TZERI (ze'ri), (Heb. "14, Iser-ee'), translated balm, occurs in Gen. xxxvii:25; xliii:ii; and in both passages is mentioned along with lot and necoth, with the addition in the second of botnirn and shekadint.
In Gen. xliii :11, Jacob thus addresses his sons: 'Take of the best fruits in the land in your ves sels, and carry down the man a present: a little balm (tzer!), and a little honey, spices (see NE COTH), and myrrh (see LoT), nuts (see BOTNIM), and almonds.' In the separate articles on these substances some general observations have been made, which will equally apply to 1zeri. This must have been a produce of Gilead, or of the northern parts of Syria, and would thus be suitable for con veying to Egypt on the occasion referred to. Balm or balsam, we have seen, was an Arabian and Abyssinian plant cultivated in one or two places. But it is difficult to determine exactly what substance is intended : we may, however, adduce the other passages in which the word is found. Ezekiel (xxvii :17) mentions tzeri along with 'wheat of Minnith, and Pannag, and honey, and oil,' as merchandise which Judah brought to the market of Tyre. That it was possessed of medici nal properties appears from Jer. viii :22: 'Is there no balm in Gilead ?"Go up into Gilead and take.
balm' (xlvi:11). 'Take balm for her pain, if so she may be healed' (xli :8). It has been variously translatedócera, iheriaca, cedri resina, stacti on guenta, medicamcnta, resina, colophonia. We are unable, however, distinctly to connect any of the above names with any product of Gilead. But there is a product which, though little known to Europeans, is highly esteemed by the Arabs, ac cording to the testimony of several travelers. This is the oil of the zackum tree, sometimes called the Jericho plum tree, also the Jerusalem willow, oleaster or wild olive tree, or Eloacntes angusti folios of Linnaeus. The fruit of one species is much esteemed in Persia, and known by the name of zinzyd. The Syrian fruit is ovoid, but oblong, fleshy, having an olive-shaped nut with a kernel containing oil. The oil is separated by pressure and floating it on water, and a further portion by boiling. The Arabs are described by Maundrell and Mariti as holding it in high esteem, and as preferring it to the balsam of Mecca, because they found it very efficacious against contusions and wounds. (See BALSAM TREE.) J. F. R.