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Re: Mustard in Bible

To really get to the bottom of this, it would be necessary to go back
to the original documents - in essence, what were the words that were
ultimately translated as "mustard" - what was the Aramaic word used?
What Latin/Greek word was chosen for the translation of that
particular word? The bottom line is what did the original author mean
when he wrote the Aramaic word that we translated "mustard"?

Cathy, west central IL, z5b

On Jun 18, 2006, at 10:35 AM, Bonnie Holmes wrote:

> http://www.bibletexts.com/qa/qa081.htm
> #81 - Is the biblical "mustard seed" the same as the spice sold at
> the grocery store?
> by Robert Nguyen Cramer
> This BibleTexts website administrator has very much enjoyed questions
> and insights that have been emailed to him ever since this site was
> launched in September of 1996. On this page I share with BibleTexts
> browsers a few of the questions, insights, and responses, so that
> we all
> can further learn from and with each other.
> Bottom of Page
> Question/insight #81:
> Is the mustard seed in McCormick's spice bottle the one mentioned by
> Christ Jesus? According to Dummelow's Commentary (pp. 673) it is the
> herb or plant, not of the tree. I wonder if McCormick's mustard is
> from
> the tree? I showed it to Sunday School children as the mustard seed in
> the parable. I may need to correct it."
> Response #81:
> Today's term "mustard" as contained in McCormick's spice bottle is
> defined as "a pungent powder or paste prepared from the seed of the
> mustard plant." (Random House Webster's College Dictionary, page 865.)
> In the gospels (Mat 13:31; 17:20; Mar 4:31; Luk 13:19; 17:6), the
> Greek
> word that is translated in the KJV and other versions as "mustard" is
> sinapi (Strong's #4615). In the Mat 13:32 and Luk 13:19), the Greek
> word
> that is translated in the KJV and other versions as "tree" is dendron
> (Strong's #1186). However, both Matthew's and Luke's version of the
> parable are based upon Mark's version, which does not refer to the
> mustard seed as producing "trees" but as "herbs" (KJV),
> "shrubs" (NRSV),
> "garden plants," or simply "plant/s" (NAB, REB, TEV).
> The United Bible Society's Fauna and Flora of the Bible (NY: UBS,
> 1980, pages 145-146) writes:
> The seed described in the parable of Jesus as 'the smallest of all
> seeds' is considered by most translators to be the common black
> mustard
> seed, Brassica nigra.
> Brassica nigra is now an annual garden herb, but in former days it
> grew
> wild in the fields of Palestine; the Jews sowed it in their fields and
> not in their gardens (Mt 13.31).
> In our day the seeds of mustard, which are contained in linear
> pods, are
> not considered to be the smallest of all seeds (a distinction held by
> the orchid). But in the days of Jesus the smallest quantity of
> something
> was proverbially compared with 'a mustard seed' (Mt 17.20)
> The mustard plant does not usually grow as tall as a tree, but
> travellers relate that they have passed through mustard fields in
> which
> all the plants exceeded the height of a man, and where birds were
> actually sheltering in the 'branches'. The stem of the mustard
> plant may
> be as thick as a man's arm. The description of it as a 'tree' in the
> parable is, therefore, not misleading.
> Some commentator have suggested that the seed mentioned in the parable
> was not that of the black mustard, but of a different plant, Salvadora
> persica. But this is found in the valleys of the Jordan river, not in
> the fields. Moreover, its seeds are too large to fit the description
> given in the Gospels.
> The Interpreter's Dictionary of the Bible, Volume 3 (pages
> 476-477), adds:
> If the text must be rendered "make nests in its branches" (so RSV),
> the
> exaggeration would be immediately apparent to even the common man.
> Botanists avoid this problem by insisting that the verb translated
> "make
> nests" means only "settle upon" or "light upon" (cf. Amer. Trans.
> "roost"), referring only to small birds. The apparent allusion to Dan.
> 4:11-12, 20-21, seems to support the RSV translation, in which case
> the
> only solution is to take the expression as hyperbole (cf. Matt.
> 17:20).
> Bonnie Zone 7/7 ETN
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