Humus in the Bible

The first documented use of chick-pees to make humus in the middle-east, is from the age of the crusaders. What few people know is that humus was also mentioned in the old testament.

On the first time Ruth and Boaz had met in Bethlehem, he offered her some humus: “And at meal-time Boaz said unto her, Come hither, and eat of the bread, and dip thy morsel in the vinegar” (Ruth 2-14).

This is a mistranslation of course. The original word in ancient Hebrew, is “Hometz”. Which not only sounds a bit like “Humus”, but also resembles the word “Himtza”. The Hebrew name of chick-pees.

True, “Hometz” in modern Hebrew is vinegar. But you don’t really think Boaz was so rude as to offer Ruth to dip her bread in vinegar, do you? Got to admit it’s more reasonable to think it was Humus (the credit for this idea belongs to the Israeli writer Meir Shalev).


8 Responses to “Humus in the Bible”

  1. Hummus: is it Israeli or Arab? at The Hummus Blog on May 4th, 2007 12:08 pm

    […] There’s even a theory dating hummus invention around 1000BC, claiming it was mentioned in the bible. Also, there’s a good chance that modern pita bread is a late Israeli invention, since it’s hollowed requires the use of modern ovens, a technology probably brought from Europe. […]

  2. Mideast Youth - Thinking Ahead » Blog Archive » The Best Hummus in the World!! on May 6th, 2007 9:51 am

    […] Everyone might have their own culinary experiences of eating their best Hummus.It might have been in Amman or Cairo or Casablanca or edgware road London or Tel Aviv,but for me it is in Abu Gosh. Hummus is an international food product – a dip made of ground chickpeas, sesame tahini, lemon juice, and garlic – which crosses the boundaries of the Middle East.There’s a debate about it’s origins.What few people know is that hummus was also mentioned in the Bible in the Book of Ruth.(Ruth was married to a judge of Israel, Boaz where they live in Beit-Lechem meaning from Hebrew the “House of Bread.” Their child was Oved, grandfather of King David, first of the royal family of Israel—the House of David.) in Abu Gosh […]

  3. Dror Musa on March 5th, 2008 10:54 am

    The best Hummus in the world most definitely can NOT be in Cairo or Casablanca ! Neither the Morrocans Nor the Egyptians have the faintest
    clue about Hummus .

    Best hummus in the world ??? Most probably in Israel/Palestine , but which one ? Definitely not in Abu Ghosh village ! but to each his own fav …

  4. Lebanese on October 23rd, 2009 9:51 am

    I think that the best Hummus is in Lebanon!

    Hummus is a Lebanese/phoenician invention!

    And Lebanon exists before the Bible.

  5. Hummus – Best Tips | Seeking The Dish on June 27th, 2013 10:39 pm

    […] Fun Fact: Hummus possibly in the Bible […]

  6. Hummus: Middle Eastern recipe for chickpeas | Healthy Lifestyle on April 7th, 2014 8:02 am

    […] link to the hummus story: […]

  7. skaizun on April 19th, 2014 1:40 pm

    Talmudic scholars might argue that the Hebrew word appearing in Ruth 2:14 is “בחמץ” or “b’chometz”, which, as anyone who has participated in a Passover seder will tell you, is the word for “grain”, or, more modernly, “leavened food,” not “hummus.” As I am not a Talmudic scholar, I shall leave it unto them to argue this revelation.

  8. Shooky Galili on May 7th, 2014 4:44 pm

    skaizun – that’s a good point and an interesting explanation.

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