Threshing (prop. הוּשׁ; but sometimes הַדרַיך, to tread out, ἀλοάειν; and occasionally חָבִט). The Hebrews made use of three different-processes for separating the grain from the stalk (comp. Isa 28:27 sq.), an operation always carried on in the open air. SEE STRAW.
1. In the earliest period, and even later for small quantities, especially in the former part of the harvest season, and for the frailer kinds of grain, the seed was beaten out with sticks (חָבִט, Sept. ῥαβδίζειν). This was a process applied to other agricultural products (Jerome, ad Isaiah loc. cit.), as well as to field grain (Jg 6:11;. Ruth 2, 17; Isa 28:27; comp. Columel. 2, 21; Strabo, 4:201). It is a method still in use in the East (Robinson, 2, 650; 3, 233). SEE HARVEST.
2. Usually, however, horned cattle (Mishna, Shebiith, 5, 8, as still in Egypt, Arabia, and Syria), seldom asses or (in modern times) horses (Shaw, p. 124; Buckingham, p. 288), were driven around, usually yoked in pairs or several abreast, and these, by means of their hoofs (Mic 4:13), cut up and separated the chaff and straw from the grain (Isa 28:28; Jer 50:11; Ho 10:11; comp. Varro, De Re Rust. 1, 51; Homer, 11. 20:495 sq.; Pliny, 18:72). So also in ancient Egypt (Wilkinson, 2nd ser. 1, 87, 90). SEE THRESHING-FLOOR.
3. The most, effectual method of threshing was by means of threshing- machines (מוֹרִג חִרוּוֹ [Arab. noraj], or simply חָרוּוֹ, Isa 28:27; Isa 41:15; Job 41:22; also בִּרקָן, Jg 8:7,16; see Gesen. Thesaur. p. 244; τρίβολον, tribulum, Pliny, 18:72; Talm. טריבל). These consisted sometimes of a wooden plank (trahea, or traha) set with sharp stones or iron points, which was dragged over the sheaves (Rashi, on Isaiah 41:15; comp. Varro, 1, 52; Columel. 2, 21; Virgil, Georg. 1, 164), sometimes of a sort of cart or wheeled sledge (plostellum Phanicum; comp. Jerome, ad Isaiah 25:10, and 28:27). Such a wagon is mentioned in Isa 28:27 sq. (אוֹפִן עֲגָלָה and גִּלגִּל עֲגָלָה). SEE THRESHING- INSTRUMENT.
Cattle were used for this vehicle, as usually still among the Arabians (Wellsted, 1, 194); and the Mosaic law forbade the yoking-together of various kinds of beasts, as well as the muzzling of the animals (De 25:4; Josephus, Ant. 4:8, 21; 1Co 9:9; Talmud, Kelim, 16:7; comp. Elian, Anim. 4:25), a usage prevalent among the ancient Egyptians and other nations (Bochart, Hieroz. 1, 401; comp. Michaelis, Mos. Recht, 3, 130). SEE MUZZLE.
Threshing is frequently employed by the Hebrew poets as a figure of the divine or providential chastisements, especially national invasion (Isa 41:15; Jer 51:33; Mic 4:13; Hab 3:12). In one passage (Isa 21:10), the bruised grain is made an image of the captive Jews. See generally Schöttgen, Triturce et Fullonice Antiquitates (Tr. ad Rh. 1727; Lips. 1763); Paulsen, Ackersbau, p. 110 sq. SEE AGRICULTURE.