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(xliv. 14) speaks of the people taking the oak to make
a god. When the Lord threatens judgment upon the
nations, he refers often in a special manner to the oaks :
u The day of the Lord shall be upon all the oaks of
Bashan " (Isa. ii. 12, 13) ; " Howl, ye oaks of Bashan "
(Zech. xi. 2). Porter, in his interesting travels, when
speaking of the mountains of Bashan, says, " Bleak and
rocky at the base, they soon assume bolder outlines
and exhibit grander features. Ravines cut deeply into
their sides ; bare cliffs shoot out from tangled jungles of
dwarf ilex (oak), woven together with brambles and


creeping plants ; pointed cones of basalt, strewn here and
there with cinders and ashes, tower up until a wreath of
snow is wound round their heads ; straggling trees of
the great oaks of Bashan dot thinly the lower decliv-
ities, high up little groves of them appear, and higher
still, around the loftiest peaks, are dense forests."

Solemn covenants were made under an oak. Joshua,
when he solemnly charged the people, and announced to
them the law of God, put up a stone of witness under
an oak (Josh. xxiv. 26). In old times persons were
sometimes buried under the shade of an oak. Thus it
is stated in regard to Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, that
she was buried under an oak in Beth-el, and the name of
it was called Allon-bachuth, or the oak of weeping (Gen.
xxxv. 8). The strength of the oak is referred to by
Amos in speaking of the Amorite (Amos ii. 9). In the
maritime city of Tyre, in its days of prosperity, the oak
was used for making oars (Ezek. xxvii. 6).


(Salvadora persica, Linn., according to some ; Sinapis nigra, Linn.,
according to others.)

"A grain of mustard seed... when it is grown... becometh a tree."
MATT. xiii. 31, 32.

[E word sinapi is met with in the Gospels
according to Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and
it has been translated " mustard-tree." Much
difference of opinion has existed as to the
plant here intended. It is thought that it cannot be the
common mustard of this country, which is an herb of
annual growth ; whereas the evangelists speak of the
plant as a tree having branches in which the fowls of
the air lodged. Thus, in Matt. xiii. 31, 32 it is said,
" The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard
seed, which a man took and sowed in his field ; which
indeed is the least of all seeds : but when it is grown it
is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that
the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches
thereof." Again, Mark describes it as a tree " shooting
out great branches ; so that the fowls of the air lodge
under the shadow of it" (Mark iv. 31) ; and Luke says,



" The kingdom of God is like a grain of mustard seed,
which a man took and cast into his garden ; and it grew,
and waxed a great tree ; and the birds of the air lodged
in the branches of it" (Luke xiii. 19). Our Lord also
alludes to the smallness of the seed in Matt. xvii. 20,
and Luke xvii. 6. The mustard-plant, then, was a
branching tree with a small seed. Dr. Royle has ex-
amined this subject with his usual care and acuteness,
and finds that the mustard-plant of Palestine at the
present day is a tree which answers in every respect to
the description of the sacred writers. The tree grows
near Jerusalem, and most abundantly on the banks of
the Jordan, and round the Sea of Tiberias. The seed is
called chardal or kkardal, which is the Arabic name for
mustard. It is known to botanists as Salvadora persica,
and belongs to the natural order Salvadoraceae, which is
considered as being nearly allied to the Olive family.
It is found in Persia, Arabia, Palestine, and North
Africa. An Indian species, Sinapis indica or Koenigii,
has similar qualities, and receives the name of JcharjaL
The black mustard (Sinapis nigra) belongs to the
natural order Cruciferse.

The trunk of the salvadora is sometimes twenty-five
feet high, with a diameter of one foot. Its branches
are very numerous, spreading, and with their extremities
pendulous, like the weeping-willow. The flowers are
minute. The berry is very small much less than a
grain of black pepper smooth, and red. Each fruit
contains one seed, which is pungent, and is used as mus-
tard. The fruit has an aromatic smell, and tastes like



garden-cress. The bark of the root is acrid, and is used
in India for causing blisters.

Some, however, still think that the black mustard-
plant (Sinapis nigra) is referred to in Scripture, inas-
much as Salvadora persica is a sub-tropical plant found
in the valley of En-gedi, and not a common plant in


Palestine. Tristram differs from Koyle, and considers
the common black mustard to be the plant referred to
in the New Testament. He says that the Salvadora
persica does not enter into Palestine. It is compara-
tively a foreign tree, and is confined to the north-east
end of the Dead Sea. Travellers have noticed the great
height of the common black mustard on the banks of


the Jordan ; and Dr. Thomson, in the plain of Acre, has
seen it as tall as a horse and its rider.

In the New Testament the term " tree " is applied as
well as the term " herb." The former may merely imply


that it becomes taller than ordinary herbs. Flocks of
birds frequent the mustard-plant for the sake of the
seeds. The parable illustrates the increase of Christ's
kingdom, which from small beginnings is destined finally
to extend over the whole Earth.


Professor Hackett tells us that when crossing the
plain of Akka, in Palestine, he saw before him a little
grove of trees. On coming nearer they proved to be a
grove of mustard-plants. Some of the trees were full
nine feet high, with a trunk two or three inches in cir-
cumference, throwing out branches on every side. He
wondered whether they were strong enough for the
birds to "lodge in the branches thereof." Just then
a bird stopped in its flight through the air, alighted
on one of the limbs, which hardly moved beneath the
weight, and began to warble forth a strain of sweetest
music. The professor was delighted with the incident.
His " doubts were charmed away ; " the " least of all
seeds " had actually grown into a substantial tree.


(Myrtus communis, Linn.)

Instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree." ISA. Iv. 13.

|HE Hebrew word hadas, translated "myrtle,"
occurs in a few passages in the Old Testa-
ment. Royle says that the berries of the
myrtle are at the present day sold in bazaars
in India under the name of hadas. It is the Myrtus
communis of botanists ; and belongs to the natural order
Myrtacese, the Myrtle family. The common myrtle is
the most northern species of the order. It seems to
have been in high repute in Eastern countries on account
of its beautiful snow-white flowers, its dark-green foli-
age, and its pleasant odour. Its buds and berries have
been used as spices, and a fragrant distilled water is pre-
pared from its flowers. The bark and root are used for
tanning Russian and Turkish leather, to which they
communicate a peculiar odour. The leaves are also
used to dress skins. They contain much oil, and have
a dotted appearance when seen by transmitted light.
Within the margin of each leaf there is a small vein


running from the base to the apex. The myrtle grew
abundantly in Palestine and Syria, and it is noticed by
Nehemiah as one of the trees which supplied branches
for the construction of booths at the Feast of Taber-
nacles : " Go forth unto the mount [of Olives], and fetch
olive branches, and pine branches [oil-tree branches], and
myrtle branches, and palm branches, and branches of
thick trees to make booths, as it is written" (Neh. viii.
15). The Hebrew word etz'abotli, translated "thick
trees " (Lev. xxiii. 40 ; Ezek. xx. 28), is supposed by rab-
binical writers to refer to the myrtle. In the passage
already quoted from Nehemiah, both myrtle branches
and thick trees are spoken of, so that there is some
doubt as to the rabbinical view. Zechariah in his vision
speaks of the angel of the Lord standing among the
myrtle-trees, implying that they were well known and
common in the country (Zech. i. 8, 10, 11). The myrtle
is not a native of Britain, although it is generally culti-
vated in green-houses.

In this country it rarely becomes a tree, and does not
blossom freely. In the north of Europe it is frequent.
At the present day it occurs on the hills around Jeru-
salem, and in the valley of Lebanon, and it sometimes
forms extensive thickets. Harris mentions myrtles
growing in the valleys to the height of ten feet, and
emitting an exquisite perfume. The tree sometimes
attains a height of twenty feet. Horace speaks of
myrtle crowns, and mentions the myrtle as a garden-
plant ; and Virgil states that the odour of Corydon's
garden arose from the laurel and myrtle that were


planted together (Eel. ii. 54). Milton, describing the
bower of Paradise, says,


Of thickest covert was inwoven shade,
Laurel and myrtle, and what higher grow
Of firm and fragrant leaf."

The tree is used by the prophets to indicate a change on
the face of the earth, when " the knowledge of the Lord
shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea." Thus
Isaiah, when speaking of that blessed epoch, says, " In-
stead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead
of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree ; and it shall
be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that
shall not be cut off" (Isa. Iv. 13). Again, the Lord says
by the prophet, " I will plant in the wilderness the cedar,
the shittah tree, and the myrtle, and the oil tree " (Isa.
xli. 19).

It has been stated that Hadassah, the original name
of Esther, is derived from the word hadas, meaning
myrtle. It has also been conjectured that Esther is
formed from the word as, an Arabic name for myrtle,
and tur, meaning fresh. The Jews employed the myrtle
as an emblem of justice. They still use the myrtle
in their synagogues at the Feast of Tabernacles. The
dried flowers, leaves, and succulent part of the myrtle
are sold in the bazaars at Jerusalem and Damascus.


(Olea europcea, Linn.)

His beauty shall be as the olive tree." Hos. xiv. 6.

1HE olive-tree and olives are mentioned between
thirty and forty times, oil-olive four times,
and oil eighty times, in the Old and New
Testaments. It is one of the earliest of
the plants noticed in the Bible. In Genesis viii. 11
the dove is described as bringing the olive-branch to
Noah : " Lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt
off: so Noah knew that the waters were abated from
off the earth." The olive-tree occurs in the first parable
recorded in history (Judges ix. 9). Being associated with
the assuaging of the waters of the Flood, the olive-branch
is used as an emblem of peace and reconciliation. Oil
running down from the head to the skirt of the gar-
ment is an emblem of the anointing of the Holy Spirit.
The children of a good man are spoken of as seated as
olive branches around his table. It can remain a long
time under water without being injured. An experiment
of this kind was made in the Botanic Garden of Edinburgh.




The name of the tree in Hebrew is zait or eait, or in
Greek elaia. It is the Olea europcea of botanists, and
belongs to the natural order Oleacese, the Olive family.
The plants of this order have four divisions of their
corolla, usually two stamens, a two-celled and two-seeded
ovary, and a fleshy or dry fruit, which is often by abor-

OLIVE-TKEE. (Olea europcea.)

tion one-seeded. Tristram remarks that " to our Western
eyes the olive is scarcely a beautiful tree ; but to the
Oriental the coolness of the pale-blue foliage, its ever-
green freshness, spread like a silver sea along the slopes
of the hills, speaks of peace and plenty, food and glad-
ness." The olive-tree produces a large quantity of blos-
som. " He shall cast off his flower as the olive " (Job


xv. 33). Olive-oil is an important article of produce in
Syria. The tree is common throughout Syria, but
chiefly on the plains of Safet, Nazareth, and Nablous.
Harvest usually takes place in September and October,
the fruit being knocked off the trees with sticks. The
oil is now exported in large quantity from Syria. The
olive-tree has a drupaceous fruit, which was gathered
for the purpose of furnishing oil, and seems to have been
shaken off by beating the branches ; hence in Deut. xxiv.
20 it is said, "When thou beatest thine olive tree, thou
shalt not go over the boughs again ; it shall be for the
stranger, for the fatherless, and for the widow." Isaiah
also alludes to the shaking of the olive-tree and the
fruit left (Isa. xvii. 6). The outer, fleshy part of the
fruit, yields the oil under pressure. A tree will yield
ten to fifteen gallons. The finest oil at the present day
is imported from Florence and Provence. In 1879
there were imported into Britain 36,198 tuns of olive-
oil. The fruit of the olive is one of the first necessaries
of life in the East.

The olive-tree is common in the south of Europe, and
it abounded in the Holy Land, which was hence called
a land of olive-trees, of olive-yards, and of olive-oil
(Ex. xxiii. 11; Deut. vi. 11, viii. 8, xxviii. 40; Josh,
xxiv. 13). Solomon gave to the servants of Hiram
twenty thousand baths of oil (2 Chron. ii. 10). The
Mount of Olives, so called from the abundance of these
trees, is often referred to as the spot to which our
Saviour retired alone or with his disciples (Matt. xxi. 1,
xxiv. 3, xxvi. 30; Mark xiii. 3, xiv. 26; Luke xix. 29,


xxi. 37, xxii. 39 ; John viii. 1) ; and it was from the
Mount Olivet that the disciples witnessed the ascension
of their Master (Acts i. 12). In the prophecies regard-
ing the glorious latter days, allusion is also made to the
Mount of Olives (Zech. xiv. 4). Some very old olive-
trees still exist on the mount. In the garden of Gethsem-
ane some are said to have existed from the time of our
Lord. The tree is of slow growth, and seldom attains a
greater height than twenty or thirty feet.

There are two varieties of olive-trees, distinguished as
the long-leaved, which is cultivated in the south of
France and Italy, and the broad-leaved in Spain. The
wild olive, called by the Greeks agri-daw, was a low
spiny tree, the branches of which were grafted on the
cultivated olive. Hence the allusion by St. Paul in
Romans xi. 17, 24. In this case the Gentiles are repre-
sented as the wild olive, which is grafted, contrary to
nature, into the good olive, and thus bring forth fruit
unto eternal life. The evergreen nature of the tree
causes the psalmist to exclaim, " I arn like a green olive
tree in the house of God " (Ps. Hi. 8) ; and Jeremiah
says, " The Lord called thy name, A green olive tree "
(Jer. xi. 16). The timber of the tree was used for
furniture, and for ornamental carvings. The wood of
the tree is beautifully grained, and it is still used for
fine cabinet-work. In the temple it was used in the
carvings, in forming the posts of the doors, and in the
construction of the cherubim (1 Kings vi. 23, 31, 32).
Its branches were employed at the Feast of Tabernacles
(Neh. viii. 15). The bark of the tree has tonic prop-


erties. The oil expressed from the fruit was used in
the temple and for anointing (Ex. xxv. 6, xxx. 2325,
xxxv. 14, xxxix. 37; Lev. viii. 12). The treading of
the olive, and the expressing of its oil and the collecting
of it in vats, are alluded to by Micah and Joel (Micah
vi. 15; Joel ii. 24, iii. 13). The fatness of the olive-
tree is noticed in Judges ix. 9, and in Romans xi. 17.
The value of the trees required that there should be
overseers to attend to them (1 Chron. xxvii. 28).

Zechariah in vision saw the two anointed ones repre-
sented as two olive-trees (Zech. iv. 1114); and in
Revelation xi. 4, the two witnesses are represented as
" two olive trees... standing before the God of the earth."

The following are emblematical uses of the olive-
tree : ^-

1. Emblem of peace and reconciliation Noah in the
ark ; Christ on the Mount of Olives.

2. Emblem of beauty in its flowering the beauty of

3. Emblem of fructification bringing forth fruit to
the praise and glory of God.

4. Emblem of the anointing of the Holy Spirit oil
running down from the head to the skirt of the gar-
ment. God shall anoint with the oil of gladness.


angustifolia, Linn.)

11 1 will plant in the wilderness... the oil tree." ISA. xli. 19.

| HE Hebrew word etz'sliamen, or oil-tree, occurs
in three passages of the Bible. In the
passage quoted above from Isaiah it is trans-
lated "oil- tree;" in Nehemiah viii. 15, it is
translated "pine-branches ;" and in 1 Kings vi. 23, "olive-
tree." In the passage quoted from Nehemiah he tells the
people to " go forth unto the mount, and fetch olrve
branches, and pine branches" (oil-tree branches). There is
some difficulty in identifying the tree. From the best
authorities it appears to be the Elceagnus angustifolia,
the oleaster belonging to the natural order Elseagnacese,
the plants of which order are marked by their scaly

The plant is abundant in Palestine, and yields a kind
of oil which is much inferior to that of the olive. The
lower sides of the leaves have a silvery appearance from
the presence of scales. The flowers are minute, and the
fruit is a green, bitter berry.



OIL-TREE. (Ehmgnus angustifolia.)

Some authors consider the oil-plant of Scripture the
Balanites cegyptiaca, and it is figured in Smith's "Dic-
tionary of the Bible."


(Phoenix dactylifera, Linn.)

The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree." Ps. xcii. 12.

| HE palm-tree is called in Hebrew tamar, and
in Greek phoenix. The date-palm is called
Phoenix dactylifera. It is a dioecious tree,
and belongs to the natural order Palmacese.
The plants of this interesting family are characterized
by their tall, usually unbranched stems ; their pinnate or
fan-shaped leaves ; their flowers growing on a single or
branched spadix, covered by a spathe ; their fruit being
a nut, drupe, or berry ; and their seeds containing carti-
laginous or hard albumen, with a small embryo in a
cavity remote from the hilum. It has been calculated
that some spathes contain two hundred thousand flowers.
Palms are valuable plants, and furnish to man most
important products, such as starch, sugar, oil, wax, fruit,
coverings for habitations, materials for manuscripts, etc.
Date-palms were common in Palestine ; and some
cities were famous for the abundance of them. The
name Phoenicia was given to the country by the Greeks



and Romans, indicating " the land of palms." A town in
Crete was called Phoenix (Acts xxvii. 12). The capture
of Jerusalem by Titus was commemorated by Vespasian on
his coins by the representation of a woman sitting dis-

consolate under a palm-tree, and marked Judcea capta.
Jericho was called "the city of palm-trees" (Deut.
xxxiv. 3; Judges i. 16, iii. 13; 2 Chron. xxviii. 15).
These palm-trees are referred to by Josephus, Strabo,
Horace, and Pliny. The name Tamar is applied to a
city in Palestine, near the south-west end of the Dead
Sea, probably from the palm-trees near it (Ezek. xlvii.
19; xlviii. 28). Perhaps from the beauty of the palm



the name Tamar was used as a woman's name (Gen.
xxxviii. 6 ; 2 Sam. xiii. 1, xiv. 27). Some say that
Tamar was Tadmor in the wilderness (2 Chron. viii. 4),
afterwards called Palmyra. Hazezon-tamar and Baal-
tamar are also mentioned (Gen. xiv. 7 ; Judges xx.
33). The former is the well-known En-gedi, on the
western shore of the Dead Sea, long celebrated for its
palm-groves, and mentioned by Josephus and Pliny.
It is the present Ain Jidy, where there are no longer
any palm-trees, although palm stems and leaves are found
incrusted with carbonate of lime. Baal-tamar was near
Gibeah in Benjamin. Bethany, on the eastern side of
the Mount of Olives, means " the house of dates." The
tree extends along the course of the Euphrates and
Tigris, across to Palmyra and to the Syrian coast of the
Mediterranean. It grows also in the northern parts of
Africa. When growing in the desert, it indicates the
presence of water. The Israelites in their journey " came
to Elim, where were twelve wells of water, and three-
score and ten palm trees, and they encamped by the
waters" (Ex. xv. 27). In Numbers xxxiii. 9, these
wells are called fountains. Tristram says that the
station has generally been identified as the Wady Ghu-
rundel, where there are palm-trees and springs. Palm-
trees are now scarce in Palestine. Stanley says that the
palm breaks the uniformity of the Syrian landscape by
the rarity of its occurrence : " Two or three in the
gardens of Jerusalem, some few at Nablus, one or two
in the plain of Esdraelon, comprise nearly all the in-
stances of the palm in Central Palestine." Tristram


says : " In the gardens of Jenin (En-gannim, the ' garden-
house,' 2 Kings ix. 27), at Nablous (Shechem), at Beisan
(Bethshean), and at several sheltered villages near Naza-
reth, the palm still exists."

The stem of the date-palm exhibits what is called the
endogenous mode of growth, the hardest part being on
the outside. The leaves are pinnate, and are sometimes
called branches in Scripture (Lev. xxiii. 40; Neh. viii.
15). They were used at the Feast of Tabernacles for
covering the booths. They were also used as emblems of
victory or triumph. Thus palm-leaves, from trees grow-
ing on the Mount of Olives, were employed by the mul-
titude when they went forth to meet Jesus coming to
Jerusalem (John xii. 13). The custom in England of
carrying branches of willow on Palm Sunday seems to
have reference to this event. In the heavenly Jeru-
salem, the great multitude who stood before the throne
and before the Lamb are represented by the apostle John
as " clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands "
(Rev. vii. 9). The flowers are produced on a branching
spadix covered by a sheath. The tree having staminate
flowers on one plant and pistillate on another, requires
to be fertilized by the application of the pollen of the
one to the pistil of the other ; and unless both kinds are
cultivated, the fruit may not be perfected, and the tree
may ultimately fail. This may account in part for the
disappearance of the palm. The fruit hangs in clusters.
This is supposed to be alluded to in Song of Solomon
vii. 7 : " This thy stature is like a palm tree, and thy
breasts to clusters of dates " (not grapes, as given by our


translators). Dates constitute an important article of
food. It is said that nineteen-twentieths of the popula-
tion of Fezzan, in Africa, live on dates during nine
months of the year ; and that many of the animals
also feed on them. It is also stated that in Fezzan
every door and every post is made of date-palm wood,
and that the poorer classes live in huts (booths) entirely
made of date-palm leaves. Dates are imported into
Britain from Barbary and Egypt, and are usually of the
variety called Tafilat.

Figures of palm-trees were introduced by Solomon
into the carvings of the temple (1 Kings vi. 29, 32, 35,
vii. 36 ; 2 Chron. iii. 5) ; and they are also referred to
by Ezekiel in his description of the second temple (Ezek.
xl. 16, 22, 26, 31, 37; xli. 18-20, 25). The palm-tree,
from its erect and noble growth, and its heavenward
direction, is used in Psalm xcii. 12 as an illustration of
the righteous.


(Punica Granatum, Linn.)

" Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits."
SONG iv. 13.

|HE pomegranate-tree and its fruit are noticed
in Scripture under the Hebrew name of
rimmon. The plant is the rhoa of Dio-
scorides and the side of Homer. It is a
native of Asia, and, according to Royle, may be traced
from Syria through Persia and the mountains of
Northern India. It was common in Palestine. Thus
Moses, speaking of the Promised Land, calls it " a land of
wheat and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pome-
granates " (Deut. viii. 8) ; and the spies who searched the
land " brought of the pomegranates and of the figs "
(Num. xiii. 23). Several towns and villages in Pales-
tine bore the name of Rimmon or Pomegranate (Josh.
xv. 32; 1 Chron. iv. 32, vi. 77; Zech. xiv. 10). Saul
tarried under a pomegranate-tree (1 Sam. xiv. 2) ; and

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