpse; the latter, as being more susceptible of contamination, would be rendered unclear thereby, the former would not. The analogy between the germination of seed and the effects of a principle of a course of action on the human character for good or for evil is frequently noticed in Scripture (Pr 11:18; Mt 13:19,24; 2Co 9:6; Ga 6:7). SEE AGRICULTURE.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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