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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

GALL ( χολή, fel ).—

In LXX Septuagint χολή represents (1) רא̇שׁ ( Deuteronomy 32:32,  Psalms 69:21); and (2) לַעֵנָה wormwood ( Proverbs 5:4,  Lamentations 3:15). ״ְ̇שׁ and לַעִנִה are sometimes combined, e.g.  Deuteronomy 29:18 רא̇שׁולעֲנָה, LXX Septuagint ἐν χολῇ και τικρια, Vulgate fel et amaritudiaem  ;  Lamentations 3:19 לִעֲנָהוָרא̇שׁ, LXX Septuagint τικρια καὶ χολἡ, Vulgate absynthiiet fellis .

It thus appears that χολή was used of any bitter drug, and there is therefore no discrepancy between  Matthew 27:34 οἶνον [ὄξος is a copyist’s assimilation to  Psalms 69:21] μετὰ χολῆς μεμιγμένον, and  Mark 15:23 ἐσμυρνισμένον οἶνον. The potion administered to the cruciarius (see Crucifixion) was composed of wine and a variety of drugs—frankincense, laudanum, myrrh, resin, saffron, mastich.* [Note: Wetstein on  Mark 15:23.] Thus ‘wine mixed with gall’ and ‘myrrhed wine’ are equivalent phrases, signifying generally medicated wine (cf. Swete, St. Mark, ad loc. ).  Matthew 27:34 and  Acts 8:23 are the only places in the NT where χολή occurs.

David Smith.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

This word is used in Scripture, variously, but in all it means to convey an idea of great bitterness. The drink of bitter sorrow, is called, "the water of gall." ( Jeremiah 8:14) And sin is sometimes described under the figure of "the gall of bitterness, and bond of iniquity." ( Acts 8:23) Moses, describing the apostacy of any man or woman, or family, or tribe in Israel, calls it, "the root that beareth gall and wormwood." ( Deuteronomy 29:18) And elsewhere, speaking of Israel's enemies, and their sad prospects, strongly marks the bitterness even of their comforts under this figure. "For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah; their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter." ( Deuteronomy 32:32) The Lord Jesus, speaking of his sufferings on the cross, noticeth "the gall the Jews gave him to eat, and the vinegar to drink." We are told, that in his thirst they gave the Lord "wine mingled with myrrh." It was a custom with the Romans in their execution of criminals, to blunt their pains in this way. Bitter myrrh, with wine or vinegar, had a tendency, it was thought, to accomplish this purpose. And thus they treated "the Lord of life and glory." But how little did they know, what thirst of soul Jesus felt in that earnestness and vehemeney he endured for the salvation of his people. Solomon had before said, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine to those that be of heavy hearts; let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more." ( Proverbs 31:6-7) The strong drink of Jesus was the cup of salvation for his redeemed. To Jesus "a cup of trembling;" to them the cup of rejoicing. Here he was to see "the travail of his soul, and be satisfied." In drinking of this draught, bitter as it was, and to the dregs, Jesus forgot all his sorrows, and remembered his misery no more. Oh! that the drunkards of Ephraim would seriously lay this to heart. Oh! that every follower of the Lord Jesus would now take "the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord."

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [3]

1. Μereerah ("bitterness".) Secreted in an animal's gall bladder. Poetically used for a vital part,  Job 16:13;  Job 20:25.  Job 20:14, "the gall of asps," i.e. their poison, contained in a sac in the mouth; Scripture uses popular language when no moral truth is thereby endangered.

2. Rosh ; a bitter and poisonous herb; the poppy (Gesenius). Rosh means "head", so we speak of poppy heads.  Jeremiah 8:14, "water of gall," i.e. opium,  Jeremiah 9:15;  Jeremiah 23:15. Others suggest one of the Εuphorbiaceae , distasteful and deadly; the "grapes of gall" answering to the rounded three berried fruit (Imperial Bible Dictionary).  Deuteronomy 29:18 (to which  Hebrews 12:15, "root of bitterness," refers; a root whose essence is bitterness),  Deuteronomy 32:32. Opium water would suit well for stupefying criminals in the agony of execution ( Psalms 69:21;  Matthew 27:34;  Acts 8:23).

The vinegar offered to our Lord was mingled with "gall" according to Matthew, with "myrrh" according to Mark ( Mark 15:23). The myrrh was the usual seasoning of Roman wine; the gall was added to stupefy, but our Lord would meet His agony in full consciousness. Bengel supposes the gall was added in wantonness. Matthew designated the drink according to the prophetic aspect,  Psalms 69:21; Mark according to its outward appearance.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [4]

ראש , something excessively bitter, and supposed to be poisonous,  Deuteronomy 29:18;  Deuteronomy 32:32;  Psalms 69:21;  Jeremiah 8:14;  Jeremiah 9:15;  Jeremiah 23:15;  Lamentations 3:19;  Hosea 10:4;  Amos 6:12 . It is evident from the first-mentioned place, that some herb or plant is meant of a malignant or nauseous kind. It is joined with wormwood, and, in the margin of our Bibles, explained to be "a very poisonful herb." In  Psalms 69:21 , which is justly considered as a prophecy of our Saviour's sufferings, it is said, "They gave me ראש to eat; which the LXX have rendered χολην , gall. And, accordingly, it is recorded in the history, "They gave him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall," οξος μετα χολης ,  Matthew 27:34 . But, in the parallel passage, it is said to be, εσμυνισμενον οινον , "wine mingled with myrrh,"  Mark 15:23 , a very bitter ingredient. From whence it is probable that χολη , and perhaps ראש , may be used as a general name for whatever is exceedingly bitter; and, consequently, where the sense requires it, may be put specially for any bitter herb or plant, the infusion of which may be called מיאּ?ראש .

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Χολή (Strong'S #5521 — Noun Feminine — chole — khol-ay' )

a word probably connected with chloe, "yellow," denotes "gall," (a) literal,  Matthew 27:34 (cp.   Psalm 69:21 ); some regard the word here as referring to myrrh, on account of  Mark 15:23; (b) metaphorical,  Acts 8:23 , where "gall of bitterness" stands for extreme wickedness, productive of evil fruit. In the OT it is used (a) of a plant characterized by bitterness (probably wormwood),  Deuteronomy 29:18;  Hosea 10:4;  Amos 6:12; (b) as the translation of the word mererah, "bitterness,"  Job 13:26 , e.g.; (c) as the translation of rosh, "venom;" in  Deuteronomy 32:32 "(grapes) of gall." In   Job 20:25 , the gall bladder is referred to (the receptacle of bile). The ancients supposed that the poison of serpents lay in the gall (see  Job 20:14 ).

People's Dictionary of the Bible [6]

Gall. A word which in the A. V. represents two or more Hebrew words. 1. The Hebrew word Rôsh, rendered "hemlock" in  Hosea 10:4;  Amos 6:12, R. V., "gall," is generally rendered "gall,"  Deuteronomy 29:18;  Psalms 69:21, meaning most probably the poppy; and thus  Jeremiah 8:14, "water of gall," would be poppy-juice. It stands sometimes for poison generally.  Deuteronomy 32:32. 2. Another word, Merĕrah, or Merorah, means the gall of the human body,  Job 16:13;  Job 20:25, and that of asps,  Job 20:14, the poison being supposed to lie in the gall. The Greek Cholç means a bitter humor of man or beast, taking sometimes a more general signification.  Matthew 27:34. It is used metaphorically in  Acts 8:23. The draught offered to our Lord at his crucifixion is said by Matthew to be mingled with gall, by Mark with myrrh.  Matthew 27:34;  Mark 15:23. If the two refer to the same act, Mark specifies the ingredient, while Matthew shows that the effect was to render the mixture bitter: as we say, "bitter as gall."

Easton's Bible Dictionary [7]

  • Gr. chole ( Matthew 27:34 ), the LXX. translation of the Hebrew Rosh In   Psalm 69;  21 , which foretells our Lord's sufferings. The drink offered to our Lord was vinegar (made of light wine rendered acid, the common drink of Roman soldiers) "mingled with gall," or, according to ( Mark 15:23 ), "mingled with myrrh;" both expressions meaning the same thing, namely, that the vinegar was made bitter by the infusion of wormwood or some other bitter substance, usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father ( John 18:11 ).

    Copyright Statement These dictionary topics are from M.G. Easton M.A., DD Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition, published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain.

    Bibliography Information Easton, Matthew George. Entry for 'Gall'. Easton's Bible Dictionary. 1897.

  • Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

    1. merorah, the gall or bile of animals. It is symbolical of 'bitterness:' "he poureth out my gall upon the ground."  Job 16:13 . It is also used for the 'poison' of asps.  Job 20:14,25 .

    2. rosh, χολή, some exceedingly bitter or poisonous plant not definitely identified. This word is used as symbolical of 'bitterness.' To turn to idolatry was like "a root that beareth gall and wormwood."  Deuteronomy 29:18 . God's judgements were given them as water of gall to drink.  Jeremiah 8:14;  Jeremiah 9:15;  Jeremiah 23:15 : cf.  Deuteronomy 32:32;  Lamentations 3:5,19;  Amos 6:12 . Gall, mixed with the sour wine or vinegar drunk by the Roman soldiers, was given to those about to be crucified, for the purpose, as is now supposed, of making them the less sensitive to the torture. It was offered to the Lord, but refused.  Psalm 69:21;  Matthew 27:34 . In  Mark 15:23 myrrh is read instead of gall; the meaning would be the same.

    American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [9]

    A general name for anything very bitter. In  Job 16:13   20:14,25 , it means the animal secretion usually called the bile. In many other places, where a different word is used in the original, it refers to some better and noxious plant, according to some, the poppy. See  Deuteronomy 29:18   Jeremiah 9:15   23:15 . In  Hosea 10:4   Amos 6:12 , the Hebrew word is translated "hemlock". In  Matthew 27:34 , it is said they gave Jesus to drink, vinegar mixed with gall, which in  Mark 15:23 , is called wine mingled with myrrh. It was probably the sour wine which the Roman soldiers used to drink, mingled with myrrh and other bitter substances, very much like the "bitters" of modern times,  Psalm 69:21 . The word gall is often used figuratively for great troubles, wickedness, depravity, etc.,  Jeremiah 8:14   Amos 6:12   Acts 8:23 .

    Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [10]

    GALL . (1) rôsh , some very bitter plant,   Deuteronomy 29:18 ,   Lamentations 3:19; ‘water of gall,’   Jeremiah 8:14;   Jeremiah 9:16; tr. [Note: translate or translation.] ‘hemlock,’   Hosea 10:4; ‘poison,’   Job 20:16 . Hemlock ( Conium maculatum ), colocynth ( Citrullus colocynthis ), and the poppy ( Papaver somniferum ) have all been suggested. The last is perhaps most probable. (2) merçrah (  Job 16:16 ) and merôrah (  Job 20:25 ) refer to the bile. The poison of serpents was supposed to lie in their bile (  Job 20:14 ). The gall (Gr. cholç ) of   Matthew 27:34 evidently refers to the LXX [Note: Septuagint.] version of   Psalms 69:21 , where cholç is tr. [Note: translate or translation.] of rôsh .

    E. W. G. Masterman.

    Holman Bible Dictionary [11]

    Citrullus colocynthis  Deuteronomy 29:18 Jeremiah 9:15 Jeremiah 23:15 Lamentations 3:19 Amos 6:12 Deuteronomy 29:18 Deuteronomy 29:18  Jeremiah 8:14 Jeremiah 9:5 Jeremiah 23:15  Amos 6:12  Lamentations 3:19 Matthew 27:34 Psalm 69:21 Acts 8:23

    King James Dictionary [12]

    GALL, n. Gr. probably from its color.

    1. In the animal economy, the bile, a bitter, a yellowish green fluid, secreted in the glandular substance of the liver. It is glutinous or imperfectly fluid, like oil. 2. Any thing extremely bitter. 3. Rancor malignity. 4. Anger bitterness of mind.

    Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [13]

    (Two entries below)

    the representative in the A.V. of two Hebrew words and one Greek.

    1.' Mererah or merorah' ( מְרֵרָה or מְרֹרָה ; Sept. Χολή , Κακά , Δίαιτα ; Vulg. fel, amaritudo, viscera meaz) denotes etymologically bitterness: see  Job 13:26, "Thou writest bitter things against me." Hence the term is applied to the "bile" or "gall" from its imtense bitterness ( Job 16:13). The metaphors in this verse are taken from the practice of huntsmen, who first surround the beast, then shoot it, and next take out the entrails. The term also stands for the gallbladder or vitals ( Job 20:25). It is also used of the "poison" of serpents ( Job 20:14), which the ancients erroneously believed was their gall: see Pliny, H.N. 11: 37, "No one should be astonished that it is the gall which constitutes the poison of serpents" (comp.  Hebrews 12:15, "root of bitterness"). (See Liver).

    2. Rosh ( ראֹשׁ or רוֹשׁ ; Sept. Χολή , Πικρία , Ἄγρωστις ; Vulg. Fel, Amaritudo, Caput), generally translated "gall" by the A.V., but in  Hosea 10:4 rendered "hemlock:" in  Deuteronomy 32:33, and  Job 20:16, it denotes the "poison" or "venom" of serpents. From  Deuteronomy 29:18, "a root that beareth rosh" (margin "a poisonful herb"), and  Lamentations 3:19, "the wormwood and the rosh," compared with  Hosea 10:4, "judgment springeth up as rosh," it is evident that the Heb. term denotes some bitter, and perhaps poisonous plant, though it may also be used, as in Psalm 59:21, in the general sense of "something very bitter." Celsius (Hierob. 2:46-52) thinks "hemlock" (Conium Maculatum) is intended, and quotes Jerome on Hosea in support of his opinion, though it seems that this commentator had in view the couch-grass (Triticum repens) rather than "hemlock." Rosenm Ü ller (Bib. Bot. page 118) is inclined to think that the Lolaum temulentum best agrees with the passage in Hosea where the rosh is said to grow "in the furrows of the field." Other waiters have supposed, and with some reason (from  Deuteronomy 32:32, "their grapes are grapes of rosh"), that some berry-bearing plant must be intended. Gesenius (Thes. p. 1251) understands "poppies;" Michaelis (Suppl. Lex. Heb. page 2220) is of opinion that rosh may be either the Lolium temulentum or the Solanum ("nightshade"). Oedmann (Verm. Sasmml. part 4, c. 10) argues in favor of the Colocynth. The most probable conjecture, for proof there is none, is that of Gesenius: the capsules of the Papaseracae may well give the name of resh ("head") to the plant in question, just as we speak of poppy heads. The various species of this family spring up quickly in cornfields, and the juice is extremely bitter. A steeped solution of poppy heads may be "the water of gall" of  Jeremiah 8:14, unless, as Gesenius thinks, the מֵי רֹאשׁ may be the poisonous extract, opium. This word is always used figuratively to represent sin, and never designates the animal secretion called gall. (See Hemlock).

    3. Gr. Χολή , prop. the bitter secretion gall. In the story of Tobit the gall of a fish is said to have been used to cure his father's blindness ( Tobit 6:8;  Tobit 11:10;  Tobit 11:13). Pliny refers to the use of the same substance for diseases of the eye (Hist. Nat. 28:10); also speaking of the fish callionymus, he says it has a similar curative virtue (32:4, 7). Galen and other writers praise the use of the liver of the silurus in cases of dimness of sight. (See Blindness).

    The passages in the Gospels which relate the circumstance of the Roman soldiers offering our Lord, just before his crucifixion, "vinegar mingled with gall," according to Matthew ( Matthew 27:34), and "wine mingled with myrrh," according to Mark's account ( Mark 15:23), require some consideration. The first-named evangelist uses Χολή , which is the Sept. rendering of the Heb. Rosh in the Psalm ( Psalms 69:21) that foretels the Lord's sufferings. Mark explains the bitter ingredient in the sour vinous drink to be "myrrh" ( Οἴνος Έσμυρνισμένος ) for we cannot regard the transactions as different. "Matthew, in his usual way," as Hengstenberg (Comment. in  Psalms 69:21) remarks, "designates the drink theologically: always keeping his eye on the prophecies of the O.T., he speaks of gall and vinegar 'for the purpose of rendering the fulfillment of the Psalms more manifest.' Mark again ( Mark 15:23), according to His way, looks rather at the outward quality of thee drink." Bengel takes quite a different view; he thinks both myrrh and gall were added to the sour wine (Gnom. Nov. Test. Matthew 1.c.). Hengstenberg's view is far preferable; nor is "gall" ( Χολή ) to be understood in any other sense than as expressing the bitter nature of the draught. As to the intent of the proffered drink, it is generally supposed that it was for the purpose of deadening pain. It was customary to give criminals just before their execution a cup of wine with frankincense in it, to which reference is made, it is believed, by the Οῖνος Κατανύξεως of  Psalms 60:3 see also  Proverbs 31:6. This the Talmud states was given in order to alleviate the pain. See Busxtorf (Lex. Talm. col. 2131), who quotes fronc the Talmed (Salmed. fol. 43, 1) to that effect. Rosenm Ü ller (Bib. Bot. page 163) is of opinion that the myrrh was given to our Lord, not for the purpose of alleviating his sufferings, but in order that he might be sustained until the punishment was completed. He quotes from Apuleius (Metamor. 8), who relates that a certain priest "disfigured himself with a multitude of blows, having previously strengthened himself by taking myrrh." Hoemfar the frankincense in the cup, as maentioned in the Talmud, was supposed to possess soporific properties, or in any evay to induce an alleviation of pain, it is difficult to determine. The same must be said of the Οίνος Ίσμνρνισμένος of Mark, for it is quite certain that neither of these two drugs in question, both of which are the produce of the same natural order of plants (Amyridaceae), is ranked among the hypnopoietics by modern physicians. It is true that Dioscorides (1:77) ascribes a soporific property to myrrh, but it does not seem to have been so regarded by any other author. Notwithstanding, therefore, the almost concurrent opinion of ancient and modern commentators, that the "wine mingled with myrrh" was offered to our Lord as an anodyne, we cannot readily come to the same conclusion. Had the soldiers intended a mitigation of suffering, they would doubtless have offered a draught drugged with some substance having narcotic properties. The drink in question was probably a mere ordinary beverage of the Romans, who were in the habit of seasoning their various wines, which, as they contained little alcohol, soon turned sour, with various spices, drugs, and perfumes, such as myrrh, cassia, myrtle, pepper, etc. (Smith, Dict. of Class. Antiq. s.v. Vinum). (See Myrrh).

    ST., monastery of, one of the most celebrated monasteries of Europe, at St. Gall, in Switzerland. It was founded in the 7th century. Its wealth and reputation became very great under Othmar, its first abbot (720-760), who founded a hospital for lepers in connection with the monastery. In the 8th century it became distinguished for learning, especially under abbot Gosbert (815-837). "The abbey of St. Gall gradually became one of the masterpieces of mediaeval architecture; and the genius and skill which were lavished on its construction, and on the decoration of its halls and cloisters, had a large share in developing the Christian art of the period. The monks of St. Gall, too, may be reckoned among the best friends and preservers of ancient literature. They were indefatigable in the collection and transcription of MSS. Biblical, patristic, sacred and profane history, classical, liturgical, and legendary. Several of the classics, especially Quintilian, Silius Italicus, and Amnemianus Marcellinus, have been preserved solely through the MSS. of St. Gall. For a time the abbey was subject to the bishop of Constance, and an animiated dispute was for a long time maintained between that prelate and the monks as to the right of electing the abbot. It ended, however, in the recognition of the right of free election; and ultimately, from the growth of the monastic possessions, and the important position which the abbot held, the monastic domain, which comprised a great part of northern Switzerland, became a distinct jurisdiction, within which the abbot, like many of his brethren in the great Benedictine monasteries, exercised all the rights of a suzerain.

    For several centuries the abbey of St. Gall held one of the highest places in the order. Its schools enjoyed wide reputation. Its members held a distinguished place among the scholars of medieval Germany; and many of them, as, for example, Notker, are known to have cultivated not only the ordinary learning of the schools, but also physic, mathematics, and astronomy. The school of St. Gall, too, was one of the most eminent for the cultivation of music, and its MSS., preserved in its library, have been extensively made use of by the restorers of ancient ecclesiastical music. A town of considerable importance grew up around the monastery, and was called by the same name; and as the wealth and influence which attached to the dignity of the abbot began to make it an object of ambition to rich and powerful families, we find the succession of abbots, in the 13th and 14th centuries, sadly degenerated from their pious and learned predecessors in the office. A stringent reform was enforced about the time of the Council of Constance; but the burghers of St. Gall had grown dissatisfied under this rule, and on the outbreak of the Reformation in 1525 they threw off their subjection, and embraced the new doctrines. At the close, however, of the religious war in 1532, the Catholic religion was re-established, and the abbot reinstated, though with diminished authority, in his ancient dignity. At the French Revolution, the abbey of St. Gall was secularized (1798), and its revenues were soon afterwards sequestrated (1805). By a later ecclesiastical arrangement, the abbacy of St. Gall was raised to the dignity of a bishopric, which in 1823 was united to that of Chur. They were afterwards, however, separated, and in 1847 St. Gall was erected into a bishopric, with a distinct jurisdiction." Chambers, Encyclopaedia, s.v.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop Ä die, 4:643.

    Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [14]

    Gall occurs in its primary and proper meaning, as denoting the substance secreted in the gall-bladder of animals, commonly called bile in the following passages; , 'He poureth out my gall.' The metaphors in this verse are taken from the practice of huntsmen, who first surround the beast, then shoot it, and next take out the entrails. The meaning, as given by Bp. Heath, is, 'he entirely destroyeth me.' (describing the remorse of a wicked man), 'the gall of adders' (which according to the ancients is the seat of their poison). , where, to describe the certainty of a wicked man's destruction, it is said, 'the glittering sword cometh out of his gall.' In the story of Tobit the gall of a fish is said to have been used to cure his father's blindness (;; ). Pliny refers to the use of the same substance for diseases of the eye. Galen and other writers praise the use of the liver of the silurus in cases of dimness of sight.

    Gall is also employed in the Authorized Version as the meaning of the word Rosh, which is generally considered to signify some plant. This we may infer from its being frequently mentioned along with 'wormwood,' as in , 'lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall (rosh) and wormwood; so also in;; and in , 'Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall. That it was a berry-bearing plant, has been inferred from , 'For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and their grapes are grapes of gall (rosh), their clusters are bitter.' In , 'water of gall' (rosh), is mentioned; which may be either the expressed juice of the fruit or of the plant, or a bitter infusion made from it. That it was a plant is very evident from , where it is said 'their judgment springeth up as hemlock (rosh) in the furrows of the field.'

    Though rosh is generally acknowledged to indicate some plant, yet a variety of opinions have been entertained respecting its identification: some, as the Auth. Vers. in , and , consider cicuta or hemlock to be the plant intended, but there is little or no proof adduced that this is the case.

    Some have concluded that it must be darnel, which is remarkable among grasses for its poisonous and intoxicating properties. It is, however, rather sweetish in taste, and its seeds being intermixed with corn, are sometimes made into bread. It is well known to grow in cornfields, and would therefore suit the passage of Hosea; but it has not a berry-like fruit, nor would it yield any juice: the infusion in water, however, might be so understood, though it would not be very bitter or disagreeable in taste. Hiller adduces the centaury as a bitter plant, which corresponds with much of what is required. Two kinds of centaury, the larger and smaller, and both conspicuous for their bitterness, were known to the ancients. The latter is one of the family of gentians, and still continues to be employed as a medicine on account of its bitter and tonic properties. From the extreme bitterness of taste, from growing in fields, and being a native of warm countries, some plant like centaury, and of the tribe of gentians, might answer all the passages in which rosh is mentioned, with the exception of that where it is supposed to have a berried fruit. Dr. Harris, quoting Blaney on , says, 'In , which is justly considered as a prophecy of our Savior's sufferings, it is said, “they gave me gall to eat.” And accordingly it is recorded in the history, , “They gave him vinegar to drink, mingled with gall.” But in the parallel passage it is said to “wine mingled with myrrh,” a very bitter ingredient. From whence I am induced to think that perhaps rosh may be used as a general name for whatever is exceedingly bitter; and consequently, when the sense requires, it may be put specially for any bitter herb or plant.'

    International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

    gôl  :

    (1) ראשׁ , rō'sh , or רושׁ , rōsh (  Deuteronomy 32:32 only, "grapes of gall"): Some very bitter plant, the bitterness as in (2) being associated with the idea of poison.   Deuteronomy 29:18 margin " rosh , a poisonous herb";  Lamentations 3:5 ,  Lamentations 3:19;  Jeremiah 8:14;  Jeremiah 9:15;  Jeremiah 23:15 , "water of gall," margin "poison";  Hosea 10:4 , translated "hemlock";  Amos 6:12 , "Ye have turned justice into gall";  Job 20:16 , the "poison of asps": here rōsh clearly refers to a different substance from the other references, the points in common being bitterness and poisonous properties. Hemlock ( Conium maculatum ), colocynth ( Citrullus colocynthus ) and the poppy ( Papaver somniferum ) have all been suggested as the original rōsh , the last having most support, but in most references the word may represent any bitter poisonous substance. Rōsh is associated with la‛ănāh , "wormwood" ( Deuteronomy 29:18;  Lamentations 3:19;  Amos 6:12 ).

    (2) מררה , merērāh (  Job 16:13 ), and מררה , merōrāh ( Job 20:14 ,  Job 20:25 ), both derived from a root meaning "to be bitter," are applied to the human gall or "bile," but like (1), merōrāh is once applied to the venom of serpents ( Job 20:14 ). The poison of these animals was supposed to reside in their bile.

    (3) χολή , cholḗ (  Matthew 27:34 ), "They gave him wine to drink mingled with gall"; this is clearly a reference to the Septuagint version of  Psalm 69:21 : "They gave me also gall ( cholē , Hebrew rōsh ) for my food; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." In  Mark 15:23 , it says, "wine mingled with myrrh." It is well known that the Romans gave wine with frankincense to criminals before their execution to alleviate their sufferings; here the cholē or bitter substance used was myrrh (Pliny Ep. xx.18; Sen. Ep. 83).