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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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The word Tappuach is thus rendered in the Authorized Version. Most authors on Biblical Botany admit that apple is not the correct translation, for that fruit is indifferent in Palestine, being produced of good quality only on Mount Lebanon, and in Damascus. Many contend that 'quince' is the correct translation of Tappuach. Though somewhat more suitable than the apple, we think that neither the quince tree nor fruit is so superior to others as to be selected for notice in the passages of Scripture where tappuach occurs. The citron, we think, has the best claim to be considered the Tappuachof Scripture, as it was esteemed by the ancients, and known to the Hebrews, and conspicuously different, both as a fruit and a tree, from the ordinary vegetation of Syria, and the only one of the orange tribe which was known to the ancients. The orange, lemon, and lime, were introduced to the knowledge of Europeans at a much later period, probably by the Arabs from India. That the citron was well known to the Hebrews we have the assurance in the fact mentioned by Josephus, that at the Feast of Tabernacles king Alexander Jannaeus was pelted with citrons, which the Jews had in their hands; for, as he says, 'the law required that at that feast everyone should have branches of the palm-tree and citron-tree. There is nothing improbable in the Hebrews having made use of boughs of the citron, as it was a native of Media, and well known to the Greeks at a very early period; and indeed on some old coins of Samaria, the citron may be seen, as well as the palm-tree; and it is not an unimportant confirmation that the Jews still continue to make offerings of citrons at the Feast of Tabernacles. Citrons, accordingly, are imported in considerable quantities for this purpose, and are afterwards sold, being more highly esteemed after having been so offered.

The tappuach, or citron-tree, is mentioned chiefly in Song of Solomon 2:3, 'as the citron tree among the trees of the wood;' Song of Solomon 2:5, 'Comfort me with citrons, for I am sick of love;' Song of Solomon 7:8, 'The smell of thy nose like citrons;' so in Song of Solomon 8:5. Again, in Proverbs 25:11, 'A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold (or rather golden citrons) in baskets of silver.' In Joel 1:12, it is enumerated with the vine, the fig-tree, the palm, and pomegranate, as among the most valuable trees of Palestine. The rich color, fragrant odor, and handsome appearance of the tree, whether in flower or in fruit, are particularly suited to all the above passages of Scripture.





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Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Apple'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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