properly so called, was not in use among the Hebrews; straw was
used instead. They cut the grass green as it was needed. The
word rendered "hay" in Prov. 27:25 means the first shoots of the
grass. In Isa. 15:6 the Revised Version has correctly "grass,"
where the Authorized Version has "hay."
(1.) Heb. hatsir, ripe grass fit for mowing (1 Kings 18:5; Job
40:15; Ps. 104:14). As the herbage rapidly fades under the
scorching sun, it is used as an image of the brevity of human
life (Isa. 40:6, 7; Ps. 90:5). In Num. 11:5 this word is
(2.) Heb. deshe', green grass (Gen. 1:11, 12; Isa. 66:14;
Deut. 32:2). "The sickly and forced blades of grass which spring
up on the flat plastered roofs of houses in the East are used as
an emblem of speedy destruction, because they are small and
weak, and because, under the scorching rays of the sun, they
soon wither away" (2 Kings 19:26; Ps. 129:6; Isa. 37:27).
The dry stalks of grass were often used as fuel for the oven
(Matt. 6:30; 13:30; Luke 12:28).
(Heb. gez), rendered in Ps. 72:6 "mown grass." The expression
"king's mowings" (Amos 7:1) refers to some royal right of early
pasturage, the first crop of grass for the cavalry (compare 1
(1.) Heb. ha'ahu (Gen. 41:2, 18), probably an Egyptain word
transferred to the Hebrew; some kind of reed or water-plant. In
the Revised Version it is rendered "reed-grass", i.e., the sedge
or rank grass by the river side.
(2.) Heb. ma'areh (Judg. 20:33), pl., "meadows of Gibeah"
(R.V., after the LXX., "Maareh-geba"). Some have adopted the
rendering "after Gibeah had been left open." The Vulgate
translates the word "from the west."
the Latin for cane, Hebrew "Kaneh", mentioned (Ex. 30:23) as one
of the ingredients in the holy anointing oil, one of the sweet
scents (Cant. 4:14), and among the articles sold in the markets
of Tyre (Ezek. 27:19). The word designates an Oriental plant
called the "sweet flag," the Acorus calamus of Linnaeus. It is
elsewhere called "sweet cane" (Isa. 43:24; Jer. 6:20). It has an
aromatic smell, and when its knotted stalk is cut and dried and
reduced to powder, it forms an ingredient in the most precious
perfumes. It was not a native of Israel, but was imported
from Arabia Felix or from India. It was probably that which is
now known in India by the name of "lemon grass" or "ginger
grass," the Andropogon schoenanthus. (See CANE T0000710.)
the bearded darnel, mentioned only in Matt. 13:25-30. It is the
Lolium temulentum, a species of rye-grass, the seeds of which
are a strong soporific poison. It bears the closest resemblance
to wheat till the ear appears, and only then the difference is
discovered. It grows plentifully in Syria and Israel.
(Heb. yelek), "the licking locust," which licks up the grass of
the field; probably the locust at a certain stage of its growth,
just as it emerges from the caterpillar state (Joel 1:4; 2:25).
The word is rendered "caterpillar" in Ps. 105:34; Jer. 51:14, 17
(but R.V. "canker-worm"). "It spoileth and fleeth away" (Nah.
3:16), or as some read the passage, "The cankerworm putteth off
[i.e., the envelope of its wings], and fleeth away."
the refuse of winnowed corn. It was usually burned (Ex. 15:7;
Isa. 5:24; Matt. 3:12). This word sometimes, however, means
dried grass or hay (Isa. 5:24; 33:11). Chaff is used as a figure
of abortive wickedness (Ps. 1:4; Matt. 3:12). False doctrines
are also called chaff (Jer. 23:28), or more correctly rendered
"chopped straw." The destruction of the wicked, and their
powerlessness, are likened to the carrying away of chaff by the
wind (Isa. 17:13; Hos. 13:3; Zeph. 2:2).
(Heb. hatsir; the Allium porrum), rendered "grass" in 1 Kings
18:5, 2 Kings 19:26, Job 40:15, etc.; "herb" in Job 8:12; "hay"
in Prov. 27:25, and Isa. 15:6; "leeks" only in Num. 11:5. This
Hebrew word seems to denote in this last passage simply herbs,
such as lettuce or savoury herbs cooked as kitchen vegetables,
and not necessarily what are now called leeks. The leek was a
favourite vegetable in Egypt, and is still largely cultivated
there and in Israel.
Heb. tannur, (Hos. 7:4). In towns there appear to have been
public ovens. There was a street in Jerusalem (Jer. 37:21)
called "bakers' street" (the only case in which the name of a
street in Jerusalem is preserved). The words "tower of the
furnaces" (Neh. 3:11; 12:38) is more properly "tower of the
ovens" (Heb. tannurim). These resemble the ovens in use among
There were other private ovens of different kinds. Some were
like large jars made of earthenware or copper, which were heated
inside with wood (1 Kings 17:12; Isa. 44:15; Jer. 7:18) or grass
(Matt. 6:30), and when the fire had burned out, small pieces of
dough were placed inside or spread in thin layers on the
outside, and were thus baked. (See FURNACE T0001398.)
Pits were also formed for the same purposes, and lined with
cement. These were used after the same manner.
Heated stones, or sand heated by a fire heaped over it, and
also flat irons pans, all served as ovens for the preparation of
bread. (See Gen. 18:6; 1 Kings 19:6.)
Till their sojourn in Egypt the Hebrews dwelt in tents. They
then for the first time inhabited cities (Gen. 47:3; Ex. 12:7;
Heb. 11:9). From the earliest times the Assyrians and the
Canaanites were builders of cities. The Hebrews after the
Conquest took possession of the captured cities, and seem to
have followed the methods of building that had been pursued by
the Canaanites. Reference is made to the stone (1 Kings 7:9;
Isa. 9:10) and marble (1 Chr. 29:2) used in building, and to the
internal wood-work of the houses (1 Kings 6:15; 7:2; 10:11, 12;
2 Chr. 3:5; Jer. 22:14). "Ceiled houses" were such as had beams
inlaid in the walls to which wainscotting was fastened (Ezra
6:4; Jer. 22:14; Hag. 1:4). "Ivory houses" had the upper parts
of the walls adorned with figures in stucco with gold and ivory
(1 Kings 22:39; 2 Chr. 3:6; Ps. 45:8).
The roofs of the dwelling-houses were flat, and are often
alluded to in Scripture (2 Sam. 11:2; Isa. 22:1; Matt. 24:17).
Sometimes tents or booths were erected on them (2 Sam. 16:22).
They were protected by parapets or low walls (Deut. 22:8). On
the house-tops grass sometimes grew (Prov. 19:13; 27:15; Ps.
129:6, 7). They were used, not only as places of recreation in
the evening, but also sometimes as sleeping-places at night (1
Sam. 9:25, 26; 2 Sam. 11:2; 16:22; Dan. 4:29; Job 27:18; Prov.
21:9), and as places of devotion (Jer. 32:29; 19:13).