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"I WILL PLANT IN THE WILDERNESS THE EREZ, THE SHITTAH, THE HADAS, AND ETZ SHEMEN: I WILL SET IN THE DESERT THE BROSH, TIDHAR, AND TEASHUR TOGETHER": on the miracle of flousirhing the wilderness in the Bible / "אתן במדבר ארז, שטה והדס ועץ שמן, אשים בערבה ברוש, תדהר ותאשור יחדיו" — על נס הפרחת השממה במקרא

גדעון ביגר, נילי ליפשיץ, Gideon Biger and Nili Liphschitz
Beit Mikra: Journal for the Study of the Bible and Its World / בית מקרא: כתב-עת לחקר המקרא ועולמו
כרך מג‎, חוברת ב (קנג‎) (טבת-אדר תשנ"ח), pp. 161-174
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23508242
Page Count: 14
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Abstract

In chapter 41 in Isaiah, verse 19, seven trees are mentioned as part of the miracle created by God to the People of Israel, miracle connected with flourishing of the wilderness. It is impossible to identify accurately the species of plants mentioned in the Bible, as is evident from the numerous different, ancient and modern, translations. There is also disagreement among the various scholars concerning the identification of the trees. Their different views can be summarised as follows: 1. Cedar — all investigators agree that it is the cedar of Lebanon — Cedrus libani; 2. Shittah — Most investigators agree it is the Acacia (including its four species A. raddiana; A. tortilis; A. negevensis; A. albida). Several scholars suggest it is either Box — Buxus, or Pine — Pinus. 3. Hadas — It is accepted by all scholars it is the Myrtle — Myrtus communis. 4. Etz Shemen — Three different indetifications are suggested: Olive — Olea europaea or the wild olive — Olea europaea var. oleaster; Pine — Pinus or Pinus halepensis; Cypress — Cupressus or Cupressus sempervirens. 5. Brosh — Different indentifications were suggested: Cypress — Cupressus sempervirens, Fir — Abies or Abies alba, Juniper — Juniperus or Juniperus drupacea, Cedar — Cedrus, Pine — Pinus. 6. Tidhar — The most problematic plant. Numerous identifications were raised: Cypress — Cupressus, Pine — Pinus or Pinus bruita or Pinus pinea, Fir — Abies, Juniper — Juniperus drupacea, Spruce — Picea or Picea orientalis, Cedar — Cedrus, Maple — Acer or Acer syriacum, Elm — Ulmus, Alder — Alnus, Box — Buxus, Laurustinus — Viburnum tinus, Teak — Tectona grandis, Ash — Fraxinus or Fraxinus syriaca, Plane tree — Platanus, Poplar — Populus alba. 7. Teashur — Most scholars accept it is as Box — Buxus. However, some think it is Juniperus, Cupressus, Larch — Larix, Pinus, Picea, Cedrus, Terebinth — Pistacia palaestina. It can therefore be concluded that our verse is concerned with barren trees — forest trees, part of which grew in Eretz Israel like Cupressus sempervirens, Pinus halepensis, Acacia and Myrtus communis. Some trees presumably grew in neighbouring countries but were known — Buxus, Cedrus libani and Juniperus phoenica. All mentioned trees, except for Acacia, never grew in the desert, and therefore Isaiah describes the miracle of flourishing the wilderness by supplying water, thus enabling the growth of Mediterranean tree species in the desert, whish will turn to be a forest.

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