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Selected Verse: Deuteronomy 29:18 - King James

Verse         Translation Text
De 29:18 King James Lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turneth away this day from the LORD our God, to go and serve the gods of these nations; lest there should be among you a root that beareth gall and wormwood;

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Notes on the Bible, by Albert Barnes, [1834]
The word here and in Deu 32:32 rendered "gall," is in Hos 10:4 translated "hemlock." It is the name of a plant of intense bitterness, and of quick growth; and is therefore repeatedly used in conjunction with "wormwood" (compare Jer 9:15; Lam 3:19; Amo 6:12), to express figuratively the nature and effects of sin (compare the marginal references.). The herb is probably the poppy. Hence, the "water" (i. e. juice) "of gall" Jer 8:14; Jer 23:15 would be opium. This would explain its employment in the stupefying drink given to criminals at the time of execution (compare Psa 69:21; Mat 27:34), and the use of the word as synonymous with poison (compare Deu 32:33; Job 20:16).

Wormwood - is the plant "absinthium." It is used to denote metaphorically the distress and trouble which result from sin.

"The root that beareth gall and wormwood," means in this place any person lurking among them who is tainted with apostasy.
16 He shall suck the poison of asps: the viper's tongue shall slay him.
33 Their wine is the poison of dragons, and the cruel venom of asps.
34 They gave him vinegar to drink mingled with gall: and when he had tasted thereof, he would not drink.
21 They gave me also gall for my meat; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink.
15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts concerning the prophets; Behold, I will feed them with wormwood, and make them drink the water of gall: for from the prophets of Jerusalem is profaneness gone forth into all the land.
14 Why do we sit still? assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God hath put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD.
12 Shall horses run upon the rock? will one plow there with oxen? for ye have turned judgment into gall, and the fruit of righteousness into hemlock:
19 Remembering mine affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.
15 Therefore thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.
4 They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant: thus judgment springeth up as hemlock in the furrows of the field.
32 For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:
12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God.