Cummin, a garden herb related to carrots, is cultivated for its somewhat bitter, aromatic-favored seeds, which have been used since ancient times to season foods. In Bible History, cummin was mentioned in the Old Testament by Isaiah in a lesson about wisdom (i.e. harvesting cummin without damaging the seeds), and in the New Testament by Jesus Christ in a condemnation of the Scribes and Pharisees who were "zealous in paying tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the Law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone."
"Give ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. Does he who plows for sowing plow continually? Does he continually open and harrow his ground? When he has leveled its surface, does he not scatter dill, sow cummin, and put in wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border? For he is instructed aright; his God teaches him."
"Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cummin with a rod. Does one crush bread grain? No, he does not thresh it for ever; when he drives his cart wheel over it with his horses, he does not crush it. This also comes from The Lord of hosts; he is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in wisdom." (Isaiah 28:23-29 RSV)
Jesus' condemnation of religious Hypocrites:
"Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to His disciples, Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses' seat: All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not. For they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men's shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers."
"But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, And love the uppermost rooms at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, And greetings in the markets, and to be called of men, Rabbi, Rabbi."
"But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted."
"But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in. Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayer: therefore ye shall receive the greater damnation."
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, ye make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves."
"Woe unto you, ye blind guides, which say, Whosoever shall swear by the Temple [see Temples and "My Father's House"], it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the Temple, he is a debtor! Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gold, or the Temple that sanctifieth the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever sweareth by the gift that is upon it, he is guilty. Ye fools and blind: for whether is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifieth the gift? Whoso therefore shall swear by the altar, sweareth by it, and by all things thereon. And whoso shall swear by the Temple, sweareth by it, and by him that dwelleth therein. And he that shall swear by heaven, sweareth by the throne of God, and by him that sitteth thereon."
"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Ye blind guides, which strain at a gnat, and swallow a camel." (Matthew 23:1-24 KJV)
Fact Finder: Did some of the hypocritical Pharisees later see the "light"? For example, was the apostle Paul, a man who later wrote much of the New Testament, once a Pharisee who persecuted the church?
Note: Paul (then known as Saul) first "saw the Light" in a spectacular way - see Acts 9:1-9 and On The Road To Damascus
This Week's Bible Quiz
Who said it? (Revised Standard Version)
1. "My father has troubled the land; see how my eyes have become bright, because I tasted a little of this honey."
2. "Thy glory, O Israel, is slain upon thy high places! How are the mighty fallen!"
3. "Now The Lord has fulfilled His promise which He made; for I have risen in the place of David my father, and sit on the throne of Israel, as The Lord promised, and I have built the House for the Name of The Lord, the God of Israel"
4. "You saw, O king, and behold, a great image. This image, mighty and of exceeding brightness, stood before you, and its appearance was frightening. The head of this image was of fine gold, its breast and arms of silver, its belly and thighs of bronze, its legs of iron, its feet partly of iron and partly of clay"
5. "O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace; and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image which you have set up."
6. "But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers! Who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bear fruit that befits repentance"
7. "Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?"
8. "Are you the King of the Jews?"
9. "Men of Israel, why do you wonder at this, or why do you stare at us, as though by our own power or piety we had made him walk?"
10. "But this I admit to you, that according to the Way, which they call a sect, I worship the God of our fathers, believing everything laid down by the law or written in the prophets, having a hope in God which these themselves accept, that there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust."
For the answers to this August 6 2002 quiz, see the Bible Quiz Answers Page