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NAVE: Bitter Herbs
SMITH: BITTER HERBS
ISBE: BITTER HERBS
Bith-ron | Bithiah | Bithron | Bithynia | Bitter | Bitter Herbs | Bitter Water | Bittern | Bitterness, Water Of | Bitumen | Biui

Bitter Herbs

Bitter Herbs [NAVE]

BITTER HERBS, eaten symbolically with the passover, Ex. 12:8; Num. 9:11.

BITTER HERBS [SMITH]

The Israelites were commanded to eat the Paschal lamb "with unleavened bread and with bitter herbs." (Exodus 12:8) These "bitter herbs" consisted of such plants as chicory, bitter cresses, hawkweeds, sow-thistles and wild lettuces, which grow abundantly in the peninsula of Sinai, in Palestine and in Egypt. The purpose of this observance was to recall to the minds of the Israelites their deliverance from the bitter bondage of the Egyptians.

BITTER HERBS [ISBE]

BITTER HERBS - hurbs, or urbs (merorim): Originally in the primitive Passover (Ex 12:8; Nu 9:11) these were probably merely salads, the simplest and quickest prepared form of vegetable accompaniment to the roasted lamb. Such salads have always been favorites in the Orient. Cucumbers, lettuce, water-cress, parsley and endive are some of those commonly used. Later on the Passover ritual (as it does today) laid emphasis on the idea of "bitterness" as symbolical of Israel's lot in Egypt. In modern Palestine the Jews use chiefly lettuce and endive for the "bitter herbs" of their Passover. In Lam 3:15 the same word is used: "He hath filled me with bitterness merorim, he hath sated me with wormwood." Here the parallelism with "wormwood" suggests some plant more distinctly bitter than the mild salads mentioned above, such, for example, as the colocynth (Citrullus colocynthus) or the violently irritating squirting cucumber (Ecballium elaterium).

E. W. G. Masterman




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