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Fausset's Bible Dictionary


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The Αtropa mandragore , of the order Solanaceae , allied to the deadly nightshade (Αtropa belladonna ); a stupefying narcotic with broad dark green leaves, flowers purple, and green apples which become pale yellow when ripe, with a tuberous bifid (forked) root. Still found ripe in wheat harvest (May) on the lower parts of Lebanon and Hermon (Genesis 30:14). The apples produce dizziness and exhilaration. The ancients believed them calculated to produce fecundity. Their Hebrew name, duwdaim , "love apples," agrees with their being used as aphrodisiacs to conciliate love; Rachel had this superstitious notion (Genesis 30:14-17). The odor is too strong to be agreeable to Europeans, but Orientals value strong-smelling things; Dioscorides calls the apples "sweet-scented." Song of Solomon 7:13, "the mandrakes give a smell." The root was fancied to resemble man, and to form a potent magical spell, and to emit a human groan on being torn from the ground!

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Bibliography Information
Fausset, Andrew R. Entry for 'Mandrakes'. Fausset's Bible Dictionary. 1949.

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