In the Bible, is the general word for grain of all kinds, including various seeds, peas, and beans. It never means, as in America, simply maize, or Indian corn. Palestine was anciently very fertile in grain, which furnished in a great measure the support of the inhabitants. "Corn, wine, and oil-olive" were the staple products, and wheat and barley still grow there luxuriantly, when cultivated. Wheat was often eaten in the field, the ripe ear being simply rubbed in the hands to separate the kernels, De 23:25; Mt 12:1. Parched wheat was a part of the ordinary food of the Israelites, as it still is of the Arabs, Ru 2:14; 2Sa 17:28-29; by the feet of cattle, De 25:4; or by "a sharp threshing instrument having teeth," Isa 41:15, which was something resembling a cart, drawn over the corn by means of horses or oxen. See THRESHING. When the grain was threshed, it was separated from the chaff and dust by throwing it forward across the wind, by means of a winnowing fan, or shovel, Mt 3:12; after which the grain was sifted, to separate all impurities from it, Am 9:9; Lu 22:31. Hence we see that the threshing-floors were in the open air, and if possible on high ground, as travellers still find them in actual use, Jg 6:11; 2Sa 24:18. The grain thus obtained was sometimes pounded in a mortar, Nu 11:8; Re 18:22, but was commonly reduced to meal by the hand-mill. This consisted of a lower millstone, the upper side of which was slightly concave, and an upper millstone, the lower surface of which was convex. These stones were each about two feet in diameter, and half a foot thick; and were called "the nether millstone," and the rider, Job 41:24; Jg 9:53; 2Sa 11:21. The hole for receiving the corn was in the center of the upper millstone; and in the operation of grinding, the lower was fixed, and the upper made to move round upon it with considerable velocity by means of a handle. The meal came out at the edges, and was received on a cloth spread under the mill on the ground. Each family possessed a mill, and the law forbade its being taken in pledge, De 24:6; one among innumerable examples of the humanity of the Mosaic legislation. These mills are still in use in the East, and in some parts of Scotland. Dr. E.D. Clarke says, "In the island of Cyprus I observed upon the ground the sort of stones used for grinding corn, called querns in Scotland, common also in Lapland, and in all parts of Palestine. These are the primeval mills of the world; and they are still found in all corn countries where rude and ancient customs have not been liable to those changes introduced by refinement. The employment of grinding with these mills is confined solely to females, who sit on the ground with the mill before them, and thus may be said to be "behind the mill," Ex 11:5; and the practice illustrates the prophetic observation of our Savior concerning the day of Jerusalem's destruction: "Two women shall be grinding at the mill; one shall be taken and the other left," Mt 24:41. To this feminine occupation Samson was degraded, Jg 16:21. The women always accompany the grating noise of the stones with their voices; and when ten or a dozen are thus employed, the fury of the song rises to a high pitch. As the grinding was usually performed in the morning at daybreak, the noise of the females at the hand-mill was heard all over the city, and often awoke their more indolent masters. The Scriptures mention the want of this noise as a mark of desolation, Jer 25:10; Re 18:22.
The word so rendered (dagan) in Ge 27:28,37; Nu 18:27; De 28:51; La 2:12, is a general term representing all the commodities we usually describe by the words corn, grain, seeds, peas, beans. With this corresponds the use of the word in John 12:24.
In Ge 41:35,49; Pr 11:26; Joe 2:24 ("wheat"), the word thus translated (bar; i.e., "winnowed") means corn purified from chaff. With this corresponds the use of the word in the New Testament (Mt 3:12; Lu 3:17; Ac 7:12). In Ps 65:13 it means "growing corn."
Wheat, barley, spelt (as the Hebrew for "rye," Ex 9:32, ought to be translated, for it was the common food of the Egyptians, called doora, as the monuments testify; also in Eze 4:9 for "fitches" translated "spelt".) "Principal wheat," i.e. prime, excellent (Isa 28:25). "Seven ears on one stalk" (Ge 41:22) is common still in Egypt. The sheaves in harvest used to be decorated with the lilies of the field, which illustrates Song 7:2. "Plenty of grain" was part of Jacob's blessing (Ge 27:28).
From Solomon's time the Holy Land exported grain to Tyre (Eze 27:17). See Am 8:5. It is possible Indian grain or maize was known and used in Palestine as it was at Thebes in Egypt, where grains and leaves of it have been found under mummies. The wheat root will send up many stalks, but never more than one ear upon one stalk. But seven full ears upon one maize grain stalk have often been found. Maize grain in the milky state roasted is delicious: this, if meant in Le 2:14, would give zest to the offering.
This term may be taken to include
Various Hebrew words are translated 'corn,' and usually signify any kind of grain. The 'OLD CORN OF THE LAND' was what the Israelites began to eat after crossing the Jordan, when the manna ceased. Jos 5:11-12). It typifies a heavenly Christ, on whom those feed who have spiritually passed through Jordan
The most common kinds were wheat, barley, spelt, Authorized Version,
and Isai 28:25 "rye;"
fitches and millet; oats are mentioned only by rabbinical writers. Our Indian corn was unknown in Bible times. Corn-crops are still reckoned at twentyfold what was sown, and were anciently much more.
The Jewish law permitted any one in passing through a filed of standing corn to pluck and eat.
see also Matt 12:1 From Solomon's time,
as agriculture became developed under a settled government, Palestine was a corn-exporting country, and her grain was largely taken by her commercial neighbor Tyre.
comp. Amos 8:5