Mulberry Trees

MULBERRY TREES (בָּכָא, H1132, RSV Balsam). Sometimes called Baka trees. Found four times in KJV: (2 Sam 5:23, 24)—“over against the mulberry trees...in the tops of the mulberry trees”; (1 Chron. 14:14, 15)—“over against the mulberry trees...in the tops of the mulberry trees.” The texts in 2 Samuel are repeated in 1 Chronicles.

Because the leaves of mulberry do not make a rustling sound when the wind blows through them, it is generally agreed that the trees referred to must be Populus euphratica, which does make the resulting sound referred to. It grows readily in the Jordan valley, and may quite easily be the “willow” trees referred to in Psalm 137:2, on which the Jews hanged their harps. It is related to the cottonwood tree.

Those who have wondered about the silk mentioned in Ezekiel 16:10, 13 and imagine therefore that mulberry trees must have been available for the silk worms, should realize that silk was not available to the Jews until about Ezekiel’s time, and he first saw silk when he was a captive in Babylon. Revelation 18:12 in fact, refers to Babylon and the silk there. (See Silk, Silkworm.)

Silk worms live on the leaves of the white mulberry, Morus alba, while Morus nigra, the black mulberry, is grown for its edible fruits.

The sycamine tree referred to by our Lord in Luke 17:6 is prob. the white mulberry.