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NUTS (אֱגוֹז, nut tree; בָּטְנִ֖ים, pistachio nuts).

In Genesis 43:11 there is a description of the gift Israel sent to the governor, not knowing that he was his son, Joseph. This present included nuts, prob. pistachio nuts (Pistachia vera), commonly called batam in Arab. This nut tree grows thirty ft. high and bears velvety leaves which later become quite smooth. It grows in the rocky areas of Palestine and Syria. The edible kernel is small and greenish-yellow in color. It is sweet to the taste. It is usually eaten raw, but can be fried, salted and peppered.

It can, however, be equally well argued that the nuts in Genesis 43:11 were almonds (Amygdalus communis), which presumably were common in Pal. but were not grown at that time in Egypt. In the desert of Sinai, the “children” of Israel ornamented the golden lampstands with models of almonds. This shows that they knew them when in Egypt, and Pharaoh may have given instructions for planting almond trees, after seeing the delicious present sent to Joseph. Even today, the rock crystal drops used on candelabras are called “almonds” in Great Britain.

The nuts in the garden, described in Song of Solomon are undoubtedly walnuts (Juglans regia). The trees grow thirty-five ft. or so high in Pal. The foliage is slightly fragrant, and the tree gives good shade. The nuts, of course, are very delicious.

The hazel of Genesis 30:37, Corylus avellana, also bears nuts, but the Heb. word luz could be tr. “almond,” as, in fact, is the case in Moffatt’s tr. The town, Luz (Gen 28:19; Josh 16:2; and Judges 1:23), obviously refers to the area where there were many almond orchards.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)


(1) (’eghoz; karua; Arabic jauz, "the walnut" (So 6:11)): This is certainly the walnut tree, Juglans regia, a native of Persia and the Himalayas which flourishes under favorable conditions in all parts of Palestine; particularly in the mountains. In such situations it attains the height of from 60 to 90 ft. A grove of such trees affords the most delightful shade.

(2) (boTnim; terebinthoi (Ge 43:11, margin "pistachio nuts")): The Hebrew is perhaps allied to the Arabic buTm, the "terebinth," which is closely allied to the Pistacia vera, Natural Order Anacardiaceae, which produces pistachio nuts. These nuts, known in Arabic as fistuq, are prime favorites with the people of Palestine. They are oblong, 3/4 inches long, with green, oily cotyledons. They are eaten raw and are also made into various sweets and confectionery. They are a product of Palestine, very likely to be sent as a present to Egypt (Ge 43:11).