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Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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אבטחים , Numbers 11:5 , a luscious fruit so well known that a description of it would be superfluous. It grows to great perfection, and is highly esteemed in Egypt, especially by the lower class of people, during the hot months. The juice is peculiarly cooling and agreeable in that sultry climate, where it is justly pronounced one of the most delicious refreshments that nature, amidst her constant attention to the wants of man, affords in the season of violent heat. There are varieties of this fruit; but that more particularly referred to in the text must be the water melon.

It is cultivated, says Hasselquist, on the banks of the Nile, in the rich clayey earth, which subsides during the inundation. This serves the Egyptians for meat, drink, and physic. It is eaten in abundance during the season, even by the richer sort of people; but the common people, on whom Providence has bestowed nothing but poverty and patience, scarcely eat any thing but these, and account this the best time of the year, as they are obliged to put up with worse fare at other seasons. This fruit sometimes serves them for drink, the juice refreshing, these poor creatures, and they have less occasion for water than if they were to live on more substantial food in this burning climate. This well explains the regret expressed by the Israelites for the loss of this fruit, whose pleasant liquor had so often quenched their thirst, and relieved their weariness in their servitude, and which would have been exceedingly grateful in a dry scorching desert.

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

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