In Scripture frequent mention is made of the husbandman and his work. Ploughing the land, sowing the seed, reaping the harvest, and winnowing the grain are often referred to. Our picture shows an Eastern husbandman ploughing. How different it is to ploughing in our own land! There is no coulter
; and instead of the broad steel plough-share
we see a pointed piece of wood. And the long handles with which our labourers guide their ploughs -- where are they? The strong horses, too, harnessed one behind the other, are missing. Yes! none of these were used in Canaan. Small oxen drew the plough; and the husbandman guided it by means of a single handle, as we see him doing in the picture. Thus their method of ploughing was a slow one, and unless the land had been very good their harvests would have been poor.
Often these husbandmen had to wait until the rain made the ground soft enough for their ploughs to enter it, consequently many had to toil in cold, stormy, winter weather. To this the proverb alludes which says: |The sluggard will not plough by reason of the cold; therefore shall he beg in harvest, and have nothing.| (Prov. xx.4.)
Perhaps it was just such a plough, drawn by just such oxen as we see in our picture, that Elisha was using when Elijah passed by and cast his mantle upon him; thereby calling Elisha to be his servant and successor. We are told that Elisha |took a yoke of oxen, and slew them, and boiled their flesh with the instruments of the oxen, and gave unto the people, and they did eat. Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.|
[Illustration: PLOUGHING IN CANAAN.]