Pine, Pine Tree

PINE, PINE TREE (תִּדְהָר, H9329). This is mentioned in Isaiah 41:19 “and the pine,” and in Isaiah 60:13 “the pine.” Experts in the past have argued that the tree might just as easily have been a fir or a plane; there are those who suggest that juniper or cypress are a possibility. The “pine branches” (Neh 8:15, KJV), most experts agree, are prob. those of Elaeagnus angustifolia, usually called the oleaster. This is a deciduous tree with spiny branches, covered when young with glistening silvery scales, the leaves being silvery too. The sweet, edible fruits are one half inch long and yellowish—also with silvery scales.

In the RSV, wild olive is used in Nehemiah 8:15; this is another type of “oil tree.” This presupposes quite a different type of tree from the cultivated olive. It may be an olive that was grown for its timber and not for its roots. Why the KJV trs. of Nehemiah 8:15 used the word “pine” is not understood.

A Palestinian conifer is the Jerusalem Pine, or the Aleppo Pine (Pinus halepensis), which grows sixty ft. high and has irregularly arranged, slender branches. The cones are short-stalked. There is a variety of Pinus halepensis called Brutia, whose branch system is less dense. These pines grow in the Mediterranean regions in places that are too dry for other conifers.

Experts point out that pines are not mentioned again in the Bible after Nehemiah, but the Jewish historian, Josephus, suggests that pine trees came from the Crimea, and that Hiram, who supplied trees to Solomon, fetched them by ship from there. There is no proof that this is so, but it is an interesting conjecture.