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Diviners’ Oak

DIVINERS’ OAK (אֵלֹ֥ון מְעﯴנְנִֽים, partially transliterated plain of Meonenim in KJV; oak of Menonenim in the New Scofield; tr. fortunetellers’ oak in BV, and diviners’ oak in RSV and the JB.

Judges 9:37 is the only occurrence of the expression, although two other vv. may be relevant (v. 6 in the same ch. and Gen 12:6, reading “oak” instead of “plain”). The oak was in a prominent place, the “navel” (KJV “middle,” RSV center) of the land, possibly on a small rise. The tr., “diviners,” is based on the derivation of מְעﯴנְנִֽים from עָנַנ֒, H6725, to “practice soothsaying.” The existence of a tree in Canaan used for augury is not surprising in view of the widespread practice of divination. (See Divination.)