Wild Gourd

From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Morrish Bible Dictionary [1]

paqquoth. In a time of dearth a lap-full of gourds from a wild vine was gathered to provide a meal for Elisha and the sons of the prophets.  2 Kings 4:39 . Some suppose this to have been the wild cucumber, the leaves of which resemble those of the vine, but have a bitter poisonous taste. Others think the poisonous Colocynth, the Colocynthis agri, to be referred to. The ancient versions support this. A kindred word is translated 'knops' in  1 Kings 6:18 ('gourds,' margin ), as ornaments in the temple, for which the fruit of the Colocynth would be a graceful model.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [2]

wı̄ld ( פקּעת שׂדה , paḳḳu‛ōth sādheh ,   2 Kings 4:39 ): The root פקע , pāḳa‛ , means "to split" or "burst open," and on this ground these "wild gourds" have been identified with the fruit of the squirting cucumber ( Ecballium elaterium ). This little gourd, 1 1/2 to 2 inches long, when fully ripe falls suddenly when touched or shaken, the bitter, irritating juice is squirted to a considerable distance, and the seeds are thrown all around. It is exceedingly common in Palestine, and its familiar poisonous properties, as a drastic cathartic, made it unlikely that under any circumstances its fruit could be mistaken for any edible gourd; it is, too, in no way vinelike ("wild vine,"  2 Kings 4:39 ) in appearance; the stem is stiff and upright, and there are no tendrils. The traditional plant, Cucumis prophetarium , which grows in the desert, and has very small "gourds," has nothing really to recommend it. By far the most probable plant is the Colocynth ( Citrullus colocynthis ), belonging like the last two, to Natural Order, Cucurbitaceae . This view has the support of the Septuagint and Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible , 390-405 ad) It is a vinelike plant which spreads over the ground or attaches itself by its spiral tendrils to other plants. The rounded "gourds" are 3 inches or more in diameter, and contain a pulp intensely bitter and, in any but minute quantities, extremely poisonous.