BDELLIUM (Heb. בְּדֹלַח) twice mentioned in the Scriptures, once in the description of the land of Havilah, which contained "gold, bdellium, and onyx stone" (Gen. 2:12), and again in the description of the manna, "its appearance was as the appearance of bdellium" (Num. 11:7). In both passages the Septuagint understands it as the name of some precious stone, as do Rashi, who interprets it as "a precious stone, crystal" and Saadiah Gaon, as "pearls." The Midrash gives two opinions. According to one, it is a precious stone, and according to the other the reference is to "the bedolaḥ of perfumers." In Genesis the Midrash decides in favor of the first interpretation because there it is associated with gold and onyx (Gen. R., 16:2). Josephus (Ant. 3:28) explains that "the manna resembled the spice bdellium." The reference is presumably to the sweet-smelling sap called in Greek βδέλλιον and in Latin bdellium, a semi-transparent resin extracted from trees of the genus Commiphora. According to Pliny (Historia Naturalis, 12:36) the best variety is Bactrian bdellium from Baluchistan, which is similar to that obtained from Nubia. In effect the sap of both the Bactrian, Commiphora roxburgii, and the Nubian, Commiphora africana, were used as incense. The former variety is known among Arabs as mokul, a name they also give to the resin issuing from the tree Hyphaene thebaica, a species of palm with a branching trunk that grows in the Arabah (at the approach to Elath), and in Sinai. The Arabs call it "Jewish bdellium." It is apparently this species that is referred to by Dioscorides as "the bdellium imported from Petra" (De Materia Medica, 1:80). -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 1 (1928), 304f.; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 259. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

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  • BDELLIUM — Graece Βδέλλιον, diminutiv. a Βδέλλα, quomodo aliquot locis Auctori Pertpli vocatur; Bedella, Marcello Empirico, crocon atque bedellam: apud Plantum in antiquis libris Bedellium, Salmasio est ex Hebraeo Bedolach, quae vox occurrit Numer. c. 11. v …   Hofmann J. Lexicon universale

  • Bdellium — (Hebrew bedolach ) was an aromatic gum like myrrh that was exuded from a tree. It has been identified with the species Commiphora wightii , now called guggul, although bdellium was also used for the African species C. africana and at least one… …   Wikipedia

  • bdellium — del lium, n. [L., fr. Gr. bde llion; cf. Heb. b dolakh bdellium (in sense 1).] 1. An unidentified substance mentioned in the Bible ( Gen. ii. 12, and Num. xi. 7), variously taken to be a gum, a precious stone, or pearls, or perhaps a kind of… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • bdellium — BDELLIUM. s. m. Arbre qui croît dans les Indes et dans l Arabie Heureuse. Il est épineux. On en tire une gomme nommée aussi Bdellium. On l eruploie particulièrement contre la toux, et dans les maladies du poumon …   Dictionnaire de l'Académie Française 1798

  • Bdellĭum — (Gummi bdellii), Schleimharz von einer noch unbekannten Pflanze, kommt aus Arabien u. Ostindien, ist rothbraun, mehr od. weniger durchsichtig, zwischen den Zähnen klebrig, von myrrhenartigem Geruch, bitterlicharomatischem Geschmack; sonst… …   Pierer's Universal-Lexikon

  • Bdellĭum — Bdellĭum, Gummiharz von Commiphora Roxburghii Engl. im nordwestlichen Indien und Belutschistan, ist braun oder grünlich, riecht wie Myrrhe, schmeckt bitter, erweicht beim Kauen, findet sich als Beimischung in der Myrrhe und wird in Indien… …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Bdellium — Bdellium, ein balsamisches Harz, der Myrrhe ähnlich, das indische von Amyris Commiphora, das afrikanische von Heudolotia africana; im Handel in rundlichen Massen mit muscheligem Bruch, scharf und bitter schmeckend. Räucherwerk …   Herders Conversations-Lexikon

  • bdellium — [bdeljɔm] n. m. ÉTYM. Probablt XVIe (attesté 1690, Furetière); mot lat., empr. au grec bdellion (francisé au XVe en bedelle); cf. bidellion en angl., 1398. ❖ ♦ Didact. Substance résineuse et balsamique provenant d arbres exotiques (balsamodendron …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • bdellium — [del′ē əm] n. [ME < L < Gr bdellion; of Sem orig. (as in Assyr budulḥu, Heb bedolach)] 1. a myrrhlike gum resin 2. any of a genus (Commiphora) of trees of the bursera family yielding this 3. Bible a jewel variously interpreted as being a… …   English World dictionary

  • Bdellium — Le Bdellium (du grec bdellion / en hébreu bedolach) est une Gomme résine que l on faisait venir des Indes orientales, d Afrique et d Arabie par les routes commerciales du Levant. Les botanistes ont longtemps débattu sur la nature de l arbre qui… …   Wikipédia en Français

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