(1) Heb. mererah, meaning "bitterness" (Job 16:13); i.e., the bile secreted in the liver. This word is also used of the poison of asps (20:14), and of the vitals, the seat of life (25).
(2.) Heb. rosh. In Deut. 32:33 and Job 20:16 it denotes the poison of serpents. In Hos. 10:4 the Hebrew word is rendered "hemlock." The original probably denotes some bitter, poisonous plant, most probably the poppy, which grows up quickly, and is therefore coupled with wormwood (Deut. 29:18; Jer. 9:15; Lam. 3:19). Comp. Jer. 8:14; 23:15, "water of gall," Gesenius, "poppy juice;" others, "water of hemlock," "bitter water."
(3.) Gr. chole (Matt. 27:34), the LXX. translation of the Hebrew _rosh_ in Ps. 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).
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your free trial.
Starting your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus is easy. You’re already logged in with your Bible Gateway account. The next step is to enter your payment information. Your credit card won’t be charged until the trial period is over. You can cancel anytime during the trial period.
Click the button below to continue.
Step 1 - Create an account or log in to start your subscription.
You’ve already claimed your free trial of Bible Gateway Plus. To subscribe at our regular subscription rate of $3.99/month, click the button below.
Now that you've created a Bible Gateway account, upgrade to Bible Gateway Plus, the ultimate online Bible reading & study experience! For just a few dollars each month, Bible Gateway Plus gives you:
• A complete digital Bible study library integrated with your Bible Gateway account, with no expensive software to install.
• Access to 40+ study & reference books including the NIV Study Bible, the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, and the MacArthur Study Bible.
• An ad-free Bible Gateway experience.
• A risk-free, 30-day trial—you can cancel any time.