husks (keratia, i.e. "little horns," Lu 15:16): These are the pods of the carob tree (Revised Version, margin), also called the locust tree (Ceratonia siliqua). This tree flourishes all over Palestine, especially on the western mountain slopes toward the sea; by the Arabs it is called kharrub. It is dioecious, has dense, dark, evergreen foliage, glossy leaves and long, curved pods, like small horns (hence, the name). These pods which are from 4 to 9 inches in length, have a leathery case containing a pulpy substance in which the beans are imbedded; this pulp is of a pleasant, sweetish flavor and has a characteristic odor, and is much loved by children. The pods are sold in the markets, both as cattle food and for the poor, who extract by boiling them a sweetish substance like molasses. The tradition that the "locusts" of Mt 3:4; Mr 1:6 were carob pods is preserved in the name given to them, "St. John's bread," but it has little to be said for it.
E. W. G. Masterman