Foods of the Bible—Lentils

People tell me that lentils are the way to success on the vegetarian diet.  You just can’t eat enough fruit and vegetables to get the needed calories.  Plus, you need the protein.  If you’re not familiar with eating lentils, there are many ways to prepare them. 

Lentils have a long history-they are one of the first foods ever cultivated.  Lentil seeds have been found in 8000 year old tombs.  They also have many health benefits.  For instance, you may not know they are 26% protein as well as rich in folic acid and both soluble and insoluble fiber.  This fiber binds to cholesterol and transports it out of the body.  It can even slow the liver’s manufacture of cholesterol, and reduce the risk of breast cancer, diverticulosis, and coronary heart disease.  Lentils are very high in B vitamins and Vitamin C.  Finally they are one of the highest sources of antioxidants among the winter growing legumes.  There are hundreds of varieties to choose from and are truly one of the Bible’s superfoods.

Mentioned in the Bible in just a few places, lentils may have been among the “pulse” (many types of legumes) that Daniel preferred over the King’s rich food in Daniel 1:12-16.  He refused the meat which may have been offered to idols, and thrived on his vegetarian diet.  II Samuel 17:28 also mentioned pulse, as a food to provide energy and endurance while traveling.

Lentils are specifically featured in the Genesis 25:34 story of Esau selling his birthright for a bowl of lentil stew.  In II Samuel 23:11-12, David and his army fought the Philistines over a piece of land “full of lentils.”  Finally, Ezekiel (Ezekiel 4:9) was told to make a bread containing lentils to sustain him during his year of isolation for prophecy in the wilderness. 

Here are links to two recipes you may enjoy.  Many more are available by internet search.



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