Mustard

Mustard

Postby lasaxman » Tue Jun 16, 2015 3:56 am

In Sunday's Gospel (Mark chapter 4), Jesus speaks of the mustard plant and its seeds.

“To what shall we compare the kingdom of God,
or what parable can we use for it?
It is like a mustard seed that, when it is sown in the ground,
is the smallest of all the seeds on the earth.
But once it is sown, it springs up and becomes the largest of plants
and puts forth large branches,
so that the birds of the sky can dwell in its shade.”


I'm sure that many of you have seen mustard seeds and mustard plants, maybe even grown them in your garden. Mustard greens are a staple of Southern cooking.

These familiar plants do not seem to fit Jesus description. So, is Jesus using hyperbole, exaggerating the smallness of the seed and the size of the grown plant? Or is He speaking of some other mustard plant, unique to that time and place, that is more like a tree?
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Re: Mustard

Postby BobC » Tue Jun 16, 2015 11:24 am

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Re: Mustard

Postby Retsinab » Tue Jun 16, 2015 8:51 pm


I don’t have a dog in this fight and obviously, I didn’t parse all these photos for accuracy and, certainly, given my sheltered Midwestern USA life, there may be huge mustard trees in the greater world beyond the north 70, but I do know two things.

1. I have grown mustard plants and the plants I’ve grown are small bushes with beautiful yellow blooms.

and

2. This photo is of a field of mustard plants just like I grew. I have no idea what species is the tree in the middle of the field of mustard plants
Image
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The Gospel of Saint Matthew, 25:40 (NAB)

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Re: Mustard

Postby seamas o dalaigh » Wed Jun 17, 2015 12:28 am

All,

If you do a Google Images search on "mustard plant", you'll get pictures such as this:
Image



If you do a Google Images search on "mustard tree", you'll get pictures such as this:
Image


Mustard plants are any of several plant species in the genera Brassica and Sinapis.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mustard_plant

It would seem Christ had in mind the larger tree variety.
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Re: Mustard

Postby Retsinab » Wed Jun 17, 2015 11:53 am

More information:

A little research on a quiet Wednesday morn can stir the juices of learning …

All emphasis below mine.

Black Mustard
is an annual herbaceous plant in the Brassicaceae (the cabbage or mustard family) that originated in the Middle East and is now widely cultivated as a primary source of the mustard seeds used in making the condiment sauce, table mustard.

The black mustard plant grows up to 2 m (a little over 6 ft), with many branches.

Brassica Nigra, or black mustard,
is an erect plant that grows to 8 feet tall and can resemble a tree. Although not technically a tree, it is sometimes called the mustard tree, and is widely considered to be the plant referenced as such in the biblical parable of the same name. Brassica Nigra grows on grassy plains.

******
There is some controversy over whether Brassica Nigra is indeed the plant referenced in the biblical parable of the mustard tree. The most obvious controversy stems from the fact that black mustard is not actually a tree at all. It is a very large plant. The Bible indicates that birds nest in the mustard tree, which does not happen in black mustard. Some birds, however, do land on the plant to eat the seeds. Despite the controversy, black mustard is still widely considered the mustard tree of the Bible.


And then, there is …
Mustard Tree Facts
Considered by some people to be the source of the mustard seed mentioned in Scripture, the mustard tree (Salvadora persica) grows wild throughout much of the Middle East and Africa. Generally attaining a height no taller than 25 feet with fleshy, 1 1/2- to 3-inch leaves, the tree takes advantage of damp conditions near rivers and waterholes but can survive on fewer than 8 inches of rainfall per year. It is hardy in U.S. Department of Agriculture plant hardiness zones 10 through 11. The mustard tree is not the source of the seeds used to make condiment mustard; those seeds are harvested from herbs of the Brassica family.

Salvadora persica
a large, well-branched evergreen shrub or small tree … It is widely distributed in the drier parts of India, Baluchistan, and Ceylon and in the dry regions of West Asia and Egypt
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The Gospel of Saint Matthew, 25:40 (NAB)

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Re: Mustard

Postby inthegobi » Thu Jun 18, 2015 11:58 am

lasaxman wrote:In Sunday's Gospel (Mark chapter 4), Jesus speaks of the mustard plant and its seeds . . .


It struck me in Mass that perhaps Jesus was pointing out the contrast between seeds and plants - look at how large a plant comes from such a small seed.

For there may be smaller seeds familiar to His audience (millet comes close) whose plants aren't as big as mustard, and there are larger plants (like the date-palm) whose seeds aren't as small as mustard seeds. 'Tree' is a flexible term in a lot of languages. (The lilac 'bush' in my friend's back yard is thirty feet tall or so; and you can hide several small kids inside a peony 'bush' in SE Ohio conditions.) And, nine feet is plenty of plant to find shade under, especially if you're sitting down on a hot day.

I'm sure that many of you have seen mustard seeds and mustard plants, maybe even grown them in your garden. Mustard greens are a staple of Southern cooking.


My family never planted mustard, and Germans aren't big on cooking greens. What do mustard greens taste like, mustard-y?

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Re: Mustard

Postby Retsinab » Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:00 pm

inthegobi wrote:
lasaxman wrote:
I'm sure that many of you have seen mustard seeds and mustard plants, maybe even grown them in your garden. Mustard greens are a staple of Southern cooking.


My family never planted mustard, and Germans aren't big on cooking greens. What do mustard greens taste like, mustard-y?

C. Kirk

If mustard greens taste mustard-y, do collard greems taste collard-y?

I've tasted neither mustard nor collard greens but my grandmother used to fix dandelion greens. (seasoned with vinegar and bacon).

Dandelion greens taste spinach-y.

One of the few veggie dishes I truly enjoyed as a child (it was probably the bacon flavor that did it …)
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The Gospel of Saint Matthew, 25:40 (NAB)

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Re: Mustard

Postby inthegobi » Thu Jun 18, 2015 6:28 pm

Retsinab wrote:(it was probably the bacon flavor that did it …)


News flash! Kansan man says bacon makes things taste better - film at 11! :doh:

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Re: Mustard

Postby Retsinab » Thu Jun 18, 2015 7:53 pm

inthegobi wrote:
Retsinab wrote:(it was probably the bacon flavor that did it …)


News flash! Kansan man says bacon makes things taste better - film at 11! :doh:

C Kirk

Well, if they're planning on the film revealing anything meaningful, they'd better hurry. It's going fast!
Image

An aside: If you don't want to be reminded (and scolded) about how your love of bacon is shortening your sojourn on this planet, don't google "half-eaten bacon sandwich" …
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The Gospel of Saint Matthew, 25:40 (NAB)

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Re: Mustard

Postby inthegobi » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:29 pm

A (rather randomly picked) Christian website had this to say:

Alfred Edersheim further vindicates that the mustard seed was not a tree but a garden herb that was quite large compared to the small size of its seed. Also that it was proverbial in Jewish culture:

The very idea of Parables implies, not strict scientific accuracy, but popular pictorialness. . . . In fact, the expression, ‘small as a mustard-seed,’ had become proverbial, and was used, not only by our Lord, but frequently by the Rabbis, to indicate the smallest amount, such as the least drop of blood, the least defilement, or the smallest remnant of sun-glow in the sky. ‘But when it is grown, it is greater than the garden-herbs.’ Indeed, it looks no longer like a large garden-herb or shrub, but ‘becomes,’ or rather, appears like, ‘a tree’—as St. Luke puts it, ‘a great tree,’ of course, not in comparison with other trees, but with garden-shrubs. Such growth of the mustard seed was also a fact well known at the time, and, indeed, still observed in the East. (The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah)


I think the proverbial nature of mustard seeds is the key to why Jesus chose it, rather than speak of some actually smaller seed that may have been known to His audience.[/quote]

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Re: Mustard

Postby inthegobi » Fri Jun 19, 2015 6:32 pm

Jim,

There is this helpful graph from xkcd:

Image

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Re: Mustard

Postby Retsinab » Fri Jun 19, 2015 9:06 pm

inthegobi wrote:Jim,

There is this helpful graph from xkcd:

Image

C Kirk

:D :D :D :D

You understand, do you not, that this will be stolen, starting now? Xkcd and C Kirk will receive due credit in the index …
And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’
The Gospel of Saint Matthew, 25:40 (NAB)

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Re: Mustard

Postby inthegobi » Sun Aug 09, 2015 10:56 pm

as a coda to this thread, the Old Testament reading for this Sunday 8/9 has Elijah taking shade under a 'broom-tree', and it's just a big shrub too:

Image

This from a link to the species, here: http://www.lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2009/04-12.html

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