TEREBINTH

TEREBINTH, a tree of the genus Pistacia of which four species grow in Israel (for two of them see mastic (Lentisk) and pistachio ). Most important of them are Pistacia atlantica and Pistacia palaestina, which are among the largest and most widespread forest trees of Israel. Their biblical name, elah – like allon, the oak – is derived from el , meaning strong and sturdy. Certain terebinths are singled out for special mention in the Bible because of events associated with them. Jacob buried the idols of Laban's house "under the terebinth which was by Shechem" (Gen. 35:4); the angel of the Lord appeared to Gideon under a terebinth (Judg. 6:11); and the bodies of Saul and his sons were buried beneath one (I Chron. 10:12; in I Sam. 31:13 the reading is eshel, tamarisk ). The vale of Elah (I Sam. 17:2), where David slew Goliath, was so called because of the terebinths   which grew in the district. These beautiful tall trees also served as sites of idol worship and are mentioned deprecatingly in Hosea (4:13), Isaiah (1:29), and Ezekiel (6:13). The word elah also occurs in the Bible as a personal name, and it is possible that the word elon also refers to the terebinth (though some identify it with the oak). The elah referred to in Scripture as a tall tree is the Pistacia atlantica, which develops a tall trunk and widespread foliage and branches; it was by those branches that Absalom was caught by his long hair (II Sam. 18:9). The terebinth is deciduous, shedding its leaves in winter (Isa. 1:29–30). Isaiah compares the remnant of Israel to the maẓẓevet ("trunk") of the oak and the terebinth which grew in the vicinity of the Shallekhet Gate in Jerusalem; though continually felled, the trees renewed themselves, putting forth lowly and fresh branches (6:13; see Rashi ad loc. and Feliks, p. 104, n. 9). The Mishnah (Shev. 7:5) mentions the terebinth as one of the trees whose lulavim ("shoots") were eaten, apparently after being pickled in salt or vinegar. In Arabic the terebinth is called butm and in Aramaic butma; the Jerusalem Talmud notes that the latter is related to the pistachio (TJ, Kil. 1:4, 27a) and even today it is sometimes customary to graft the pistachio on to the wild terebinth. The Pistacia atlantica is among the largest and oldest trees of Israel. Particularly well known is the ancient tree in Tel Dan near the source of the Jordan, which is about 1,000 years old and has a girth of about 20 ft. (6 m.). The species Pistacia palaestina is common in the Judean Hills and in Upper Galilee. Since its branches are gnawed by goats, it is mostly stunted and looks like a shrub. -BIBLIOGRAPHY: Loew, Flora, 1 (1926), 191–5; J. Feliks, Olam ha-Ẓome'aḥ ha-Mikra'i (19682), 104–6; idem, Kilei Zera'im ve-Harkavah (1967), 106f. ADD. BIBLIOGRAPHY: Feliks, Ha-Ẓome'aḥ, 26. (Jehuda Feliks)

Encyclopedia Judaica. 1971.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Terebinth — Ter e*binth, n. [L. terbinthus, Gr. ?: cf. F. t[ e]r[ e]binthe. Cf. {Turpentine}.] (Bot.) The turpentine tree. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • terebinth — (n.) Mediterranean tree, a member of the sumac family, late 14c., from O.Fr. therebint (13c.), from L. terebinthus (Pliny), from Gk. terebinthos, probably of foreign origin (Creto Minoic?). The tree is the source of Chian turpentine …   Etymology dictionary

  • terebinth — [ter′ə binth΄] n. [ME terebint < MFr therebint(he) < L terebinthus < Gr terebinthos, earlier terminthos] a small European tree (Pistacia terebinthus) of the cashew family, whose cut bark yields a turpentine …   English World dictionary

  • Terebinth — taxobox name = Terebinth regnum = Plantae unranked divisio = Angiosperms unranked classis = Eudicots unranked ordo = Rosids ordo = Sapindales familia = Anacardiaceae genus = Pistacia species = P. terebinthus binomial = Pistacia terebinthus… …   Wikipedia

  • terebinth — terpentininė pistacija statusas T sritis vardynas apibrėžtis Anakardinių šeimos dažinis, maistinis, vaisinis augalas (Pistacia terebinthus), paplitęs šiaurės Afrikoje, pietų ir vakarų Azijoje. Iš jo gaunama derva. atitikmenys: lot. Pistacia… …   Lithuanian dictionary (lietuvių žodynas)

  • terebinth — noun Etymology: Middle English terebynt, from Anglo French terebinte, from Latin terebinthus more at turpentine Date: 14th century a small European tree (Pistacia terebinthus) of the cashew family yielding turpentine …   New Collegiate Dictionary

  • terebinth — /ter euh binth/, n. a Mediterranean tree, Pistacia terebinthus, of the cashew family, yielding Chian turpentine. [1350 1400; < L terebinthus < Gk terébinthos turpentine tree; r. ME therebinte < MF < L, as above] * * * …   Universalium

  • terebinth — noun A Mediterranean tree, Pistacia palaestina or Pistacia terebinthus …   Wiktionary

  • Terebinth —    (R.V. marg. of Deut. 11:30, etc.), the Pistacia terebinthus of botanists; a tree very common in the south and east of Palestine. (See Oak.) …   Easton's Bible Dictionary

  • terebinth — A large tree [[➝ trees]] with a long life, much esteemed in Israel (Isa. 6:13), offering a shaded site suitable as a burial ground (1 Chron. 10:12; ‘oak tree’, NRSV, REB; ‘tamarisk’, NJB). Its graceful branches are praised by Ben Sirach… …   Dictionary of the Bible

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