Bitterness is symbolical of affliction, misery, and servitude ( Exodus 1:14 ; Ruth 1:20 ; Jeremiah 9:15 ). The Chaldeans are called the "bitter and hasty nation" ( Habakkuk 1:6 ). The "gall of bitterness" expresses a state of great wickedness ( Acts 8:23 ). A "root of bitterness" is a wicked person or a dangerous sin ( Hebrews 12:15 ).
The Passover was to be eaten with "bitter herbs" ( Exodus 12:8 ; Numbers 9:11 ). The kind of herbs so designated is not known. Probably they were any bitter herbs obtainable at the place and time when the Passover was celebrated. They represented the severity of the servitude under which the people groaned; and have been regarded also as typical of the sufferings of Christ.