Sower; Sowing

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

Cereal seeds were sown by hand
(Psa. 126:66He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him. (Psalm 126:6); Amos 9:1313Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. (Amos 9:13); Mark 4:3-293Hearken; Behold, there went out a sower to sow: 4And it came to pass, as he sowed, some fell by the way side, and the fowls of the air came and devoured it up. 5And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth: 6But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away. 7And some fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up, and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. 8And other fell on good ground, and did yield fruit that sprang up and increased; and brought forth, some thirty, and some sixty, and some an hundred. 9And he said unto them, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10And when he was alone, they that were about him with the twelve asked of him the parable. 11And he said unto them, Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables: 12That seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them. 13And he said unto them, Know ye not this parable? and how then will ye know all parables? 14The sower soweth the word. 15And these are they by the way side, where the word is sown; but when they have heard, Satan cometh immediately, and taketh away the word that was sown in their hearts. 16And these are they likewise which are sown on stony ground; who, when they have heard the word, immediately receive it with gladness; 17And have no root in themselves, and so endure but for a time: afterward, when affliction or persecution ariseth for the word's sake, immediately they are offended. 18And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, 19And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful. 20And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred. 21And he said unto them, Is a candle brought to be put under a bushel, or under a bed? and not to be set on a candlestick? 22For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad. 23If any man have ears to hear, let him hear. 24And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given. 25For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath. 26And he said, So is the kingdom of God, as if a man should cast seed into the ground; 27And should sleep, and rise night and day, and the seed should spring and grow up, he knoweth not how. 28For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear. 29But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come. (Mark 4:3‑29)). In moist ground seeds were tramped in by cattle (Isa. 32:2020Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass. (Isaiah 32:20)). Mixed seeds prohibited (Lev. 19:1919Ye shall keep my statutes. Thou shalt not let thy cattle gender with a diverse kind: thou shalt not sow thy field with mingled seed: neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woollen come upon thee. (Leviticus 19:19); Deut. 22:99Thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds: lest the fruit of thy seed which thou hast sown, and the fruit of thy vineyard, be defiled. (Deuteronomy 22:9)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

Besides the common reference to agriculture (for which see SEASONS), sowing is used symbolically for spreading the gospel, as in the parable of the Sower, of which the Lord graciously gave His own explanation. When He came to Israel He found no fruit, and He became the Sower, and sowed the good seed, which fell upon different descriptions of ground, with varied results, as the Lord explains. Notwithstanding the influence of Satan to hinder any seed taking root, some fell upon good ground (not good by nature, but prepared by God), and fruit was the result (Matt. 13:3-433And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow; 4And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: 5Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: 6And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. 7And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: 8But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. 9Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. 10And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? 11He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. 12For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. 13Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. 14And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 15For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. 17For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them. 18Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. 19When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. 20But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; 21Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended. 22He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful. 23But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field: 25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way. 26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also. 27So the servants of the householder came and said unto him, Sir, didst not thou sow good seed in thy field? from whence then hath it tares? 28He said unto them, An enemy hath done this. The servants said unto him, Wilt thou then that we go and gather them up? 29But he said, Nay; lest while ye gather up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. 30Let both grow together until the harvest: and in the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, Gather ye together first the tares, and bind them in bundles to burn them: but gather the wheat into my barn. 31Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: 32Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof. 33Another parable spake he unto them; The kingdom of heaven is like unto leaven, which a woman took, and hid in three measures of meal, till the whole was leavened. 34All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake he not unto them: 35That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world. 36Then Jesus sent the multitude away, and went into the house: and his disciples came unto him, saying, Declare unto us the parable of the tares of the field. 37He answered and said unto them, He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; 38The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; 39The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. 40As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. 41The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; 42And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. 43Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear. (Matthew 13:3‑43)). Whenever the gospel is preached, the seed is being sown, and doubtless falls upon different sorts of ground as in the parable. Blessed are they that sow beside all waters: God’s servant will reap if he does not faint.

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Isaiah 32:2020Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass. (Isaiah 32:20). Blessed are ye that sow beside all waters, that send forth thither the feet of the ox and the ass.
There are two different opinions in reference to what customs are alluded to in this verse. Some think reference is made to the fields which are irrigated by artificial means (see note on Psa. 1:33And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper. (Psalm 1:3), #426) and to the practice of covering the seeds by plowing instead of by harrowing. The seed is sown in the irrigated fields, and the ox and the ass are used to draw the plow through the soil. Though oxen and asses were used for plowing (see Isa. 30:2020And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity, and the water of affliction, yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more, but thine eyes shall see thy teachers: (Isaiah 30:20)) it was forbidden to plow with them together. See Deuteronomy 22:1010Thou shalt not plow with an ox and an ass together. (Deuteronomy 22:10).
Others suppose reference to be made to the method of planting rice. Chardin says: “They sow it upon the water; and before sowing it, and while the earth is covered with water, they cause the ground to be trodden by oxen, horses, and asses, who go mid-leg deep, and this is the way of preparing the ground for sowing” (Harmer's Observations, vol.1, p. 477).