Consider helping today!
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
Song of Solomon 2:3 says: "As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight"; Song of Solomon 8:5 : "Under the apple-tree I awakened thee: there thy mother was in travail with thee, there was she in travail that brought thee forth." Of the fruit it is said, Song of Solomon 2:3 : "His fruit was sweet to my taste"; Song of Solomon 2:5 : "Stay ye me with raisins, refresh me with apples"; Song of Solomon 7:8 : "the smell of thy breath (Hebrew "nose") like apples."
In all the above references the true apple, Pyrus malus , suits the conditions satisfactorily. The apple tree affords good shade, the fruit is sweet, the perfume is a very special favorite with the people of the East. Sick persons in Palestine delight to hold an apple in their hands, simply for the smell. (Compare Arabian Nights , "Prince Hassan and the Paribanou.") Further the Arabic for apple
The one serious objection is that apples do not easily reach perfection in Palestine; the climate is too dry and hot; farther north in the Lebanon they flourish. At the same time it is possible to exaggerate this objection, for with careful grafting and cultivation exceedingly good apples may be produced in the mountain regions. Apple trees there need special care and renewal of the grafts, but there is no impossibility that at the time of the writing of Canticles skilled gardeners should have been able to produce sweet and perfumed apples in Palestine. Small but very sweet and fragrant apples are now grown at Gaza. Good apples are now plentiful in the market at Jerusalem, but they are chiefly importations from the North.
On account of the above difficulty three other fruits have been suggested by various writers. Two doubtless have been brought forward with a view to Proverbs 25:11 : "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in network of silver," but the reference would certainly seem to be to some silver filigree work ornamented with gold modeled to look like fruit rather than to any actual fruit. The citron and the apricot (Tristram) have both been suggested as the true
The third of the fruits is the quince, Cydonia vulgaris (Natural Order Rosaceae ), and this had more serious claims. It flourishes in Palestine and has been long indigenous there. Indeed it is probable that even if
On the whole there does not appear to be any sufficient reason for rejecting the translation of the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American); the Biblical references suit it; the identity of the Hebrew and Arabic words favor it and there is no insuperable objection on scientific grounds.
These files are public domain and were generously provided by the folks at WordSearch Software.
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Apple; Apple-Tree'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/a/apple-apple-tree.html. 1915.