- In 1 Chronicles 21:23 we read of Ornan giving ἄροτρον as wood for the offering of his Ox. The word is often translated as "threshing implements."
- In Micah 4:3, and Isa. 2:4 the word is used to describe the beating of swords into "plowshares."
- In Joel 4:10 it is used to describe the opposite. "Plowshares" are beaten into swords.
- Sirach 38:25, which is from the "Old Testament Apocrypha" is situated among verses referring to how laborers are important for society but will never be wise, judges, or rulers. The word is translated here as "plow."
There is one other use of plowing in the Hebrew Bible that we must look at before we move on. Elisha was plowing when he was called by Elijah in 1 Kings 19:19-21. This passage a special significance in the pericope we are looking at in Luke. In Kings Elijah allows Elisha to say goodbye to his family, and he leaves the plow behind. Being a disciple of Jesus is not associated with the sword of war, or the mantle of a prophet in Luke 9. It is associated with a symbol of peace and service. Fitzmeyer contrasts the Cloak in the Elijah story with the plow here.1 I believe he does so rightly. Luke is using the image of the plow in a powerful way which differentiates the role of both Jesus and his disciples from that cast by the expectations of Elijah. There is work to be done in the kingdom of God.
1 Fitzmyer, J. A. The Gospel According To Luke. 2 vols. Anchor Bible. (Garden City, N.Y.:
Doubleday, 1981), 837.