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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(פִּנִּג, pannag) occurs only once in Scripture, but so much uncertainty exists respecting the meaning of the word, that in many translations, as, for instance, in the Authorized English Version, the original is retained. Thus in the account of the commerce of Tyre, it is stated in Ezekiel 27:17, "Judah and the land of Israel, they were thy merchants; they traded in thy markets wheat of Minnith, and pannag, and oil, and honey, and balm." From the context it is evident that wheat oil, and honey were conveyed by Judah and Israel that is, the products of their country as an agricultural people as articles of traffic to the merchants and manufacturers of Tyre, who, it is certain, must, from their insular position, have obtained their chief articles of diet from the neighboring land of Syria. It is probable, therefore, that pannag, whatever it may have been, was the produce of Palestine, or at least of Syria. In comparing the passage in Ezekiel with Genesis 43:11, where the most valued productions of Palestine are enumerated, the omission of tragacanth and ladanum (A.V. "spices and myrrh") in the former is very observable, and leads to the supposition that pannag represents some of the spices grown in that country. The Sept., in rendering it κασία . favors this opinion, though it is evident that cassia cannot be the particular spice intended (see Genesis 43:19). Hitzig observes that a similar term occurs in Sanscrit (pannaga) for an aromatic plant. Some of the rabbins have also thought that it was a district of Judaea, which, like Minnith, yielded the best wheat (Furst, Web. Lex. s.v.); others, as Junius and Tremeilius, from the similarity in the name, have thought it might be the original of the name of Phoenicia. But Hiller (Hierophytica, 2:51) thinks it to be the same with the πάναζ of the Greeks, the Roman panax, whence comes "panacea," the universal remedy.

The name panax occurs as early as the time of Theophrastus (9:10), and several kinds are described by him, as well as by Dioscorides; one kind is called especially Syrian panax. Of one of these plants, now supposed to be a species of Ferua la sespitium or Heracleum, the juice was called opopanax. It is curious, however, that the plant yielding the opopanax of commerce is still unknown, as well as the exact locality where it is, produced, whether in Syria, or in some part of the Persian empire. By the Arabs it is called juwashir. Lady Calcott has supposed (Script. Herbal, p. 371 sq.) the panax of the ancients to refer to Panax quinquejblium, or ginseng of the Chinese, which they also suppose to be a universal remedy, though not possessed of any active properties. But the name panax was not applied to this plant until the time of Linnoaus, and there is no proof, nor indeed is it probable, that it found its way from China at any such early period: at all events the Israelites were not likely to convey it to Tyre. The Syrian version, however, translates pannag by the word dochan, which signifies "millet," or Panicum miliaceum. Bishop Newcome, therefore, translates pannag by the word panis, signifying the species of millet which was employed by the ancients as an article of diet, and which still is so by the natives of the East. This view is favored by the expression in the book of Sohar, quoted by Gesenius (Thesaur. s.v.), which speaks of bread of pannag:" though this again is not decisive, for the pannag may equally well have been some flavoring substance, as seems to be implied in the doubtful equivalent (קוֹלְיָא ) given in the Targum. One objection to its being millet is that this grain has a name, dochan, which is used by the same prophet in Ezekiel 4:9. (See MILLET). From the context it would seem most likely that this pannag was a produce of the country, and probably an article of diet (Kitto; Smith). Perhaps the best explanation of this uncertain word which can now be given is that which refers it to a kind of pastry or sweet cake (from an obsolete root, פָּנִג, to be savory; so Gesenius and Furst). (See TYRE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Pannag'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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