Corn There are several words thus translated in the English version of the Scriptures, in which it is used in the proper sense of grain of any kind, and never in the American application of maize or "Indian corn" (Zea mays of Linn.), which it is generally thought was anciently unknown. In 1817, Parmentier (Nouveau Dictionnaire d'Hist. Naturelle, vol. 18), founding on the silence of Varro, Columella, Pliny, and the other agricultural and botanical writers of classical antiquity, concluded that maize was unknown till the discovery of America; and in 1834 Meyer asserted that "nothing in botanical geography is more certain than the New-World derivation of maize" (quoted by Duchartre in Orbigny's Dict. d'Hist. Natur.). But since then, in the magnificent monograph (Hist. Naturelle du Mais, 1836), M'. Bonafous, the director of the Royal Garden of Agriculture at Turin, has shown that it is figured in a Chinese botanical work as old as the middle of the sixteenth century — a time when the discoveries of Columbus could scarcely have penetrated to the Celestial Empire; and; what is more conclusive, in 1819 M. Rifaud discovered under the head of a mummy at Thebes not only grains, but leaves of Indian corn. Nor is it at all impossible that the ζειά of Homer and Theophrastus may include the plant in question. The wide diffusion of this corn through the Indian archipelago, and on the Indian continent itself, is in favor of the hypothesis which claims it as a native of the Old World; and if it was known to the Egyptians, nothing could be more natural than its early introduction into Palestine. SEE CEREALS.
1. The word דָּגָן, dagan' (from its increase), which is rendered grain," "corn," and sometimes "wheat" in the Auth. Vers., is the most general of the Hebrew terms representing "corn," and is more comprehensive than any word in our language, seeing that it probably includes not only all the proper cereals, but also various kinds of pulse and seeds of plants, which we never comprehend under the name of "corn," or even of "grain." It may therefore be taken to represent all the commodities which we describe by the different words corn, grain, seeds, pease, beans. Among other places in which this word occurs, see Ge 27:28-37; Nu 18:27; De 28:51; La 2:12,. etc. SEE GRAIN.
2. There is another word, בִּר bar (i e. winnowed), which denotes any kind of cleansed corn, that is, corn purified from the chaff and fit for use (Ge 41:35-49; Pr 11:26; Jer 4:11; Joe 2:24). The same word is more rarely used to describe corn in a growing state (Ps 65:13). It elsewhere signifies the open "fields" or country. SEE LAND.
3. The word שֶׁבֶר, she'ber (broken, i.e. grist), which is sometimes rendered corn, denotes in a general sense "provisions" or "victuals," and by consequence "corn," as the principal article in all provisions (Ge 42:1-2,20; Ex 8:5; Ne 10:32, etc.). SEE VICTUALS.
4. The Greek σῖτος corresponds to the first two of the above Hebrew words, for which it often stands in the Sept. (Mt 3:12; Lu 3:17; Joh 12:24; Ac 7:12, etc.). SEE EAR (of corn).
The other words occasionally translated "corn" in the Bible are בּלַיל, belil' (Job 24:6), "provender" (Isa 30:24) or "fodder" (Job 6:5); גֹּרֶן, go'ren (De 16:13), elsewhere "threshing-floor;" קָמָה, kamah' (De 16:9; Isa 17:5), "standing corn," as often elsewhere; κόκκος (Joh 12:24), a "grain" of any kind, as elsewhere; and σπόριμα (Mt 12:1), a "corn-field," as elsewhere; besides kindred or different tarins rendered "beaten corn," "standing corn," "cars of corn," "heap of corn," "corn ground," etc. A single ear is שַׁבֹּלֶת, shibboleth; "pounded wheat,'" רַיפוֹת, riphoth' (2Sa 17:19;
Pr 27:22). The most coninmon kinds of corn were wheat, חַטָּה, chittah'; barley, שׂעֹרָה, seorah'; spelt, (A. V., Ex 9:32, and Isa 28:25, '"rye;" Eze 4:9, 'fitches"), כֻּסֶּמֶת, kusse'meth (or in plur. form כֻּסּמַים, kussemimn'); and millet, דֹּהִן, do'chazs: oats are mentioned only by rabbinical writers. The doubtful word שׂוֹרָה, sorah', rendered "principal," as an epithet of wheat, in the A. V. of Isa 28:25, is probably not distinctive of any species of grain (see Gesenius, s.v.). The different products coming under the denomination of corn are noticed under the usual heads, as BARLEY, WHEAT, etc.; their culture under AGRICULTURE; their preparation under SEE BREAD, SEE FOOD, SEE MILL, etc.
"Corn crops are still reckoned at twenty-fold what was sown, and were anciently much more. 'Seven ears on one stalk' (Ge 41:22) is no unusual phenomenon in Egypt at this day. The many-eared stalk is also common in the wheat of Palestine, and it is of course of the bearded kind. The 'heap of wheat set about with lilies' (which probably grew in the field together with it) may allude to a custom of so decorating the sheaves (Song 7:2). Wheat (see 2Sa 4:6) was stored in the house for domestic purposes-the 'midst of the house' meaning the part more retired than the common chamber where the guests were accommodated. It is at present often kept in a dry well, and perhaps the 'ground corn' of 2Sa 17:19, was meant to imply that the well was so used. From Solomon's time (2Ch 2:10,15), i.e. as agriculture became developed under a settled government, Palestine was a corn-exporting country, and her grains were largely taken by her commercial neighbor Tyre (Eze 27:17; comp. Am 8:5). 'Plenty of corn' was part of Jacob's blessing (Ge 27:28; comp. Ps 65:13). The 'store-houses' mentioned 2Ch 32:28, as built by Hezekiah, were perhaps in consequence of the havoc made by the Assyrian armies (comp. 2Ki 19:29); without such protection, the country, in its exhausted state, would have been at the mercy of the desert marauders. Grain crops were liable to יֵרָקוֹן, yerakon', 'mildew' and שַׁדָּפוֹן, shiddaphon', 'blasting' (see 1Ki 8:37), as well as, of course, to fire by accident or malice (Ex 22:6; Jg 15:5). Some good general remarks will be found in Saalschutz, Archaol. d. Hebr." SEE HUSBANDRY.