And He said to Abram: “Know of a surety that your seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them, four hundred years;” Gen 15:13
Strong’s H6031 ענה anah, a primitive root meaning “to bestow labor upon, to plow, to depress, to oppress.” The pictographs are ayin + nun + hey:
ayin ע = the eye, thus watch, know, shade
nun נ = the seed, thus continue, heir, son
hey ה = the man with upraised arms, thus look, reveal, wonder, worship, breath
The story the ancient pictographs are telling, is of watching (ayin) continually (nun) because one is invested (hey) in the outcome. To bestow labor upon: when you are invested in the outcome, you carefully watch over the progress of the work. To plow: man’s earliest labor with which he was invested, was growing food (Gen 3:17-19). So the corollary meaning of to plow is from the labor of implanting the ground with seed. To depress, oppress, is a corollary of to plow, because in order to plant the seed, a depression must be made in the ground with the plow share. The plowshare forces a depression in the surface of the ground, just as an oppressor forces his will on the ones he oppresses.