What is Wormwood?


The third angel sounded his trumpet, and a great star, blazing like a torch, fell from the sky on a third of the rivers and on the springs of water— the name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters turned bitter, and many people died from the waters that had become bitter. Revelation 8:10-11
            In the New Testament, this word only appears once and means “bitter.”  It relates to a star that falls from the sky and makes all the waters bitter to taste.  The water sources of earth cannot be consumed because of the taste and the people die of thirst.
            In the Old Testament, a similar word is used (la`anah) that means poison or gall.  The King James translation uses the word “wormwood” in these instances.
Therefore this is what the Lord Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “See, I will make this people eat bitter food and drink poisoned water.  Jeremiah 9:15
I remember my affliction and my wandering,
    the bitterness and the gall.  Lamentations 3:19
Do horses run on the rocky crags?
    Does one plow the sea with oxen?
But you have turned justice into poison
    and the fruit of righteousness into bitterness—Amos 6:12
            The word is also similar to the word “gall” (cholÄ“).  It was a greenish hue, like bile, and poisonous.  Jesus received a similar drink on the cross.
There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.  Matthew 27:34
            Some believe that gall was myrrh, a gift Jesus received at his birth.  Jesus refused the poison because he didn’t want to die from poison, but from the crucifixion.  He didn’t want to deaden the pain of death.