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BDELLIUM, del´i-Um (Hebr. bedhola): One of the products of the land of Havilah, mentioned with gold and the shoham-stone (E. V. "onyx") in Gen. ii, 11–12. In Num. xi, 7, manna is said to have resembled it. It was, therefore, something well known to the Hebrews, but the exact meaning is uncertain. Some have thought that it was a precious stone, perhaps the pearl; others identify it with myrrh or with musk. The most probable and generally accepted explanation is that it was the gum of a tree, much prized in antiquity and used in religious ceremonies. Pliny (Hist. nat., xii, 35) describes it as transparent, waxy, fragrant, oily to the touch, and bitter; the tree was black, of the size of the olive; with leaves like the ilex, and fruit like the wild fig; he designates Bactria as its home, but states that it grew also in Arabia, India, Media, and Babylonia. It probably belonged to the balsamodendra and was allied to the myrrh.

I. Benzinger.

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