While some have suggested equating the Hebrew word roʼsh (or, rohsh) with hemlock, colocynth, or the poppy, no certain identification of the plant is possible. The Hebrew term at times refers to (1) a bitter and poisonous plant (La 3:5, 19), (2) poison or “venom” (De 32:33; Job 20:16), and (3) when used in connection with water, poisonous water (Jer 8:14; 9:15; 23:15). It appears in an illustrative sense with reference to a perversion of justice (Ho 10:4; Am 6:12) and to those who apostatize.—De 29:18; compare Ac 8:23; Heb 12:15.
Concerning the Messiah, it was foretold that he would be given “a poisonous plant” for food. (Ps 69:21) This occurred when Jesus Christ, before his impalement, was offered wine mixed with gall but, upon tasting it, refused the stupefying drink that was probably intended to alleviate his sufferings. In recording the fulfillment of this prophecy, Matthew (27:34) employed the Greek word kho·leʹ (gall), the same term found in the Greek Septuagint at Psalm 69:21. However, Mark’s Gospel account mentions myrrh (Mr 15:23), and this has given rise to the view that in this case the “poisonous plant” or “gall” was “myrrh.” Another possibility is that the drugged drink contained both gall and myrrh.