Seed, Spade and Sword: The Bible In Context

Helping to illuminate biblical context and background

With many plants going to seed in the waning autumn sun, let’s talk seed saving. As a beginning gardener, I never gave much effort towards such practice; seeds’ inconsequential size and seemingly infinite supply trivialized their worth to me.


Yet now I see the season-end gift from our garden in seeds! First of all, through education from other seed saving gardeners, I have realized their value—per ounce, some seeds cost more than gold! Furthermore, I am witness to their power, as our garden is now filled with starry-flowered garlic chives and reseeding endive due to these plants’ prolific seed-bearing, and we are nourished by these returning harvests.

Seed Saving

Many organizations have sprouted and grown to educate us on the best methods of seed saving, not to mention the patriotic opportunity these efforts provide to preserve and pass on the best of our land, ensuring our food security. Visit the following websites for more information:

American Horticultural Society Seed Exchange, www.ahs.org/gardening-programs/seeds
Home Garden Seed Association, www.ezfromseed.org
Native Seeds/SEARCH, www.nativeseeds.org
Seed Savers Exchange, www.seedsavers.org

Zera’, the Hebrew Word for Seed

However, my most passionate reason for saving seeds lies in their incomparable place in God’s Word. Zera’, the Hebrew word for seed, resounds the creation of seed-bearing plants on the third day with the story of Abram (Abraham) and his descendants through the dual meaning of zera’, “seeds” and “offspring” or “descendants.” Add to that Jesus, God’s offspring, and all of his mention of mustard seeds….and I am in awe! I am suddenly crazy to treasure every seed as holy to the Lord.

Zera’ is a container created by and for the limitless power of G-d.
—Patricia A. Power, “Zera’,” Hidden in the Hebrew, www.justreligion.org/zera.html

All I can say it that it is time for a poem; what better way to commemorate seed significance than to add to the A-to-Z Primer of Plants from God’s Word. I hope that studying the line-up of seed references in the Bible infuses the view of seeds from your own garden plants with brilliance to begin seed saving.

(pass your cursor over the poem to reveal links to God's Word)

Z is for Zera' drop cap
is for zera’,
the Hebrew word for “seed.”
A garden’s humble miracle:
this year’s harvest will succeed

in a bounty for next year!
Seeds are a small, potent package
little points of great abundance,
using every advantage

to store, to spread, to be scattered, sown,
and ensure harvest’s return.
An enduring, unceasing process
that will never adjourn—

as God promised Noah,
always a seedtime and harvest,
an imparted, infinite pattern
to His creation-out-of-darkness.

From the beginning, seeds were the essence,
the cross-point of creation.*
Empty ground, water, light, rhythmic exposure,
result in germination.

The third day sowing of seed-bearing plants
and trees laden with fruit
regaled a juicy existence yet
secured God’s productive pursuit.

For zera’ moves from ground to metaphor:
a second meaning to include
“offspring” or “descendants.”
Thus Abram gazed at the multitude

of stars, and began to grasp
God’s impossible proclamation
that he and Sara, though childless,
would bear a great nation.

Yet how does God’s blessing come to people
cursed for forsaking Him?
The Seed! The One to crush serpent’s head—
though himself condemned.

Unless a seed falls to the ground
and dies, it stays just one.
But plunged into earth deep furrows,
how much more has been done!

The Seed, God’s offspring, Jesus appeared;
he came to seek and to save.
And how did he draw people near?
With seed stories he freely gave!

Tell us the one about mustard seeds,
and how our faith might be small;
but full of belief unwavering,
from this God’s possibilities sprawl.

Tell us the one about good soil,
our hearts as the farmer’s field.
Avoid hard paths, rocky ground, choking weeds,
and let seeds fall where they will yield.

Tell us the one about growing seed,
and its inimitable power to sprout.
The unfolding of stalk, head, grain, and harvest—
just scatter—no need to figure out!

His stories and compassion endeared his followers
as he walked along the earth.
He died as a seed does to yield more life,
that we could experience new birth.

Godly offspring is God’s desire;
the play on Words is complete.
If you belong to Christ, Messiah,
then you are Abraham’s seed.

And seeds are dedicated agents—
whether mustard, apple, or dill—
of God’s boundless blessing
to be fruitful, multiply, and fill.

 

*For fascinating insight into zera’ as the cross-point or “Chiasmus,” read Zera by Patricia A. Power (click to link)

Photo Credits:
©2016 Shelley S. Cramm
Seed saving from my garden, clockwise from the upper left: Morning glory seeds (black) and pods, black chive seeds, dried celery seed heads and little brown seeds, pomegranate and red seeds, zinnia seeds and zinnia flower, dill seeds and dried dill seed head, parsley seed heads and parsley seeds, nigella seeds (black) scattered in the middle.

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Comment by William Joseph Moran III on November 7, 2016 at 11:46am

Very nice, Shelley.

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