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wormwood Summary and Overview

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wormwood in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Heb. la'anah, the Artemisia absinthium of botanists. It is noted for its intense bitterness (Deut. 29:18; Prov. 5:4; Jer. 9:15; Amos 5:7). It is a type of bitterness, affliction, remorse, punitive suffering. In Amos 6:12 this Hebrew word is rendered "hemlock" (R.V., "wormwood"). In the symbolical language of the Apocalypse (Rev. 8:10, 11) a star is represented as falling on the waters of the earth, causing the third part of the water to turn wormwood. The name by which the Greeks designated it, absinthion, means "undrinkable." The absinthe of France is distilled from a species of this plant. The "southernwood" or "old man," cultivated in cottage gardens on account of its fragrance, is another species of it.

wormwood in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Four kinds of wormwood are found in Israel-- Artemisia nilotica, A. Judaica, A. fructicosa and A. cinerea. The word occurs frequently in the Bible, and generally in a metaphorical sense. In #Jer 9:15; 23:15; La 3:15,19| wormwood is symbolical of bitter calamity and sorrow; unrighteous judges are said to "turn judgment to wormwood." #Am 5:7| The Orientals typified sorrows, cruelties and calamities of any kind by plants of a poisonous or bitter nature.

wormwood in Schaff's Bible Dictionary

WORM'WOOD . At least five species of this plant (Artemisia) are found in the Holy Land, and are distinguished for intense bitterness. Hence this word is often joined with or used in the same sense as "gall" and "hemlock " to denote what is offensive and nauseous. Deut 29:18; Prov 5:4; Am 5:7; Zech 6:12. To be obliged to use it as food expresses the extreme of suffering. Jer 9:15; Matt 23:15; Lam 3:15, Acts 1:19.

wormwood in Fausset's Bible Dictionary

lanah, genus Artemisia. Four species in Israel: Nilotica, Judaica, Fruticosa, and Cinerea. Metaphorical for bitter sorrow (Jeremiah 9:15, fulfilled in Lamentations 3:15; Lamentations 3:19); and evil with its bitter produce, or an apostate lurking in Israel and tainting others (Deuteronomy 29:18; Proverbs 5:4; Amos 5:7, rendered "hemlock"; Greek apsinthos; Revelation 8:11, the star which at the third trumpet fell upon the rivers and made them wormwood). Wormwood, though medicinal, if used as ordinary water would be fatal; heretical wormwood changes the sweet Siloas of Scripture into deadly Marahs (Wordsworth); contrast Exodus 15:23, etc. Absinthe is literally embittering and destroying many hundreds of thousands in France and Switzerland.