From BiblePortal Wikipedia

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [1]

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 .

People's Dictionary of the Bible [2]

Thresh, Threshing. Different modes of threshing are used in the East. A level spot was selected for the threshing-floor, generally in an exposed situation where advantage might be taken of the wind for winnowing or separating the corn from the chaff when the threshing process was completed. Robinson observed several of these floors near together of a circular form hardened by beating down the earth, and about 50 feet in diameter, the sheaves being thickly spread on them. Near Jericho "were no less than five such floors, all trodden by oxen, cows, and younger cattle, arranged in each case five abreast, and driven round in a circle, or rather in all directions, over the floor... By this process the straw is broken up and becomes chaff. It is occasionally turned up with a large wooden fork having two prongs, and when sufficiently trodden is thrown up with the same fork against the wind in order to separate the grain, which is then gathered up and winnowed. The whole process is exceedingly wasteful."

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

This is accomplished in the East by the grain being trodden on by oxen, and that it was so threshed in ancient times is shown by the law that the ox should not be muzzled that trod out the corn.  Deuteronomy 25:4 . There were also threshing 'instruments,' with which the grain was beaten out. Threshing was also accomplished by oxen drawing over the grain a sort of sledge without runners, by which the straw also was crushed.  2 Samuel 24:22;  Isaiah 41:15 , etc.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Threshing. See Agriculture .

Bridgeway Bible Dictionary [5]

See Farming .

Webster's Dictionary [6]

(p. pr. & vb. n.) of Thresh

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

(prop. הוּשׁ ; but sometimes הַדְרַיךְ , to Tread out, Ἀλοάειν ; and occasionally חָבִט ). The Hebrews made use of three different-processes for separating the grain from the stalk (comp.  Isaiah 28:27 sq.), an operation always carried on in the open air. (See Straw).

1. In the earliest period, and even later for small quantities, especially in the former part of the harvest season, and for the frailer kinds of grain, the seed was beaten out with sticks ( חָבִט , Sept. Ῥαβδίζειν ) . This was a process applied to other agricultural products (Jerome, ad Isaiah loc. cit.), as well as to field grain ( Judges 6:11;.  Ruth 2:17;  Isaiah 28:27; comp. Columel. 2, 21; Strabo, 4:201). It is a method still in use in the East (Robinson, 2, 650; 3, 233). (See Harvest).

2. Usually, however, horned cattle (Mishna, Shebiith, 5, 8, as still in Egypt, Arabia, and Syria), seldom asses or (in modern times) horses (Shaw, p. 124; Buckingham, p. 288), were driven around, usually yoked in pairs or several abreast, and these, by means of their hoofs ( Micah 4:13), cut up and separated the chaff and straw from the grain ( Isaiah 28:28;  Jeremiah 50:11;  Hosea 10:11; comp. Varro, De Re Rust. 1, 51; Homer, 11. 20:495 sq.; Pliny, 18:72). So also in ancient Egypt (Wilkinson, 2nd ser. 1, 87, 90). (See Threshing-Floor).

3. The most, effectual method of threshing was by means of threshing- machines ( מוֹרִג חִרוּוֹ [Arab. Noraj ] , or simply חָרוּוֹ ,  Isaiah 28:27;  Isaiah 41:15;  Job 41:22; also בִּרְקָן ,  Judges 8:7;  Judges 8:16; see Gesen. Thesaur. p. 244; Τρίβολον , tribulum, Pliny, 18:72; Talm. טריבל ). These consisted sometimes of a wooden plank ( Trahea, or Traha ) set with sharp stones or iron points, which was dragged over the sheaves (Rashi, On  Isaiah 41:15; comp. Varro, 1, 52; Columel. 2, 21; Virgil, Georg. 1, 164), sometimes of a sort of cart or wheeled sledge (plostellum Phanicum; comp. Jerome, ad  Isaiah 25:10 ;  Isaiah 28:27). Such a wagon is mentioned in  Isaiah 28:27 sq. ( אוֹפִן עֲגָלָה and גִּלְגִּל עֲגָלָה ). (See Threshing- Instrument).

Cattle were used for this vehicle, as usually still among the Arabians (Wellsted, 1, 194); and the Mosaic law forbade the yoking-together of various kinds of beasts, as well as the muzzling of the animals ( Deuteronomy 25:4; Josephus, Ant. 4 :8, 21;  1 Corinthians 9:9; Talmud, Kelim, 16 :7; comp. Elian, Anim. 4 :25), a usage prevalent among the ancient Egyptians and other nations (Bochart, Hieroz. 1, 401; comp. Michaelis, Mos. Recht, 3, 130). (See Muzzle).

Threshing is frequently employed by the Hebrew poets as a figure of the divine or providential chastisements, especially national invasion ( Isaiah 41:15;  Jeremiah 51:33;  Micah 4:13;  Habakkuk 3:12). In one passage ( Isaiah 21:10), the bruised grain is made an image of the captive Jews. See generally Sch Ö ttgen, Triturce Et Fullonice Antiquitates (Tr. ad Rh. 1727; Lips. 1763); Paulsen, Ackersbau, p. 110 sq. (See Agriculture).

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [8]

thresh´ing ( דּוּשׁ , dūsh  ; ἀλοάω , aloáō ): Dūsh means literally, "to trample out." In   Jeremiah 51:33 , דּרך , dārakh , is used of threshing. Fitches and cummin were beaten off with a rod. The distinction between beating and threshing is made in  Isaiah 28:27 . Gideon, in order to avoid being seen by the Midianites, beat out his wheat in a wine press instead of threshing it on the threshing-floor ( Judges 6:11 ). For a general description of the threshing operations see Agriculture .

Figurative : "Thou shalt thresh the mountains," i.e. thou wilt overcome great difficulties (  Isaiah 41:15 ). Babylon's destruction was foretold poetically in the language of the threshing-floor ( Isaiah 21:10;  Jeremiah 51:33;  Daniel 2:35 ); Zion's foes would be gathered as sheaves on the threshing-floor ( Micah 4:12 ,  Micah 4:13; compare  2 Kings 13:7;  Amos 1:3;  Habakkuk 3:12 ); threshing unto the vintage, i.e. throughout the summer, indicated an extra abundant yield ( Leviticus 26:5 ).

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [9]