This word in ( Luke 16:16 ) describes really the fruit of a particular kind of tree, viz. the carob or Ceratonia siliqua of botanists. It belongs to the locust family. This tree is very commonly met with in Syria and Egypt, it produces pods, shaped like a horn, varying in length from six to ten inches, and about a fingers breadth, or rather more; it is dark-brown, glossy, filled with seeds and has a sweetish taste. It is used much for food by the poor, and for the feeding of swine.
husks (keratia, i.e. "little horns," Luke 15:16):
These are the pods of the carob tree (Revised Version, margin), also called the locust tree (Ceratonia siliqua). This tree flourishes all over Palestine, especially on the western mountain slopes toward the sea; by the Arabs it is called kharrub. It is dioecious, has dense, dark, evergreen foliage, glossy leaves and long, curved pods, like small horns (hence, the name). These pods which are from 4 to 9 inches in length, have a leathery case containing a pulpy substance in which the beans are imbedded; this pulp is of a pleasant, sweetish flavor and has a characteristic odor, and is much loved by children. The pods are sold in the markets, both as cattle food and for the poor, who extract by boiling them a sweetish substance like molasses. The tradition that the "locusts" of Matthew 3:4; Mark 1:6 were carob pods is preserved in the name given to them, "St. John's bread," but it has little to be said for it.
E. W. G. Masterman
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