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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible

Oil Tree

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OIL TREE ( ‘çts-shemen , 1 Kings 6:23 ] 1 Kings 6:31-33 [plur. ‘ăts çshemen ], AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘olive tree,’ mg. ‘trees of oil’ or ‘oily trees,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘olive wood’; Nehemiah 8:15 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] ‘ pine branches ,’ RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘branches of wild olive’; Isaiah 41:19 AV [Note: Authorized Version.] and RV [Note: Revised Version.] ‘oil tree,’ RVm [Note: Revised Version margin.] ‘oleaster’). Where there is such variation in translation, it is evident that what particular ‘tree of oil’ is here referred to is far from determined. The olive itself is improbable from Nehemiah 8:15 , where the olive tree is mentioned just before; and that the branches of ‘wild olive’ should be specially specified, where so like those of the cultivated variety, is improbable. The oleaster ( Eleagnus angustifolia ), a beautiful and common shrub, would suit, except that it is difficult to see how it could ever have furnished a block of wood sufficient for the two cherubim ‘each ten cubits high’ ( 1 Kings 6:23 ); olive wood (as RV [Note: Revised Version.] suggests) would certainly seem more appropriate. Perhaps Post’s suggestion that it was some kind of pine the ‘oil’ or ‘fat’ being the resin is as likely as any.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Oil Tree'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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