the prophets Joel and Haggai refer to the pomegranate
(Joel i. 12 ; Haggai ii. 19). The tree must have grown
in Egypt during the time the Israelites sojourned there ;
for when in the wilderness of Zin, they lamented the
loss of the pomegranates (Num. xx. 5).
The tree is the Punica Granatum of botanists, the
generic name indicating a Carthaginian origin. The
English name pomegranate is derived from the words
pomum granatum, or grained apple of the Romans ; so
called from the arrangement of the red seeds in different
and in separate divisions in the interior of the fruit. The
tree belongs to the natural order Lythracese, the Loose-
strife family. It has a dark green foliage resembling
that of the olive and the myrtle ; its flowers are of a
beautiful crimson colour ; and its fruit is red-coloured, as
large as an orange, and contains a juicy pulp, which is
particularly refreshing in warm countries. The calyx
forms part of the fruit. Delicious seedless pomegranates
are grown near Cabul.
The beauty of the flower and fruit, and the use of the
latter as an article of food, caused the plant to be culti-
vated in gardens (Song iv. 13; vi. 11; vii. 1 2). The
delicate colour of the pulp of the fruit is referred to in
the following passage : " Thy temples [or rather thy
cheeks] are like a piece [section] of a pomegranate with-
in thy locks " (Song iv. 3 ; vi. 7). The pulp of the
fruit is eaten alone or with sugar, and the juice is ex-
pressed to furnish a refreshing drink, or to form wine.
The wine of the pomegranate is mentioned in Song
The pomegranate was selected as a pattern of various
ornamental carvings and embroiderings in ancient times.
The fruit and the flower furnished beautiful models for
the purpose. The chapiters or capitals of the pillars in
the temple were covered on the top with carved pome-
granates (1 Kings vii. 18, 20, 42 ; 2 Kings xxv. 17;
2 Chron. iii. 16, and iv. 13; Jer. lii. 22). Embroidered
pomegranates, with golden bells between them, were put
on the bottom of the high priest's blue robe and ephod
(Ex. xxviii. 33, 34, xxxix. 24-26).
Various parts of the pomegranate-tree have been used
medicinally, especially for the cure of tape-worm.
The bark of the root, the flowers, and the rind of the
fruit, have been used for this purpose. The rind was
employed for tanning and preparing the finer kinds of
leather in early times. It is the principal material
used at the present day in the manufacture of morocco
(Acacia Seyal, Delile.)
" I will plant in the wilderness the cedar, the shittah tree, and the myrtle,
and the oil tree." ISA. xli. 19.
[HE shittah-tree of the Bible is the plant which
yielded shittim-wood. This wood is men-
tioned among the offerings of the children of
Israel (Ex. xxv. 5 ; xxxv. 7, 24). It was
used in making the various parts of the tabernacle in
the wilderness, such as the ark and its staves (Ex.
xxv. 10, 13, xxxvii. 1, 4; Deut. x. 3); the table for
the shew-bread and its staves (Exod. xxv. 23, 28 ;
xxxvii. 10, 15) ; the boards for the tabernacle and their
bars (Ex. xxvi. 15, 26; xxxvi. 20, 31); the pillars
for the veil and for the hanging of the door (Ex. xxvi.
32, 37 ; xxxvi. 36) ; the altar of burnt-offering and the
altar for incense and their staves (Ex. xxxvii. 25, 28 ;
xxxviii. 1, 6).
Considerable differences of opinion have existed rela-
tive to the tree which is referred to in these passages of
Scripture. It grew apparently in abundance in the
desert, so as to be easily procured by the Israelites.
Dr. Shaw, in speaking of Arabia Petrsea, says : " The
acacia-tree, being by much the largest and most common
tree in these deserts, we have some reason to conjecture
that the shittim-wood was the wood of the acacia, espe-
cially as its flowers are of an excellent smell ; for the
shittah is, in Isaiah xli. 19, joined with the myrtle and
fragrant shrubs." Kitto thinks that the tree is the
Acacia Seyal of botanists. This tree belongs to the
natural order Leguminosae, and sub-order Mimosas.
The plants of this sub-order of Leguminosae produce a
legume or pod; and their flowers are regular, their petals
being valvate in aestivation.
The acacia-tree is thorny, and bears pinnate leaves.
Its flowers grow in round yellow clusters, and the long
thread-like projecting stamens give a peculiar character
to the inflorescence. The poet speaks of the acacia as
waving " its yellow hair." Its wood is hard and durable,
and is susceptible of a fine polish. The plant grows in
dry situations, is a native of Egypt, and is scattered
over the whole Sinaitic peninsula. It grows also near
the Dead Sea. It is one of the trees which yield gum
arabic, which is exported in great quantities from the
Red Sea. The gum exudes from the bark, which is
astringent, and is used for tanning. The tree appears
to have grown near Jerusalem, for Joel, in speaking
of the glory of the latter days, says, "And it shall
come to pass in that day that the mountains shall
drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with
milk, and all the rivers of Judah shall flow with
waters, and a fountain shall come forth of the house of
the Lord, and shall water the valley of Shittim;" probably
so called from the shittah or acacia trees growing in it
(Joel iii. 18). Shittim is also noticed by Micah (vi. 5) ;
and in the journey ings of the children of Israel a place
SHITTAH-TREE. (Acacia Seyal.)
named Abel-shittim is mentioned in the plains of Moab
(Num. xxxiii. 49).
It has been supposed that the bush mentioned in
Exodus iii. 24, and Deuteronomy xxxiii. 16, was a
species of acacia, allied to the shittah-tree. It is called
in Hebrew seneh.
(Morus Nigra, Linn. ; Black mulberry. )
" If ye had faith... ye might say to this sycamine tree, Be thou plucked
up by the root. " LUKE xvii. 6.
JHE Greek word sycaminos, translated "syca-
mine-tree," occurs in one passage in the New
Testament namely, in Luke xvii. 6 : " And
the Lord said, If ye had faith as a grain of
mustard seed, ye might say unto this sycamine tree, Be
thou plucked up by the root, and be thou planted in the
sea ; and it should obey you." The tree must not be
confounded with the sycamore. It is obvious from Dio-
scorides, Galen, and other Greek authors, that by sycamine
the mulberry-tree was meant. Celsius states this also
very distinctly. Sibthorp, who examined carefully the
plants of Greece, and published the " Flora Grseca," says
that in that country the white mulberry-tree is, at the
present day, called mourea, and the black mulberry-tree,
sycamenia. Judging, then, from the use of the term at
the present day in Greece, it is believed that the Morus
nigra, or black mulberry, is the species referred to.
Both the white and the black mulberry are common
in Palestine, and are much cultivated, as the leaves
supply food for silkworms. The mulberry belongs to
the natural order Artocarpacese, the Bread-fruit family,
and sub-order Morese, Mulberry section. The leaves of
the black mulberry are large, the flowers are in clusters,
and the fruit is the product of many flowers ; but though
it is thus like a bramble-berry, it is totally different in
Our Lord, in the passage from Luke, refers evidently
to some tree which was well known to all his hearers.
The mulberry would be a fit tree for such an illustration.
The black or purple, and the white mulberry, are
natives of Persia and the adjacent countries. The former
produces the best fruit. The latter is the handsomer tree,
but it is pruned and lopped for the purpose of furnishing
a larger quantity of leaves for the silkworms, which are
bred in large quantities in Syria. Lady Callcott says
that " in the neighbourhood of Mount Lebanon the land-
tax of the peasants is assessed according to the number
of mule-loads of mulberry leaves their little farms pro-
duce ; so that the cultivation of the tree is directed to
favour the growth of the leaf, at the expense of the
fruit In the southern part of the Holy Land a palm-
tree is usually planted in the court ; while towards the
north it is replaced by the purple mulberry, the pleasant
juice of whose fruit, mingled with water, in which the
sweet-scented violet has been infused, forms one of the
most grateful kinds of sherbet." (Scripture Herbal, 283,
284.) The word translated "mulberry-tree" in the
Bible is the name of the trembling poplar, or aspen.
(Ficus sycomorus, Linn. )
" I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit." AMOS vii. 14.
]HE sycomore or sycamore tree of the Bible is
quite distinct from that usually called syca-
more at the present day in Britain. The
latter is a species of maple, and is the Acer
pseudo-platanus of botanists, often called in Scotland
plane-tree. The specific name indicates that the plant
has some resemblance to the true plane (platanus).
This resemblance is seen in the leaves only, for in all
other respects the trees are totally different. The syco-
more of Scripture, however, is a kind of fig-tree, produc-
ing fruit similar in structure to the common fig, and
having leaves like the mulberry. Hence the name syco-
more, which is derived from sycon, a fig, and moron, a
mulberry. It is the Ficus sycomorus or the Sycomorus
antiquorum of botanists. In Hebrew the sycomore-trees
are called shikmoth and shikmim. These are two
plural words which occur in several places in the Old
Testament. In the New Testament the plant is mentioned
under the Greek name of sycomoros. The tree belongs
to the natural order Artocarpaceee, the Bread-fruit family;
which by some is considered a sub-division of the
Urticacese, the Nettle family. It is separated from
the latter family by its milky juice and the nature
SYCOMORE-TREE. (Flcus sycomorus.)
of its fruit, which is formed by numerous flowers on an
elongated or hollow receptacle. The juice usually con-
tains caoutchouc, and the fruit is generally edible.
The sycomore-fig was common in the plains of Egypt,
and in the valleys of Palestine. Hence it has been
sometimes called Pharaoh's fig; and it is said that Solomon
made cedar trees " to be as the sycomore trees that are
in the vale for abundance" (1 Kings x. 27 ; 2 Chron. i.
15, ix. 27). It is still cultivated near Cairo for its
shade. It was not valued much either for its timber or
for its fruit. Isaiah represents Ephraim and the inhabi-
tants of Samaria as saying in the pride and stoutness of
their heart, " The sycomores are cut down, but we will
change them into cedars" (Isa. ix. 10); or, in other
words, in place of houses built with the common sycomore
fig-tree, we will build palaces of cedar. The wood of the
sycomore is coarse-grained. In Egypt, where there were
few native trees of value, the timber was used to form
mummy cases. On account of the dry climate of that
country; and the means used for the preservation of the
timber, the wood of these cases is
The fruit of the sycomore grows
in clusters on the trunk and main
branches. It is edible, and is
hence mentioned along with the
olive and the vine as one of the
products of Canaan, parties being
appointed to take care of the
trees (1 Chron. xxvii. 28 ; Ps. Ixxviii. 47). It has
a sweetish taste, and is still used as food. It is said
to furnish a considerable portion of the food of the
field labourers in Rhodes, Cyprus, and Egypt. In order
that the fruit might ripen well and be palatable, it was
necessary to make incisions into it or to scrape off a part
at the end of it; and this practice is supposed to be
alluded to by Amos when he says, " I was an herdman,
and a gatherer of [literally, one who scraped or cut] the
sycomore fruit" (Amos vii. 14). This mode of fig-ripen-
ing is noticed by Pliny. The fruit of this tree might be
referred to by Jeremiah when he saw in the vision a
second basket " very naughty figs, which could not be
eaten, they were so bad " (Jer. xxiv. 2). The tree was
lofty and shady, and hence probably was planted along
the road-sides. The stem sometimes attains fifty feet in
circumference. Into a sycornore-tree Zaccheus climbed
to see Jesus, on that memorable occasion when salvation
came to him and to his house (Luke xix. 4). It is easy
to climb, as it has a short trunk, dividing into forking
branches, which fork out in all directions.
TEIL-TREE, OR TEREBINTH-TREE.
(Pistacia Terebinthus, Linn.)
' As a teil tree [terebinth-tree], or as an oak, whose substance is in them."
ISA. vi. 13.
feminine Hebrew word elah or ailah,
denoting a strong hardy tree, occurs in several
passages of the Bible, and has been variously
translated. It is rendered in different ver-
sions terebinth, teil-tree, elm, oak, and plain. The word
also occurs in the masculine form as el or ail. It is
now generally assumed that the plant indicated is the
terebinth-tree, the buthma of the Syriac or Chaldee,
the butm or botom of the Arabs, and the Pistacia
Terebinthus oic turpentine-tree of botanists. It belongs
to the natural order Anacardiacese or Terebinthacese, the
Cashew family, the plants belonging to which abound in
a resinous or milky acrid juice.
The tree is the source of the Chian turpentine, which
is procured by incisions in the trunk, and is collected
chiefly in the island of Scio : a single tree yields about
ten ounces. It is common in Palestine. Dr. Robinson
states that the tree is found also in Asia Minor (many
TEIL-TREE, OR TEREBINTH-TREE.
near Smyrna), Greece, Italy, the south of France, Spain,
and in the north of Africa ; and that it sometimes attains
the height of thirty or thirty-five feet. He noticed
a very large specimen between Gaza and Jerusalem.
The tree appears to be long-lived, and was consequently
frequently employed to designate places where important
TEIL-TREE, OB TEREBINTH-TKEE. (Pistacia Terebinthus.)
events occurred. The favourite burying-place of a
Bedouin sheik is under a solitary terebinth-tree.
The valley of Elah or the Terebinth valley is men-
tioned in 1 Samuel xvii. 2, 19 ; xxi. 9. It was by this
valley that Israel encamped, and it was in this valley
that David slew Goliath. In Genesis xiv. 6, El-paran
is noticed. This is rendered by the Septuagint "the
TEIL-TREE, OR TEREBINTH-TREE. 91
terebinth of Paran ; " by some commentators it is called
" the oak of Paran," and by others " the plain of Paran,"
which is given in our Bibles as a marginal reading. In
other places the word is also translated " plain." This
variety of translation has given rise to much confusion.
It would appear, also, that the name has been con-
BRANCH OF TEIL-TREE, OR TEREBINTH-TREE.
founded with allon and the feminine allali, which mean
"oak." The difference between the words is well seen in
some passages where both occur. Thus in Isaiah vi. 13
it is said, " As a teil tree [elah, or terebinth-tree] and an
oak [allon]." So also in Hosea iv. 13, "They sacrifice
upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon
the hills, under oaks [allon], poplars [libneh], and elms
92 TEIL-TREE, OR TEREBINTH-TREE.
[elah]." The term "oak" is used instead of terebinth in
many other passages, such as the following : The angel
appeared to Gideon under a terebinth at Ophrah (Judges
vi. 11, 19); idols were worshipped in groves of tere-
binth (Isa. i. 29 ; Ezek. vi. 13); idolaters are compared
to a terebinth whose leaf fadeth (Isa. i. 30). See also
1 Kings xiii. 14; 1 Chron. x. 12. Abraham's oak at
Mamre was also a terebinth-tree. (See Oak.) In figur-
ing the restoration of the mourners in Zion, Isaiah says,
" That they might be called trees [terebinths] of right-
eousness, the planting of the Lord, that he might be
glorified " (Isa. Ixi. 3).
(Ceratonia Siliqua, Linn.)
; The husks that the swine did eat." LUKE xv. 16.
| HE Greek word keratia, or ceratia, occurs in
Luke xv. 16, and has been translated " husks."
The prodigal son, it is said, " would fain
have filled his belly with the husks, that the
swine did eat." In Arabic, the word is rendered charnub,
or charub, which seems to refer to the pods or legumes
of the carob-tree, caroba of the Italians, algaroba of the
Spaniards and Moors, Ceratonia Siliqua of botanists.
The tree belongs to the natural order Leguminosse, the
legume-bearing family, and section Csesalpinese, in which
the petals have a pea-like arrangement, but the upper
one is interior.
The tree is common in the south of Europe as well as
in Syria and Egypt. Its pods or husks received the
name of keratia from their fancied resemblance to a
slightly curved horn, or keras. These husks were
formerly used in large quantity to feed cattle and swine,
and they are often mentioned in this point of view by
old authors. Horace, in his Epistles, alludes to living
upon husks as upon vile food
' ECTM. IL L 123.
Persius and Juvenal also allude to them. Pliny describes
them as the food of pigs (lib. xv., cap. 23, 24;. At the
present day, they are employed in Spain and other
countries to feed horses, asses, and mules ; and they were
frequently given to horses by the British soldiers during
the Peninsular War. The pods are imported into Britain
in small quantity, as food for horses and cattle. The
locust beans, as they are called by farmers, are mixed
with oil-cake and a little meal They do not require to
be crushed: for, being very palatable, the animAk masti-
cate them well before swallowing them. Camels are also
fed on them. Hence they are called by the Turks deuxh
ctmeghi, or "the bread of the cameL" A tree will some-
times produce eight hundred to nine hundred pounds of
The pod is six to eight inches in length, and about an
inch in breadth. It is flattened
on the sides, and is about a
quarter of an inrh in thickness.
The seeds are of a reddish brown
colour, and are immersed in a
sweetish pulp. In times of scar-
city, the pod has been used by
man as food. Some have called
the tree locust-tree, and St. John's
bread-tree, from a mistaken notion
that its pods were the locusts
referred to in Matt, iii 4, and
Mark L 6, as forming part of the
food of the Baptist. The German name for the fruit,
for the same reason, is Johannisbrod.
Rawolf, in his account of a journey from Bethlehem
to Jerusalem, says: " Along the roads were a good many
of the trees which are called by the inhabitants cfomwW
(the Arabic cfaimui), and the fruit of which we cafl St
John's bread ; it was brought to us in great quantities.*
In the case of the prodigal son, the feeding on husks
pointed out the low and miserable condition to which he
was reduced when he wandered from his father's house.
He would fain have been content with the most miserable
fare, and was in a very degraded situation, although, in
his madness and folly, he knew it not. His condition
represents that of the sinner who has wandered from
God, and who is content with the unsatisfying husks of
this world's enjoyments.
PLAN E-T REE.
(Platanus orientalis, Ait.)
The chesnut trees [plane-trees] were not like his branches." EZEK. xxxi. 8.
|N two passages of the Old Testament we meet
with the Hebrew word armon, and in both
of them it has been translated "chesnut."
Thus, in Genesis xxx. 37, it is said, "And
Jacob took him rods of green poplar, and of the hazel and
chesnut tree ; " and again, in Ezekiel xxxi. 8, " The
cedars in the garden of God could not hide him ; the fir
trees were not like his boughs, and the chesnut trees
were not like his branches." The best commentators
consider the tree to be the Eastern plane-tree, the
Platanus orientalis of botanists. It is so rendered in
the Septuagint. It is a large tree, with spreading
branches. Ovid speaks of " platano conspectior alta ; "
and Martial alludes to the tree thus : " Ramis sidera
celsa petit." De la Roque, in his " Travels in Syria and
Mount Lebanon," says: "We dined in the midst of this
little forest. It is composed of twenty cedars, of such
enormous size that they far exceed the more beautiful
plane-trees, sycomores, and other large trees, which we
had been in the habit of seeing during our journey."
Royle says : " It may be remarked that this tree is in
Genesis associated with such trees as the willow and
poplar, which, like it, grow on low grounds, where the
soil is rich and humid. Russel names the plane, willow,
PLANE-TREE. (Chesnut-tree of Scripture. )
and poplar as trees which grow in the same situations
near Aleppo. This congruity would be lost if the chest-
nut were understood, as that tree prefers dry and hilly
The plane-tree belongs to the natural order Platanacese,
or the Plane-tree family, which are catkin-bearing plants,
with the flowers in clusters of rounded balls, pendulous
on a common stalk. The leaves of the Oriental plane
are palmate, resembling those of our common sycamore,
which is a species of maple. The resemblance in the
form of the leaves has caused the latter to be denominated
in Scotland the plane-tree, and to be named botanically
false plane (Acer pseudo-platanus). The wood of the
true plane is hard and fine-grained, and when old
resembles walnut-wood in its dark veining. The timber
was used for making vessels for the vintage, and for
The tree is a native of the western parts of Asia, and
it extends as far as to Cashmere. It was held sacred in
the East, and was valued for its shade by the Greeks
and Romans. Themistius speaks of disputations under
the lofty platanus. Belon says that the plane-trees of
Mount Athos may be compared in height to the cedars
of Lebanon, and to the lofty pines of Mount Olympus
and Aman. He also notices the occurrence of fine
plane-trees at the entrance to- Antioch ; and De la Roque
refers to the forest of plane-trees and cypresses which
border the river Orontes, in the plains of Antioch.
Xerxes is said to have paid homage to a large plane-
tree in Lydia.
INCLUDING THE WALNUT TREE (J^glans regia, Linn.} AND
THE PISTACIA NUT (Pistada vera, Linn).
"The garden of nuts " [walnuts]. SONG OF SOLOMON vi. 11.
" Carry down... myrrh, nuts [pistacia nuts], and almonds." GEN. xliii. 11.
|HE Hebrew word egoz has been rendered, in
our version of the Bible, " nuts." It occurs in
the Song of Solomon (vi. 11): "I went down
into the garden of nuts to see the fruits of
the valley." It is the Arabic gjaus or ghaus, and the
Syriac gusa, which were names given to the walnut.
Hence the plant is believed to be the walnut-tree, the
Juglans regia of botanists. The fruit is the caruon
basilicon or royal nut of the Greeks, the nux of the
Romans, and the noix of the French. The Latin term
Juglans is a corruption of Jovis-glans, or Jupiter's nut.
It appears to have been one of the many kinds of fruits
which Solomon introduced into his gardens and orchards
(Eccles. ii. 5).
The walnut-tree belongs to the natural order Juglan-
dacese, the "Walnut family, in which the flowers are in
catkins, and the fruit is a drupe, usually with a two-
valved endocarp or shell, and a peculiarly lobed and
divided seed. The latter character is well seen in the
common walnut. The tree is wide-spreading, and- affords
a grateful shade. It flowers in April, and has ripe fruit
in September and October. Its leaves are fragrant when
bruised. The outer covering of the fruit is astringent,
and dyes the fingers black during the process of peeling.
WALNUT-TREE. (Juglans regia.)
The thin outer covering of the seed immediately under
the shell is bitter, and in its fresh state requires to be
removed before the kernel is eaten. The seed yields a
large quantity of drying oil. The timber is valued for
The tree extends from Greece and Asia Minor through
Persia to the Himalaya. In Cashmere walnuts are
cultivated for their oil. Josephus says that the walnut-
trees were very productive around the Lake of Gennesa-
ret. Schulz also mentions large walnut-trees between
Ptolemais and Nazareth. Travellers record the occurrence
of the tree in Syria ; Thevenot found it near Mount
Sinai, and Belon alludes to it as abundant near Lebanon.
Another Hebrew word, botnim, has been also rendered
" nuts" in our version of the Bible. It occurs in Genesis
xliii. 11, where Israel says to his sons, "Take of the
best fruits in the land in your vessels, and carry down