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There are several different Heb. words used for flowers in the OT, some, it will be seen, having a particular emphasis on the type of flower, i.e., open or fading.
Today, botanists and horticulturalists are careful to give all flowering plants Lat. names which describe properly the genus, the species, and sometimes the strain or variety as well. In Biblical times, flowers were given local names, which could mean one plant in one district and quite another plant in another district. The London Plane tree means quite a different tree in Scotland, for instance—even today.
It is curious, some people say, that flowers are mentioned so little in Holy Writ, but in Pal. there were no gardens as they are now known, merely farm fields to grow crops in, and groves of trees around the houses to provide shade. Even today in agricultural Spain there are no gardens around farm workers’ houses. Further, flowers were not used in vases in the home in Pal. in those days—there were no occasional tables for bowls of blossoms—and no large windows through which the sun could shine.
There were undoubtedly plenty of wild flowers, but these would have been taken for granted, and hardly even noticed. It is claimed that in the plains and on the mountains could be found 500 different species of wild flowers that are now actually grown in Great Britain, and another 500 species in addition that are indigenous to Pal. also.
Our Lord, as He preached, must have stood on mountain sides, which were carpeted with thousands of wild flowers of all kinds. In fact, this is what He may have had in mind when He said: “Consider the lilies...” (
Flowers that are specifically mentioned are lilies—Lily of the Valley; rose (though not the true rose); saffron or Crocus sativus;
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
(BLOOM, BLOSSOM, etc.):
(1) gibh`ol, literally, "a small cup," hence, calyx or corolla of a flower (
(2) nets (
(3) nitstsan, "a flower"; plural only, nitstsanim (
(4) perach, root to "burst forth" expresses an early stage of flowering; "blossom" (
(5) tsits, "flower" (
(6) anthos, in Septuagint equivalent of all the Hebrew words (
The beauty of the profusion of flowers which cover Palestine every spring receives but scant reference in the