Verse 29. "Strong holds at En-gedi." - En-gedi was situated near to the western coast of the Dead Sea, not far from Jeshimon: it literally signifies the kid's well, and was celebrated for its vineyards, So i. 14. It was also celebrated for its balm. It is reported to be a mountainous territory, filled with caverns; and consequently proper for David in his present circumstances.
How threshing-floors were made among the ancients, we learn from CATO, Deuteronomy Revelation Rustica, chap. 91, and 129. And as I believe it would be an excellent method to make the most durable and efficient barn-floors, I will set it down:- Aream sic facito. Locum ubi facies confodito; postea amurca conspergito bene, sinitoque combibat. Postea comminuito glebas bene. Deinde coaequato, et paviculis verberato. Postea denuo amurca conspergito, sinitoque arescat. Si ita feceris neque formicae nocebunt, neque herbae nascentur: et cum pluerit, lutum non erit. "Make a threshing-floor thus: dig the place thoroughly; afterwards sprinkle it well with the lees of oil, and give it time to soak in. Then beat the clods very fine, make it level, and beat it well down with a paver's rammer. When this is done, sprinkle it afresh with the oil lees, and let it dry. This being done, the mice cannot burrow in it, no grass can grow through it, nor will the rain dissolve the surface to raise mud." The directions of COLUMELLA are nearly the same; but as there as some differences of importance, I will subjoin his account:-
Area quoque si terrena erit, ut sit ad trituram satis habilis, primum radatur, deinde confodiatur, permixtis paleis cum amurca, quae salem non accepit, extergatur; nam ea res a populatione murium formicarumque frumenta defendit. Tum aequate paviculis, vel molari lapide condensetur, et rursus subjectis paleis inculcetur, atque ita solibus siccanda relinquatur.
Deuteronomy Revelation Rustica, lib. ii., c. 20. "If you would have a threshing-floor made on the open ground, that it may be proper for the purpose, first pare off the surface, then let it be well digged, and mixed with lees of oil, unsalted, with which chaff has been mingled, for this prevents the mice and ants from burrowing and injuring the corn. Then level it with a paver's rammer, or press it down with a millstone.
Afterwards scatter chaff over it, tread it down, and leave it to be dried by the sun." This may be profitably used within doors, as well as in the field; and a durable and solid floor is a matter of very great consequence to the husbandman, as it prevents the flour from being injured by sand or dust.