Almug

Al'mug

(Hebrew only in the plural almuggim', אִלמֻגַּים, according to Bohlen, from the Sanscrit micata, a similar wood, al- being the Arab. article, 1Ki 10:11-12; Sept. τὰ ξύλα τὰ πελεκητά, Vulg. ligna thyina, Auth. Vers. "algum-trees"), or ALGUM SEE ALGUM (Hebrew likewise only in plur. algummim', אִלגּוּמִּים, by transposition from the preceding, 2Ch 2:8, Vulg. ligna pinea; 2Ch 9:10-11, ligna thyina; Sept. ξύλα τὰ πεύκινα, Auth. Vers. "algum-trees"), a kind of precious wood brought along with gold and precious stones from Ophir by the navy of Hiram in the time of Solomon, and employed by him for the ornaments of the temple and palace, as well as for making musical instruments (1Ki 10:11-12), and previously unknown to the Israelites (2Ch 9:10-11), although it is stated to have been also procured from Lebanon (2Ch 2:8). The Sept. translators of Kings understand "hewn wood" to be meant, but in Chron. it is rendered "pine wood," as by the Vulg. in one passage, although elsewhere "thyine-wood" (comp. Re 18:12), or citron-wood. SEE THYINE. Its occurrence in 2Ch 2:8 (whence the inference that it was a species of pine, see Biel, De lignis ex Libano petitis, in the Museum Hagan. 4, 1 sq., or cedar, as Abulwalid, in loc.) among the trees procurable from Lebanon (comp. its omission in the parallel passage, 1Ki 5:8) is probably an interpolation (Rosenmuller, Bib. Bot. p. 245), since it would not in that case have afterward become unknown (1Ki 10:12). Dr. Shaw supposes it to have been the cypress, because the wood of that tree is still used in Italy and elsewhere for violins, harpsichords, and other stringed instruments. Hiller (Hierophyt. 13, § 7) supposes a gummy or resinous wood to be meant, but this would be unfit for the uses to which the almug-tree is said to have been applied. Josephus (Ant. 8, 7,1) describes the wood as that of a kind of pine, which he distinguishes from the pine of his own days. Many of the rabbins (e.g. R. Tanchum) understand pearls, for which the word in the sing. (almug, אִלמוּג) occurs in the Talmud (Mishna, Kelim, 13, 6; comp. Maimonides and Bartinora, in loc.); but these are not a wood (עֵצִים), and are obtained from the Red and Mediterranean seas, whence they are even exported to India (Pliny, 32:2); so that we must probably understand the Talmudists as only referring to the red or coralline hue of the wood. The interpretation of Kimchi (Targum, in loc. 2 Chron.), that it was a red dye-wood, called albaccum in Arabic, and commonly Brazil- wood (Abulfadli and Edrisi, ap. Celsius), has been followed by most moderns since Celsius (Hierobot. 1, 171 sq.), who refer it to the sandal- wood of commerce (in Sanscrit, rakta), a view which is corroborated by the position of Ophir (q.v.), probably southward and eastward of the Red Sea, in some part of India (Pict. Bible, 2, 349-366), whence alone the associated products, such as gold, precious stones, ivory, peacocks, apes, and tin, could have been procured. Among those, however, who have been in favor of sandal-wood, many have confounded with the true and far- famed kind what is called "red sandal-wood," the product of Pterocarpus santalinus, as well as of Adenanthera pavonina (Beckmann, Waarenkunde, II, 1, 112 sq.; Wahl, Ostindien, 2, 802; Faber, Archiologie,

p. 374). But the most common sandal-wood is that which is best known and most highly esteemed in India. It is produced by the Santalum album, a native of the mountainous parts of the coast of Malabar, where large quantities are cut for export to China, to different parts of India, and to the Persian and Arabian gulfs. The outer parts of this tree are white and without odor; the parts near the root are most fragrant, especially of such trees as grow in hilly situations and stony ground. The trees vary in diame ter from 9 inches to a foot, and are about 25 or 30 feet in height, but the stems soon begin to branch. This wood is white, fine-grained, and agreeably fragrant, and is much employed for making rosaries, fans, elegant boxes, and cabinets. The Chinese use it also as incense both in their temples and private houses, and burn long slender candles formed by covering the ends of sticks with its sawdust mixed with rice-paste. As sandal-wood has been famed in the East from very early times, it is more likely than any other to have attracted the notice of, and been desired by, more northern nations. We do not, however, trace it by its present or any similar name at a very early period in the writings of Greek authors; it may, however, have been confounded with agila-wood, or agallochum, which, like it, is a fragrant wood and used as incense. SEE ALOE. Sandal-wood is mentioned in early Sanscrit works, and also in those of the Arabs. Actuarius is the earliest Greek author that expressly notices it, but he does so as if it had been familiarly known. In the Periplus o Arrian it is mentioned as one of the articles of commerce obtainable at Omana, in Gedrosia, by the name ξύλα σαγάλινα, which Dr. Vincent remarks may easily have been corrupted from σανδάλινα. As it was produced on the Malabar coast, it could readily be obtained by the merchants who conveyed the cinnamon of Ceylon and other Indian products to the Mediterranean (comp. Gesenius, Thes. Heb. p. 93; Penny Cyclopoedia, s.v. Santalaceae, Santalum). SEE BOTANY, and comp. SEE SANDAL-WOOD.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

 
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