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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Terebinth

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ter´ḗ - binth : (1) אלח , 'ēlāh ( Isaiah 6:13 , the King James Version "teil tree"; Hosea 4:13 , the King James Version "elms"); in Genesis 35:4 (the King James Version "oak"); Judges 6:11 , Judges 6:19; Judges 9:6 (the King James Version "plain"); 2 Samuel 18:9 , 2 Samuel 18:10 , 2 Samuel 18:14; 1 Kings 13:14; 1 Chronicles 10:12; Isaiah 1:30; Ezekiel 6:13 , translated "oak," and in margin "terebinth"; "vale of Elah," margin "the terebinth" in 1 Samuel 17:2 , 1 Samuel 17:19; 1 Samuel 21:9 . (2) אלים , 'ēlı̄m (Isaiah 1:29 , "oaks," margin "terebinths"). (3) אלּה , 'allāh (Joshua 24:26 , English Versions of the Bible have "oak," but the Septuagint τερέβινθος , terébinthos ). (4) אלון , 'ēlōn , "oak (margin, "terebinth") of Zaanannim" (Joshua 19:33; Judges 4:11 ); "oak (the Revised Version margin "terebinth," the King James Version "plain") of Tabor" (1 Samuel 10:3 ); also Genesis 12:6; Genesis 13:18; Genesis 14:13; 1 Samuel 10:3; Deuteronomy 11:30; Judges 6:19 all translated "oak" or "oaks," with margin "terebinth" or "terebinths." (5) In Genesis 14:6 Septuagint has τερέβινθος , terébinthos , as the translation of the el of El-paran. (6) In Ecclesiasticus 24:16 τερέμ (ρ Ο2 βπ )ινθος , terém (b )inthos , the King James Version turpentine tree," the Revised Version (British and American) "terebinth."

It is clear that the translators are uncertain which translation is correct, and it would seem not improbable that then there was no clear distinction between oak and terebinth in the minds of the Old Testament. writers; yet the two are very different trees to any but the most superficial observation.

The terebinth - Pistacia terebinthus (Natural Order, Anacardiaceae ), Arabic Buṭm - is a tree allied to the P. vera , which produces the pistachio nut, and to the familiar "pepper tree" ( Schinus molle ) so extensively cultivated in modern Palestine. Like the latter the terebinth has red berries, like small immature grapes. The leaves are pinnate, four to six pairs, and they change color and fall in autumn, leaving the trunk bare (compare Isaiah 1:30 ). The terebinth is liable to be infected by many showy galls, some varieties looking like pieces of red coral. In Palestine, this tree assumes noble proportions, especially in situations when, from its association with some sacred tomb, it is allowed to flourish undisturbed. It is in such situations not infrequently as much as 40 ft. high and spreads its branches, with their thick, dark-green foliage, over a wide area (compare 2 Samuel 18:9 f, 14; Ecclesiasticus 24:16). Dwarfed trees occur among the brushwood all over the land.

From this tree a kind of turpentine is obtained, hence, the alternative name "turpentine tree" (Sirach 24:16 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "terebinth").

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Terebinth'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/t/terebinth.html. 1915.

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