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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature


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(the -name. of an extensive family of coniferous evergreens; see Penny Cyclopaedia, s.. v.. Abies) is the uniform rendering in the Auth.Vers. of בְּרוֹשׁ, beroesh (from its being cut into planks, Gesenius, Thees. Heb. p, 246), which frequently occurs (2 Samuel 6:5; 1 Kings 5:8; 1 Kings 5:10; 1 Kings 6:15; 1 Kings 6:34; 1 Kings 9:11; 2 Kings 9:23; 2 Chronicles 2:8; 2 Chronicles 3:5; Psalms 104:17; Isaiah 14:8; Isaiah 37:24; Isaiah 41:19; Isaiah 55:13; Isaiah 60:13; Ezekiel 27:5; Ezekiel 31:8; Hosea 14:8; Nahum 2:3; Zechariah 11:2), and בְּרוֹת beroth', which is said to be only the Aramsean form of the same cord (in Song of Solomon 1:17). In most of the passages. the terms rendered cedar and fir in the Auth.Vers. are mentioned together. Berosh is: translated variously in the Sept. πίτυς, πεν῎κη, κνπάρισσος, and (Ezekiel 27:5) κέδρος; in Isaiah 14:8, ξύλα Διβάνου; in thee Vulg. chiefly abies, cupressals. It was a lofty tree (Isaiah 55:13), growing on Lebanon (Isaiah 37:24), and of an ornamental figure (Isaiah 60:13). The passages from which any special account of its use can be derived are,

1. Of musical instruments (2 Samuel 6:5);

2. Of doors (1 Kings 6:34);

3. Of gilded ceilings (2 Chronicles 3:5);

4. Boards or decks of ships (Ezekiel 27:5), or planks for flooring, (1 Kings 6:15). Rosenmuller says "In most of the passages where the Hebrew word occurs, it is by the oldest Greek sand the Syriac translators rendered cypress." Celsius, on the contrary, is 'of opinion that beroshk indicates the cedar of Lebanon, and that es-z, which is usually considered to have that meaning, is the common pine (Pinus syrestris), apparently because hue conceives berosh to be changed from sherbin, the Arabic name of pine' J. E. Faber, as quoted by Rosenmuller, conjectures that the Hebrew sname berosh included three different trees which resemble each other, viz, the evergreen cypress, the thyine, and; the savine. The last, Jenaiperua soabi/a, is so like the cypress that the ancients often called it by that name, and the moderns have noticed the resemblance, especially as to the leaves. "Hence, even among the Greeks, both trees bore the old Eastern names - of berash, learoth, brutha, or brathy" (Rosesmuller Bot. of the Bible, ta- ansl. p. 260). The word berosh 'or beroth is slightly varied in the Syriac and Chaldee versions, being written berutha in the former, and berath in the latter. All these are closely allied to' breta, a name of the sacsnea plat, which is the βράθυ, βράθυν, and βαράθους of the Greeks, and which the 'Arabs have converted into burasi and busratl.' By them it is applied to a species of juniper, which they call abhul and ases or oss. It appears that man' of these terms must be considered generic rather than specific in the modern sense, when so much care is bestowed on the accurate discrimination of one species from another. Thus arus, applied by the Arabs to a juniper, indicates a pine-tree in Scripture, whether we follow the common acceptation and consider it the cedar, or adopt the opinion of Celsius, that the Pinus sylvestris is indicated. So bursal' may have been applied by the Arabs, etc. not only to the sasvine and other species of juniper, but also to plants, such as the cypress, which resemble these. In many of those 'cases, therefore, where we are unable to discover any absolute identity or similarity of name, we must be guided by the nature of the trees, the uses to which they were applied, and the situations in which they are said to have been found. Thus, as we find erez and berosh so constantly associated in Scripture, the former may indicate the cedar with the wild pine-tree, while the latter may comprehend the juniper and cypress tribe. (See CEDAR); (See CYPRESS);. (See JUNIPER). All these were extensively used for architecture, and are at this day found in Lebanon (Balfour, Trees of Scripture, p. 11; Thenius on 1 Kings 6:34; Saalschutz, Hebr. Arch. i, 280, note 4; Miller, Gardener's Dict. s.v. Cupressus;. Stephens, Thes. Ling. Gr. s.v. πεύκη; Belon, Obs. c. 110, p. 165; Loudon, Arboretum, 4:2163). In Hosea 14:8, the " stone-pine " (Pinus pinea), which has a cone containing an edible nut, seems to be intended (Kitto, Pict. Bible, in loc.), although Henderson (Comment. in loc.) thinks that a fruitless tree is there referred to by way of contrast. (See TREE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Fir'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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