How Important is the Threshing Floor?7 min read

Threshing Floor

How Important is the Threshing Floor?7 min read

The threshing floor is one of those hidden treasures that delight the earnest student of the Word of God. Even a short study of this subject reveals the deep spiritual truths hidden in the threshing floor. It is the place of change of purpose.

Purpose of the Threshing Floor

The threshing floor was a large multifunctional space used for a traditional agricultural process and played a significant role in ancient agricultural societies. Its primary purpose was to separate the valuable grain from the useless husks and straw.

The harvested crop was laid out on a flat, hard surface, then beaten to loosen the edible part of the cereal. This was done, either by hand using wooden flails, or by animals treading over the grain. I have seen the precious grain laid on roads in India for the passing traffic to do the work of separation.

The threshed material was then winnowed, which involved throwing it all into the air, so the lighter chaff could fly away in the wind. The heavier grains fell back to the ground. For this reason, the threshing floor was a wide-open space, allowing for the necessary wind to assist in the separation.

Threshing floors had a communal and sometimes ceremonial significance, particularly during the harvest season.

First Mention

The first mention of the threshing floor is in Genesis 50:10. This was the site of a seven-day period of vigorous mourning. Joseph had been instructed by his father, Jacob, later known as Israel, to take his remains after death back to the land of Canaan and not be left in Egypt.

The Egyptians had already wept seventy days for Jacob, but many accompanied Joseph and his brothers as they carried Jacob’s remains back into what would become Israel. On the way they stopped at the threshing floor of Atad to perform seven days of ritual mourning.

This incident reinforces that the place of the threshing floor is a place of mourning and leaving behind, before tears of mourning are replaced with joy. God will grant all those who mourn a garland instead of ashes. The oil of gladness instead of mourning. The mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting, Isaiah 61:3.


Ruth caught the eye of the rich landowner, Boaz, a distant relative. This young Gentile woman had left her father’s house and the land of her birth. She had refused to leave the side of the grieving widow Naomi when she returned to Israel, Ruth 1 and 2.

All this had been reported to Boaz. The result was that Ruth received special favour and gleaned, or collected an unusual amount of grain. Women from poor families could come and collect stalks of grain which were deliberately left behind by the reapers.

At her mother-in-law’s suggestion, Ruth slept on the threshing floor at the feet of the much older Boaz, Ruth 3:6. This action exposed the young woman to great danger as Boaz could have been offended by Ruth’s actions and chased her away. It was also a very dangerous position to place herself in as any male could have taken an advantage of her. Fortunately, Boaz chose to not only protect her, but to also redeem her.


The book of Ruth is all about the kinsman-redeemer and Ruth’s obedience and bravery. Ruth’s child to Boaz was Obed, the father of David, the greatest king Israel ever had. This all pointed to the great redeemer, Jesus Christ who would give His life to redeem His church.

Ruth is the second gentile woman to be mentioned in the genealogy of Christ, in which only five women are named, Matthew 1. Tamar, whose ethnicity is argued over, Rahab the gentile harlot, Ruth, Bathsheba and Mary.

The Ark and the Threshing Floor

David decided it was time to bring the Ark to recently captured Jerusalem, the city of David. Taking 30,000 men with him, he had the Ark placed on an ox cart. Near the threshing floor of Nacon, Uzzah reached out and took hold of the Ark for it appeared to be in danger of falling. God struck Uzzah down for his irreverence and he instantly died, 2 Samuel 6:7.

David was horrified and left the Ark in the house of Obed-edom, the Gittite, for three months. Next time David was careful to transport the Ark God’s way, on the shoulders of the priests.

King David

God permitted Satan to tempt David to number the people of Israel and Judah, 2 Samuel 24:1. David did so, putting his faith in numbers rather than in God. Almost ten months passed before David realized the depth of his sin, but he could not stay God’s judgement. 70,000 men from Dan to Beersheba died.

The angel of the Lord stood by the threshing floor of Araunah, the Jebusite from the gentile people who inhabited Jerusalem. The Lord directed David to erect an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah, to the great I Am That I Am, 2 Samuel 24:18. Although Aranuah offered the land to David for free, David insisted on purchasing it for fifty shekels of silver. David said, I will not offer burnt offerings to the Lord my God which cost me nothing.

This threshing floor was the same place where Abraham offered Isaac, Genessis 22:2, and where Solomon would later build the Temple, 2 Chronicles 3:1.

Today that hard-rock threshing floor is in the grounds of the Islamic Dome of the Rock. It is in the open for all to see, cordoned off beneath a pagoda-style roof. It lies in direct line to the eastern Golden Gate. The threshing floor is the place where the Ark would have stood in Solomon’s Temple.

Threshing Floor for Followers of Christ

It is easy to see the significance of the threshing floor in the Old Testament, but it has spiritual connotations in the New Testament.

For any follower of Christ who would desire to press into the heart of God in a deeper spiritual walk, the threshing floor spiritually is of great significance. It is where the Holy Spirit does the work of judgement on sin, causes separation from the world, and purification of the soul. All part of maturing into the measure of the stature which belongs to the fullness of Jesus Christ, Ephesians 4:13.

It is the place where the Spirit of God works in the life of the surrendered believer, for the purpose of removing the chaff of the natural life, allowing the precious and valuable grain to be revealed. It is the place of fiery trials, for no one eagerly yields every aspect of life to the searching Spirit of God, human nature being what it is – self-centrical.

Place of Testing

For the believer the threshing floor is the place of becoming a pearl of great price to be used for the glory of the great I Am That I Am, Exodus 3:3. The Holy Spirit is a gentleman and only works one step at a time, for God knows what is needed and how much fire each individual can take. Everything that can stand the fire, shall pass through the fire, and it shall be clean, Numbers 31:23. It is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure, Philippians 2.9.

The threshing floor is designed to provide authentic worshippers of our Heavenly Father, with grateful thanks for the Son and willingly submitting to the leading of the Holy Spirit.


The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor. At the time it is stamped firm yet in a little while the time of harvest will come to her, Jeremiah 51:33. The judgement of God will fall.

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Wendy Stenberg-Tendys is a freelance writer who enjoys researching a topic and sharing words of encouragement, particularly from the Word of God.

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