LENTILS (עֲדָשִׁ֔ים). First mentioned when Jacob made a red soup of lentils for his brother (Gen 25:34). It is referred to in 2 Samuel 17:28, when three farmers brought food to David and his men when they were hungry. The Philistines were gathered together at a field of lentils, where Eleazar defeated them (2 Sam 23:11). Lastly, in Ezekiel 4:9, special long-lasting bread had to be made for the “siege” with wheat, barley, beans, lentils and millet.
Lentils (Lens esculenta) are a type of vetch, and are one of the earliest crops grown. The name Lens was given because the lentils are like miniature convex lenses.
Even today, lentils are made into redcolored stews and soups; they are often flavored with garlic.
Lentils are annuals, bearing small white and violet flowers, shaped like a sweet pea. These are followed by small flat pods, inside which are found the lentils, the size of small peas. These, when boiled, turn to a brownish-yellow or chocolate-red shade. Both these colors are called “red” in the E.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
These are undoubtedly identical with the Arabic `adas, a small, reddish bean, the product of Ervum lens, a dwarf leguminous plant, half a foot high, which is extensively cultivated in Palestine as a summer crop. The flour is highly nutritious, and the well-known food, Revalenta arabica, is simply one form, specially prepared; `adas are highly esteemed in Palestine, and are used in soup and as a "pottage" known as mujedderah. This last is of a reddish-brown color and is without doubt the "pottage" of Ge 25:34. Lentils were part of the provisions brought to David when fleeing from Absalom (2Sa 17:28) and were used in the making of the bread for the prophet Ezekiel (4:9). In a "plot of ground full of lentils," Shammah, one of David’s "mighty men," stood and defended it and slew the marauding Philistines (2Sa 23:11,12).