(Heb. plur. kishshuim; i.e., "hard," "difficult" of digestion, only in Nu 11:5). This vegetable is extensively cultivated in the East at the present day, as it appears to have been in earlier times among the Hebrews. It belongs to the gourd family of plants. In the East its cooling pulp and juice are most refreshing. "We need not altogether wonder that the Israelites, wearily marching through the arid solitudes of the Sinaitic peninsula, thought more of the cucumbers and watermelons of which they had had no lack in Egypt, rather than of the cruel bondage which was the price of these luxuries." Groser's Scripture Natural History.
Isaiah speaks of a "lodge" (Isa 1:8; Heb. sukkah), i.e., a shed or edifice more solid than a booth, for the protection throughout the season from spring to autumn of the watchers in a "garden of cucumbers."
Two varieties of cucumber are very common in Palestine. The Cucumis sativus (Arabic khy
(Heb. kishshuim). This word occurs in
as one of the good things of Egypt produces excellent cucumbers, melons, etc., the Cucumis chate being the best of its tribe yet known. Besides the Cucumis chate, the common cucumber (C. sativus), of which the Arabs distinguish a number of varieties, is common in Egypt. "Both Cucumis chate and C. sativus," says Mr. Tristram, "are now grown in great quantities in Palestine. On visiting the Arab school in Jerusalem (1858) I observed that the dinner which the children brought with them to school consisted, without exception, of a piece of barley cake and a raw cucumber, which they ate rind and all." The "lodge in a garden of cucumbers,"
is a rude temporary shelter erected int eh open grounds where vines, cucumbers, gourds, etc., are grown, in which some lonely man or boy is set to watch, either to guard the plants from robbers or to scare away the foxes and jackals from the vines.