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The Trees of The River

Despite modern-day reforestation projects, the land of Israel was much more extensively forested during the times of Bible History than today. There are hundreds of references to trees and types of wood in The Bible. Trees are also mentioned in Prophecy, figuratively and literally (see the Fact Find question below).

Trees of The Bible

An Olive Branch Some examples of trees found in Israel during ancient times (various Bible translations sometimes identify species differently):


Also known as Grecian Juniper, it grows to over 60 feet / 18 meters with a pyramid shape. Prevalent in Lebanon and Gilead, it was used in the Temple built by Solomon (2 Chronicles 2:8)


A member of the peach family that blooms very early. Almond blossoms were carved in the lampstand in The Tabernacle In The Wilderness (Exodus 25:33-36). Aaron's rod was made to miraculously sprout almonds as a sign of his God-given authority (Numbers 17:1-10) (see Aaron and Levites).


Almug, or red sandalwood, is a beautiful pleasant-smelling wood that Solomon imported for the pillars of the Temple (1 Kings 10:11-12) (see Layout Of Solomon's Temple)


The box tree is a hardy evergreen of Lebanon and northern Israel that was used for ornamental work (Isaiah 60:13)


Cedar was a fragrant evergreen that was often used for building. It was also used in sacrificial fires (Numbers 19:6). Cedar Of Lebanon (seen in the illustration above) was a large magnificent evergreen that is quite rare today.


The chestnut, or plane tree, was found along streams and rivers. Jacob used branches of the chestnut in his curious manner of breeding his flocks (Genesis 30:37) (see The Shepherd)


Cyprus wood was used by Noah to build the ark (Genesis 6:14) (see The Flood and How Big Was Noah's Ark?)


Ebony is a strong black wood that takes a fine polish. It is native to India and Sri Lanka (Ezekiel 27:15)


The Fig Tree is referred to widely though the Old Testament and New Testament. Jesus Christ made a number of references to fig trees (Matthew 7:16, Luke 21:29-31). The Sycamore was another type of fig tree (Luke 19:4).


The fir, also translated as pine, was a symbol of nobility (Isaiah 60:13). In later times, during The Crusades, they were still growing densely from Jerusalem to Bethlehem (see also Bethlehem Fact File).

Green Bay

The green bay was a symbol of both wealth and evil (Psalm 37:35). It was small with shoots sprouting up from the ground, and a perfumed oil was obtained from the leaves.


The oak was a strong, magnificent tree that usually grew alone on high ground. It was sometimes used as a symbol of strength and long life.

Oil Tree

Also called the Jerusalem Willow, or Oleaster, it produces a small bitter olive that was used for oil. (Isaiah 41:19)


The Olive Tree was an important source of food and oil. Fine olive oil was used in the lamp inside the Tabernacle (Exodus 27:20)


The date palm could sometimes reach 100 feet / 30 meters, and produced a great quantity of fruit on a single tree. The fibrous leaves were also used to weave mats. They favored the hot area of the The Dead Sea. Jericho (see The Fall Of Jericho and Joshua) was also known as the City of Palms (Judges 1:16). During their Wilderness Journey, the Israelites under Moses camped near the springs at Elim where there were seventy palm trees (Exodus 15:27).


The pine is a tall coniferous tree with long needles and seed-bearing "pine cones." It was often used for building (Isaiah 44:14).


The poplar is a tall fast-growing tree that favors moist areas along the Euphrates (see The Tigris-Euphrates Valley) and Jordan River (see The Jordan Valley) (Genesis 30:37).


Wood of the shittah, or acacia tree, is mentioned numerous times in the Bible. The Ark Of The Covenant, which contained The Ten Commandments was made of acacia wood (Exodus 25:10) (see Temple Mount Treasures)


Tamarisk were small desert trees. Abraham planted one at Beersheba (Genesis 21:33)


Thyine wood, translated as citron in some versions, was a small, slow-growing evergreen, related to the arbor-vitae. It produces sandarac, a resin used for making varnish and incense (Revelation 18:12).

Turpentine Tree

Found in hot, dry places and translated under various names, the turpentine tree produces an oil resin with commercial value (Isaiah 6:13).


Like poplars, willows favored wet areas along rivers and streams, from Israel to Syria (Ezekiel 17:5).


Wormwood is related to the western sagebrush. The oil from the plant is used to flavor Absinthe, a liqueur. The plant was used to symbolize bitterness (Revelation 8:11)

Fact Finder: After The Return Of Jesus Christ, will waters that flow from the Sanctuary water trees that will provide food and healing for the nations?
Ezekiel 47:12
See also Living Waters

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