FIELD. The biblical “field” was usually not enclosed, but marked off from its neighbors by stone markers at the corners and sometimes one or two along the sides. Because they were unenclosed, and because of normally unsettled conditions, a watchman was often employed, especially when the crop was nearing maturity. Besides the danger of human intruders, there might be danger from straying cattle or even of cattle driven by rustlers (Exod.22.5), and of fire if a Samson (Judg.15.5) or an angry Absalom (2Sam.14.30) were about. The word is used also in a larger sense for “territory,” as in Gen.36.35 (kjv), where “the country of Moab” (niv) is intended; and as in the parable of the tares (Matt.13.38), where “the field is the world.” Many of the ancient “fields” were the habitat of wild animals (Ps.80.13).

The separate plots of ground were marked off by stones, which might easily be removed (Deut 19:14), not by fences of any kind. Flocks and herds therefore constantly had to be watched. Fields sometimes received names after remarkable events, as Helkath-Hazzurim (“the field of swords”), or from the use to which they may have been applied, as “Fuller’s Field” (Isa 7:3) and “potter’s field” (Matt 27:7). See Agriculture.

See also

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