“Ears of Corn”?

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Does the New Testament depict the disciples picking yellow sweet corn (maize) in firs-century Israel?

Revised: 14-May-13

The King James Version of Luke 6:1 speaks of the disciples plucking ears of corn,[1] which to an American suggests yellow sweet corn rather than the grain the King James translators had in mind. In fact, corn is a generic term used to refer to the most important cereal crop of a region, be it maize, wheat or oats. In the Land of Israel, the main field crops in ancient times were חִטִּים (khitim, wheat) and שְׂעוֹרָה (se’orah, barley). Barley is mentioned thirty-four times in the Hebrew Scriptures, thirteen times together with wheat.

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Ruth with a sheaf of barley. From a mosaic in the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.

Ruth with a sheaf of barley. From a mosaic in the Dormition Abbey in Jerusalem. Photo courtesy of Joshua N. Tilton.


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  • David N. Bivin

    David N. Bivin
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    David N. Bivin is founder and editor of Jerusalem Perspective. A native of Cleveland, Oklahoma, U.S.A., Bivin has lived in Israel since 1963, when he came to Jerusalem on a Rotary Foundation Fellowship to do postgraduate work at the Hebrew University. He studied at the Hebrew…
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