1. Several gardens are mentioned in the Scriptures, as the garden of Eden (Ge 2:8-10,15), Ahab's garden of herbs (1Ki 21:2), the royal garden near the fortress of Zion (2Ki 21:18; 2Ki 25:4), the royal garden of the Persian kings at Susa (Es 1:5; Es 7:7-8), the garden of Joseph of Arimathea (Joh 19:41), and the garden of Gethsemane (Joh 18:1). It is clear, from Jos 5:2, and La 2:6, that gardens were generally hedged or walled, as indeed Josephus expressly states respecting the gardens near Jerusalem (War, 5:7). In Ne 2:5, and Joh 20:15, gardeners and keepers of gardens by occupation are indicated. SEE GARDENER.
The traditional gardens and pools of Solomon, supposed to be alluded to in Ec 2:5-6, are shown in the wady Urtas (i.e., Hortus), about an hour and a quarter to the south of Bethlehem (compare Josephus, Ant. 8:7, 3). The Arabs perpetuate the tradition in the name of a neighboring hill, which they call "Jebelel-Fureidis," or "Mountain of the Paradise" (Stanley, Sin. and Pal. page 166). Maundrell is sceptical on the subject of the gardens (Early Trav. in Pal. page 457), but they find a champion in Van de Velde, who asserts that they "were not confined to the wady Urtas; the hill slopes to the left and right also, with their heights and hollows, must have been covered with trees and plants, as is shown by the names they still bear, as 'peachhill,' 'nut-vale,' 'fig-vale,' etc. (Syria and Pal. 2:27). SEE SOLOMON'S POOL.
The "king's garden," mentioned in 2Ki 25:4; Ne 3:15; Jer 39:4; Jer 52:7, was near the Pool of Siloam, at the mouth of the Tyrop'eon, north of Bir Eyub, and was formed by the meeting of the valleys of Jehoshaphat and Ben-Hinnom (Wilson, Lands of the Bible, 1:498). Josephus places the scene of the feast of Adonijah at Enrogel, "beside the fountain that is in the royal paradise" (Ant. 7:14, 4; comp. also 9:10, 4). SEE-KING'S DALE.
Strabo (16:763), alluding to one of the rose-gardens near Jericho, calls it ὁ τοῦ βαλσάμου παράδεισος. The rose-garden in Jerusalem, mentioned in the Mishna (Maaseroth, 2:5), and said to have been situated westward of the Temple mount, is remarkable as having been one of the few gardens which, from the time of the prophets, existed within the city walls (Lightfoot, Hor. Heb. on Mt 26:36). They were usually planted without the gates, according to the gloss quoted by Lightfoot, on account of the fetid smell arising from the weeds thrown out from them, or from the manure employed in their cultivation. SEE ROSE.
The gate Gennath, mentioned by Josephus (War, 5:4, 2), is supposed to have derived its name from the rose-garden, already mentioned, or from the fact of its leading to the gardens without the city. It was near the garden-ground bythe Gate of the Women that Titus was surprised by the Jews while reconnoitring the city. The trench by which it was surrounded cut off his retreat (Joseph. War, 5:2). SEE GENNATH.
But of all the gardens of Palestine none is possessed of associations more sacred and imperishable than the garden of Gethsemane, beside the oil- presses on the slopes of Olivet. Eight aged olive-trees mark the site which tradition has connected with that memorable garden, and their gnarled stems and almost leafless branches attest an antiquity as venerable as that which claimed for them. SEE GETHSEMANE.
The orange, lemon, and mulberry groves which lie around and behind Jaffa supply, perhaps, the most striking peculiarities of Oriental gardens-gardens which Maundrell describes as being "a confused miscellany of trees jumbled together, without either posts, walks, arbors, or anything of art or design, so that they seem like thickets rather than gardens" (Early Trav. in Pal. page 416). The Persian wheels, which are kept ever working, day and night, by mules, to supply the gardens with water, leave upon the traveler's ear a most enduring impression (Lynch, Exp. to Jordan, page 441; Siddon's Memoir, 187). The gardens near Shechem, containing orange and citron trees (Schubert, Raise, 2:116), are described by Dr. Olin (Travels, 2:350). SEE FOREST.
2. Gardens are frequently represented in the tombs of Thebes and other parts of Egypt, many of which are remarkable for their extent. The one here introduced is shown to have been surrounded by an embattled wall, with a canal of water passing in front of it, connected with the river. Between the canal and the wall, and parallel with them both, was a shady avenue of various trees; and about the center was the entrance, through a lofty door, whose lintel and jambs were decorated with hieroglyphic inscriptions, containing the name of the owner of the grounds, who, in this instance, was the king himself. In the gateway were rooms for the porter, and other persons employed about the garden, and probably the receiving- room for visitors, with the dom and other trees along the whole length of the exterior wall: four tanks of water, bordered by a grass-plot, where geese were kept, and the delicate flower of the lotus was encouraged to grow, served for the irrigation of the grounds; and small kiosks or summer- houses, shaded with trees, stood near the water, and overlooked beds of flowers. The spaces containing the tanks, and the adjoining portions of the garden, were each enclosed by their respective walls and a small subdivision on either side, between the large and small tanks, seems to have been reserved for the growth of particular trees, which either required peculiar care, or bore fruit of superior quality (Wilkinson, Anc. Eg. 1:33- 40, abridgm.).
One interesting but much defaced representation of a similar kind has been found on the Assyrian sculptures. Gardens and orchards, with various kinds of trees, appeared to be watered with canals similar to those which once spread fertility over the plains of Babylonia, and of which the choked- up beds still remain. A man, suspended by a rope, was being lowered into the water. Upon the corner of a slab, almost destroyed, was a hanging garden, supported upon columns, whose capitals were not unlike those of the Corinthian order (Layard, Ninevek and Babylon, page 198 sq.).
3. Gardens in. the East, as the Hebrew word indicates, are enclosures on the outskirts of towns, planted with various trees and shrubs. From the allusions in the Bible we learn that they were surrounded by hedges of thorn (Isa 5:5) or walls of stone (Pr 24:31). For further protection, lodges (Isa 1:8; La 2:6) or watch-towers (Mr 12:1) were built in them, in which sat the keeper (נֹצֵר, Job 27:18), to drive away the wild beasts and robbers, as is the case to this day. Layarp (Nin. and Bab. page 365) gives the following descriptron of a scene which he witnessed: "The broad silver river wound through the plain. The great ruin cast its dark shadows in the moonlight, the lights of 'the lodges in the gardens of cucumbers' flickered at our feet, and the deep silence was only broken by the sharp report of a rifle fired by the watchful guards to frighten away the wild boars that lurked in the melon-beds." The scarecrow also was an invention not unknown (προβασκάνιον, Bar. 6:70). SEE LODGE.
In a climate like that of Palestine the neighborhood of water was an important consideration in selecting the site of a garden. The nomenclature of the country has perpetuated this fact in the name Engannim "the fountain of gardens" — the modern Jenin (comp. Song 4:15). To the old Hebrew poets "a well-watered garden," or "a tree planted by the waters," was an emblem of luxuriant fertility and material prosperity (Isa 58:11; Jer 17:8; Jer 31:12); while no figure more graphically conveyed the idea of dreary barrenness or misery than "a garden that hath no water" (Isa 1:30). From a neighboring stream or cistern were supplied the channels or conduits by which the gardens were intersected, and the water was thus conveyed to all parts (Ps 1:3; Ec 2:6; Ecclus. 24:30). It is a matter of doubt what is the exact meaning of the expression "to water with the foot" in De 11:10. Niebuhr (Descr. de l'Arabie, page 138) describes a wheel which is employed for irrigating gardens where the water is not deep, and which is worked by the hands and feet after the manner of a tread-mill, the men pulling the upper part towards them with their hands, and pushing with their feet upon the lower part" (Robinson, 2:226). This mode of irrigation might be described as "watering with the foot." But the method practiced by the agriculturists in Oman, as narrated by Wellsted (Trav. 1:281), may answer to this description, and serves to illustrate Pr 21:1: "After ploughing, they form the ground with a spade into small squares with ledges on either side, along which the water is conducted. When one of the hollows is filled, the peasant stops the supply by turning up the earth with his foot, and thus opens a channel into another." SEE IRRIGATION.
4. Gardens were dedicated to various uses among the Hebrews, such as we still find prevailing in the East. One most essential difference between them and our own is that they are not attached to or in any way connected with the residence, but are situated in the suburbs, sometimes from half a mile to a mile distant from the houses of the persons to whom they belong. It is manifest that all the gardens mentioned in Scripture were outside the several towns. This is, however, to be understood of regular gardens, for shrubs and flowers were often planted in the open courts of the dwelling- houses. People repair to their suburban gardens to take the air, to walk, and to refresh and solace themselves in various ways. For their use there is mostly in each garden a kind of summer-house or pavilion, fitted up with much neatness, gayly painted, and furnished with seats, where the visitants may sit and enjoy themselves. Here sometimes banquets were and are still given, attended by singing and music (Isa 51:3; Isa 65:3). SEE GARDEN-HOUSE.
The kings and nobles had their country houses surrounded by gardens (1Ki 21:1; 2Ki 9:27), and these were used on festal occasions (Song 5:1). So intimately, indeed, were gardens associated with festivity, that horticulture and conviviality are, in the Talmud, denoted by the same term (Buxtorf, Lex. Talm. s.v. אריסות). It is possible, however, that this may be a merely accidental coincidence. The garden of Ahasuerus was in a court of the palace (Es 1:5), adjoining the banqueting-hall (Es 7:7). In Babylon, the gardens and orchards were inclosed by the city walls (Layard, Nin. 2:246). Attached to the house of Joachim was a garden or orchard (Sus. 4)"a garden inclosed" (Song 4:12) — provided with baths and other appliances of luxury (Sus. 15; comp. 2Sa 11:2). SEE PALACE.
It would seem that the Jews were much in the habit of performing their devotions in gardens, on account of their retirement (Ge 24:63; Mt 16:28; Mt 26:36; Joh 2:25; Joh 18:1-2). This interesting practice, however, was idolatrously abused; for the worship of idols in these shady seclusions was not of unfrequent occurrence, and is often mentioned in Scripture (1Ki 14:23; 2Ki 16:4; 2Ki 17:10; 2Ch 18:4; Isa 1:29; Isa 65:3; Isa 66:17; Jer 2:20; Jer 3:6; Eze 20:28). SEE GROVE.
The custom of burying the dead in.gardens is indicated in Ge 23:19-20; 2Ki 21:4,18,26; 1Sa 25:1; Mr 15:46; Joh 19:41; and still occurs sometimes in the East, but is not yery prevalent. We find it also among the Greeks (Heliodorus, ,Ethiop. 1:2, page 35), and the Romans (Suetonius, Galba, 20). SEE GRAVE.
5. Gardens were planted not only with fragrant and beautiful plants (Song 6:2; Song 4:16), but with various fruit-bearing and other trees (Ge 2:9; Ex 23:11; Jer 29:5; Am 9:14). Thus we find mention of nut-gardens (Song 6:11,13), pomegranate-gardens (Song 4:13), olive-gardens (De 8:8; 1Ch 27:28), vine-gardens (Song 4:2; Song 8:8). Here, however, we are not to suppose that the gardens were exclusively occupied by these fruits, but that they were severally predominant in the gardens to which they gave name. The distinction, for instance, between a vine-garden and a vineyard would be, that, in the latter, the vine was cultivated solely for use, whereas in the former it was planted for solace and ornament, to cover walls, and to be trained in arbors and on trellises. The quince, medlar, citron, almond, and service trees are among those enumerated in the Mishna as cultivated in Palestine (Kilaim, 1:4). Gardens of herbs, or kitchen-gardens, are mentioned in De 11:10, and 1Ki 21:2. Cucumbers were grown in them (Isa 1:8; Bar. 6:70), and probably also melons, leeks, onions, and garlic, which are spoken of (Nu 11:5) as the productions of a neighboring country. In addition to these, the lettuce, mustard-plant (Lu 13:19), coriander, endive, one of the bitter herbs eaten with the paschal lamb, and rue, are particularized in the precepts of the Mishna, though it is not certain that they were all, strictly speaking, cultivated in the gardens of Palestine (Kilaim, 1:8). It is well known that, in the time of the Romans, the art of gardening was carried to great perfection in Syria. Pliny (20:16) speaks of it as proverbially elaborate, and again (12:54) he describes the balsam plant as growing in Judea alone, and there only in two royal gardens. It is evident that the gardens of the Hebrews were in a very considerable degree devoted to the culture of medicinal herbs, the preparation of which in various ways was a matter of much solicitude with them (Jer 8:22). This is still the case in the East, where vegetable simples are employed in medicine. SEE MEDICINE. In addition to the ordinary productions of the country, we are tempted to infer from Isa 17:10, that in some gardens care was bestowed on the rearing of exotics. To this conclusion the description of the gardens of Solomon in the Targum on Ec 2:5-6 seems to point: "I made me well-watered gardens and paradises, and sowed there all kinds of plants, some for use of eating, and some for use of drinking, and some for purposes of medicine; all kinds of plants of spices. I planted in them trees of emptiness (i.e., not fruit- bearing), and all trees of spices which the specters and daemons brought me from India, and every tree which produces fruit; and its border was from the wall of the citadel, which is in Jerusalem, by the waters of Siloah. I chose reservoirs of water, which, behold! are for watering the trees and the plants, and I made me fish-ponds of water, some of them also for the plantation which rears the trees to water it." In large gardens the orchard(פִּרדֵּס, παρἀδεισος) was probably, as in Egypt, the enclosure set apart for the cultivation of date and sycamore trees, and trees of various kinds (Song 4:13; Ec 2:5). Schroeder, in the preface to his Thesaurus Lingua Armenicae, asserts that the word "epardes" is of Armenian origin, and denotes a garden near a house, planted with herbs, trees, and flowers. It is applied by Diodorus Siculus (2:10) and Berosus (quoted by Josephus, Ant. 10:2, 1) to the famous hanging gardens of Babylon. Xenophon (Anab. 1:2, 7) describes the "paradise" at Celasnse in Phrygia, where Cyrus had a palace, as a large preserve full of wild beasts; and Aulus Gellius (2:20) gives "vivaria" as the equivalent of παράδεισοι (comp. Philostratus, Vit. Apol. Tyan. 1:38). The officer in charge of such a domain was called "the keeper of the paradise" (Ne 2:8). SEE PARADISE.
The law against the propagation of mixed species (Le 19:19; De 22:9,11) gave rise to numerous enactmaents in the Mishnauto to insure its observumumce. The portions of the field or garden, is which the various plants were sown, were separated by lighet fences of reed, ten palms in heights the distance between the reeds being not more than three palms, so that a kid could not enter (Kilaim, 4:3, 4). SEE DIVERSE.
See Schröder, De horais Hebraeor. (Marlburg, 1722); Bradley, Descript. ecoasoma. et hortic. vett. (Lond. 1725); Van Goeus, De κηποταφίᾷ (Utr. 1763). SEE AGRICULTURE.