Mastic

MASTIC (σχι̂νον). Only mentioned in the Apoc., Susannah 54— “who answered under a mastic tree.” This is the Pistacia lentiscus. It is the gum that exudes from the trunk when cut that is called “mastic” or “mastich” by the trade. This gum is usually in the form of tear-like, whitish-yellow drops. A third-grade gum is used as varnish.

This evergreen shrub grows up to 20 ft. The flowers have no petals. The fruits are 1/4-inch wide, first red, and then black.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A tree mentioned only in Susanna verse 54 (compare Ge 37:25 margin). It is the Pistacia lentiscus (Arabic, Mistaki), a shrub which attains a height of 10 to 12 ft., growing in thickets on the slopes round the Mediterranean. The gum which exudes through incisions made in the bark is greatly prized as a masticatory. The smell and flavor are suggestive of the terebinth. It is chewed in order to preserve the teeth and gums. But often men chew it without any special purpose, just because they like it. The mastick produced in Chios is most highly esteemed. It is employed in making perfumes and sweetmeats; in preparing bread a little is sometimes added to the dough just before it is put into the oven.