Commonly supposed to mean the aromatic gum of a tree growing near the Persian gulf, etc. It is transparent, and bitter to the taste, yet very fragrant while burning. But the substance so called, whatever is was, is mentioned in connection with gold and gems; while gum is certainly not so remarkable a gift of nature as to deserve this classification, or as that the production of it should confer on Havilah a peculiar celebrity, Ge 2:12. Hence the opinion of the Jewish writers is not to be contemned, namely, that pearls are to be here understood, of which great quantities are found on the shores of the Persian gulf and in India, and which might not inaptly be compared with manna, as in Nu 11:7.
occurs only in Ge 2:12, where it designates a product of the land of Havilah; and in Nu 11:7, where the manna is likened to it in colour. It was probably an aromatic gum like balsam which exuded from a particular tree (Borassus flabelliformis) still found in Arabia, Media, and India. It bears a resemblance in colour to myrrh. Others think the word denotes "pearls," or some precious stone.
Bedolach (Ge 2:12), a production of Havilah. Nu 11:7; "The color of the manna was as the color of Bdellium." A gum exuding from a tree (the Borassus flabelliformis) in Arabia, India, and Babylonia, white and transparent, according to some; but this is hardly precious enough to be ranked with the gold and precious stones of Havilah. Others, a precious stone, crystal or beryl. This hardly suits Ge 2:12, where "stone" is added to onyx, but not to it. Gesenius therefore takes it pearls, found abundant at the Persian gulf. This answers to the parallel comparison of manna to the white hoar frost on the ground (Ex 16:14). Smith's Dictionary Appendix adheres to its being a gum.
The probably correct tr of the Heb. bed
The word bedolach has been interpreted to signify both a white transparent oily gum, and a white pearl. Its colour is referred to in the description of the manna, Nu 11:7, and in Ge 2:12 it is mentioned with gold and onyx stones as characterising the land of Havilah. The white pearl seems the more probable allusion, for the manna is in Ex 16:14 compared also to the hoar frost.
It is quite impossible to say whether bedolach denotes a mineral or an animal production or a vegetable exudation. Bdellium is an odoriferous exudation from a tree which is perhaps the Borassus flabelliformis, Lin., of Arabia Felix.
BDELLIUM, ????, occurs Ge 2:12, and Nu 11:7. Interpreters seem at a loss to know what to do with this word, and have rendered it variously. Many suppose it a mineral production. The Septuagint translates in the first place, ???????, a carbuncle, and in the second, ??????????, a crystal. The rabbins are followed by Reland in calling it a crystal; but some, instead of bedolah, read berolah, changing the ? into ?, which are not always easily distinguished, and are often mistaken by transcribers; and so render it the beryl, which, say they, is the prime kind of crystal. The bedoleh, in Genesis, is undoubtedly some precious stone; and its colour, mentioned in Numbers, where the manna is spoken of as of the colour of bdellium, is explained by a reference to Ex 16:14,31, where it is likened to hoar frost, which being like little fragments of ice, may confirm the opinion that the bdellium is the beryl, perhaps that pellucid kind, called by Dr. Hill the ellipomocrostyla, or beryl crystal.