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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Fig. 142—Cummin Plant

Cummin, or Kammon, is an umbelliferous plant, mentioned both in the Old and New Testaments, and which, like the dill and the coriander, continues to be cultivated in modern, as it was in ancient times, in Eastern countries. These are similar to, and used for many of the same purposes as the anise and caraway, which supply their place, and are more common in Europe. All these plants produce fruits, commonly called seeds, which abound in essential oil of a more or less grateful flavor, and warm stimulating nature; hence they were employed in ancient as in modern times, both as condiments and as medicines.

Cummin is first mentioned in Isaiah (): 'When he (the plowman) hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin?' showing that it was extensively cultivated, as it is in the present day, in Eastern countries, as far even as India. In the south of Europe it is also cultivated to some extent. England is chiefly supplied from Malta and Sicily; 53 cwt. having been imported in the year 1839 from these islands. In the above chapter of Isaiah () cummin is again mentioned: 'For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart-wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.' This is most applicable to the fruit of the common cummin, which, when ripe, may be separated from the stalk with the slightest stroke, and would be completely destroyed by the turning round of a wheel, which, bruising the seed, would press out the oil on which its virtues depend.

In the New Testament cummin is mentioned in , where our Savior denounces the scribes and Pharisees, who paid their 'tithe of mint, and anise, and cummin,' but neglected the weightier matters of the law.





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Cummin'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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