But the wheat and the rye were not smitten
Bruised, broken, beat down, and destroyed by hail: the word by us rendered "rye", and by other "fitches" or "spelt", is thought by Dr. Shaw F17 to be "rice", of which there were and still are plantations in Egypt; whereas rye is little, if at all known in those countries, and besides is of the quickest growth; and he observes that rice was the "olyra" of the ancient Egyptians, by which word the Septuagint render the Hebrew word here; and from Pliny F18 we learn, that "olyra", and "oryza", or rice, are the same, and which with the Greeks is "zea", by which some translate the word here:
for they were not grown up;
and so their leaves, as the same traveller observes, were at that time of so soft and yielding a nature, that the hail by meeting with no resistance, as from the flax and barley, did them no harm; and so the Septuagint and Vulgate Latin versions render it: "they were late"; and so the Targum of Jonathan and Jarchi interpret it: for the wheat harvest with the Jews, and so with the Egyptians, was later than the barley harvest, there being about a month's difference between them: some render the word "dark or hidden"
F19 because, as Aben Ezra says, they were now under ground; and if this was the case, indeed the reason is clear why they were not smitten; but this was not the case, for, according to Pliny F20, there was but one month's difference in Egypt between the barley and the wheat; but rather they are said to be so, because the ear was as yet hid, and was not come forth; it just began to spindle, or, as the above traveller explains it, they were of a dark green colour, as young corn generally is, as contradistinction to its being of a bright yellow or golden colour, when it is ripe; for, adds he, the context supposes the wheat and the rice not only to have been sown, but to have been likewise in some forwardness, as they well might be in the month of Abib, answering to our March.
F17 Travels, tom. 2. c. 2. sect. 5. p. 407. Ed. 2.
F18 Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 7. 9.
F19 (tlypa) "caliginosa", Montanus, Vatablus; "latuerant", Tigurine version; "latentia", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Drusius.
F20 Ut supra. (Nat. Hist. l. 18. c. 7. 9.)