Etymology from Farmers

The English language has a rich history, and a good part of that history is farming.

Things that make more sense as a farmer:

  • After your male sheep throws you into the wall, there is a much more clear relationship between “ram” the noun and “ram” the verb.
  • When figuring out my budget for the next year, I have to look at my “per head” costs and my “over head” costs.  (“Head” being the common terminology used when counting livestock, as in “I have 12 head of sheep available”.)

Farming has also given me a different perspective on some bible verses.

Matthew 18:12-14New American Standard Bible (NASB)

“What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

In Sunday school this quote was always illustrated with a happy shepherd carrying a wee tiny cute lamb on his shoulders across a sunny pasture.

  1. You rarely loose just one little lamb. He will call for his mother and his mother will call back until they are reunited. If you loose one sheep, it is an adult, 100-250 lbs depending on breed.
  2. You are generally bringing the sheep in at nightfall, by the time you start looking for the sheep it is dusk, difficult to see, and you are not happy.
  3. Once you find that sheep, she is out there because she didn’t want to come in, and is not easy to catch, or convince her to come in.

So yeah, when it’s dusky and the rain is coming down, and I can’t find which hill the ewe is hiding behind, I think “yeah, it wasn’t easy for God to track me down and gather me in, was it? He must really care to go to this much trouble for me.”