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FIR (בְּרוֹשׁ, H1360, cypress, pine; fir tree, berôsh). One cannot be certain whether the fir referred to twenty-one times in the Bible is the Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), or a Cypress (Cupressus sempervirens).

The Aleppo Pine grows to a height of sixty ft., bearing short, stalked cones, and will withstand considerable periods of drought. It is certainly abundant in the hilly areas of Pal., where its wood is considered almost as valuable as cedar.

Because the fir is described in the Bible as “a goodly tree,” some have thought that it must be Pinus tinaster, which grows to a height of 120 ft., and is an important resin-producing tree.

Cypress wood is long lasting. The gates of Constantinople were made of it, and they lasted over a thousand years. Rafters were made of its wood Song of Solomon. The Temple floor was covered with planks of fir (Ezek 27:5) and King David played on musical instruments made with fir (2 Sam 6:5), prob. harps and lutes.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

fur, (the Revised Version, margin "cypress"; berosh, 2Sa 6:5; 1Ki 5:8,10, etc.; (berothem (plural only), an Aramaic form, So 1:17):

1. Old Testament References:

2. The Identity of "Berosh":

The identity of berosh is uncertain. It was a name applied either to several of the Coniferae in common or to one or more outstanding species. If the latter is the case we can only seek for the most suited to Old Testament requirements. The Aleppo pine, Pinus Halepensis, is a fine tree which flourishes in the Lebanon, but its wood is not of special excellence and durability. A better tree (or couple of trees) is the sherbin of the Syrians; this name includes two distinct varieties in the suborder Cypressineae, the fine tall juniper, Juniperis excelsa and the cypress, Cypressus sempervirens. They both still occur in considerable numbers in the Lebanon and Anti-Lebanon; they are magnificent trees and produce excellent wood--resinous, fragrant, durable. If these trees were not classed locally, as now, under one name, then the cypress is of the two more probably the berosh. The coffins of Egyptian mummies were made of cypress; a compact variety of this cypress is cultivated all over the Turkish empire by the Moslems as an ornament in cemeteries. From early times the cypress has been connected with mourning.

In the Apocrypha there are two definite references to the cypress (kuparissos). In Sirach 24:13, Wisdom says:

"I was exalted like a cedar in Libanus,

And as a cypress tree on the mountains of Hermon."

And in Sirach 50:10 the high priest Simon is said to be

"As an olive tree budding forth fruits,

And as a cypress growing high among the clouds."

These passages, especially the former, certainly favor the idea that berosh was the cypress; the name may, however, have included allied trees.

See also

  • Plants