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In 2 Kings 6, 25 (yes, in the Bible) the verse says that during the siege of Samaria, the famine was so bad that "an ass's head was sold for fourscore pieces of silver, and the fourth part of a cab of dove's dung for five pieces of silver." Yummy...

However, the situation wasn't necessarily that grim. A friend who has studied Hebrew for years assures me that the reading may well be incorrect. According to him, the true rendering should be "a quantity of lentils" instead of "ass's head" and "pods of the carob tree" over "dove's dung", because those words in Hebrew are remarkably similar and so could have been easily misread by the early translators.

Carob pods are still being used as food in the Middle East, where they are also known as "locust pods".

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