Dove’s Dung

DOVE’s DUNG (חֲרֵייﯴנִים; dove’s dung, softened by Jewish scribes into the more euphemistic דִּבְיﯴנִ֖ימa dib yônîm). Mentioned in 2 Kings 6:25, “a kab of dove’s dung.” The common name “bird’s milk” or “bird’s dung” is given to the bulb, Ornithogalum umbellatum. These bulbs have to be roasted or boiled before eating.

Today, the plant is known as “Star of Bethlehem.” Linnaeus, the botanist, called the “dove’s dung” Ornithogalum. Parkinson, the British herbalist (1800), said the roasted bulb was “sweeter than a chestnut.”

The bulb, grown in Pal. at the time of the siege, was prob. roasted, and then sold for five pieces of silver.

The white flowers, borne in a large, loose group on a twelve-inch stem are star-shaped.

The LXX trs. literally.