Notes Sea Orache

Who cut up mallows by the bushes, and juniper roots for their meat.

They pick mallow and the leaves of bushes, and to warm themselves the roots of the broom.

They were plucking the salt herb by the bushes, And the root of broom trees was their food.

Zohary suggests that this difficult passage, like so many from Job, might have been better rendered as, "They pick the leaves of the orache and the wormwood." The translation of maluah as "orache," and not true mallow, is better because Job is alluding to the desert, where orache, also called salt bush (if not salt herb as in NWT), is common. It is a strong-growing bush or shrub, 5 feet or more tall, with gray foliage and inconspicuous flowers. One of the most common desert plants in salt flats, it is used as survival food and as a salt source. The closely related Atriplex rosea, which occurs in the biblical area as well, has been a folk remedy for such cancerous conditions as corns, hard lumps, and indurations (JLH). Smoke from burning seed is used to treat skin ailments and sores. Lebanese doctors are said to extract anodynes, emetics, hypnotics and purgatives from the plants. According to Boulos, the seeds are in small doses emetic, in large doses poisonous (BOU). Ashes of the plant are taken for gastric acidity, the roots for dropsy (BIB).

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