is the rendering of the A.V. of two Heb. words,
1. Botnim', בָּטנַים, occurs only in Ge 43:11, where Jacob, wishing to conciliate the ruler of Egypt, sends by his sons a present, and along with other articles mentions 'nuts and almonds." Among the various translations of this term Celsius enumerates walnuts, hazel-nuts, pine-nuts, peaches, dates, the fruit of the terebinth-tree, and even almonds; but there is little doubt that pistachio-nuts is the true rendering. From the context it is evident that the articles intended for presents were the produce of Syria, and they were probably less common in Egypt. The Sept. and Vulg. render by terebinth, the Persian version has pusteh, from which it is believed the Arabic fostak is derived, whence the Greek πιστάκια and the Latin pistacia. The Heb. word botnimz is very similar to the Arabic batam, which we find in Arabian authors, as Rhases, Serapion, and Avicenna. It is sometimes written baton, boton, botin, and albotin. The name is applied specially to the terebinth-tree, or Pistacia terebinthus of botanists, the τέρμινθος or τερέβινθος of the Greeks. This is the turpentine-yielding pistacia, a native of Syria and of the Greek Archipelago. SEE OAK. The tree yields one of the finest kinds of turpentine, that usually called of Chio or Cyprus; which, employed as a medicine in ancient times, still holds its place in the British pharmacopoeias. From being produced only in a few places, and from being highly valued, it is usually adulterated. with the common kinds of turpentine. In many places, however, where the tree grows well, it does not yield turpentine, which may account for its not being noticed as a product of Palestine; otherwise we might have inferred that the turpentine of this species of pistacia formed one of the articles sent as a present into Egypt. The name batam is applied by the Arabs both to the turpentine and to the tree. It appears, however, to be sometimes used generically, as in some Arabic works it is applied to a tree of which the kernels of the seeds are described as being of a green color. This is the distinguishing characteristic of another species of pistacia, the Pevea of botanists, of which the fruit is well known to the Arabs by the name of fistuk. This, no doubt, gave origin to the Greek πιστάκια, said by Dioscorides to be like pine-nuts. Besides these edible kernels, the pistacia- tree is described in the Arabic works on Materia Medica as yielding another product. somewhat similar to the turpentine of the batam, but which is called 'aluk al-anbat, a resin of the anbat, — as if this were another name for the pistacia-tree. This brings it much nearer the botnim of Scripture. The Botnac ,of the Talmud is considered by annotators to be the pistacia (Celsius, Hierobot. 1:26). Bochart for this and other reasons considered botnim to be the kernels of the pistacia-tree (Chacnaanz, 1:10).
The pistachio-nut-tree is well known, extending as it does from Syria to Afghanistan. From the latter country the seeds are carried as an article of commerce to India where they are eaten in their uncooked state, added to sweetmeats, or as a dessert fried, with pepper and salt, being much relished by Europeans for the delicacy of their flavor. The pistacia-tree is most common in the northern, that is, the cooler parts of Syria, but it is also found wild in Palestine. Syria and Palestine have been long famous for pistacia-trees, see Dioscorides (1:177) and Pliny (13:5) says, "Syria has several trees that are peculiar to itself; among the nut-trees there is the well-known pistacia;" in another place (15:22) he states: that Vitellius introduced this tree into Italy, and that Flaccus Pompeius brought it at. the same time into Spain. The district around Aleppo is especially celebrated for the excellence of the pistachionuts, see Russell (Hist. of Aleppo, i, 82, 2d ed.) and Galen (De Flac. Alirn. 2, p. 612), who mentions Berrhoea (Aleppo) as being rich in the production of these trees; the town of Batna, in the same district, is believed to derive its name from this circumstance: Betonim. a town of the tribe of Gad (Jos 13:26), has in all probability a similar etymology. Bochart draws attention to the fact that pistachio-nuts are mentioned, together with almonds in Ge 43:11, and observes that Dioscorides, Theophrastus, and others, speak of the pistacia-tree conjointly with the almond-tree; as there is no mention iln early writers of: the P. vera growing, in Egypt (see Celsius, Hierobot. 1:27), it was doubtless not found there in patriarchal times, wherefore, Jacob's present to Joseph would have been most acceptable. There is scarcely any allusion to the occurrence of the. P. veras in Palestine among the writings of modern travelers; Kitto (Phys. Hist. Pal. p. 323) says, "It is not much cultivated in. Palestine, although found there growing wild in some very remarkable positions, as on Mount Tabor, and on the summit of Mount Attarus (see Burckhardt, Syria, p. 334)." Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, 2:413) says that the terebinth-trees near Mais el-Jebel had been grafted with the pistacia from Aleppo by order of Ibrahim Pasha, but that "the peasants destroyed the grafts lest their crop of oil from the berries of these trees should be diminished." Dr. Hooker saw only two or three pistacia-trees; in Palestine. These were outside the north gate of Jerusalem. But he says the tree is cultivated at Beiruit and elsewhere in Syria. It delights in a dry soil, and rises to the height of twenty, and sometimes thirty feet. As. it belongs to the same genus as the terebinth-tree; so, like it, the male and female flowers grow on. separate trees. It is therefore necessary for the foundation of the seed that a male tree be planted among the female ones. It is probably owing to the flowers of the latter not being fecundated that the trees occasionally bear oblong fruit-like but hollow bodies, which are sometimes described as galls, sometimes as nuts, of little value. The ripe seeds are enclosed in a woody but brittle whitish-colored shell, and within it is the seed-covering, which is thin, membranous, and of a reddish color. The fruit is about the size of an olive, but bulging on one side and concave on the other. Inside a tender reddish pulp is a shell, which in its turn encloses a green-colored kernel, of a sweet and agreeable flavor, and abounding in oil. Pistachio nuts are much eaten by the natives of the countries where they are grown, and, as we have seen, they form articles of commerce from Afghanistan to India — a hot country like Egypt. They are also exported from Syria to Europe in considerable quantities. They might therefore have well formed a part of the present intended for Joseph, notwithstanding the high position which he occupied in Egypt.
2. Egoz', אגֵוֹז; Sept. κάρυον. This word occurs in the Song 5:11: "I went into the garden of nuts," where probably what is known with us as English walnuts, or in the American market as "Madeira nuts," is intended. The Hebr.ew name is evidently the same as the Persian gowz,' and the Arabic jowz, both of which, when they stand alone, signify the walnut, gowz-bun being the walnut-tree; when used in composition they may signify the nut of any other tree; thusjowz-i-boa is the nutmeg, jowz-i-hisndi is the Indian ' or cocoanut, etc. Abu'l Fadii (in. Celsius) says, "While Arabs have borrowed the word jaes from the Persian; in Arabic the term is Chusf, which is a tall tree." The Chusf or Chasf is translated by Freytag "an esculent nut, the walnut." The Jewish rabbins understand the walnut by Egoz. The Greeks employed κάρυον, and the Romans nux, to denote the walnut (see Casaubon, On Athenceus, 2:65; Ovid, "VNux Elegia; "Celsius, 'Hierobot. 1:28); which last remains in modern languages, as Ital. noce, Fr. noix, Span. nuez, and Ger. nuss. 'The walnut was,'however, also called κάρυον βασιλικόν (Diosc. 1:179), royal nut, from its excellence, and also Περσικόν or Persian, having been introduced into Greece from Persia: the name juglans has been derived from Jovis glans, the acorn, or nut of Jove. That the walnut was highly esteemed in the East we learn from. Abulpharagius, who states that Al Mahadi, the third caliph of the Abassides, "was buried at the foot of the walnut-tree under which he used to sit." That it is found in Syria has been recorded by several travelers. Thevenot found it in the neighborhood of Mount Sinai, and Belon says of a village not far from Lebanon that it was "well shaded with oak and walnut trees." That it was planted at an early period is well known, and might be easily proved from a variety of sources. According ῥto Josephus (War 3:10, 8) the walnut-tree was formerly common, and grew most luxuriantly around the lake of Gennesareth; Schulze, speaking of this same district, says he often saw walnut-trees growing there large enough to shelter four-and-twenty persons. See also Kitto (Phys. Hist. Pal. p. 250) and Burckhardt (Syria, p. 265).
The walnut, or Juglans regia of botanists, belongs to the natural family of Juglandeae, of which the species are found in North America and in Northern Asia. The walnut itself extends from Greece and Asia Minor over Lebanon and Persia, probably all along the Hindu Khish to the Himalayas, and is abundant in Cashmere (Him. Bot. p. 342). The walnut-tree is well known as a lofty, wide-spreading tree, which affords a grateful shade, and of which the leaves have an agreeable odor when bruised. It seems formerly to have been thought unwholesome to sit under its shade, but, this appears to be incorrect. The flowers begin to open in April, and the fruit is ripe in September and October. The tree is much esteemed for the excellence of its wood; and the kernel of the nut is valued not only as an article of diet, but for the oil which it yields. Being thus known to and highly valued by the Greeks in early times, it is more than probable that, if not indigenous in Syria, it was introduced there at a still earlier period, and that therefore it may be alluded to in the above passage, more especially as Solomon has said, "I made me gardens and orchards, and planted trees in them of all kind of fruits" (Ec 2:5).