a garden herb (Ruta graveolens) which the Pharisees were careful to tithe ( Luke 11:42 ), neglecting weightier matters. It is omitted in the parallel passage of Matthew 23:23 . There are several species growing wild in Palestine. It is used for medicinal and culinary purposes. It has a powerful scent, and is a stimulant. (See MINT .)
But woe unto you, Pharisees! for ye tithe mint and RUE and all manner of herbs, and pass over judgment and the love of God: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. ( Luke 11:42 )
occurs only in ( Luke 11:42 ) The rue here spoken of is doubtless the common Ruta graveolens a shrubby plant about two feet high, of strong medicinal virtues. It is a native of the Mediterranean coasts, and has been found by Hasselquist on Mount Tabor. The Talmud enumerates rue amongst kitchen herbs, and regards it as free of tithe as being a plant not cultivated in gardens. In our Lords time however rue was doubtless a garden plant, and therefore tithable.
One of the plants mentioned in Luke 11:42 as subject to tithe: in the parallel passage, Matthew 23:23, anise and cummin are mentioned. Ruta graveolens (Natural Order, Rutaceae) is the official rue, and a very similar species, R. chalepensis, is indigenous. Rue is a small shrub growing 2 to 4 ft. high with a heavy odor, disagreeable to Westerners, but a favorite with Orientals. A sprig of rue is often fixed on a child's cap or clothes as a kind of charm.
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