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1 Some blame Josephus for supposing that the balsam tree might be first brought out of Arabia, or Egypt, or Ethiopia, into Judea, by this queen of Sheba, since several have said that of old no country bore this precious balsam but Judea; yet it is not only false that this balsam was peculiar to Judea but both Egypt and Arabia, and particularly Sabea; had it; which last was that very country whence Josephus, if understood not of Ethiopia, but of Arabia, intimates this queen might bring it first into Judea. Nor are we to suppose that the queen of Sabaea could well omit such a present as this balsam tree would be esteemed by Solomon, in case it were then almost peculiar to her own country. Nor is the mention of balm or balsam, as carried by merchants, and sent as a present out of Judea by Jacob, to the governor of Egypt, Genesis 37:25; 43:11, to be alleged to the contrary, since what we there render balm or balsam, denotes rather that turpentine which we now call turpentine of Chio, or Cyprus, the juice of the turpentine tree, than this precious balm. This last is also the same word that we elsewhere render by the same mistake balm of Gilead; it should be rendered, the turpentine of Gilead, Jeremiah 8:22.
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