32 Bean (Vicia faba)
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster

botanical background


order: Fabales

family: Fabaceae

genus: Vicia

species: broad bean (Vicia faba)

attributes: herbaceous, one to two meters in height

blooming period: May to June

origin: The broad bean is a cultivated plant, whose descendance is unclear. It could be related to the Vicia galilaea from western Asia.

habitat: cultivated in moderate and subtropic zones especially around the Mediterranean, in western Europe and western Asia


in the Bible

And it happened when David came to Mahanaim, Shobi the son of Nahash of Rabbah, of the sons of Ammon, and Machir the son of Ammiel of Lodebar, and Barzillai the Gileadite of Rogelim, brought beds and basins and earthen vessels, and wheat and barley and flour and roasted grain, and beans and lentils and other roasted food, and honey and butter and sheep and cheese from cows, for David and for the people with him to eat. For they said, The people are hungry and weary and thirsty in the wilderness.

2. Samuel 17,27-29


The Old Testament refers to the bean with the Hebrew word פּוֹל pôl. It would be cooked in a stew with other legumes such as leek (Nr. 31). Another possbility was to grind it and use the flour for bread (Ez 4,9).

The book Rut mentions how Boas, a relative of Rut, offers her bread to drink along with wine vinegar and roasted grain (Rut 2,9; Rut 2,14). The majority of the population probably ate similar simple meals. Abraham in contrast can offer his guests in the first book of Moses lamb, milk products and cake (1 Moses 18,6-8).


mentions: several

other text passages (selected): 

2. Samuel 17,28



Neumann-Gorsolke, Ute: Bohne, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Jan. 2006), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/bohne/ch/120e2ea677b482f0ed2a918a324b442b/ (abgerufen am 01.05.2023)

Vögeli-Pakkala, Christine : Speise/ Speisezubereitung, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Mai 2018), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/speise-speisezubereitung/ch/21920d4893c45c050f88a6096f8ac3cd/ (abgerufen am 01.05.2023)

Modern King James Version.

© Bibelmuseum Münster
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster