From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]


The three Greek words (ἀγρός, χώρα, χωρίον) rendered ‘field’ in the Gospels are distinguishable in meaning, and sometimes require more specific renderings. ἀγρος in general means ‘field’ in the sense of cultivated land, or open country thought of as subject to cultivation: e.g. ‘sowed good seed in his field’ ( Matthew 13:24), ‘lilies of the field ,’ ‘grass of the field’ ( Matthew 6:28;  Matthew 6:30), etc. χώρα denotes generally a region, or district of country, as ‘the region of Trachonitis’ ( Luke 3:1), ‘the country of the Gadarenes’ ( Mark 5:1); χωρίον is more distinctly locative, as ‘a place called Gethsemane’ ( Matthew 26:36), ‘the parcel of ground that Jacob gave to Joseph’ ( John 4:5), etc. But, on the other hand, we find ἀγρός used also of the country in distinction from the city ( Mark 5:14;  Mark 6:56,  Luke 8:34;  Luke 9:12;  Luke 23:26), χώρα used of fields of ripened grain, as in  John 4:35 ‘Look on the fields, for they are white’ (cf.  James 5:4 ‘who have reaped down your fields’); and where St. Matthew uses ἀγρός of ‘the field of blood’ ( Matthew 27:8), St. Luke uses χωρίον ( Acts 1:19).

A knowledge of certain peculiarities of the fields of Palestine is helpful to the full understanding of several of the parables of our Lord and some other passages in the Gospels. There are now, as there were of old, numerous fields in Palestine where ‘the lilies’ and many other flowers grow in gorgeous profusion without human care or culture, and where ‘the grass of the field,’ including fibrous weeds as well as shortlived flowers, when dried by the tropical sun, are still gathered as fuel, and used to heat ovens for baking bread (cf.  Matthew 6:28;  Matthew 6:30). The argument of the Master, drawn from ‘the grass of the field which to-day is and to-morrow is cast into the oven,’ still holds good, and still finds abundant illustration. It is true occasionally now, also, that after the owner of the land has ‘sowed good seed in his field,’ an enemy will in sheer spite creep in secretly and ‘sow tares,’ the noxions darnel ( Lolium temulentum ); but see Tares.

In Palestine, as in all unsettled countries, it was common, and in parts of the land it is still common, to resort to the field (the cultivated land or the open country) as a fit place in which to hide treasure (cf.  Matthew 13:44) In ancient times the land was peculiarly subject to revolutions, exposed to raids from wandering tribes, and, in some districts, liable to plunder from robbers at home. So, in the absence of safety vaults and the like, owners of treasure who feared robbery or thievery ( Matthew 25:25), or who were setting off on a journey to a distant country, would bury their money, jewellery, etc., in the field. Then, if the owner were killed in battle, or died in a far country, no one might know where his treasures were hid; and, according to usage, such valuables when found, if no owner appeared to claim them, belonged to the owner of the land—a fact which gives point to the parable of the Hid Treasure ( Matthew 13:44, cf.  Job 3:21,  Proverbs 2:4). Many persons are found digging for hid treasure in Egypt and Palestine to-day, and not a few spend their last farthing in the effort (cf. Thomson, L B [Note: The Land and the Book.] ii. p. 640).

In the parable of the Sower ( Matthew 13:4,  Mark 4:4,  Luke 8:5), where the Authorized Version has ‘some (seeds) fell by the wayside,’ the picture is really of grains of wheat or barley which fell on the trodden pathway leading across the field, and so were left exposed where the birds could see and devour them (cf.  Luke 8:5 ‘trodden under foot’). It is still common in Palestine to see flocks of birds following the peasant as he sows his seed, eagerly picking up every grain that is not covered by the quick-following harrow. And where it is said ‘some fell upon stony places’ (Authorized Version), the real allusion is to the underlying rock of limestone. The traveller finds numberless places where a broad, flat, limestone rock lies just beneath the surface of the field, with only a thin layer of earth upon it (cf.  Luke 8:6;  Luke 8:13 ‘the rock’). ‘Stony ground’ (Authorized Version, following early English versions) suggests a soil abounding in loose stones, such as is often found there producing good wheat; but the picture is rather of a soil into which the seeds could not sink deep, and, the film of earth being readily heated because of the underlying rock, they would come up sooner than elsewhere, and at first would look uncommonly flourishing; but, not being able to send roots deep into the moist earth (cf.  Luke 8:6), when the hot, dry weather came the stalks would wither, and thus show that the fair promise of a crop there had been deceptive (cf.  Psalms 129:6 ‘grass upon the house-tops’).

In the fields of Palestine, too, there are still found spots that are rich, but are peculiarly infested with briars and thorn-bushes, where one may see the wheat in scattered and spindling stalks struggling for life (cf.  Matthew 13:7). In  Mark 2:23 and  Luke 6:1 (Authorized Version) we have ‘corn-fields’ where the Gr. word (σπόριμα) is the same as in  Matthew 12:1, where it is rendered simply ‘corn,’—‘through the corn’ (after Tindale). It is literally ‘through the sown (places),’ i.e. the grain-fields, as Noyes and Bib. Un. Vers. render it, fields of wheat or barley, not of maize or Indian corn, of course. The picture is of Jesus and His disciples going along , either through the standing grain, or by a footpath which bounded the fields, the grain in either case being within easy reach. It was customary then, as it is now, in Palestine, for the lands of different owners to be separated, not by fences or walls, but usually only by crude individual stones set up at intervals on the surface of the ground as landmarks (cf.  Deuteronomy 19:14); and the roads, mere footpaths as a rule, were not distinct from the fields, as they are with us, but ran through them, so that the grain grew right up to the edge of the path. We are not meant to think of Jesus and His disciples as going ruthlessly through the fields and trampling down the grain, but as following one of these paths over or between the fields. But neither plucking the ears of wheat to eat, nor even walking across a pathless field, was, according to Jewish ideas (cf.  Deuteronomy 23:25), a violation of the rights of property any more than it is to-day among the Arabs. It was not of this, but of Sabbath-breaking, that the Pharisees complained.

Geo. B. Eager.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [2]

Śâdeh ( שָׂדַי , Strong'S #7704), “field; country; domain [of a town].” Śâdeh has cognates in Akkadian, Phoenician, Ugaritic, and Arabic. It appears in biblical Hebrew about 320 times and in all periods.

This word often represents the “open field” where the animals roam wild. That is its meaning in its first biblical appearance: “And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth …” (Gen. 2:5). Thus, “Esau was a cunning hunter, a man of the field; and Jacob was a plain man, dwelling in tents” (Gen. 25:27). A city in the “open field” was unfortified; David wisely asked Achish for such a city, showing that he did not intend to be hostile (1 Sam. 27:5). Dwelling in an unfortified city meant exposure to attack.

Śâdeh represents the “fields surrounding a town” (Josh. 21:12; cf. Neh. 11:25). “Arable land,” land that is either cultivated or to be cultivated, is also signified by śâdeh  : “If it be your mind that I should bury my dead out of my sight; hear me, and entreat for me to Ephron the son of Zohar, that he may give me the cave of Machpelah, which he hath, which is in the end of his field …” (Gen. 23:8-9). The entirety of one’s cultivated or pasture land is called his “field”: “And the king [David] said unto him [Mephibosheth], Why speakest thou any more of thy matters? I have said, Thou and Ziba divide the land [previously owned by Saul]” (2 Sam. 19:29).

Sometimes particular sections of land are identified by name: “And after this, Abraham buried Sarah his wife in the cave of the field of Machpelah before Mamre …” (Gen. 23:19).

Śâdeh ( שָׂדַי , Strong'S #7704), “open field.” Śâdeh occurs 12 times, only in poetical passages. Deut. 32:13 is the first biblical appearance: “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; …”

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

Sadeh in Hebrew implies cultivated land (as field is derived from felling trees), but unenclosed; whereas the English "field" implies enclosure. In contrast to the adjoining wilderness ( Genesis 33:19;  Genesis 36:35). The Sadeh is contrasted with what is enclosed, as a vineyard ( Numbers 22:23-24) or a city ( Deuteronomy 28:3;  Deuteronomy 28:16). Unwalled villages were counted by the law as "the fields of the country" ( Leviticus 25:31). "Field" means the open country, apart from habitations, in  Genesis 25:27;  Genesis 37:15. Stones marked off separate plots; to remove these landmarks entailed the curse ( Deuteronomy 27:17). The lack of fences exposed the fields to straying cattle ( Exodus 22:5) or fire ( 2 Samuel 14:30).

Hence, the need of watchers, now named Nator . The rye or spelled was placed "in its (the field's) border" ( Isaiah 28:25). The wheat was put in the middle, the best and safest place, and the several other grains in their own place. The tallest and strongest grain outside formed a kind of fence. "A town in the country (field)" is a provincial town, as distinguished from the royal city ( 1 Samuel 27:5). "Fruitful field" is a distinct word, Carmel. (See Carmel .) Another term, Mareh , "meadows," is a naked treeless region ( Judges 20:33); "the liers in wait came from the open plains of Gibeah"; not that their ambush was there, but the men of Benjamin had been previously enticed away from the city ( Judges 20:31), so the liers in wait came to the city from the thus exposed plain.

Webster's Dictionary [4]

(1): ( n.) A place where a battle is fought; also, the battle itself.

(2): ( n.) Any blank space or ground on which figures are drawn or projected.

(3): ( n.) The space covered by an optical instrument at one view.

(4): ( n.) An open space; an extent; an expanse.

(5): ( v. i.) To take the field.

(6): ( n.) An unresticted or favorable opportunity for action, operation, or achievement; province; room.

(7): ( v. t.) To catch, stop, throw, etc. (the ball), as a fielder.

(8): ( v. i.) To stand out in the field, ready to catch, stop, or throw the ball.

(9): ( n.) A piece of land of considerable size; esp., a piece inclosed for tillage or pasture.

(10): ( n.) The whole surface of an escutcheon; also, so much of it is shown unconcealed by the different bearings upon it. See Illust. of Fess, where the field is represented as gules (red), while the fess is argent (silver).

(11): ( n.) That part of the grounds reserved for the players which is outside of the diamond; - called also outfield.

(12): ( n.) A collective term for all the competitors in any outdoor contest or trial, or for all except the favorites in the betting.

(13): ( n.) Cleared land; land suitable for tillage or pasture; cultivated ground; the open country.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [5]

 Leviticus 19:19 (c) The Lord uses this figure to warn us against seeking to teach the truth in any group where falsehoods are taught. Teachers who teach GOD's Gospel of grace sometimes think they can succeed in their ministry while teaching in a group where the Word of GOD is denied, and the Gospel is perverted. The Lord warns against any such mixture of teaching. Wheat and cockleburs should never be sowed together in the field. The weeds will take the crop. (See  Deuteronomy 22:9).

 Psalm 96:12 (c) This probably is a picture of the blessed condition of this earth during the millennial reign of Christ There will be no weeds, no burrs, no poison ivy, but the fields will be fertile, and will abound with flowers, grains and those things which bring joy to the heart of man.

 Isaiah 16:10 (c) This probably is a picture of the famine, dearth and drought that would overtake Israel, or Moab, or any other nation when they become worshippers of idols and have no love for the GOD of Heaven.

 Ezekiel 17:5 (a) Babylon in this case is represented as a field into which the King of Babylon took the leaders of Israel and most of the people. There they were to grow and become strong again before returning to Israel.

 Matthew 13:38 (a) This is a name given to the various countries of the earth in which there is a harvest of souls to be gathered for the Lord.

 John 4:35 (c) It is used here to describe the crops of grain upon which the reaper was to work. The grain represents people with whom the Spirit has been dealing and has made ready for salvation.

King James Dictionary [6]


1. A piece of land inclosed for tillage or pasture any part of a farm, except the garden and appurtenances of the mansion properly land not covered with wood, and more strictly applicable to tillage land than to mowing land, which is often called meadow. But we say, the master of the house is in the field with his laborers, when he is at a distance from his house on his farm. He is in the field, plowing, sowing, reaping or making hay. 2. Ground not inclosed. 3. The ground where a battle is fought.

We say, the field of battle these veterans are excellent soldiers in the field.

4. A battle action in the field.

What though the field be lost.

5. To keep the field, is to keep the campaign open to live in tents, or to be in a state of active operations. At the approach of cold weather, the troops, unable to keep the field, were ordered into winter quarters. 6. A wide expanse.

Ask of yonder argent fields above.

7. Open space for action or operation compass extent. This subject opens a wide field for contemplation. 8. A piece or tract of land.

The field I give thee and the cave that is therein.

 Genesis 23 .

9. The ground or blank space on which figures are drawn as the field or ground of a picture. 10. In heraldry, the whole surface of the shield, or the continent. 11. In scripture, field often signifies the open country, ground not inclosed, as it may in some countries in modern times. 12. A field of ice, a large body of floating ice.

Holman Bible Dictionary [7]

 Genesis 29:2 Genesis 31:4 Genesis 37:7 Genesis 47:24 Genesis 27:3 27:5 Numbers 21:20  Judges 9:32 9:36 Numbers 19:14 19:16 Leviticus 14:3 14:7 Exodus 22:5 Leviticus 25:3-4 Leviticus 14:53 Deuteronomy 28:3 28:16 Leviticus 25:31 Ezekiel 33:27 Deuteronomy 19:14

The NRSV translated the Hebrew term shedemah , one of the words generally translated field, as vineyard at  Deuteronomy 32:32 . The REB rendered the term differently each place it was used (terraces,  Deuteronomy 32:32; slope,  2 Kings 23:4; vineyard,  Isaiah 16:8; field,  Jeremiah 31:40; orchards,  Habakkuk 3:17 ).

Smith's Bible Dictionary [8]

Field. The Hebrew, sadeh is applied to Any Cultivated Ground , and, in some instances, In Marked Opposition To The Neighboring Wilderness . On the other hand, the sadeh is frequently contrasted with what is enclosed, whether a vineyard, a garden or a walled town. In many passages, the term implies what is remote from a house,  Genesis 4:8;  Genesis 24:63;  Deuteronomy 22:25, or settled habitation, as in the case of Esau.  Genesis 25:27.

The separate plots of ground were marked off by stones, which might easily be removed,  Deuteronomy 19:14;  Deuteronomy 27:17, compare  Job 24:2;  Proverbs 22:28;  Proverbs 23:10. The absence of fences rendered the fields liable to damage from straying cattle,  Exodus 22:5, or fire,  Exodus 22:6;  2 Samuel 14:30, hence, the necessity of constantly watching flocks and herds. From the absence of enclosures, cultivated land of any size might be termed a field.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [9]

 Genesis 29:2 31:4 34:7 Genesis 37:7 47:24 Psalm 132:6 Judges 9:32,36 2 Samuel 1:21 Genesis 33:19 36:35 Deuteronomy 28:3,16 Leviticus 25:31 Mark 6:36,56 Genesis 4:8 Leviticus 14:7,53 17:5 Genesis 23:13,17 41:8 Leviticus 27:16 Ruth 4:5 Nehemiah 12:29

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

(usually שָׂדֶה , Sadeh' [poetic שָׂדֵּי ;saday'], Ἄγρος ; but occasionally אֶרֶוֹ , e'rets, land [Chald. בִּר , Bar, open Country], Χώρα ; הוּוֹ , Chuts, Out-Doors; חֶלְקָה , Chelkah', a Portion or plot, Χωρίον ; שְׁדֵמָה , Shedemah', A cultivated Field, according to Gesenius and Furst from the context, in the plur.  Deuteronomy 32:32;  2 Kings 23:4;  Isaiah 16:8;  Jeremiah 31:40;  Habakkuk 3:17; also יֶגֵב , Fageb', an Arable field, in the plur.  Jeremiah 39:10). The Hebrew Sadeh is not adequately represented by our "field:" the two words agree in describing Cultivated land, but they differ in point of extent, the Sadeh being specifically applied to what is Unenclosed, while the opposite notion of enclosure is involved in the word Field, (See Desert).

The essence of the Hebrew word has been variously taken to lie in each of these notions, Gesenius (Thesaurus, p. 1321) giving it the sense of freedom, Stanley (Palest. p. 484) that of smoothness, comparing arvum from arare. On the one hand sadeh is applied to any cultivated ground, whether pasture ( Genesis 29:2;  Genesis 31:4;  Genesis 34:7;  Exodus 9:3), tillage ( Genesis 37:7;  Genesis 47:24;  Ruth 2:2-3;  Job 24:6;  Jeremiah 26:18;  Micah 3:12), woodland ( 1 Samuel 14:25, A. V. "ground;"'  Psalms 132:6), or mountain-top ( Judges 9:32;  Judges 9:36;  2 Samuel 1:21): and in some instances in marked opposition to the neighboring wilderness, as in the instance of Jacob settling in the field of Shechem ( Genesis 33:19), the field of Moab ( Genesis 36:35;  Numbers 21:20, A. V. "country;"  Ruth 1:1), and the vale of Siddim, i.e. Of The Cultivated Fields, which formed the oasis of the Pentapolis ( Genesis 14:3;  Genesis 14:8), though a different sense has been given to the name (by Gesenius, Thesaur. p. 1321). On the other hand, the Sadeh is frequently contrasted with what is enclosed, whether a vineyard ( Exodus 22:5;  Leviticus 25:3-4;.  Numbers 16:14;  Numbers 20:17; compare  Numbers 22:23; "the ass went into the field," with  Numbers 22:24, "a path of the vineyards, a wall being on this side and a wall on that side"), a garden (the very name of which, גִּן , implies enclosure), or a walled town ( Deuteronomy 28:3;  Deuteronomy 28:16): unwalled villages or scattered houses ranked in the eye of the law as fields ( Leviticus 25:31), and hence the expression Εἰςτοὐς Ἀγροὐς = - Houses In The Fields (Vulg. In Villas;  Mark 6:36;  Mark 6:56). In many passages the term implies what is remote from a house ( Genesis 4:8;  Genesis 24:63;  Deuteronomy 22:25) or settled habitation, as in the case of Esau ( Genesis 25:27; the Sept., however, refers it to his character, Ἄγροικος ): this is more fully expressed by פְּנֵי הִשָּׂדֶה , " The Opez Field" ( Leviticus 14:7;  Leviticus 14:53;  Leviticus 17:5;  Numbers 19:16;  2 Samuel 11:11), with which is naturally coupled the notion of exposure and desertion ( Jeremiah 9:22;  Ezekiel 16:5;  Ezekiel 32:4;  Ezekiel 33:27;  Ezekiel 39:5). (See Meadow).

The separate plots of ground were marked off by stones, which might easily be removed ( Deuteronomy 19:14;  Deuteronomy 27:17; comp.  Job 24:2;  Proverbs 22:28;  Proverbs 23:10); the absence of fences rendered the fields liable to damage from straying cattle ( Exodus 22:5) or fire ( Exodus 22:6;  2 Samuel 14:30); hence tile necessity of constantly watching flocks and herds, the people so employed being in the present day named Nature (Wortabet, Syria, i, 293). A certain amount of protection was gained by sowing the tallest and strongest of the grain crops on the outside: "spelt" appears to have been most commonly used for this purpose ( Isaiah 28:25, as in the margin). From the absence of enclosures, cultivated land of any size might be termed a field, whether it were a piece of ground of limited area ( Genesis 23:13;  Genesis 23:17;  Isaiah 5:8), a man's whole inheritance ( Leviticus 27:16 sq.;  Ruth 4:5;  Jeremiah 32:9;  Jeremiah 32:25;  Proverbs 27:26;  Proverbs 31:16), the Ager Publicus of a town ( Genesis 41:48;  Nehemiah 12:29), as distinct, however, from the ground immediately adjacent to the walls of the Levitical cities, which was called מַגְרָשׁ (A. V. "'suburbs"), and was deemed an appendage of the town itself ( Joshua 21:11-12), or, lastly, the territory of a people ( Genesis 14:7;  Genesis 32:3;  Genesis 36:35;  Numbers 21:20;  Ruth 1:6;  Ruth 4:3;  1 Samuel 6:1;  1 Samuel 27:7;  1 Samuel 27:11). In  1 Samuel 27:5, "a town in the field" (Auth. Vers. "country")=a provincial town as distinct from the royal city. A plot of ground separated from a larger one was termed חֶלְקִת שָׂדֶה ( Genesis 33:19;  Ruth 2:3;  1 Chronicles 11:13), or simply חֶלְקָה ( 2 Samuel 14:10;  2 Samuel 23:12; comp.  2 Samuel 19:29). Fields occasionally received names after remarkable events, as Helkath-Hazzurim, The Field Of The Strong Men, or possibly Of Swords ( 2 Samuel 2:16), or from the use to which they may have been applied ( 2 Kings 18:17;  Isaiah 7:3;  Matthew 27:7). (See Land).

It should be observed that the expressions "fruitful field" ( Isaiah 10:18;  Isaiah 29:17;  Isaiah 32:15-16) and "plentiful field" ( Isaiah 16:10;  Jeremiah 48:33) are not connected with Sadeh, but with Karmel, meaning a park or well- kept wood, as distinct from. a .wilderness or a forest. The same term occurs in  2 Kings 19:23, and  Isaiah 37:24 (A.Vers. " Carmel");  Isaiah 10:18 ("forest)," and  Jeremiah 4:26 ("fruitful place"). (See Carmel). Distinct from this is the expression in  Ezekiel 17:5, שְׂדֵהאּזֶרִע (AV. " fruitful field"), which means a field suited for planting suckers. (See Agriculture).