Husk

Husk

(זָג, zag, the skin of a grape, so. called as being transparent, Nu 6:4; צַקלוֹן, tsiklôn', a sack for grain, so called from being tied together at the mouth, 2Ki 4:42) occurs also in Lu 15:16 as a rendering of κεράτιον:(from its horned extremities), in the parable of the prodigal son, where it is said that "he would fain have filled his belly with the husks that the swine did eat; and no man gave [even this poor provender, so Meyer, ad loc.] unto him." In the Arabic Version of the New Testament, the word kharûb, often written kharnûb, is given as a synonym of keratia. According to Celsius, the modern Greeks have converted the Arabic name into χάρουβα, and in a similar form it has passed into most European languages. Though with us little more than its name is known, the carob- tree is extremely common in the south of Europe, in Syria, and in Egypt. (See Thomson, Land and the Book, i, 21.) The Arabs distinguish it by the name of Kharnub shanmi — that is, the Syrian Carob. The ancients, as Theophrastus and Pliny, likewise mention it as a native of Syria. Celsius states that no tree is more frequently mentioned in the Talmud (Mishna, i, 40; 4:164; 6:494), where its fruit is stated to be given as food to cattle and swine: it is now given to horses, asses, and mules. During the Peninsular War the horses of the British cavalry were often fed on the beans of the carob-tree. Both Pliny (Hist. Nat. 15, 23) and Columella (7, 9) mention that it was given as food to swine (comp. Mishna, Shaab. 24, 2), yet was sometimes eaten by men (Horace, Epist. 2, 1,123; Juv. 11, 58; Pers. 3, 55; Sonnini, Travels in Greece, p. 26). By some it has been thought, but apparently without reason, that it was upon the husks of this tree that John the Baptist fed in the wilderness: from this idea, however, it is often called St. John's Bread and Locust-tree.' Ceratia or Ceratonia is the name of a tree of the family of leguminous plants, of which the fruit used to be called Siliqua edulis and Siliqua dulcis. By the Greeks, as Galen and Paulus AEgineta, the tree is called κερατία, κερατωνία, from the resemblance of its fruit to κέρας, a horn; also συκῆ αἰγυπτία, or Egyptian fig (Theophr. Plant. i, 18). The carob-tree grows in the south of Europe and north of Africa, usually to a moderate size, but it sometimes becomes very large, with a trunk of great thickness, and affords an agreeable shade. It has been seen by travelers near Bethlem (Rauwolf, Travels, p. 458; Schubert, 3:115), and elsewhere (Robinson's Researches, 3, 54). Prof. Hackett saw it growing around Jerusalem, and the fruit exposed for sale in the market at Smyrna; and he describes its form and uses (Illustra. of Scripture, p. 129, Bost. 1855). Wilde, being in the plain near Mount Carmel, observed several splendid specimens of the carob-tree. On the 15th of March he noticed the fruit as having been perfected. The husks were scattered on the ground, where some cattle had been feeding on them. It is an evergreen, and puts forth a great many branches, covered with large pinnated leaves. The blossom is of a reddish or dark purple color, and is succeeded by large, slender pods or capsules, curved like a horn or sickle, containing a sweetish pulp, and several small, shining seeds. These pods are sometimes eight or ten inches long, and an inch and a half broad; the color is dark brown, and the seeds which they contain are about the size of an ordinary dry pea, not perfectly round, flattened, hard and bitter, and of a dark red color. The quantity of pods borne by each tree is very considerable, being often as much as 800 or 900 pounds weight; they are of a subastringent taste when unripe, but when come to maturity they secrete within the husks and around the seeds a sweetish-tasted pulp. When on the tree the pods have an unpleasant odor, but when dried upon hirdles they become eatable, and are valued by poor people, and during famine in the countries where the tree is grown, especially in Spain and Egypt, and by the Arabs. They are given as food to cattle in modern, as we read they were in ancient times, but at the best can only be considered very poor fare. (See Celsius, 1, 227; Oedmann, 6, 137 sq.; Salmas. Exercit. Plin. p. 45 sq.; Hasselquist, Travels, p. 531; Arvieux, Voyage, p. 206 sq.; Penny Cyclopaedia, s.v. Ceratonia.)

Bible concordance for HUSK.

Definition of husk

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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