What is "balm of Gilead" (Jeremiah 8:22)?
I first heard the phrase in a song we often sang in student devotionals, "There Is a Balm in Gilead." It's an old African-American spiritual. Jesus is the "balm" this world so desperately needs.
I recently read an article in Biblical Archaeology Review on this very passage. It seems the "balm" is from the pistachio nut. In the ancient world, as today, the essence is harvested and widely used for its salutary effects.