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English Bible Dictionary

Honey

 

The Hebrew debash in the first place applied to the product of the bee, to which exclusively we give the name of honey. All travellers agree in describing Palestine as a land "flowing with milk and honey," (Exodus 3:8) bees being abundant even in the remote parts of the wilderness, where they deposit their honey in the crevices of rocks or in hollow trees. In some parts of northern Arabia the hills are so well stocked with bees that no sooner are hives placed than they are occupied. In the second place the term debash applies to a decoction of the juice of the grape, which is still called dibs, and which forms an article of commerce in the East, it was this, and not ordinary bee-honey, which Jacob sent to Joseph, (Genesis 43:11) and which the Tyrians purchased from Palestine, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. (Ezekiel 27:17) A third kind has been described by some writers as a "vegetable" honey, by which is meant the exudations of certain trees and shrubs, such as the Tamarix mannifera, found in the peninsula of Sinai, or the stunted oaks of Luristan and Mesopotamia. The honey which Jonathan ate in the wood, (1 Samuel 14:25) and the "wild honey" which supported John the Baptist, (Matthew 3:42) have been referred to this species. But it was probably the honey of wild bees.

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