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Smith's Bible Dictionary

  1. Mereerah , denoting "that which is bitter;" hence the term is applied to the "bile" or "gall" (the fluid secreted by the liver), from its intense bitterness, (Job 16:13; 20:25) it is also used of the "poison" of serpents, (Job 20:14) which the ancients erroneously believed was their gall.
  2. Rosh , generally translated "gall" in the English Bible, is in (Hosea 10:4) rendered "hemlock:" in (32:33) and Job 20:16 rosh denotes the "poison" or "venom" of serpents. From (29:18) and Lame 3:19 compared with Hose 10:4 It is evident that the Hebrew term denotes some bitter and perhaps poisonous plant. Other writers have supposed, and with some reason, from (32:32) that some berry-bearing plant must be intended. Gesenius understands poppies; in which case the gall mingled with the wine offered to our Lord at his crucifixion, and refused by him, would be an anaesthetic, and tend to diminish the sense of suffering. Dr. Richardson, "Ten Lectures on Alcohol," p. 23, thinks these drinks were given to the crucified to diminish the suffering through their intoxicating effects.
ATS Bible Dictionary

A general name for anything very bitter. In Job 16:13 20:14,25, it means the animal secretion usually called the bile. In many other places, where a different word is used in the original, it refers to some better and noxious plant, according to some, the poppy. See De 29:18 Jeremiah 9:15 23:15. In Hosea 10:4 Am 6:12, the Hebrew word is translated "hemlock". In Matthew 27:34, it is said they gave Jesus to drink, vinegar mixed with gall, which in Mark 15:23, is called wine mingled with myrrh. It was probably the sour wine which the Roman soldiers used to drink, mingled with myrrh and other bitter substances, very much like the "bitters" of modern times, Psalm 69:21. The word gall is often used figuratively for great troubles, wickedness, depravity, etc., Jeremiah 8:14 Am 6:12 Acts 8:23.

Easton's Bible Dictionary
(1) Hebrews mererah, meaning "bitterness" (Job 16:13); i.e., the bile secreted in the liver. This word is also used of the poison of asps (20:14), and of the vitals, the seat of life (25).

(2.) Hebrews rosh. In Deuteronomy 32:33 and Job 20:16 it denotes the poison of serpents. In Hosea 10:4 the Hebrew word is rendered "hemlock." The original probably denotes some bitter, poisonous plant, most probably the poppy, which grows up quickly, and is therefore coupled with wormwood (Deuteronomy 29:18; Jeremiah 9:15; Lamentations 3:19). Comp. Jeremiah 8:14; 23:15, "water of gall," Gesenius, "poppy juice;" others, "water of hemlock," "bitter water."

(3.) Gr. chole (Matthew 27:34), the LXX. translation of the Hebrew rosh in Psalm 69; 21, which foretells our Lord's sufferings. The drink offered to our Lord was vinegar (made of light wine rendered acid, the common drink of Roman soldiers) "mingled with gall," or, according to Mark (15:23), "mingled with myrrh;" both expressions meaning the same thing, namely, that the vinegar was made bitter by the infusion of wormwood or some other bitter substance, usually given, according to a merciful custom, as an anodyne to those who were crucified, to render them insensible to pain. Our Lord, knowing this, refuses to drink it. He would take nothing to cloud his faculties or blunt the pain of dying. He chooses to suffer every element of woe in the bitter cup of agony given him by the Father (John 18:11).

Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
1. (n.) The bitter, alkaline, viscid fluid found in the gall bladder, beneath the liver. It consists of the secretion of the liver, or bile, mixed with that of the mucous membrane of the gall bladder.

2. (n.) The gall bladder.

3. (n.) Anything extremely bitter; bitterness; rancor.

4. (n.) Impudence; brazen assurance.

5. (n.) An excrescence of any form produced on any part of a plant by insects or their larvae. They are most commonly caused by small Hymenoptera and Diptera which puncture the bark and lay their eggs in the wounds. The larvae live within the galls. Some galls are due to aphids, mites, etc. See Gallnut.

6. (v. t.) To impregnate with a decoction of gallnuts.

7. (v. t.) To fret and wear away by friction; to hurt or break the skin of by rubbing; to chafe; to injure the surface of by attrition; as, a saddle galls the back of a horse; to gall a mast or a cable.

8. (v. t.) To fret; to vex; as, to be galled by sarcasm.

9. (v. t.) To injure; to harass; to annoy; as, the troops were galled by the shot of the enemy.

10. (v. i.) To scoff; to jeer.

11. (n.) A wound in the skin made by rubbing.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia


(1) ro'sh, or rosh (Deuteronomy 32:32 only, "grapes of gall"): Some very bitter plant, the bitterness as in (2) being associated with the idea of poison. Deuteronomy 29:18 margin "rosh, a poisonpus herb"; Lamentations 3:5, 19 Jeremiah 8:14; Jeremiah 9:15; Jeremiah 23:15, "water of gall," margin "poison"; Hosea 10:4, translated "hemlock"; Amos 6:12, "Ye have turned justice into gall"; Job 20:16, the "poison of asps": here rosh clearly refers to a different substance from the other references, the points in common being bitterness and poisonous properties. Hemlock (Conium maculatum), colocynth (Citrullus colocynthus) and the poppy (Papaver somniferum) have all been suggested as the original rosh, the last having most support, but in most references the word may represent any bitter poisonous substance. Rosh is associated with la`anah, "wormwood" (Deuteronomy 29:18 Lamentations 3:19 Amos 6:12).

(2) mererah (Job 16:13), and merorah (Job 20:14, 25), both derived from a root meaning "to be bitter," are applied to the human gall or "bile," but like (1), merorah is once applied to the venom of serpents (Job 20:14). The poison of these animals was supposed to reside in their bile.

(3) chole (Matthew 27:34), "They gave him wine to drink mingled with gall"; this is clearly a reference to the Septuagint version of Psalm 69:21: "They gave me also gall (chole, Hebrew rosh) for my food; and in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink." In Mark 15:23, it says, "wine mingled with myrrh." It is well known that the Romans gave wine with frankincense to criminals before their execution to alleviate their sufferings; here the chole or bitter substance used was myrrh (Pliny Ep. xx0.18; Sen. Ep. 83).

E. W. G. Masterman

5521. chole -- gall (a bitter herb)
... gall (a bitter herb). Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine Transliteration: chole Phonetic
Spelling: (khol-ay') Short Definition: gall, bitter herbs Definition: gall ...
// - 6k

5520. cholao -- to be melancholy, mad, angry
... with. 5520 (akin to 5521 , "gall, bile") -- properly, full of bile;
(figuratively) filled with anger and hence (even violent). [This ...
// - 6k

Strong's Hebrew
4845. mererah -- gall
... gall. Transliteration: mererah Phonetic Spelling: (mer-ay-raw') Short Definition:
gall. Word Origin from marar Definition gall NASB Word Usage gall (2). gall. ...
/hebrew/4845.htm - 6k

4846. merorah -- a bitter thing, gall, poison
... a bitter thing, gall, poison. Transliteration: merorah or merorah Phonetic Spelling:
(mer-o-raw') Short Definition: bitter. ... bitter thing, gall. ...
/hebrew/4846.htm - 6k

7219. rosh -- (bitter and poisonous herb) venom
... Word Origin from rosh Definition (bitter and poisonous herb) venom NASB Word Usage
bitterness (2), gall (1), poison (4), poisoned (2), poisonous (2), poisonous ...
/hebrew/7219.htm - 6k

4803. marat -- to make smooth, bare or bald, to scour, polish
... A primitive root; to polish; by implication, to make bald (the head), to gall (the
shoulder); also, to sharpen -- bright, furbish, (have his) hair (be) fallen ...
/hebrew/4803.htm - 6k


It is Related Also that vinegar was Given Him to Drink, or Wine ...
... 26. It is related also that vinegar was given Him to drink, or wine mingled
with myrrh which is bitterer than gall. Hear what the ...
/.../26 it is related also.htm

How Vespasian Upon Hearing of Some Commotions in Gall, Made Haste ...
... CHAPTER 8. How Vespasian Upon Hearing Of Some Commotions In Gall, Made
Haste To Finish The Jewish War. A Description Of. Jericho ...
/.../chapter 8 how vespasian upon.htm

Of the Unknown Purpose of Some of the Intestines.
... What of the liver? Organs which appear as it were to be made up [1913] of disordered
blood. What of the very bitter moisture of the gall? What of the heart? ...
/.../lactantius/on the workmanship of god/chap xiv of the unknown purpose.htm

Of the Consistency of Matthew's Version with that of Mark in the ...
... The same Matthew next adds, "and they gave Him wine [1378] to drink, mingled with
gall; and when He had tasted thereof, He would not drink." [1379] This is ...
/.../augustine/the harmony of the gospels/chapter xi of the consistency of.htm

And There is no Truth in the Statement of Celsus...
... degrading things were which Christ suffered, in these words: "For what better was
it for God to eat the flesh of sheep, or to drink vinegar and gall, than to ...
/.../origen/origen against celsus/chapter xiii and there is.htm

Of the Lord's Passion, and that it was Foretold.
... they crucified Him they mocked Him; for they put upon Him a scarlet [739] robe,
and a crown of thorns, and saluted Him as King, and gave Him gall for food, and ...
/.../lactantius/the divine institutes/chap xviii of the lords passion.htm

Appendix (A).
... (14) Proclus, Abp. of Constantinople, [Gall, x.629 A,"AD434.]. To which may be
added the evidence of. ... (16) Eulogius, Abp. of Alexandria, [Gall. ...
/.../burgon/the last twelve verses of the gospel according to s mark/appendix a.htm

Expository Treatise against the Jews.
... Many a time dost thou boast thyself, in that thou didst condemn Jesus of Nazareth
to death, and didst give Him vinegar and gall to drink; and thou dost vaunt ...
/.../expository treatise against the jews.htm

Notker's Sequences
... St. Gall. In ... St. Gall himself (died 638), and many other glossaries, paraphrases,
and interlinear translations from the Latin. Among ...
/.../winkworth/christian singers of germany/notkers sequences.htm

After This, He who Extracts from the Gospel Narrative those ...
... After this, he who extracts from the Gospel narrative those statements on which
he thinks he can found an accusation, makes the vinegar and the gall a subject ...
/.../origen/origen against celsus/chapter xxxvii after this he.htm

Gall (17 Occurrences)
... Comp. Jeremiah 8:14; 23:15, "water of gall," Gesenius, "poppy juice;" others, "water
of hemlock," "bitter water.". (3.) Gr. chole (Matthew 27:34), the LXX. ...
/g/gall.htm - 17k

Wormwood (10 Occurrences)
... Revelation 8:11)): What the Hebrew la`anah may have been is obscure; it is clear
it was a bitter substance and it is usually associated with "gall"; in the ...
/w/wormwood.htm - 13k

Poisonous (8 Occurrences)
... heart turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those
nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood ...
/p/poisonous.htm - 9k

Blindness (7 Occurrences)
... That blindness of Tobit (Tobit 2:10), from the irritation of sparrows' dung, may
have been some form of conjunctivitis, and the cure by the gall of the fish is ...
/b/blindness.htm - 19k

Vinegar (11 Occurrences)
... mingled with gall" in Matthew 27:34, but this rests on a false reading, probably
due to Psalm 69:21, and the Revised Version (British and American) rightly has ...
/v/vinegar.htm - 13k

Poison (17 Occurrences)
... This word is rendered "gall", qv, (Deuteronomy 29:18; 32:33; Psalm 69:21; Jeremiah
8:14, etc.), "hemlock" (Hosea 10:4; Amos 6:12), and "poison" (Job 20:16 ...
/p/poison.htm - 17k

Poisoned (7 Occurrences)
... 9:15 therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed
them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink. ...
/p/poisoned.htm - 8k

Bitterness (37 Occurrences)
... Bitterness (37 Occurrences). Acts 8:23 For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness
and in the bondage of iniquity." (WEB KJV ASV DBY WBS YLT NAS RSV NIV). ...
/b/bitterness.htm - 21k

... devour him. The angel tells him to seize the fish and to extract from
it and carefully keep its heart, liver and gall. Reaching ...
/t/tobit.htm - 34k

Anaharath (1 Occurrence)
... devour him. The angel tells him to seize the fish and to extract from
it and carefully keep its heart, liver and gall. Reaching ...
/a/anaharath.htm - 87k

What is gall in the Bible? |

How many prophecies did Jesus fulfill? |

What is the book of Tobit? |

Gall: Dictionary and Thesaurus |

Bible ConcordanceBible DictionaryBible EncyclopediaTopical BibleBible Thesuarus
Gall (17 Occurrences)

Matthew 27:34
They gave him sour wine to drink mixed with gall. When he had tasted it, he would not drink.

Acts 8:23
For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity."

Deuteronomy 29:18
lest there should be among you man, or woman, or family, or tribe, whose heart turns away this day from Yahweh our God, to go to serve the gods of those nations; lest there should be among you a root that bears gall and wormwood;

Deuteronomy 32:32
For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, of the fields of Gomorrah. Their grapes are grapes of gall, Their clusters are bitter.

Job 16:13
His archers surround me. He splits my kidneys apart, and does not spare. He pours out my gall on the ground.

Job 20:14
Yet his meat in his bowels is turned, it is the gall of asps within him.

Job 20:16
Gall of asps he sucketh, Slay him doth the tongue of a viper.

Job 20:25
It is drawn, and cometh out of the body; yea, the glittering sword cometh out of his gall: terrors are upon him.

Psalms 69:21
They also gave me gall for my food. In my thirst, they gave me vinegar to drink.

Proverbs 5:4
But her end is bitter as wormwood, and sharp as a two-edged sword;
(See NIV)

Jeremiah 8:14
Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the fortified cities, and let us be silent there; for Yahweh our God has put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against Yahweh.

Jeremiah 9:15
therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies, the God of Israel, Behold, I will feed them, even this people, with wormwood, and give them water of gall to drink.

Jeremiah 23:15
Therefore thus says Yahweh of Armies 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 ungodliness gone forth into all the land.

Lamentations 3:5
He has built against me, and surrounded me with gall and travail.

Lamentations 3:15
He has filled me with bitterness, he has sated me with wormwood.
(See NIV)

Lamentations 3:19
Remember my affliction and my misery, the wormwood and the gall.

Amos 6:12
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:



Gall: A Bitter Herb

Gall: Any Bitter or Poisonous Substance, Like Bile

Gall: Gall of Bitterness

Gall: Given to Jesus

Gall: Venom of Serpents

Related Terms

Wormwood (10 Occurrences)

Poisonous (8 Occurrences)

Blindness (7 Occurrences)

Vinegar (11 Occurrences)

Poison (17 Occurrences)

Poisoned (7 Occurrences)

Bitterness (37 Occurrences)


Anaharath (1 Occurrence)

Root (54 Occurrences)

Gallant (1 Occurrence)

Bitter (203 Occurrences)

Hemlock (2 Occurrences)

Sodom (49 Occurrences)

Vine (76 Occurrences)

Unwilling (30 Occurrences)

Ungodliness (9 Occurrences)

Offered (320 Occurrences)

Loins (72 Occurrences)

Gomor'rah (23 Occurrences)

Gravel (3 Occurrences)

Weapon (21 Occurrences)

Fell (331 Occurrences)

Fret (9 Occurrences)

Fly (33 Occurrences)

Thereof (845 Occurrences)

Turns (80 Occurrences)

Tasted (18 Occurrences)

Rot (15 Occurrences)

Refused (89 Occurrences)

Remembering (14 Occurrences)

Reins (15 Occurrences)

Enveloped (6 Occurrences)

Encompass (20 Occurrences)

Eyes (6285 Occurrences)

Defenced (9 Occurrences)

Mixture (16 Occurrences)

Mingled (62 Occurrences)

Medicine (4 Occurrences)

Mixed (96 Occurrences)

Proceedeth (21 Occurrences)

Perceive (53 Occurrences)

Pours (21 Occurrences)

Profanity (2 Occurrences)

Profaneness (2 Occurrences)

Produces (27 Occurrences)

Poureth (28 Occurrences)

Pierces (8 Occurrences)

Pollution (5 Occurrences)

Bond (32 Occurrences)

Clusters (12 Occurrences)

Cleaveth (26 Occurrences)

Crucifixion (4 Occurrences)

Captive (123 Occurrences)

Cluster (6 Occurrences)

Archers (15 Occurrences)

Asps (4 Occurrences)

Splitteth (2 Occurrences)

Slashes (1 Occurrence)

Sucketh (1 Occurrence)

Sour (15 Occurrences)

Surround (39 Occurrences)

Spareth (9 Occurrences)

Splits (3 Occurrences)

Spills (1 Occurrence)

Bondage (55 Occurrences)

Iniquity (299 Occurrences)

Encompassed (34 Occurrences)

Feed (117 Occurrences)

Gomorrah (25 Occurrences)

Diseases (38 Occurrences)

Misery (38 Occurrences)

Fruitful (57 Occurrences)

Jeroboam (96 Occurrences)

Besieged (34 Occurrences)

Kidneys (15 Occurrences)

Thirst (40 Occurrences)

Grapes (74 Occurrences)

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