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English Bible Dictionary

Balm

 

(from balsam, Heb. tzori, tezri) occurs in (Genesis 37:25; 43:11; Jeremiah 8:22; 46:11; 51:8; Ezekiel 27:17) (It is an aromatic plant, or the resinous odoriferous sap or gum which exudes from such plants.) It is impossible to identify it with any certainty. It is impossible to identify it with any certainty. It may represent the gum of the Pistacia lentiscus, or more probably that of the Balsamodendron opobalsamum, allied to the balm of Gilead, which abounded in Gilead east of the Jordan, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries.The trees resembled fig trees (or grape vines), but were lower, being but 12 to 15 feet high. It is now called the BALM OF Gilead, or Meccabalsam, the tree or shrub being indigenous in the mountains around Mecca. [Incense; Spice, Spices] Hasselquist says that the exudation from the plant "is of a yellow color, and pellucid. It has a most fragrant smell, which is resinous, balsamic and very agreeable. It is very tenacious or glutinous, sticking to the fingers, and may be drawn into long threads." It was supposed to have healing as well as aromatic qualities.

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