The Hebrew word sa·dhehʹ, which is most frequently rendered “field,” may denote a hunting ground, a tract of land used for pasturage or farming, an uncultivated wooded area, a mountaintop, or even a region occupied by a certain people, for example, “the field of Moab”; the term is also used in contrast with “city.” (Ge 27:5; 31:4; 37:5-7; Jg 9:32, 36; 1Sa 14:25; Nu 21:20; De 28:3) The Greek term a·grosʹ refers to a cultivated “field” (Mt 13:24), the “country” as opposed to the city (Mr 16:12), and, in the plural, the “countryside” (Mr 5:14).
Moreover, the combined tracts of several individual owners might be viewed jointly as “the field,” as is seen from the account of Ruth. In going out to “the field,” Ruth by chance “lighted on the tract of the field belonging to Boaz,” indicating that Boaz owned only a section of the area. (Ru 2:2, 3) While vineyards and gardens were apparently enclosed, the indications are that fields were not. (Nu 22:24; Ca 4:12) The Law commanded that no one move the boundary marks of his fellowman, indicating that this was relatively easy to do. (De 19:14) According to the Law, unwalled settlements were accounted as part of the field of the country.
Fires could easily spread from one field to another, and care had to be exercised to keep domestic animals in check so that they would not wander into someone else’s field. (Ex 22:5, 6) At Isaiah 28:25 spelt is said to be sown as a boundary. Perhaps by planting this inferior grade of wheat around the outer edges of their fields, farmers could, to some extent, protect their more valuable crops, such as wheat and barley, from cattle that might enter the edges of the field.
Likely it was possible to go through the field by means of footpaths, and these could also have served to separate one tract of land from another, for it is most improbable that Jesus and his disciples would have walked right through a field of grain, trampling some of the grain as they went along. If they had done this, the Pharisees undoubtedly would have taken issue on this point also. (Lu 6:1-5) It may have been with reference to such paths that Jesus, in his illustration about the sower, mentioned the seeds that fell alongside the road.