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Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Hebrew qetsach , Septuagint melanthion , Isaiah 28:25; Isaiah 28:27; of the order Ranunculaceos, and suborder Ηelleboreos , in southern Europe and northern Africa; the black poppy. Νigella sativa , "fennel," with black seed like cummin, easily "beaten out with a staff"; used in sauces as condiment like pepper; aromatic and carminative. In Ezekiel 4:9 kussemeth , KJV "fitches," is rather "spelt" or dhourra , less suitably rendered "rye" Exodus 9:32; Isaiah 28:25, where the illustration from the husbandman shows that God also adapts His measures to the varying exigencies of the several cases and places, now mercy, now judgment, here punishing sooner there later (an answer to the scoff that His judgments were so slow that they would never come at all, Isaiah 5:19); His aim not being to destroy His people any more than the husbandman's aim in threshing is to destroy his crop.
He will not use the threshing instrument where, as in the case of the "fennel," the "staff" will suffice. From the readiness with which the ripe capsules yield their tiny black seeds (the poor man's pepper, poivrette ), nothing could be so absurd as to use a threshing instrument. Even in the case of the "bread grain" which needs to be "bruised" or threshed with the grain drag or trodden out by cattle, "He will not always be threshing it"; for "because" translated "but" (compare Isaiah 27:7-8). Spelt has a smooth slender ear (as it were shorn, kussemeth being from kaasam "to shear"), the grains of which are so firm in the husk that they need special devices to disengage them.
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Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Fitches'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/fbd/f/fitches.html. 1949.