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c.550-640. Irish monk and missionary. He was one of the twelve monks who accompanied Columbanus from Ireland to Gaul, remaining there with him until 612. Then he settled with a few friends in a waste place to the west of Bregenz, in Austria near Lake Constance. Many legends surround hime.g., that he was the founder of the Benedictine monastery at St. Gallen. In fact he died a century before its foundation.
Unfortunately, wormwood also is rendered as “hemlock,” and hemlock rendered as “gall,” so there is obviously some ambiguity.
The poisonous bitterness may come from the Colocynth (see Vine of Sodom). It is the inner pulp which is poisonous and strongly bitter. On the other hand, the gall in
The belief that the gall comes from the poppy, whose juice is certainly bitter, is feasible. A solution of poppy heads in water could describe that mentioned by the text in
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(2) mererah (
(3) chole (
GALL (OF LIVER) (מְרֹרָה, H5355, מְרֵרָה, H5354; χολή, G5958). The gall mentioned in
The bitter internal secretion produced inside the gall bladder can cause extreme bitterness and disgust, when by mistake left inside a cooked hare or rabbit. The Biblical usage of the word indicates despair, just as the ghastly taste of the gall bile has a “despairing” effect on men.