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OLIVE, OLIVE TREE (זַ֫יִת, H2339; ἐλαία, G1777). Normally, olive berry or olive tree is zayit and elaia but the good olive trees (
The first mention is in
The olive was one of the “blessings” of the Promised Land. The trees there grow on the mountain side where there is not much soil. Heavy crops are produced, and the oil from the fruits is used in cooking. The ripe fruits are, of course, eaten as a relish before or with a meal, while pickles often are made. It was olive oil that was used to anoint kings (
The timber of the trees is finely grained, and has a rich amber color. This may be the reason why this pleasant colored wood was chosen to make the doors and posts of the Temple as well as for the carving of the cherubim.
There is nothing particularly beautiful about an olive tree, yet
The olive is, of course, Olea europaea. It is found all over Pal., and particularly so around Bethlehem and Hebron. The oil used by the apostles in
The olive grows well by the seaside, and it is said to like the salty air and mists. The Bible suggests (
The golden oil produced from the olive (
Westerners cannot see the olive as beautiful, but in the E where it is difficult to grow evergreens, the olive-gray of the foliage is attractive. An olive will grow where no other trees can. Further, the olive will yield heavily with the minimum of care and culture.
It is possible to produce twenty gallons of oil from one olive tree. When harvesting, the branches are shaken or beaten. The farmers were told to leave a few olives on the topmost boughs for the fatherless, widows, and strangers (
The varieties of olive are grafted on to seedlings of the wild olive. It is this to which Paul refers in
Only one olive flower in every hundred produces fruit. It looks like a snowstorm when the petals fall. This is referred to in
The Jews were pictured as olive trees, for they were to yield “fruits” where other trees could not grow. They were to have a spiritual role in a world that was merely crying out for kings and pomp (