Bay-tree (אֶזרָח, ezrach', native; Sept. αἱ κέδροι τοῦ Λιβάνου, apparently by mistake for אִרזָה) occurs only once in Scripture as the name of a tree, namely, in Ps 37:35: "I have seen the wicked in great power, spreading himself like a green bay-tree;" where some suppose it to indicate a specific tree, as the laurel; and others, supported by the Sept. and Vulg. the cedar of Lebanon. It is by some considered to mean an evergreen tree, and by others a green tree that grows in its native soil, or that has not suffered by transplanting, as such a tree spreads itself luxuriantly (so Gesenius, Thes. Heb. s.v. in accordance with the etymology). Others, again, as the unknown author of the sixth Greek edition, who is quoted by Celsius (1, 194), consider the word as referring to the "indigenous man," in the sense of self-sufficiency; and this opinion is adopted by Celsius himself, who states that recent interpreters have adopted the laurel or bay-tree for no other reason than because it is an evergreen. Sir Thomas Browne, indeed, says, "As the sense of the text is sufficiently answered by this, we are unwilling to exclude that noble plant from the honor of having its name in Scripture." Isidore de Barriere, on the contrary, concludes that the laurel is not mentioned in Scripture because it has been profaned by Gentile fables. But the abuse of a thing should not prevent its proper use; and if such a principle had been acted on, we should not have found in Scripture mention of any trees or plants employed by the Gentiles in their superstitious ceremonies, as the vine, the olive, and the cedar. SEE NATIVE.

Bible concordance for BAY TREE.

Definition of bay

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

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