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CYPRESS (תִּרְזָה, H9560, ilex, holm oak). The word “cypress” is mentioned only in Isaiah 44:14—“He...taketh the cypress and the oak” (KJV).

Dr. Balfour in “The Plants of the Bible” says: “This is supposed by many to mean the evergreen oak, Quercus ilex—the wood of which was constantly making images.” The ASV calls this the holm wood—now known as holly or ilex.

Yet there were Cypress forests (Cupressus sempervirens) in ancient Pal., whose wood was used for coffins. Recently, cypress wood coffins have been found in Egypt, containing mummies. This proves the long-lasting properties of this timber.

Moffatt renders algum trees as cypress in 2 Chronicles 2:8—a credible tr., as the tree grew well in the Lebanon.

Those, like the ASV and the Douay, who tr. the word tirzah as “holm tree” are mistaken as the Ilex aquifolium (holly) does not grow in the area concerned.

Moffatt considers that the “gopher wood” (Gen 6:14) is really cypress—a feasible suggestion, as the wood is long-lasting. If the word “gopher” etymologically really means “a wood full of resin,” then it could be cypress.

The tree in the U.S.A., referred to as “gopher wood” or “yellow wood” is the Cladrastis tinctoria. This is not known in Pal.

See also

  • Holm tree
  • [[Plants