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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary

Mandrake

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דודאים , Genesis 30:14-16 ; Song of Solomon 7:13 . Interpreters have wasted much time and pains in endeavouring to ascertain what is intended by the Hebrew word dudaim. Some translate it by "violet," others, "lilies," "jasmines," "truffle or mushroom," and some think that the word means "flowers," or "fine flowers," in general. Bochart, Calmet, and Sir Thomas Browne, suppose the citron intended; Celsius is persuaded that it is the fruit of the lote tree; Hiller, that cherries are spoken of; and Ludolf maintains that it is the fruit which the Syrians call mauz, resembling in figure and taste the Indian fig; but the generality of interpreters and commentators understand by dudaim, mandrakes, a species of melon; and it is so rendered in the Septuagint, and in both the

Targums, in Genesis 30:14 . It appears from Scripture, that they were in perfection about the time of wheat harvest, have an agreeable odour, may be preserved, and are placed with pomegranates. Hasselquist, the pupil and intimate friend of Linnaeus; who travelled into the Holy Land to make discoveries in natural history, imagines that the plant commonly called mandrake, is intended. Speaking of Nazareth, in Galilee, he says, "What I found most remarkable at this village was the great number of mandrakes which grew in a vale below it. I had not the pleasure to see this plant in blossom, the fruit now (May 5th, O. S.) hanging ripe on the stem, which lay withered on the ground. From the season in which this mandrake blossoms and ripens fruit, one may form a conjecture that it was Rachel's dudaim. These were brought her in the wheat harvest, which in Galilee is in the month of May, about this time, and the mandrake was now in fruit.


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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Mandrake'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/wtd/m/mandrake.html. 1831-2.

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