a majestic Oriental tree, which has been made by many a rival of:the oak. as a representative of the Heb. אִלָּה, אֵלָה, אֵיל, or אִלּוֹן. SEE PLAIN. So Celsius (Hierob. 2, 34-58), and' naturalists generally since. Travelers frequently confound the two trees. They are, however, quite different in many particulars. The bark, shape, and general character are remarkably alike, but the wood, the leaf, and the blossom differ very obviously. SEE TOPOGRAPHICAL TERMS. The terebinth is the Pistacia terebinthus of botanists, called by the Arabs the betm or butni, and well known in the Greek islands as the turpentine-tree. SEE TEIL. In Chios especially a considerable quantity of turpentine is extracted from it by tapping the trunk; but this is not practiced in Palestine, where the inhabitants seem to be ignorant of its commercial value. It is a very common tree in the southern and eastern parts of the country, being generally found in situations too warm for the oak, whose place it there supplies, although they are occasionally found immediately adjoining, as at Tell el-Kady. (Tristram, Land of Israel, p. 581). It is seldom, seen in clumps or groves, never in forests, but stands isolated and weird-like in some bare ravine or on a hillside, where nothing else towers above the lower brushwood. The but is not an evergreen, as is often represented, but its small feathered lancet-shaped leaves fall in the autumn and are renewed in the spring. They are pinnate, the leaflets larger than those of the lentisk, and their hue is a very dark reddish-green, not quite so somber as the locust-tree. The flowers are in clusters like those of a vine, inconspicuous, and are followed by small oval berries, hanging in clusters from two to five inches in length, resembling much the clusters of the vine when the grapes are just set. They are of a ruddy purple and remarkably juicy. Another fruit, or rather excrescence, is found on the tree, scattered among the leaves, of the size of a chestnut, of a putrid color variegated with green and white. The people of Cyprus believe that it is produced by the puncture of a fly; when opened it appears full of worms (Mariti, 1, 209; 2, 114). From incisions in the trunk there flows a sort of transparent balsam, constituting a very pure and fine species of turpentine, with an agreeable odor, like citron or jessamine, and a mild taste, and hardening gradually into a transparent gum. It is called Cyprus or Chian turpentine, and is obtained in July by wounding the bark in several places, leaving a space of about three inches between the wounds. From these the turpentine is received on stones, upon which it becomes so much condensed by the coldness of the night as to admit of being scraped off with a knife, which is always done before sunrise. It is again liquefied in the sun and passed through a strainer, in order to free it from all extraneous matters. The quantity produced is very small, four large trees, sixty years old, only yielding two pounds and a half: it may be somewhat more in favorable situations. In consequence of this, and its superior qualities, the turpentine is very costly, and is often adulterated with inferior substances (Kitto, Phys. Hist. of Palest. p. 238). The tree is found also in Asia Minor (many of them near Smyrna), Greece, Italy, the south of France, Spain, and in the north of Africa, and is there described as not usually rising to the height of more than twenty feet. It often exceeds that size, however, in the mountains, and in the plains of Syria it is very much larger. SEE OAK.

Many terebinths remain to this day objects of veneration in their neighborhood, and the favorite burying place of a Bedawin sheik is under a solitary tree. Eastern travelers will recall the "Mother of rags" on the outskirts of the desert-a terebinth covered with the votive offerings of superstition or affection. The "oak of Mamre," near Hebron, was said to be a terebinth, which remained till the 4th century (Jerome, De Loc. Heb. 87; Sozomen, Eccles. Hist. 2, 4; comp. Josephus, War, 5, 9, 7), and on its site Constantine erected al church, the ruins of which still remain. It is said that the tree dried up in the reign of Theodosius the Younger; but that the trunk produced a new tree, from which Brocard (7, 64), Salignac (10, 5), and other old travelers declare that they brought slips of the new and old wood to their own country (Zuallart Voyage de Jerusalem, 4,: 1) The tree was accidentally destroyed by fire in A.D. 1646 (Mariti, p. 520). Its modern representative, however, is a true oak, as is proved both by its leaves and actual acorns. The tree on which Judas hanged himself is said to have been a terebinth, and its descendant is yet shown to the credulous, overhanging the valley of Hinnom. Towards the north of Palestine the tree becomes more scarce; but in ancient Moab and Ammon, and in the region around Heshbon, it is the only one that relieves the monotony of the rolling downs and boundless sheep walks; and in the few glens south of the Jabbok there are many trees of a larger size than others which remain west of the Jordan (Tristram, Nat. Hist. of the Bible,. p. 401). In Turkey the burial-grounds of Christians, particularly the Armenians, are planted with terebinth-: trees, the cypress being reserved for the Mohammedans (Calcott [Lady], Script. Herbal, p. 504). SEE TURPENTINE-TREE.

See also the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia.

Topical Outlines Nave's Bible Topics International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online King James Bible King James Dictionary

Verse reference tagging and popups powered by VerseClick™.