Dill was cultivated in ancient times in the Middle East. The seeds were harvested by beating the plant with a staff and were used for flavouring many foods including bread and cakes.

Biblical Law required that Jews tithe. Tithing meant that they gave 10% of their money and/or their crops to the Lord which usually went to the Temple (Leviticus 27:30). Because dill was a herb produced by farmers for commerce, the law required Jews to tithe on it.

Dill was most often used as an aid for digestion, and the ancient Greeks believed that parts of the dill plant could help to cure hiccoughs. The Greeks also used dill as a sleep aid: they would put leaves of dill over their eyes to help them to get a good night’s rest.

And mothers of young children have for centuries used dill water to calm babies suffering with colic.

Jesus didn’t denounce tithing. He did condemn using tithing as a way of evading the weightier matters of the law, which demanded real sacrifice. Jesus had a balanced sense of theological proportion. He saw the situation simply: “You should respect justice and mercy and faithfulness,… and while you’re at it, don’t neglect tithing.”

Isaiah 28:25

“When they have levelled its surface, do they not scatter dill, sow cummin, and plant wheat in rows and barley in its proper place, and spelt as the border?”

Isaiah 28:27

“Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but dill is beaten out with a stick, and cummin with a rod.”

Matthew 23:23

“Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you tithe mint, dill, and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. It is these you ought to have practiced without neglecting the others.”