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RYE, RIE (כֻּסֶּ֫מֶת, H4081). This could be Vetch or Prickly Spelt. Rye (spelt) is mentioned directly or indirectly in such passages as Exodus 9:32; Isaiah 28:25; and Ezekiel 4:9.

In the plague of hail mentioned in Exodus 9, the rye was not smitten, either because it was still germinating in the ground, or because it was only an inch or two high.

“Spelt” is a word not normally used today, but is found in the Rural Encyclopaedia of 1852 as one of the coarser wheats. It is, as far as Pal. is concerned, the so-called one-grained wheat, Triticum monococcum, though it could be a wheat that was introduced from Egypt—Triticum aestivum spelta. This spelt is a very hard-grained wheat with loose ears. It is said to be a native of Mesopotamia, but was also much grown in Syria and Sinai.

Some experts have suggested that the rye was really the oat, Avena sativa, or that it was the rice-wheat, Triticum dicoccum. The writer, however, can find no evidence for these claims.

The Heb. word kussemeth is undoubtedly rye, coarse barley or spelt, but as the latter was a popular common form of wheat in the very early times, it may well be the grain referred to.


S. A symbol sometimes used for the Codex Sinaiticus, a̱ 4th-cent. Gr. MS of the Bible (symbol א) discovered by Tischendorf in a a monastery at Mount Sinai in 1859.

See also

  • Plants
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