is the translation in the Auth. Vers. of the Heb. תִּפּוּחִ (tappu'ach, so called from its fragrance), which is mentioned chiefly in the Canticles, 2:3, "as the apple-tree among the trees of the wood;" ver. 5, "Comfort me with apples, for I am sick of love;" ver. 8, "The smell of thy nose like apples;" so in 8:5. Again, in Pr 25:11, "A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in baskets of silver." In Joe 1:12, it is enumerated with the vine, the fig-tree, the palm, and pomegranate, as among the most valuable trees of Palestine. Tappuah (q.v.) also occurs as the name of two places (Jos 12:13; Jos 15:34; Jos 16:8), probably from the abundance of the fruit in the vicinity.
It is a difficult matter to say with any degree of certainty what is the specific tree denoted by the Hebrew word tappuach. The Sept. and Vulg. afford no clew, as the terms μῆλον, malum, have a wide signification, being used by the Greeks and Romans to represent almost any kind of tree- fruit; at any rate, the use of the word is certainly generic. Many interpreters (after Celsus, Hierobot. 1, 255) have supposed the citron (citrus medica), some the ordinary orange-tree (Credner, Joel, p. 136), to be meant, as each of these were celebrated favorites among the ancients, and have many qualities agreeing with the Scriptural notices. The citron was the "Median apple" of the ancients, the citromela of the Romans (Theophr. Hist. 4), and was cultivated even in Europe (Bauhin, Pinax). That it was well known to the Hebrews appears from the fact mentioned by Josephus, that at the Festival of Tabernacles Alexander Jannaeus was pelted with citrons, which the Jews had in their hands; for, as he says, "the law required that at that feast every one should have branches of the palm-tree and citron-tree" (Ant. 13, 13, 5). It is still found in Palestine (Kitto, Phys. Hist. p. 213). As, however, the Sept. and Vulg. both seem to understand the apple (μῆλον, malum), and the Arabs still call this fruit by the same name (teffach), which, according to the Talmud (Mishna, Kel. 1:4; Maaser. 1:4) and Josephus (Ant. 17, 7), was anciently cultivated in Palestine, as it still is to some extent (Robinson, 1:355; 2:356, 716; 3, 295), and was celebrated in antiquity for its agreeable smell (Ovid, Met. 8, 675), it seems more likely to be the tree designated rather than the citron, which is a small, comparatively rare tree, with a hard, inedible fruit (Thomson, Land and Book, 2, 328, 329). SEE CITRON.
On the other hand, Celsius (Hierob. 1:255) asserts that the quince-tree (Pyrus cydonia) was very often called by the Greek and Roman writers malus, as being, from the esteem in which it was held ("primaria malorum species"), the malus, or μῆλον κατ᾿ ἐξοχήν. Some, therefore (Rosenmüller, Alterth. IV, 1:308; Ray, Hist. of Plants, II, 3, 1453), have endeavored to show that the tappuach denotes the quince; and certainly this opinion has some plausible arguments in its favor. The fragrance of the quince was held in high esteem by the ancients; and the fruit "was placed on the heads of those images in the sleeping apartments which were reckoned among the household gods" (Rosenmüller, Botany of Bible, in the Bibl. Cab. p. 314; Voss, On Virgil, Eclog. 2, 51). The Arabians make especial allusion to the restorative properties of this fruit; and Celsius (p. 261) quotes Abu'l Fadli in illustration of Song 2:5. "Its scent," says the Arabic author, "cheers my soul, renews my strength, and restores my breath." Phylarchus (Histor. lib. 6), Rabbi Salomon (in Song 2:3), Pliny (H. N. 15, 11), who uses the words odoris praestantissimi, bear similar testimony to the delicious fragrance of the quince. It is well known that among the ancients the quince was sacred to the goddess of love, whence statues of Venus sometimes represent her with the fruit of this tree in her hand, the quince being the ill-fated "apple of discord" which Paris appropriately enough presented to that defty. Hence the act expressed by the term μηλοβολε'ιν (Schol. ad Aristoph. Nub. p. 180; Theocr. Id. 3, 10, 5, 88, etc.; Virg. Eel. 3, 64) was a token of love. For numerous testimonies, see Celsius, Hierob. 1, 265. See BOTANY.
Although it is so usual to speak of the forbidden fruit of paradise as an "apple," we need hardly say that there is nothing in Scripture to indicate what kind of tree was "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil." But in the fabled "apples of discord," and in the golden apple which Paris gave to the goddess of love, thereby kindling the Trojan war, it is possible that the primeval tradition reappears of
"The fruit Of that forbidden tree, whose mortal taste Brought death into the world, and all our woe."
The Heb. for the "apple" of the eye is אִישׁוֹן (ishon', mannikin, pupil, De 32:10; Pr 7:2), otherwise בָּבָה (babah', hole, gate, Zec 2:12), or בִּת (bath, daughter, i.e. by an idiomatic use, the pupil, Ps 17:8). The same figure occurs. in the Apocrypha (κὸρη, Ecclus. 17:22 ). It is curious to observe how common the image (" pupil of the eye") is in the languages of different nations. Gesenius (Thes. p. 86) quotes from the Arabic, the Syriac, the Ethiopic, the Coptic, the Persian, in all of which tongues an expression similar to the English "pupil of the eye" is found. SEE EYE.
APPLES OF SODOM is a phrase associated with the Dead Sea, as the name of a species of fruit extremely beautiful to the eye, but bitter to the taste and full of dust. Tacitus (Hist. 5, 7) alludes to this singular fact, but in language so brief and ambiguous that no light can be derived from his description: "Black and empty, they vanish as it were in ashes." Josephus also, speaking of the conflagration of the plain, and the yet remaining tokens of the divine fire, remarks, "There are still to be seen ashes reproduced in the fruits, which indeed resemble edible fruits in color, but on being plucked with the hands are dissolved into smoke and ashes" (War, 4, 8,4). The supposed fruit has furnished many moralists with allusions; and also Milton, in whose infernal regions "A grove sprung up — laden with fair fruit — greedily they plucked The fruitage, fair to sight, like that which grew Near that bituminous lake where Sodom flamed. This, more delusive, not the touch, but taste Deceived. They, fondly thinking to allay Their appetite with gust, instead of fruit Chewed bitter ashes, which the offended taste With spattering noise rejected." Some travelers, unable to discover this singular production, have considered it merely as a figure of speech, depicting the deceitful nature of all vicious enjoyments; but Kitto (Phys. Hist. of Palest. p. 290 sq.) adduces the definite testimony of many modern travelers to show that these allusions are based upon truth, especially the statements of Seetzen (in Zach's Monatl. Corresp. 18, 442) and Burckhardt (Syria, p. 392), whose accounts of the fruit of the Osheir (prob. Asclepias gigantea) remarkably coincide with the ancient descriptions. This plant is figured and described by Prosper Alpinus under the name Beid elOssar (Hist. Nat. iEgypte,
Lugd. Bat. 1735, pt. 1:43). See also Irby and Mangles (Travels, ch. viii). Hasselquist, however, finds the "apples of Sodom" in the Solanum Sodomeum, which he identifies with the Solanum melongena, or mad- apple, growing in great abundance in the plain of the Jordan (Riese, p. 151). But Dr. Robinson thinks the other the most probable plant. His description of it is as follows: "We saw here [on the shore of the Dead Sea] several trees of the kind, the trunks of which were 6 or 8 inches in diameter, and the whole height from 10 to 15 feet. It has a grayish, cork- like bark, with long oval leaves, and in its general appearance and character it might be taken for a gigantic perennial species of the milk-weed or silkweed found in the northern parts of the American states. Its leaves and flowers are very similar to those of the latter plant, and when broken off it in like manner discharges copiously a milky fluid. The fruit greatly resembles externally a large smooth apple or orange, hanging in clusters of three or four together, and when ripe is of a yellow color. It was now fair and delicious to the eye, and soft to the touch; but on being pressed or struck it explodes with a puff, like, a bladder or puff-ball, leaving in the hand only the shreds of the thin rind and a few fibres. It is, indeed, filled chiefly with air like a bladder, which gives it the round form; while in the center a small slender pod runs through it from the stem, and is connected by thin filaments with the rind. The pod contains a small quantity of fine silk with seeds, precisely like the pod of the silk-weed, though very much smaller, being indeed scarcely the tenth part as large. The Arabs collect the silk and twist it into matches for their guns, preferring it to the common match, because it requires no sulphur to render it combustible. In the accounts of Tacitus and Josephus, after a due allowance for the marvelous in all popular reports, I find nothing which does not apply almost literally to the fruit of the Osher, as we saw it. It must be plucked and handled with great care in order to preserve it from bursting. We attempted to carry some of the boughs and fruit with us to Jerusalem, but without success. Hasselquist's apples of Sodom (the fruit of the Solanum melongena) are much smaller than those of the Osher, and when ripe are full of small black grains. There is here, however, nothing like explosion, nothing like 'smoke and ashes,' except occasionally, as the same naturalist remarks, 'when the fruit is punctured by an insect (Tenthredo), which converts the whole of the inside into dust, leaving nothing but the rind entire, without any loss of color.' We saw the Solanum and the Osher growing side by side; the former presenting nothing remarkable in its appearance, and being found in other parts of the country, while the latter immediately arrested our attention by its singular accordance with the ancient story, and is, moreover, peculiar in Palestine to the shores of the Dead Sea" (Bib. Researches, 2, 236 sq.; comp. Wilson, Bible Lands, 1, 8 sq.). SEE SODOM.
It should be observed that the Bible speaks only of the "VINE of Sodom," and that metaphorically (De 32:32), as a synonym of a poisonous berry. SEE HEMLOCK.