Gourd

Gourd [N] [S]

  • Jonah's gourd ( Jonah 4:6-10 ), bearing the Hebrew name kikayon (found only here), was probably the kiki of the Egyptians, the croton. This is the castor-oil plant, a species of ricinus, the palma Christi, so called from the palmate division of its leaves. Others with more probability regard it as the cucurbita the el-keroa of the Arabs, a kind of pumpkin peculiar to the East. "It is grown in great abundance on the alluvial banks of the Tigris and on the plain between the river and the ruins of Nineveh." At the present day it is trained to run over structures of mud and brush to form boots to protect the gardeners from the heat of the noon-day sun. It grows with extraordinary rapidity, and when cut or injured withers away also with great rapidity.

  • Wild gourds ( 2 Kings 4:38-40 ), Heb. pakkuoth, belong to the family of the cucumber-like plants, some of which are poisonous. The species here referred to is probably the colocynth (Cucumis colocynthus). The LXX. render the word by "wild pumpkin." It abounds in the desert parts of Syria, Egypt, and Arabia. There is, however, another species, called the Cucumis prophetarum, from the idea that it afforded the gourd which "the sons of the prophets" shred by mistake into their pottage.

    These dictionary topics are from
    M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
    published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Gourd". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

  • Gourd. [N] [E]

    1. Kikayan only in ( Jonah 4:6-10 ) The plant which is intended by this word, and which afforded shade to the prophet Jonah before Nineveh, is the Ricinus commnunis , or castor-oil plant, which, a native of Asia, is now naturalized in America, Africa and the south of Europe. This plant varies considerably n size, being in India a tree, but in England seldom attaining a greater height than three or four feet. The leaves are large and palmate, with serrated lobes, and would form un excellent shelter for the sun-stroken prophet. The seeds contain the oil so well known under the name of "castor oil," which has for ages been in high repute as a medicine. It is now thought by many that the plant meant is a vine of the cucumber family, a gemline gourd, which is much used for shade in the East.
    2. The wild gourd of ( 2 Kings 4:39 ) which one of "the sons of the prophets" gathered ignorantly, supposing them to be good for food, is a poisonous gourd, supposed to be the colocynth, which bears a fruit of the color and size of an orange, with a hard, woody shell. As several varieties of the same family, such as melons, pumpkins, etc., are favorite articles of refreshing food amongst the Orientals, we can easily understand the cause of the mistake.

    [N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
    [E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

    Bibliography Information

    Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Gourd'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.

    GOURD

    gord, goord (qiqayon):

    The Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) has hedera ("ivy"), which is impossible. Philologically qiqayon appears to be connected with kiki, which was the Egyptian name for the castor oil plant (Ricinus communis). This grows plentifully all over the Orient, and under favorable conditions may reach a height of 10 to 15 ft.; its larger leaves afford a grateful shade. The requirements of the narrative in Jonah 4:6 are, however, much more suitably met by the "bottle gourd" (Cucurbita lagenaria), the Arab qar`ah. This is a creeping, vinelike plant which may frequently be seen trained over the rough temporary sun-shelters erected in fields or by the roadside in Palestine and Mesopotamia.

    E. W. G. Masterman


    Copyright Statement
    These files are public domain.

    Bibliography Information
    Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. "Entry for 'GOURD'". "International Standard Bible Encyclopedia". 1915.