WOOD (חֹ֫רֶשׁ, H3091, a bough or forest; יַ֫עַר, H3623, a forest). Naturally the word “wood” can refer to a tree, as in
When, however, a forest is intended, the word ḥoresh is used, as in
The normal word for forest is, however, yaar, and this is used eighteen times in the OT, as in, for instance,
The pl. of “yaar” is ye'ārîm and that word is used in
Woods and forests are tremendously important to the economy of a country. They bring rain, they provide humus, they protect from wind. It is when they are cut down that soil soon erodes and a desert forms. Solomon may have done tremendous harm to the land by his unreasonable demands from the forests of Lebanon.
Abraham planted a grove in Beer-sheba (
The first parable in the Bible is about a wood. It is found in
The Lebanon forests are the most important ones mentioned in the Bible, and must have covered hundreds of acres. Solomon’s men, i.e. overseers, hewers and laborers, numbered 163,600, and all these worked at dispatching trees for a total of twenty-five years. In addition, the king of Tyre provided some 20,000 lumberjacks to cut the trees down. What a rape of a huge forest, and what harm to the surrounding countryside it must have done. But the rape did not end there, because in Ezra’s days one reads in
There were not only cedars, for fir wood was used for the doors and ceilings of the Greater House, and the floors (
There were prob. forests of oaks, and esp. Quercus aegilops. This is the oak of Bashan (
The so-called sacred idol worship groves were planted with oaks. These “high places” were on the summit of a hill or mountain. A circle of trees surrounded the “cap” of the hill. There are oak forests to be seen in Pal. today.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)