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Plants of the Bible. Lytton John Musselman Old Dominion University. About 125 different plants are mentioned in the Bible.

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slide1

Plants of the Bible

Lytton John Musselman

Old Dominion University

slide2

About 125 different plants are mentioned in the Bible.

This includes crops about whose identity is clear, and such obscure plants as almug wood (II Chronicles 2:8) and “costly wood” (Revelation 18:12). In addition, there are general terms as “weeds” and “trees”.

more plants are mentioned in the old testament than in the new testament
More plants are mentioned in the Old Testament than in the New Testament
  • Isaiah mentions more plants than any other book (it is also one of the longest books).
  • Song of Solomon mentions more unique plants, hapex legemon, than any other book.
slide4

Few plants and plant

products are unique to

the New Testament

Papyrus

Laurel

slide5

Paper from the Egyptian river plant

Cyperus papyrus is mentioned in

II John 12. It was shipped to the

Phoenician port of Byblos, the presentday

Lebanese city of Jbail. Our English

word paper comes from papyrusand Bible

Bible from Byblos.

Ancient port

of Byblos

slide6

Laurel (Laurus nobilis), the bay leaf of cooking,

is implied in the victor’s crown in several New

Testament verses, especially Paul’s writings. It

is a common shrub in the Mediterranean region.

“…you will

receive a crown

of glory that will

never fade. . .”

I Peter 5:4

slide7
Several plants are obvious imports to Israel. Examples are ebony (Ezekiel 27:15) and the essential ingredients for the anointing oil and incense—calamus, frankincense, and myrrh (Exodus 30)

Boswellia papyrifera near Kadugli, Sudan

slide8
Based on an agrarian society, the Bible includes many references to crops, like wheat, and associated plants. Certainly the best known is the mustard of Jesus’ teaching yet we have little idea of which plant is intended.
slide9
No clear correlation exists between the frequency of references and the frequency of plants in natural vegetation. A good example is the carob (kharoobin Arabic), Ceratonia siliqua, a common tree in much of the Middle East yet mentioned only once (the story of the prodigal son, Luke 15).

Because of their uniform

weight, the seeds of carob

were used to measure precious

commodities, like gold. Hence

the word carat in English, from

Ceratonia.

slide10

Chamaecyparis thyoides

Cedar of Lebanon

Local people in different lands use Bible (or Qu’ran) names for indigenous plants which never grew in Bible lands. The flora of Eastern North America, for example, has many "cedars," which are no relation to the cedar of Lebanon of the Bible.

Atlantic white

cedar, Dismal

Swamp

Juniperus virginiana

Red cedar

slide11

In eastern Sudan, the Beja people call

the large, arborescent Euphorbia abyssinca,

zaqqm after the “tree of Hell” mentioned

in the Qu’ran (Al-Sfft 37:65, Al-Dukhn

44:49, Al-Waqiah 56:51).

slide12
The vine (Vitis vinifera) and its products is mentioned more than any other plant with 372 references. On the other hand, some plants are mentioned only once such as saffron.
slide13

Current Research on Bible Plants

Cedar of Lebanon

Cedrus libani

slide14

The righteous will flourish like a

palm tree, they will grow like

a cedar in Lebanon

Psalm 92:12

slide15

Certainly the best known Lebanese plant is Cedrus libani, Cedar of Lebanon

Cedars of the Lord, Bsherri

Tannourine cedar preserve

slide16

Cedar requires fog from the

Mediterranean to thrive

Less than 3% of the

original cedar forest

is extant in Lebanon

Ehden cedar preserve, March 2002

slide17

A patriarch of cedars at the Arz el Rab (cedars of God)

Preserve near Bsherri, Lebanon

Wood craft from broken branches

and damaged trees

slide18

Artist Rudy Rahme has sculpted some dead trees

into objects of religious veneration, perhaps a

continuation of the ancient respect for forest giants

slide19

A cedar log about

300 years old when

it was toppled,

probably by a flood,

7774 years ago.

Preserved on the campus

of the American

University of Beirut

slide20

Current research at the American University

of Beirut seeks to inventory cedars, determine

their reproductive potential, and understand their

importance in the local economy

slide21

Mandrake

Mandragora officinalis

A relative of tomato, potato,

and tobacco. It contains a

complex chemical mixture.

slide22

Mandrake

Flowers in the winter with specialized

floral parts that repel rain.

slide23

Mandrake

Fruits are often

considered toxic

Fragrant fruits are produced

in the late spring. “. . .the

mandrakes send out their

fragrance. . .” Song of

Solomon 7: 13.

slide24

Current Research on Bible Plants

Frikeh Green Roasted Wheat

what is the material in these verses
What is the material in these verses?
  • If you bring a grain offering of first fruits to the Lord, you shall bring as the grain offering of your first fruits coarse new grain from fresh ears parched with fire. Leviticus 2:14. New Revised Standard Version
  • If you bring a grain offering of first fruits to the LORD, offer crushed heads of new grain roasted in the fire. Leviticus 2:14. New International Version
frikeh production in syria
Frikeh Production in Syria

Selecting the grain for burning

frikeh production in syria27
Frikeh Production in Syria

Selecting the grain for burning

Burning the durum wheat

frikeh production in syria28
Frikeh Production in Syria

The finished product.

Drying on an Aleppo sidewalk

slide29

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost

--also the cucumbers, melons, leeks and garlic.

Numbers 11:5

What are “leeks” in the Bible?

slide30

Comparison of Allium porrum

and A. kurrat

C

Allium kurrat, Egypt

Allium porrum, England

slide31

Kurrat

Culture of kurrat near

Alexandria, Egypt March 2003

slide32

Kurrat

Kurrat is easy to grow from seed.

Flowers appear after six months.

slide33

What is the smallest

seed in the Bible?

slide34

Brassica alba

White mustard

Mustard??

Brassica nigra

Black mustard

slide36

Mustard seed is not the

smallest seed, only the

smallest of crop seeds.

slide37

Wheat

Flax

Chickpea

Barley

slide38

Wheat

Flax

Chickpea

Mustard

Barley

slide39

Jesus said: “It [The Kingdom of

God] is like a mustard seed, which

is the smallest seed you plant. . .”

Mark 4: 31.

slide42

What feature makes it like the

Kingdom of God?

“Leaven” is

also a symbol of the

Kingdom of God.

Mustard seed 24 hours after sowing

slide43

Mustard—What is

mustard in the Bible?

slide44

There is no archeological

or ethnobotanical evidence

of culture of mustard.

slide45

One candidate is Eruca

sativa, known in English

as rocket or arugula.

slide46

Eruca sativa, widely used

in the Middle East

slide47

Eruca sativa, widely used

in the Middle East

slide48

Some Bible Plants easy

to grow in the Tidewater

area

slide53

Flax—source of linen, one

of two fabrics in the Bible

slide54

Flax—source of linseed, or

flax seed, one of the oldest

known foods.

Toasted

Raw

slide55

There are many other Bible

plants suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Saffron Onion

Dill Garlic

Cumin Broadbean

Melon Rue

Cucumber Myrtle

Pomegranate Mustard

slide56

There are many other Bible

plants suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Saffron

slide57

There are many other Bible

plants suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Dill

slide58

There are many other Bible

plants suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Cumin

slide59

There are many other Bible

plants suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Pomegranate

Pomegranates on a

frieze in Hagia Sophia,

Istanbul

slide60

There are some Bible plants un-suitable for Tidewater gardens including:

Poison hemlock

Deadly poison!!

Caused the death of

Socrates!

slide61

Plants of the Bible

For more information on Bible

Plants, go to the ODU Bible plants

Web site at http://web.odu.edu/plant

slide62

Plants of the Bible

Scroll down to Bible Plants

slide64

American University of

Beirut and Old Dominion

University…

slide65

John Musselman, eager

field companion….

slide67

Solo Deo Gloria

Wadi Jhannem, northern Lebanon

slide69

He [Solomon] spoke

of plant life from the

cedar……………

…of Lebanon to the hyssop

that grows from the wall.

I Kings 4