represents, in the Auth. Vers., the Heb. תּאִשּׁוּר, teihsshur', which occurs in three places in Scripture, but great uncertainty has always existed respecting its true meaning (Celsius, Hierobot. ii, 153). The old versions and interpreters express it variously by that of the cedar, poplar, and fir; the Vulgate (so buxus in 2  Esd. 14:24), the Chaldee paraphrase (אשׁכרועין; see Maimon. ad Chelim, 12:8; Bartenora ad Negaim, ii, 1), and several Hebrew commentators, render it by box-tree, which view our translators have adopted.
There is no philological proof of this conclusion, but yet there is nothing in the tree indicated unsuitable to the several contexts. Thus, with reference to the future Temple, it is said (Isa 60:13), "The glory of Lebanon shall come unto thee, the fir-tree, the pinetree, and the box (Sept. κέδρος) together;" and at Isa 61:11, "I will set in the desert the fir-tree, and the pine, and the box (Sept. confounds with several interpolated kinds) together." Further, in Eze 27:6, in the account of the arts and commerce of Tyre, we read' "Of the oaks of Bashan have they made thine oars, and the benches of the rowers are made of ashur-wood ( אֲשׁוּרashur'; Sept. translates unintelligibly; Engl. Vers. "Ashurites" [q.v.]), inlaid with ivory," as it is now usually interpreted. The ashur-wood, moreover, is said to have been brought from the isles of Chittim, that is, of Greece. According to most, however, who argue from the derivation of the word (from אשִׁר, ashar', to be erect), the teishshur is a species of cedar called sherbin (so the Syriac), to be recognised by the small size of the cones and the upward tendency of the branches (see Niebuhr's Arab. p. 149). Robinson, in his latest volume of Researches in Palestine, mentions a grove near el-Hadith which only the natives speak of as Arez (Heb. אֶרֶז, erez, cedar), though the tree bears a general resemblance to the cedar, and is probably the sherbin (see Celsii Hierob. i, 74, 79; Freytag, Lex. ii, 408; Robinson, 3:593). SEE CEDAR.
The box (Buxus semperirens) is an evergreen, which in our gardens is generally seen only as a dwarf shrub. In the East, however, its native country, it attains the size of a forest-tree, and often forms a very beautiful feature in the landscape. It is a native of most parts of Europe. It grows well in moderate climates, while that from the Levant is most valued in commerce, in consequence of being highly esteemed by wood-engravers. Turkey box is yielded by Buxus Balearica, a species which is found in Minorca, Sardinia, and Corsica, and also in both European and Asiatic Turkey, and is imported from Constantinople, Smyrna, and the Black Sea. Box is also found on Mount Caucasus, and a species extends even to the Himalaya Mountains. Hence it is well known to Asiatics, and is the
shumshad of the Arabs. It is much employed in the present day by the wood-engraver, the turner, carver, mathematical instrument-maker, and the comb and flute maker. It was cultivated by the Romans, as described by Pliny (xvi, 33). Virgil (En., 10:135) alludes to the practice of its being inlaid with ivory (comp. Theocrit. 24:108; Athen. v, 207; Pliny, 16:66; Virg. Georg. ii, 449; Juv. 14:194). The box-tree, being a native of mountainous regions, was peculiarly adapted to the calcareous formations of Mount Lebanon, and therefore likely to be brought from thence with the coniferous woods for the building of the Temple, and was as well suited as the fir and the pine trees for changing the face of the desert (see Penny Cyclopcedia, s.v. Btxus). SEE BOTANY.