(2.) Heb rosh, "a head," a poisonous plant (De 29:18), growing luxuriantly (Ho 10:4), of a bitter taste (Ps 69:21; La 3:5), and coupled with wormwood; probably the poppy. This word is rendered "gall", q.v., (De 29:18; 32:33; Ps 69:21; Jer 8:14, etc.), "hemlock" (Ho 10:4; Am 6:12), and "poison" (Job 20:16), "the poison of asps," showing that the rosh was not exclusively a vegetable poison.
chemah, from a root "to be hot" (De 32:24,33,). Ps 58:4; 140:3, "of serpents." In Job 6:4 allusion is made to poisoned arrows, symbolizing the burning pains which penetrated into Job's inmost parts ("spirit" as contrasted with surface flesh wounds of his body). Pliny (xi. 115) mentions that the Scythians poisoned their arrows with viper's venom mixed with human blood; a scratch of such arrows proved fatal. Also Arab pirates on the Red Sea used poisoned arrows (texicon, or toxicum from toxon a "bow", became the term for poison, so common was the usage). The Jews never adopted the barbarous custom. Ro'sh; De 32:32; 29:18; Ps 69:21; La 3:19; Am 6:12. (See GALL.); Jer 8:14 margin.
The poison of serpents and of asps is used in scripture symbolically for the judgement of God and for the malignity inherent in the wicked. De 32:24,33; Job 6:4; 20:16; Ps 58:4; 140:3; Ro 3:13. The tongue is "an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." Jas 3:8. Job 6:4 apparently alludes to arrows being poisoned.