Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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רוש and ראש , Deuteronomy 29:18; Deuteronomy 32:32; Psalms 69:21; Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15; Lamentations 3:5; Lamentations 3:19; Hosea 10:4; Amos 6:12 . In the two latter places our translators have rendered the word hemlock, in the others gall. Hiller supposes it the centaureum, described by Pliny; but Celsius shows it to be the hemlock. It is evident, from Deuteronomy 29:18 , that some herb or plant is meant of a malignant or nauseous kind, being there joined with wormwood, and in the margin of our Bibles explained to be "a poisonful herb." In like manner see Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:15; and Jeremiah 23:15 . In Hosea 10:4 , the comparison is to a bitter herb, which, growing among grain, overpowers the useful vegetable, and substitutes a pernicious weed. "If," says the author of "Scripture Illustrated," "the comparison be to a plant growing in the furrows of the field, strictly speaking, then we are much restricted in our plants, likely to answer this character; but if we may take the ditches around, or the moist or sunken places within the field also, which I partly suspect, then we may include other plants; and I do not see why hemlock may not be intended. Scheuchzer inclines to this rather than wormwood or agrostes, as the LXX have rendered it. The prophet appears to mean a vegetable which should appear wholesome, and resemble those known to be salutary, as judgment, when just, properly is; but experience would demonstrate its malignity, as unjust judgment is when enforced. Hemlock is poisonous, and water-hemlock especially; yet either of these may be mistaken, and some of their parts, the root particularly, may deceive but too fatally."

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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Hemlock'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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