7 occurrences in 7 dictionaries

Reference: Oak


As many as six varieties of the oak are found in Palestine. Dr. Robinson speaks of one at Hebron which had a trunk twenty-two and a half feet in circumference; and saw the crests and sides of the hills beyond the Jordan still clothed, as in ancient times, with magnificent oaks, Isa 2:13; Zec 11:2. The oak is often referred to in Scripture, Ge 35:8; Isa 44:14; Am 2:9. There is, however, a second Hebrew word often translated "oak," which is supposed to denote the terebinth or turpentine-tree, called butm by the Arabs, Ge 35:4; Jg 6:11,19; 2Sa 18:9,14. It is translated "elm" in Ho 4.13, and "teil-tree" in Isa 6:13, in which passages the true oak is also mentioned. In many passages where "plain" or "plains" occurs, we should probably understand "terebinth" or "a grove of terebinths," Ge 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 18:1; De 11:30; Jg 9:6. This tree was found in all countries around the Mediterranean, and in Palestine grew to a large size. It was very long-lived. For many ages after Christ, a tree of this kind near Heron was superstitiously venerated as one of those under which Abraham dwelt at Mamre. Under the welcome shade of oaks and other large trees many public affairs were transacted; sacrifices were offered, courts were held, and kings were crowned, Jos 24:26; Jg 6:11,19; 9:6. See GROVE.

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There are six Hebrew words rendered "oak."

(1.) 'El occurs only in the word El-paran (Ge 14:6). The LXX. renders by "terebinth." In the plural form this word occurs in Isa 1:29; 57:5 (A.V. marg. and R.V., "among the oaks"); Isa 61:3 ("trees"). The word properly means strongly, mighty, and hence a strong tree.

(2.) 'Elah, Ge 35:4, "under the oak which was by Shechem" (R.V. marg., "terebinth"). Isa 6:13, A.V., "teil-tree;" R.V., "terebinth." Isa 1:30, R.V. marg., "terebinth." Absalom in his flight was caught in the branches of a "great oak" (2Sa 18:9; R.V. marg., "terebinth").

(3.) 'Elon, Jg 4:11; 9:6 (R.V., "oak;" A.V., following the Targum, "plain") properly the deciduous species of oak shedding its foliage in autumn.

(4.) 'Elan, only in Da 4:11,14,20, rendered "tree" in Nebuchadnezzar's dream. Probably some species of the oak is intended.

(5.) 'Allah, Jos 24:26. The place here referred to is called Allon-moreh ("the oak of Moreh," as in R.V.) in Ge 12:6; 35:4.

(6.) 'Allon, always rendered "oak." Probably the evergreen oak (called also ilex and holm oak) is intended. The oak woods of Bashan are frequently alluded to (Isa 2:13; Eze 27:6). Three species of oaks are found in Palestine, of which the "prickly evergreen oak" (Quercus coccifera) is the most abundant. "It covers the rocky hills of Palestine with a dense brushwood of trees from 8 to 12 feet high, branching from the base, thickly covered with small evergreen rigid leaves, and bearing acorns copiously." The so-called Abraham's oak at Hebron is of this species. Tristram says that this oak near Hebron "has for several centuries taken the place of the once renowned terebinth which marked the site of Mamre on the other side of the city. The terebinth existed at Mamre in the time of Vespasian, and under it the captive Jews were sold as slaves. It disappeared about A.D. 330, and no tree now marks the grove of Mamre. The present oak is the noblest tree in Southern Palestine, being 23 feet in girth, and the diameter of the foliage, which is unsymmetrical, being about 90 feet." (See Hebron; Teil tree.)

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eeyl, from uwl "strong," as the Latin robur. The terebinth or turpentine tree. Eloth, Elim, etc., take their name hence; so for "teil tree" (Isa 6:13; 1:29), and for "elms" (Ho 4:13), eelah; allon is the "oaks"; also eelon is "the oak." The Quercus psedo-coccifera is the most abundant in Palestine, covering Carmel with dense brushwood eight to twelve feet high. Its roots are dug up as fuel in the valleys S. of Lebanon, where the living tree is no longer to be seen. Abram's oak near Hebron is of this species, still flourishing in the midst of a field, the stock 23 ft. in girth, and the branch spreading over a circle 90 ft. in diameter.

It is probably sprung from some far back offshoot of the original grove under which he pitched his tent (Ge 13:18), "Abram dwelt at the oaks of Mamre in Hebron." The Quercus aegilops, or "prickly cupped Valonia oak", is found on the hills E. of Nazareth and Tabor. The Quercus infectoria or "dyeing oak" is seldom higher than 30 ft., growing on the eastern sides of Lebanon and the hills of Galilee; its gall-nuts, formed by the puncture of an insect, contain tannin and gallic acid used for dyeing and ink. Dr. Hooker conjectures the two aegilops to represent the "oaks of Bashan" (Isa 2:13). Deborah was buried under an oak (Ge 35:8). So Saul (1Sa 31:13). Idolaters sacrificed under oaks (Isa 1:29). Under one Joshua set up a pillar at Shechem to commemorate the nation's covenant with God (Jos 24:26). The "tree" in Nebuchadnezzar's dream (Daniel 4) is 'ilan, any "strong tree".

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(1) '

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There are four Hebrew words so translated, but they are all apparently from the same root, signifying 'strong, hardy,' and are mostly applied to the oak, which lives to a great age. Three species of the Quercus are known in Palestine, the pseudo-coccifera, aegilops, and infectoria. It is symbolical of strength, and affords shade from the heat of the sun. Ge 35:8; Jos 24:26; Isa 1:29; 2:13; Eze 27:6; Ho 4:13; Am 2:9; Zec 11:2. The word elah is judged to refer to the terebinth (pistacia terebinthus), though generally translated oak. Ge 35:4; Jg 6:11,19; 2Sa 18:9-14; 1Ki 13:14; 1Ch 10:12; Isa 1:30; Eze 6:13.

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(Heb. strong). There is much difficulty in determining the exact meanings of the several varieties of the term mentioned above. Sometimes, evidently, the terebinth or elm is intended and at others the oak. There are a number of varieties of oak in Palestine. (Dr. Robinson contends that the oak is generally intended, and that it is a very common tree in the East. Oaks grow to a large size, reach an old age and are every way worthy the venerable associations connected with the tree. --ED.) Two oaks, Quercus pseudo-coccifera and Q. aegilops, are well worthy of the name of mighty trees; though it is equally true that over a greater part of the country the oaks of Palestine are at present merely bushes.


OAK. The religious veneration paid to this tree by the original natives of our island in the time of the Druids, is well known to every reader of British history. We have reason to think that this veneration was brought from the east; and that the Druids did no more than transfer the sentiments their progenitors had received in oriental countries. It should appear that the Patriarch Abraham resided under an oak, or a grove of oaks, which our translators render the plain of Mamre; and that he planted a grove of this tree, Ge 13:18. In fact, since in hot countries nothing is more desirable than shade, nothing more refreshing than the shade of a tree, we may easily suppose the inhabitants would resort for such enjoyment to

Where'er the oak's thick branches spread A deeper, darker shade.

Oaks, and groves of oaks, were esteemed proper places for religious services; altars were set up under them, Jos 24:26; and, probably, in the east as well as in the west, appointments to meet at conspicuous oaks were made, and many affairs were transacted or treated of under their shade, as we read in Homer, Theocritus, and other poets. It was common among the Hebrews to sit under oaks, Jg 6:11; 1Ki 13:14. Jacob buried idolatrous images under an oak, Ge 35:4; and Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under one of these trees, Ge 35:8. See 1Ch 10:12. Abimelech was made king under an oak, Jg 9:6. Idolatry was practised under oaks, Isa 1:29; 57:5; Ho 4:13. Idols were made of oaks, Isa 44:14.

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