Gilead, Balm of

The region of Gilead abounded in spices and aromatic gums, which
were exported to Egypt and Tyre (Gen. 37:25; Jer. 8:22; 46:11;
Ezek. 27:17). The word "balm" is a contracted form of "balsam,"
a word derived from the Greek "balsamon", which was adopted as
the representative of the Hebrew words "baal shemen", meaning
"lord" or "chief of oils."

The Hebrew name of this balm was "tsori". The tree yielding
this medicinal oil was probably the Balsamodendron opobalsamum
of botanists, and the Amyris opobalsamum of Linnaeus. It is an
evergreen, rising to the height of about 14 feet. The oil or
resin, exuding through an orifice made in its bark in very small
quantities, is esteemed of great value for its supposed
medicinal qualities. (See BALM T0000427.) It may be noted that
Coverdale's version reads in Jer. 8:22, "There is no triacle in
Galaad." The word "triacle" = "treacle" is used in the sense of
ointment.