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Box tree

BOX TREE (תְּאַשּׁוּר, H9309, the Sherbin cedar or common box), mentioned twice in Scripture (KJV): “I will set in the desert...the box” (Isa 41:19), and “the pine tree and the box together” (Isa 60:13).

It is possible that the reference to Ashur or the Ashurites in Ezekiel 27:6 comes from a preposition be, “with,” plus te’shshur; i.e., something made “with box wood” inlaid with ivory. This view involves a different division of words in the Heb. text. The box tree certainly produces hard wood, and in the olden days spoons and combs were made from it.

The common box is Buxus sempervirens longifolia, which grows in the Holy Land to a height of thirty-five ft. The leaves are small and dark, and the tiny inconspicuous flowers are pale green with yellow anthers. It grows well on the Galilean hills and it was certainly known in Isaiah’s time.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

A tree of uncertain identity, which must once have been common in the forests of Lebanon. According to Post (HDB, I, 313), "The only species of box found in Bible lands is Buxus longifolia, which is a shrub from 2 to 3 ft. high. It does not grow South of Mt. Cassius and it is unlikely that it did in historical times."

As an alternative to the box the cypress, Cupressus sempervirens--known in Arabic as Sherbin--has been suggested. It is a fine tree and was probably once plentiful, but as it seems to answer to the berosh (see Fir), it cannot well be the te’ashshur. There is nothing certain to go upon.

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