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The 1901 Jewish Encyclopedia
A precious stone mentioned in Genesis 2:12 by the side of gold and the "shoham" stone as one of the chief products of Havilah. Since manna is compared in appearance to Bdellium (Numbers 11:7), it may be concluded that the latter was generally known among the Hebrews, and was considered very precious. The meaning of the word is not quite certain. The Septuagint translates it in Genesis with á¼Î½Î¸ÏÎ±Î¶ (anthrax), in Numbers with ÎºÏá½»ÏÏÎ±Î»Î»Î¿Ï (crystal), thus interpreting it as a precious stone. Similarly, Reland and others regard it as crystal. Bochart ("Hierozoicon, sive de Animalibus ScripturÃ¦ SacrÃ¦," 2:674-683), who places Havilah on the Arabian coast, interprets "bedolaá¸¥" as equivalent to "pearl," following Saadia, á¸²imá¸¥i, and others (compare Lagarde, "Orientalia, 3:44). Most plausible seems the statement of Josephus ("Ant." 3:1, Â§ 6), who identifies manna with Bdellium (Î²Î´á½³Î»Î»Î¹Î¿Î½). Dioscorides ("De Materia Medica," 1:80) describes this Bdellium as "the tear of an Arabian tree." It is therefore a resinous substance; according to Pliny ("Historia Naturalis," 12:35), transparent, fragrant, resembling wax, greasy to the touch, and of a bitter taste. Pliny furthermore says that the tree on which it is found is about as large as an olive-tree, with leaves like the holm-oak and fruit like the wild fig; that it grows in Bactriaâwhere the best Bdellium is foundâArabia, India, Media, and Babylonia. This description is not sufficiently clear to enable one to classify the tree; but most probably it belongs to the Balsamodendron.
- See the various commentaries (Delitzsch, Dillmann, Gunkel, Strack, etc.) to Genesis 2:12;
- Dawson, Medical Science in Bible Lands, p. 115;
- Tristram, in Expository Times, 4:259.
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Singer, Isidore, Ph.D, Projector and Managing Editor. Entry for 'Bdellium'. 1901 The Jewish Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tje/b/bdellium.html. 1901.