Millet

MILLET (דֹּ֫חַן, H1893, sometimes tr. corn). Found only in Ezekiel 4:9, where it is made into special bread during a famine. The stalks are similar to rye, but heavier croppers. It may be that Pannag found in Ezekiel 27:17, is also Panicum miliaceum, the millet of Europe. See also Pannag.

Of all the grains used for food, millet is the smallest. They are borne in large numbers on a stalk, hence the name miliaceum, “thousands.” This annual plant grows two ft. high. It is used now in Europe and the USA as bird seed.

When made into flour for bread, the result is unappetizing—no wonder this was the prophet’s “prison” fare. The Arabs use a word dukhn to describe two different kinds of millet. This is similar to the word dōchan in Heb. There is an Italian millet, Setacia italica, but this was not grown in Pal.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

mil’-et, mil’-it (dochan; kegchros): One of the ingredients of the prophet’s bread (Eze 4:9). The Arabic equivalent is dukhn, the common millet, Panicum miliaceum, an annual grass 3 or 4 ft. high with a much-branched nodding panicle. Its seeds arc as small as mustard seeds and are used largely for feeding small birds, but are sometimes ground to flour and mixed with other cereals for making bread. The Italian millet, setaria Italica, known as Bengal grass, is also called in Arabic dukhn, and has a similar seed. A somewhat similar grain, much more widely cultivated as a summer crop, is the Indian millet--also called "Egyptian maize"--the Sorghum annuum. This is known as dhurah in Arabic, and the seed as dhurah beida, "white dourra." It is a very important crop, as it, like the common millet, grows and matures without any rain. It is an important breadstuff among the poor.

Both the common millet and the dourra were cultivated in Egypt in very ancient times; the Hebrew dochan was certainly the first, but may include all three varieties.

See also

  • Plants