(Heb. adashim ), a leguminous plant bearing seeds resembling small beans. The red pottage which Jacob prepared and for which Esau sold his birthright was made from them. ( Genesis 25:34 ) There are three of four kinds of lentils, all of which are much esteemed in those countries where they are grown, viz., the south of Europe, Asia and north Africa. The red lentil is still a favorite article of food in the East. Lentil bread is eaten by the poor of Egypt. The lentil is much used with other pulse in Roman Catholic countries during Lent; and some are of opinion that from this usage the season derives its name.
These are undoubtedly identical with the Arabic `adas, a small, reddish bean, the product of Ervum lens, a dwarf leguminous plant, half a foot high, which is extensively cultivated in Palestine as a summer crop. The flour is highly nutritious, and the well-known food, Revalenta arabica, is simply one form, specially prepared; `adas are highly esteemed in Palestine, and are used in soup and as a "pottage" known as mujedderah. This last is of a reddish-brown color and is without doubt the "pottage" of Genesis 25:34. Lentils were part of the provisions brought to David when fleeing from Absalom (2 Samuel 17:28) and were used in the making of the bread for the prophet Ezekiel (4:9). In a "plot of ground full of lentils," Shammah, one of David's "mighty men," stood and defended it and slew the marauding Philistines (2 Samuel 23:11,12).
E. W. G. Masterman
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