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Holman Bible Dictionary


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Aromatic resin or gum widely used in the ancient Near East for cosmetic and medical purposes. Egyptians used them for embalming. Despite the widespread usage, balm is difficult to identify. Ancient writers refer to balm by a variety of names, which adds to the difficulty of identification. Most ancient references seem to be to the resin from Balsamodendron opobalsamum or balm of Gilead. At times the reference seems to be to Balanites aegyptiaca Delile—a small shrub that still grows in North Africa and exudes a sticky resin used for medicinal purposes ( Genesis 37:25 ; Jeremiah 8:22 ; Jeremiah 46:11 ; Jeremiah 51:8 ). In another place the mastic tree (Pistacia lentiscus ) seems to be referred to ( Genesis 43:11 ). A yellow aromatic resin was extracted from the mastic tree by cutting the branches.

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Balm'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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Sunday, October 25th, 2020
the Week of Proper 25 / Ordinary 30
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