Can you explain “bolled” in Exodus 9:31?


by Shawn Brasseaux

Exodus 9:30-32: “[30] But as for thee and thy servants, I know that ye will not yet fear the LORD God. [31] And the flax and the barley was smitten: for the barley was in the ear, and the flax was bolled. [32] But the wheat and the rie were not smitten: for they were not grown up.”

These crops of Egypt are being destroyed because the LORD God is punishing Pharaoh and his nation for keeping the Israelites as their prisoners. Hail, and fire mingled with hail, are falling down and crushing harvests. This is the seventh of 10 judgments to devastate Egypt overall. “Flax” is a plant used not only for food (seeds), but also for fiber or yarn. Notice the parallel in the verse. If the flax is “bolled,” that is analogous to the barley “in the ear.” These are blossomed or flowered, in the seed or pod, but they are ruined. Flax and barley would have used for clothing and libations (sacrifices). As for the “wheat” and “rie” (rye), the food, they were spared because they were “not grown up.” A “boll” is the rounded seed capsule of a cotton or flax plant, the term derived from Middle Dutch “bolle,” as in “rounded object” (related to “bubble”).

Also see:
» What are “fitches?”
» What are “victuals?”
» Can you explain Exodus 8:9, “Glory over me?”