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FITCH, FITCHES (כֻּסֶּ֫מֶת, H4081, קֶ֖צַח). In Ezekiel 4:9, the Heb. kussemet is used, and is believed by some to refer to the Prickly Fitch. The other three references in Isaiah 28 are qeşah, prob. the black cummin.

Fitches are members of the Ranunculus family, and produce an abundance of black seeds. It is these that are used as pungent flavoring.

The tr. “fitch” is unfortunate, as the qeṩath is not a vetch. The plant undoubtedly is the Nigella sativa, sometimes called “The Nutmeg Flower,” though it certainly is not a true nutmeg. This Biblical Nigella is related to the annual grown in the garden, called “Love in the Mist.” Its flowers are like the buttercup, and the fruit pods contain large quantities of tiny black seeds.

In the Holy Land, the Arabs call it “kasah,” which is similar to the qeşath of the Hebrews. The use of these seeds in bread is said to make it more wholesome.

The plant is still grown in Pal. and the seeds are beaten out of the capsules with a flail.

In Isaiah 28:25 the idea seems to be that the seeds of the Nigella are broadcast liberally, while the seeds of the true cummin had to be sprinkled lightly.

See also

  • Plants