(ἡδύοσμον, sweet-scented) occurs (Mt 23:23; Lu 11:42) among the smaller garden herbs which the Pharisees punctiliously tithed. SEE ANISE; SEE DILL. It was much esteemed as a warming condiment by the ancients (Pliny, 19:47; 20:53; 21:18; Dioscor. 3:41; Martial, 10:48,8 sq.; the Romans calling it mentha, and the Greeks μίνθη) as well as the Jews (Mishna, Okzim. 1:2; Ohol. 8:1; also the Talmudical tracts. Shem ve- Jobel, 7:2; Sheb. 7:1; the rabbins call it מַינתָא; it was even strewed, for the sake of its odor, upon the floors of houses and synagogues, Buxtorf, Lex. Rab. page 1228), and as it still is in Eastern countries (Raffenau Delile, Flora Aegypt. in the Descr. de l'Egypte, 19). "Some commentators have supposed that such herbs as mint, anise (dill), and cumin, were not tithable by law, and that the Pharisees solely from an overstrained zeal paid tithes for them; but as dill was subject to tithe (Masseroth, 4:5), it is most probable that the other herbs mentioned with it were also tithed, and this is fully corroborated by our Lord's own words: 'These ought ye to have done.' The Pharisees, therefore, are not censured for paying tithes of things untithable by law, but for paying more regard to a scrupulous exactness in these minor duties than to important moral obligations." "It is difficult to determine the exact species or variety of mint employed by the ancients. There are numerous species very nearly allied to one another. They usually grow in moist situations, and are herbaceous, perennial, of powerful odor, especially when bruised, and have small reddish-colored flowers, arranged in spikes or whorls. The taste of these plants is bitter, warm, and pungent, but leaving a sensation of coolness on the tongue; in their properties they are so similar to each other, that, either in medicine or as a condiment, one species may safely be substituted for another. The species most common in Syria is Mentha sylvestris, found by Russell at Aleppo, and mentioned by him as one of the herbs cultivated in the gardens there. It also occurs in Greece, Taurus, Caucasus, the Altai Range, and as far as Cashmere. Marvensis is also a widely-diffused species, being found in Greece, in parts of Caucasus, in the Altai Range, and in Cashmere." (See Celsii Hierob. 1:543 sq.) Lady Calcott (Script. Herb. page 280) makes the following ingenious remark: "I know not whether mint were originally one of the bitter herbs with which the Israelites eat the Paschal lamb, but our use of it with roast lamb, particularly about Easter time, inclines me to suppose it was." The same writer also observes that the modern Jews eat horseradish and chervil with lamb. The wood-cut represents the horse mint (M. sylvestris), which is common in Syria, and, according to Russell (Nat. Hist. of Aleppo, page 39), found in the gardens at Aleppo: M. sativa is generally supposed to be only a variety of M. arvensis, another species of mint; perhaps all these were known to the ancients. The mints belong to the large natural order Labiatae.

Bible concordance for MINT.

Definition of mint

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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