What are ploughshares and pruning hooks?
Joel 3:10a: “Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruning hooks into spears.”
Micah 4:3b: “They will beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruning hooks.”
In an agricultural society, tools which increase agricultural production are highly valued. Ploughshares (or plowshares) and knives made with iron were important cutting tools. So farmers would only sacrifice them to make something else if the necessity was dire – like making weapons to fight off enemy attacks.
Conversely, using iron from weapons to make agricultural tools demonstrates the belief that there is no longer any fear of attacks, and an expectation of peace and safety. This was prophesied to take place “in the last days” in Micah 4:3 and Isaiah 4:2.
Ploughshare: A sharp metal blade on a plough used to break up the earth before sowing seeds.
Pruning hook: A harvesting tool, with a curved metal blade for cutting branches and other parts of plants.