Bdellium

BDELLIUM (dĕl'ĭ-ŭm, Heb. bedhōlah). A substance mentioned in Gen.2.12and Num.11.7, variously taken to be a gum or resin, a precious stone, or a pearl. It was the same color as manna and was found like gold and the onyx stone or the beryl in the land of Havilah. The Greeks gave the name bdellium to a gum obtained from a tree growing in Arabia, Babylonia, India, and Media. NIV renders “resin” or “aromatic resin.”


BDELLIUM dĕl’ ĭ əm, the name applied to the aromatic gum resins (cf. KJV and NEB Num 11:7), with a pungent taste, derived from Commiphora. It is a mucilaginous exudation of a tree similar to myrrh, and sometimes found as an adulterant of it, much sought after by the ancients (cf. Gen 2:12) for use in perfume. As a true gum it is related to sugars and carbohydrates, being soluble in water, insoluble in organic liquids, and on heating it decomposes without fusion.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

The word occurs twice in the Pentateuch:

(1) in Ge 2:12, in conjunction with gold and onyx, as a product of the land of HAVILAH (which see), and

(2) in Nu 11:7, where the manna is likened to this substance in appearance: "The appearance thereof as the appearance of bdellium." The latter comparison excludes the idea of bedholach being a precious stone, and points to the identification of it with the fragrant resinous gum known to the Greeks as bdellion, several kinds being mentioned by Dioscorides and Pliny. It was a product of Arabia, India, Afghanistan, etc.