Lentils, biblical symbolism

This article is also available in: Italiano

One of the best known plants ever, useful for its nutritional properties than for the many symbolisms related to it. Lentil is by far one of the most amazing vegetables you have ever read.


Lentils are absolutely one of the cultivated vegetables, with archaeological finds that easily exceed 10,000 years. Precisely because of its constant presence in the history of humanity, innumerable names and values have been attributed to it, testimony of its presence in every common imagination. Autochthonous from Asia and the Middle East, this plant has always been appreciated for its taste and ease of cultivation, making it one of the staple foods for many different countries and cultures.

Juz 1, Surat Al Baqara, vv.61

Precisely for this reason they are then asked loudly by the Jews, hungry after the long journey and waiting for a hot and tasty meal. The role of lentils, however, does not stop there, giving its best in the Old Testament, in particular in the figure of Esau, twin brother of Jacob.

Lentils, a metaphor for Ramadan

The Genesis narrates that he was, between the two brothers, the best in hunting and moving in the steppe, which immediately made him the pupil of his father, Isaac. One day, however, when he came back tired and hungry from work in the countryside, he let himself be enticed by his brother’s lentil soup, who gave it to him in exchange for his birthright.

Esau and Jacob

This will be the principle of the misfortunes that will strike Esau, guilty of having sold off the privilege entrusted to him by his Lord. A story that is perfectly linked with Ramadan and its fasting. In this month the rewards are more valuable than at any other time of the year, becoming an excellent time for an extra effort. Like Esau, however, interrupting him will lose all the reward accumulated up to that moment, transforming one of the most beautiful rewards ever into a huge regret. Even more interesting if you think that in Jewish culture lentils are often associated with death, giving the scene additional insights and meanings.

Do you want to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Ibn Battuta? You will find here how to do it. Follow us on our facebook page, Spotify, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram, or on our Telegram channel. Any like, sharing or support is welcome and helps us to devote ourselves more and more to our passion: telling the Middle East.

Leave a Reply