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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Oil Tree

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oil trē ( שׁמן עץ , ‛ēc shemen ( Isaiah 41:19 ), margin "oleaster," in Nehemiah 8:15 , translated "wild olive," the King James Version "pine"; שׁמן עצי , ‛ācē shemen , in 1 Kings 6:23 , 1 Kings 6:31 , 1 Kings 6:32 , translated "olive wood"): The name "oleaster" used to be applied to the wild olive, but now belongs to quite another plant, the silver-berry, Eleagnus hortensis (Natural Order Elaeagnaceae ), known in Arabic as Zeizafan. It is a pretty shrub with sweet-smelling white flowers and silver-grey-green leaves. It is difficult to see how all the three references can apply to this tree; it will suit the first two, but this small shrub would never supply wood for carpentry work such as that mentioned in 1 Kings, hence, the translation "olive wood." On the other hand, in the reference in Nehemiah 8:15 , olive branches are mentioned just before, so the translation "wild olive" (the difference being too slight) is improbable. Post suggests the translation of 'ec shemen by PINE (which see), which if accepted would suit all the requirements.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Oil Tree'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. 1915.

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