Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Dove's Dung

And there was a great famine in Samaria: and, behold, they besieged it, until an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab (1 cup) of dove's dung for five pieces of silver.
2 Kings 6:25

Second Kings describes the siege of Samaria and its famine. While some believe the dove's dung in 2 Kings 6:25 is literally the waste of the bird, many others take it to be the bulb of the star of Bethlehem plant. Sadly, though, pigeons excrement has been eaten in times of desperate food shortage.

Easton tells us the Arabs apply the name "doves dung" to various vegetable substances like the seeds of millet, an inferior kind of vegetable pulse, and the root of "bird-milk." The bird-milk or star of Bethlehem plant grows on a stalk of about six inches and has long thin leaves. Its bulb is dried, roasted and eaten or made into a flour. Italians sometimes eat them like chestnuts. “For centuries Syrians used it for food. The historian Dioscorides writes that in his time this bulb was added to flour made into thin cakes”. 1 Cab (Hebrew - kab) is equal to 1.16 Quart. It was worth about 20 pieces of silver.

(We have the Star of Bethlehem growing in our yard and because of this verse, it always makes me think about food storage.)

1 comment:

  1. I've always wondered about "doves dung" and what it really meant. Now I know. Great thanks.