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CUMMIN (כַּמֹּן, H4021, κύμινον, G3248) “from the sharp smell.” Mentioned four times, i.e. three times in Isaiah 28, vv. 25 and 27, and once in Matthew 23:23 “paying tithe of...cummin.”

An aromatic annual herb, Cuminum cyminum, of the Umbelliferae family, it is valued for its flavor. It is a Mediterranean plant, which grew two ft. tall in Pal. from the earliest days. In Europe, it grows nine inches high only. The seeds are used to spice stewed meat, and to give flavor to bread. It is a stimulant. The writer found the plants growing on Malta, where the seeds were threshed out.

In the E, cummin seeds are said to have a medicinal value, particularly for the eyes. In the Middle Ages in Great Britain, Cumin (as it was then called) was a cheap spice. In India, it was used as a flavoring of curry powder. It is not easy to buy the seed today; in a number of first-class herb books, it is not mentioned.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The seed of the herb Cuminum cyminum (Natural Order Umbelliferae). It has carminative properties and is used for flavoring various dishes, especially during fasts. In flavor and appearance it resembles caraway, though it is less agreeable to western palates. As an illustration of Yahweh’s wisdom it is said (Isa 28:25,27) that cummin is scattered in sowing and beaten out with a rod in threshing. These facts are true in Palestine today. The Jews paid tithes of cummin (Mt 23:23) (see cut on following page).

See also

  • Plants