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Gilead, Balm of

The region of Gilead abounded in spices and aromatic gums, which were exported to Egypt and Tyre (Gen. 37:25; Jer. 8:22; 46:11; Ezek. 27:17). The word "balm" is a contracted form of "balsam," a word derived from the Greek _balsamon_, which was adopted as the representative of the Hebrew words _baal shemen_, meaning "lord" or "chief of oils."

The Hebrew name of this balm was _tsori_. The tree yielding this medicinal oil was probably the Balsamodendron opobalsamum of botanists, and the Amyris opobalsamum of Linnaeus. It is an evergreen, rising to the height of about 14 feet. The oil or resin, exuding through an orifice made in its bark in very small quantities, is esteemed of great value for its supposed medicinal qualities. (See BALM.)