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The Mighty Oak

A number of Hebrew words are translated into English as "oak." Interestingly, most of them have a form of the word for "mighty," (e.g. ayl-law means oak) pronounced ayl (but usually written in English as "el") within the word, that is also used in a Name of the LORD (see El).

Also, as might be expected, aw-lawh, an Arabic pronunciation of the Hebrew ayl-law, is the basis of "Allah" - keeping in mind that the Iraq-born "Arab" Abraham (see Israel's Iraqi Roots) was a key ancestor of both the Israelites (through Sarah - see Abram and Sarai) and many of the Arab people (through Hagar, Keturah and other concubines: "25:6 But unto the sons of the concubines, which Abraham had, Abraham gave gifts, and sent them away from Isaac his son, while he yet lived, eastward, unto the east country" Genesis 25:6 KJV).

"Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh"

Upon his arrival from his birthplace in southern Iraq to what would become the land of Israel, Abraham built an altar to the LORD (i.e. to Christ - see 'Before Abraham Was, I AM') near Shechem, on the plain of Moreh. The original Hebrew word is variously translated as "plain," as in the King James Version, or "oak," as in the Revised Standard Version i.e.


"12:6 And Abram passed through the land unto the place of Sichem, unto the plain of Moreh." (Genesis 12:6 KJV)

"12:6 Abram passed through the land to the place at Shechem, to the oak of Moreh" (Genesis 12:6 RSV)

Which translation is correct? The original Hebrew word actually means oak, so the RSV is literally correct, but Moreh is on a plain, so the King James is also true - even though the King James translators apparently took it upon themselves to correctly describe the geography of a place while ignoring what was actually written in the Scriptures about a landmark on the plain - an oak.

Abraham's grandson Jacob (who Jesus Christ renamed as "Israel" - see 'The God Of The Old Testament') dedicated himself to the pure worship of the LORD by "the oak which was by Shechem."

"35:1 And God said unto Jacob, Arise, go up to Bethel, and dwell there: and make there an altar unto God, that appeared unto thee when thou fleddest from the face of Esau thy brother [see Why Did Esau Lose The Blessing?, Cain and Esau and Peace With Esau].

35:2 Then Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the strange gods that are among you, and be clean, and change your garments: 35:3 And let us arise, and go up to Bethel; and I will make there an altar unto God, who answered me in the day of my distress, and was with me in the way which I went. 35:4 And they gave unto Jacob all the strange gods which were in their hand, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem. 35:5 And they journeyed: and the terror of God was upon the cities that were round about them, and they did not pursue after the sons of Jacob." (Genesis 35:1-5 KJV)

The etymology of "oak" and the symbolism of the usage continued at Bethel (again, with the "el," Bethel means House of the LORD or House of The Almighty). There, Jacob buried Deborah "beneath Bethel under an oak."

"35:6 So Jacob came to Luz, which is in the land of Canaan, that is, Bethel, he and all the people that were with him.35:7 And he built there an altar, and called the place Elbethel: because there God appeared unto him, when he fled from the face of his brother.

35:8 But Deborah Rebekah's nurse died, and she was buried beneath Bethel under an oak: and the name of it was called Allonbachuth." (Genesis 35:6-8 KJV)

Fact Finder: How did the Israelites later misuse oaks and other trees for their idolatry?
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