mess of pottage

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In the biblical story, the dish of lentils for which the hungry Esau sold his birthright to his younger brother Jacob (Genesis 25); the expression is proverbial for a ridiculously small amount offered or taken for something of real value.

Although the proverbial use is recorded from 1526, it does not occur in the Authorized Version of 1611; it does however appear in the heading of chapter 25 in the Bibles of 1537 and 1539, and in the Geneva Bible of 1560.

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