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The following is an enumeration of the vegetable fubstances mentioned in the Bible, and we select, for a brief notice, such as are difficult of identification, or such as furnish illustrations of particular passages of the sacred writings.
Acacia — Algum-tree-Aloes - Apple-tree-Apples of Sodom-Balm-Bay-Bdellium-Box-tree -Calamus - Camphire - Caper-Cassia-CedarCinnamon -Cistus Citron — Chesnut-CockleCoriander-Cotton-Cucumber-Cummin-Cypress - Dove's dung-Ebony-Fig-tree–Fitches-Flags, or Waterweed - Flax -Frankincense— GalbanumGhurkud Gourd — Burning Grass - Hemlock Hennalı —Hyssop —Juniper -Jonah's Gourd-Ladanum – Lentils-Lign Aloes – Lily — Locust, or Carob-tree
Lotus-Mallows—Mandrake-Manna Melon-Millet - Mint-Mulberry-tree-MustardMyrrh- Myrtle-Nigella, or Black Seed - NutsOak-Oak Scarlet-Bearing-Oleander-Oleaster, or Wild Olive - Olive - Onycha - Palm-PannagPine-Plane-tree-Plant of Renown - Pomegranate -Poplar—Quince-Reeds, Rushes, Flags, etc.Retem—Rose of Sharon-Rue-Saffron-ShittimWood—Soap-Spikenard - Stacte—Storax-Syca
Tare — Terebinth, or Turpentine-tree Thorns and Thistles — Tiel-tree Vine - Vine of Sodom—Wheat-Wild Vine-Willow-Wormwood -Zukkum.
GRAIN, HERBS, REEDS, ETC.
TAE Hebrew generic name for grain is dagen ; no doubt from its abundant increase. In Gen. xxvi. 12, and Matt. xiii. 8, grain is spoken of as yielding a hundred fold ; and, to the ancient fertility of Palestine, all authorities bear testimony. In some parts of the Haouran—a tract of country on the east of the river Jordan-barley is found to yield eighty fold, even in the present neglected state of the country
The Hebrews called wheat chetah, a word the etymology of which it is not easy to ascertain. The reader may see a variety of conjectures in Parkhurst, who, tracing the root through the Chaldee and Samaritan languages, suggests that delicate, delicious, or the like, is its ideal meaning, and that this species of corn is so named from its superior delicacy or deliciousness to other grain.
The meat-offerings, as they are called in the English Bible, of the Levitical dispensation, were not what their designation would seem to imply, animal flesh, but wheat, either in its simple state, or reduced to flour, or made up into cakes. (See Lev. ch. ii.)
REED, corresponds to the Hebrew agmun, and includes the several species of cane and rushes mentioned in the sacred writings.
On the banks and in the streams of the Nile,
reeds grow in immense quantities, and hence it is, probably, that in 2 Kings xviii. 21, the country of Egypt is called a reed. The prophet Ezekiel attests the fidelity of the Assyrian general's representation. “When they all took hold of thee by the hand, thou didst break, and rend their shoulder : and when they leaned upon thee, thou brakest, and madest all their loins to be at a stand” (ch. ix. 6, 7). Hence we see what is meant by a bruised reed in Isa. xlii. 3, and from its reference to the church, we must understand it of a weak believer ; or, perhaps, more particularly of one whose heart is broken and contrite for past offences. In Matt. xi. 7, our Saviour says of John the Baptist, that he was not a reed shaken with the wind.
There was nothing vacillating or unstable in his character: his mind was constant and fixed on the truth; and his testimony to the character of the Saviour was always the same.
In the neighbourhood of Suez, some of these reeds grow to the height of twelve yards ; hence we see how easily, by means of one of them, the soldier who stood at the foot of our Saviour's cross could raise to his mouth a sponge filled with vinegar (Matt. xxvii. 48).
We must not omit to notice the appropriation of reeds to the purposes of writing, before the invention of our common pens, as there are several allusions to the practice in the sacred writings, although not discernible in the English Bible.
In the English Bible, we meet with the SWEET CANE,” and also with the 66
calamus,” and “ sweet calamus," all of which signify the same thing, and answer to the Hebrew kaneh, sometimes compounded
with beshem, aromatic, or sweet ; and sometimes with toov, good, pleasant, etc.
The Calamus Aromaticus, or sweet-scented cane, grows in Egypt, in Judea, and in several parts of Syria, but the best kind is found in Arabia and India. It was probably among the number of those plants that the Queen of Sheba presented to Solomon. So powerful is its fragrance that the air is said to be filled with a strong aromatic smell even while it is growing (see Cant. iv. 13, 14); and, when dried and reduced to powder, it forms an ingredient in the richest perfumes. It was used for this purpose by the Jews (Exodus xxx. 23 ; Isaiah xliii. 24). Jeremiah (ch. vi. 20) speaks of the “rich aromatic reed' as coming from & “ far country,” and it is probable that this, as well as the frankincense spoken of in connection with it, came from Saba, which was, with respect to Judea, “a far country.” Our Saviour, speaking of its queen, whom he calls “the queen of the south,” says that she came from the extreme parts of the earth,” or land (Matthew xii. 42).
AROMATIC PLANTS AND SHRUBS.
CAMPHIRE.—The Hebrew kepher is a shrub common in the island of Cyprus, whence it has its Latin
The botrus Cypri, says M. Mariti, has been supposed to be a kind of rare and exquisite grapes, transplanted from Cyprus to Engedi; but the botrus is known to the natives of Cyprus as an odoriferous shrub, called henna, or alkanna. It is mentioned in Cant. i. 14, and iv. 13, as a perfume ; in the former passage, notice is taken of its clusters. It is a beautiful, odoriferous plant, which grows ten or twelve feet high, putting out its little flowers in clusters, which yield a most grateful smell, like camphor. In truth, it is one of the plants that are most grateful to both the sight and the smell. The gently deepish colour of its bark, the light green of its foliage, the softened mixture of white and yellow with which the flowers, collected into long clusters like the lilach, are coloured, and the red tint of the ramifications which support them, form a combination of the most agreeable effect. And then, as we have said, they diffuse around the sweetest odours, and embalm the gardens and the apartments. They accordingly form the nosegay of beauty; the women deck themselves with these beautiful clusters of fragrance, to adorn their apartments with them, and to carry them to the bath.
ALOES.—This is an extensive tribe of plants, and