By Max Weber
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Only the marginal regions, the steppes, periodically subject to rainfall, were and are available as camel or small-stock pasture and in favorable years usable by nomads for occasional grain cultivation. All sorts of transitions from temporary to regular, settled agriculture were and are to be found. ) Pasturage, in particular, differs in kind. At times pastures can be utilized by a settlement in firmly delimited areas either for small stock only or for both small stock and larger cattle. Usually, however, it is necessary to change pastures in accordance with the seasonal variations of a rainy period in winter and a rainless time in summer.
There is no certain trace of the open field. Some passages have been interpreted as indicative of it, and, in comparison with contemporary conditions, have been adduced where landlords who, presumably, have arisen socially ANCIENT JUDAISM from among tenants, occasionally distribute land in some regions of Palestine. These, however, are politically-determined conditions of oriental sultanism which yield no knowledge of the early peasant of Israel. Jeremiah is reported to have taken himself to the land to receive his lot among his "people" ('am) (Jer.
Indeed, the stewards and officials of the kings possibly displaced the elders completely, taking over their position as judges, at least in the royal residences which, after all, were fortresses. It is possible that the » 20 « ANCIENT JUDAISM elders retained their old position only in rural areas as was the case in almost all Asiatic monarchies. As soon as the power position of kingship declined, for example, through a revolution, as under Jehu, and definitively after the complete absence of kingship in post-exilic times, the elders promptly returned to their own power position in the cities.