honey Summary and Overview
honey in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1.) Heb. ya'ar, occurs only 1 Sam. 14:25, 27, 29; Cant. 5:1, where it denotes the honey of bees. Properly the word signifies a forest or copse, and refers to honey found in woods. (2.) Nopheth, honey that drops (Ps. 19:10; Prov. 5:3; Cant. 4:11). (3.) Debash denotes bee-honey (Judg. 14:8); but also frequently a vegetable honey distilled from trees (Gen. 43:11; Ezek. 27:17). In these passages it may probably mean "dibs," or syrup of grapes, i.e., the juice of ripe grapes boiled down to one-third of its bulk. (4.) Tsuph, the cells of the honey-comb full of honey (Prov. 16:24; Ps. 19:10). (5.) "Wild honey" (Matt. 3:4) may have been the vegetable honey distilled from trees, but rather was honey stored by bees in rocks or in trees (Deut. 32:13; Ps. 81:16; 1 Sam. 14:25-29). Canaan was a "land flowing with milk and honey" (Ex. 3:8). Milk and honey were among the chief dainties in the earlier ages, as they are now among the Bedawin; and butter and honey are also mentioned among articles of food (Isa. 7:15). The ancients used honey instead of sugar (Ps. 119:103; Prov. 24:13); but when taken in great quantities it caused nausea, a fact referred to in Prov. 25:16, 17 to inculcate moderation in pleasures. Honey and milk also are put for sweet discourse (Cant. 4:11).
honey in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The Hebrew debash in the first place applied to the product of the bee, to which exclusively we give the name of honey. All travellers agree in describing Israel as a land "flowing with milk and honey," #Ex 3:8| bees being abundant even in the remote parts of the wilderness, where they deposit their honey in the crevices of rocks or in hollow trees. In some parts of northern Arabia the hills are so well stocked with bees that no sooner are hives placed than they are occupied. In the second place the term debash applies to a decoction of the juice of the grape, which is still called dibs, and which forms an article of commerce in the East, it was this, and not ordinary bee-honey, which Jacob sent to Joseph, #Ge 43:11| and which the Tyrians purchased from Israel. #Eze 27:17| A third kind has been described by some writers as a "vegetable" honey, by which is meant the exudations of certain trees and shrubs, such as the Tamarix mannifera, found in the peninsula of Sinai, or the stunted oaks of Luristan and Mesopotamia . The honey which Jonathan ate in the wood, #1Sa 14:25| and the "wild honey" which supported John the Baptist, #Mt 3:42| have been referred to this species. But it was probably the honey of wild bees.
honey in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
HON'EY , HON'EYCOMB, Ps 19:10. Palestine still is, almost without metaphor, "a land flowing with milk and honey," Ex 3:8, Lev 3:17. It is remarkable for the variety of its flowers, reminding us of the promise: "With honey out of the rock should I have satisfied thee," Ps 81:16. With such provision was John the Baptist fed. Besides these wild swarms, bee-keeping is carried so far in this country that almost every house possesses its hives. The syrup obtained from dates is supposed to be sometimes intended by the word "honey," 2 Chr 31:5. Dibs, or the syrup made from Grapes, which see, is also included under the term "honey." The figurative allusions of the sacred writers to honey and the honeycomb are striking and beautiful. Ps 19:10; Prov 5:3; 1 Chr 27:7. Milk and honey were the chief dainties of the earlier ages, as they are now of the Bedouins, and butter and honey are also mentioned among articles of food. 2 Sam 17:29; Isa 7:15. In South Africa bees deposit their honey on the surface of the cliffs of rocks, and for its protection cover it with a dark-colored wax. This, by the action of the weather, becomes hard and of the complexion of the rock. The traveller makes an incision in this wax covering, and by applying his mouth to the aperture sucks out as much honey as he wants, Deut 32:13. They also cover trees in the same manner. See Bee, Grapes.
honey in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
(See BEE.) Bees deposit it in the crevices of rocks (Psalm 81:16), and in hollow trees. Its "dropping" symbolizes speech, sweet, loving, and profitable (Song of Solomon 4:11). The word of God (Psalm 19:10). As wine and meat express strong spiritual nourishment in faith, so honey and milk sometimes symbolize incipient faith (Song of Solomon 5:1). The vegetable honey exuded from trees, as the Tamarix mannifera, and is found only in small globules which must he carefully collected and strained, so that it cannot be what Jonathan ate in the wood (1 Samuel 14:25), or the "wild honey" which John Baptist ate (Matthew 3:4). Honey was forbidden in meat offerings, for it soon turns sour and was used for making vinegar (Pliny, 21:48). It produces fermentation, which is a symbol of the working of corruption in the heart (Leviticus 2:11-12; 1 Corinthians 5:7).