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American Tract Society Bible Dictionary


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Was anciently and is still performed in the East, sometimes with a flail,

Ruth 2:17 Isaiah 28:27; sometimes by treading out the grain with unmuzzled oxen, Deuteronomy 25:4 , but more generally by means of oxen dragging an uncouth instrument over the sheaves of grain. See CORN .

The instrument most used in Palestine at this time is simply two short planks fastened side by side and turned up in front, like our common stone-sledge, having sharp stones or irons projecting from the under side, Isaiah 28:27 41:15 Amos 1:3 . The Egyptian mode is thus described by Niebuhr: "They use oxen, as the ancients did, to beat out their corn, by trampling upon the sheaves, and dragging after them a clumsy machine. This machine is not, as in Arabia, a stone cylinder, nor a plank with sharp stones, as in Syria, but a sort of sledge, consisting of three rollers fitted with irons, which turn upon axles. A farmer chooses out a level spot in his fields, and has his corn carried thither in sheaves, upon asses or dromedaries. Two oxen are then yoked in a sledge; a driver gets upon it, and drives them backward and forward upon the sheaves; and fresh oxen succeed in the yoke from time to time." By this operation, the straw is gradually chopped fine and the grain released. Meanwhile the whole is repeatedly turned over by wooden pitchforks with three or more prongs, and in due time thrown into a heap in the center of the floor. The machine thus described is called a moreg, and answers to the Hebrew morag mentioned in 2 Samuel 24:22 1 Chronicles 21:23 .

When the grain is well loosened from the straw by the treading of oxen, with or without one of the instruments above mentioned, the whole heap is next thrown with forks several yards against the wind, which blowing away the chaff, the grain falls into a heap by itself, 2 Kings 13:7; and if necessary, the process is repeated. For this purpose the threshing-floors are in the open air, Judges 6:37 , and often on high ground, like that of Araunah on Mount Moriah, 1 Chronicles 21:15 , that the wind may aid more effectually in winnowing the grain, Jeremiah 4:11-12 , which is afterwards sometimes passed through a sieve for farther cleansing. The ground is prepared for use as a threshing-floor by being smoothed off, and beaten down hard. While the wheat was carefully garnered, the straw and chaff were gathered up for fuel; a most instructive illustration of the day of judgment, Matthew 3:12 .

Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of the topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859.

Bibliography Information
Rand, W. W. Entry for 'Threshing'. American Tract Society Bible Dictionary. 1859.

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