The queen of flowers, highly esteemed in its native East for its fragrance, and the beauty of its form and colors. Several varieties of wild rose are still found in Palestine. The "rose of Sharon," sacredly associated with the heavenly Bridegroom, Song 2:1; Isa 35:1, appears from the derivation of its Hebrew name to have been a bulbous plant; and is generally believed, in accordance with the ancient versions, to denote a plant of the narcissus family, perhaps the meadow-saffron, which grows in rich profusion on the plain of Sharon.
Many varieties of the rose proper are indigenous to Syria. The famed rose of Damascus is white, but there are also red and yellow roses. In Song 2:1; Isa 35:1 the Hebrew word habatstseleth (found only in these passages), rendered "rose" (R.V. marg., "autumn crocus"), is supposed by some to mean the oleander, by others the sweet-scented narcissus (a native of Palestine), the tulip, or the daisy; but nothing definite can be affirmed regarding it.
The "rose of Sharon" is probably the cistus or rock-rose, several species of which abound in Palestine. "Mount Carmel especially abounds in the cistus, which in April covers some of the barer parts of the mountain with a glow not inferior to that of the Scottish heather." (See Myrrh .)
Song 2:1; Isa 35:1; the autumn crocus, the meadow saffron of a white and violet color, Colchicum autumnale (Gesenius). The Hebrew chabatseleth implies a bulbous plant (betsel, a "bulb"). The narcissus is very fragrant, and therefore more likely than the crocus; the lily is associated with it in the Song of Solomon. They blossom about the same time; another reason for the narcissus rather than the crocus, which blossoms not until autumn. The narcissus grows in the plain of Sharon (Chateaubriand, Itineraire, ii. 130). The rose is not mentioned in the Bible, but in the apocryphal Ecclesiasticus (Sir 24:14), "I (wisdom) was as a rose plant in Jericho." "The rose of Jericho" is not a rose, but the Anastatica Hierochuntina. However, roses now grow in Palestine, both cultivated and wild. The Hebrew implying a bulbous plant may refer to the bulb-like flower of the rose with its petals folded over each other (Palestine Exploration Quarterly Statement, April 1878, p. 51).
1. ch?bazzeleth [Heb.], Song 2:1 ['rose of Sharon'], Isa 35:1. All authorities are agreed that the tr 'rose' adopted in the English Version is incorrect. The ch?bazzeleth appears to have been a bulbed flower. The Revised Version margin suggests 'autumn crocus' (Colchicum autumnale); on the other hand, many good authorities suggest the much more striking and sweeter-scented plant
chabatstseleth. The bride in the Canticles calls herself a 'rose of Sharon'; and when God again brings the Jews into blessing "the desert shall rejoice and blossom as the rose." Cant. 2:1; Isa 35:1. Roses grow in Palestine, but it is generally agreed that the above Hebrew word does not refer to the rose, but implies a bulbous plant, and it may be the lily, the crocus, or the narcissus. The R.V. has in the margin the 'autumn crocus.'
occurs twice only, viz. in
There is much difference of opinion as to what particular flower is here denoted; but it appears to us most probable that the narcissus is intended. Chateaubriand mentions the narcissus as growing in the Plain of Sharon. Roses are greatly prized in the East, more especially for the sake of the rose-water, which is much request. Dr. Hooker observed seven species of wild roses in Syria.
ROSE, ?????, Song 2:1; Isa 35:1. The rose, so much and so often sung by the poets of Persia, Arabia, Greece, and Rome, is, indeed, the pride of the garden for elegance of form, for glow of colour, and fragrance of smell. Tournefort mentions fifty-three kinds, of which the Damascus rose, and the rose of Sharon, are the finest. The beauty of these flowers is too well known to be insisted on; and they are at this day much admired in the east, where they are extremely fragrant. In what esteem the rose was among the Greeks, may be learned from the fifth and fifty-third odes of Anacreon. Among the ancients it occupied a conspicuous place in every chaplet; it was a principal ornament in every festive meeting, and at every solemn sacrifice; and the comparisons in Ecclesiasticus 24:14, and 50:8, show that the Jews were likewise much delighted with it. The rose bud, or opening rose, seems in particular a favourite ornament. The Jewish sensualists, in Wisdom 2:8, are introduced saying, "Let us fill ourselves with costly wine and ointments; and let no flower of the spring pass by us. Let us crown ourselves with rose buds before they are withered."