From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Fausset's Bible Dictionary [1]

'Εrez , from 'Aιraz , "coiled" or "compressed," a deeply rooted tree. According to Scripture, tall ( Isaiah 2:13), spreading ( Ezekiel 31:3), fit for beams, boards, and pillars ( 1 Kings 6:10;  1 Kings 6:15;  1 Kings 7:2), masts ( Ezekiel 27:5), and carved work as images ( Isaiah 44:14). The timber for the second temple, as for Solomon's, was cedar ( Ezra 3:7). As our modern cedar is hardly fit for masts, and is of a worse quality than inferior deal, probably by the "cedar" of Scripture is meant Scotch fir (Pinus sylvestris). In  Ezekiel 27:3 the Septuagint translate "masts of fir," and by "fir" is meant cypress. Moreover the deodara cedar (the tree of God,  Psalms 104:16, the sacred tree of the Hindus, of which they construct their temples) has the durability wanting in our modern cedar of Lebanon.

The Nineveh inscriptions state that the palaces were in part constructed of cedar; this proves on microscopic examination to be yew; so that by "cedar of Lebanon" the wood of more than one tree is meant, the pine cedar, Scotch fir, yew, deodara. Cedar was also used in purification, probably the oxycedrus abounding in Egypt, Arabia, and the wady Mousa; indeed, the greater cedar not being found there, the tree meant in the laws of purification must have been a distinct one ( Leviticus 14:4;  Numbers 19:6). It was anciently burnt as a perfume at funerals. In a hollow of Lebanon, where no other trees are near, about 400 cedars of Lebanon stand alone, 3,000 feet below the summit and 6,400 above the sea. Only eleven or twelve are very large and old.

This forest is regarded by the neighboring people with superstitious reverence. Sennacherib had desired to "go up to the sides of Lebanon and cut down the tall cedars thereof" ( 2 Kings 19:23), but was baffled by the interposition of Jehovah. Another Assyrian king accomplished it, as an inscription at Nimrud states in recording his conquests in N. Syria. But God in retributive justice "consumed the glory of the Assyrian's forest" figuratively; fulfilling His threat, "the rest of the trees of his forest shall be few that a child may write them" ( Isaiah 10:18-19). Solomon's 80,000 hewers must have inflicted such havoc that the cedar forest never recovered it completely. The cedar of Lebanon is an evergreen, its leaves remaining on for two years, and every spring contributing a fresh supply.

American Tract Society Bible Dictionary [2]

A noble evergreen-tree greatly celebrated in the Scriptures,  Psalm 92:12   Ezekiel 31:3-6 . These trees are remarkably thick and tall; some among them are from thirty-five to forty feet in girth, and ninety feet in height. The cedar-tree shoots out branches at ten of twelve feet from the ground, large and almost horizontal; its leaves are an inch long, slender and straight, growing in tufts. The tree bears a small cone, like that of the pine. This celebrated tree is not peculiar to mount Lebanon, but grows also upon mounts Amanus and Taurus in Asia Minor, and in other parts of the Levant, but does not elsewhere reach the size and height of those on Lebanon. It has also been cultivated in the gardens of Europe; two venerable individuals of this species exist at Chiswick in England; and there is a very beautiful one in the Jardin des Plantes in Paris. The beauty of the cedar consists in the proportion and symmetry of its wide-spreading branches and cone-like top. The gum, which exudes both from the trunk and the cones or fruits, is soft like balsam of Mecca. Every thing about this tree has a strong balsamic odor; and hence the whole grove is so pleasant and fragrant, that it is delightful to walk in it, Song of  Song of Solomon 4:11   Hosea 14:6 . The wood is peculiarly adapted to building, because it is not subject to decay, nor to be eaten of worms; hence it was much used for rafters, and for boards with which to cover houses and form the floors and ceilings of rooms. It was of a red color, beautiful, solid, and free from knots. The palace of Persepolis, the temple at Jerusalem, and Solomon's palace, were all in this way built with cedar; and "the house of the forest of Lebanon," was perhaps so called from the quantity of this wood used in its construction,  1 Kings 7:2   10:17 .

Of the forests of cedars which once covered Lebanon, comparatively few are now left,  Isaiah 2:13   10:19; though there are still many scattered trees in various parts, resembling the genuine cedar. The largest and most ancient trees, generally thought to be the only ones, are found in a grove, lying a little off from the road which crosses mount Lebanon from Baalbek to Tripole, at some distance below the summit of the mountain on the western side, at the foot indeed of the highest summit or ridge of Lebanon. This grove consists of a few very old trees, perhaps as old as the time of Christ, intermingled with 400 or 500 younger ones. See Lebanon .

Besides the true cedar of Lebanon, the word cedar in the Bible appears to mean sometimes the juniper and sometimes the pine.

People's Dictionary of the Bible [3]

Cedar. Several cone-bearing, evergreen trees appear to be included under this title. But ordinarily, the cedar of Lebanon (the still famous tree of that name, Cedrus Libani ) is meant. The Scriptures give its characteristics. Comp.  Psalms 92:12;  Ezekiel 31:3-6;  1 Kings 7:2;  1 Kings 10:27;  Song of Solomon 4:11;  Hosea 14:6;  Isaiah 2:13;  Isaiah 10:19. It grows to the height of 70 or 80 feet. The branches ate thick and long, spreading out almost horizontally from the trunk, which is sometimes 30 or 40 feet in circumference.  Ezekiel 31:3;  Ezekiel 31:6;  Ezekiel 31:8. Maundrell measured one which was 36 feet and 6 inches in the girth, and 111 feet in the spread of its boughs. The wood is of area color and bitter taste, which is offensive to insects, and hence it Is very durable and admirably adapted for building. Cedar was used for the most noble and costly edifices, as the palace of Persepolis, the palace of Solomon, and the temple at Jerusalem. This timber served not only for beams for the frame and boards for covering buildings, but was also wrought into the walls.  2 Samuel 7:2;  1 Kings 6:36;  1 Kings 7:12. The gum which exudes from the trunk and the cones is as soft and fragrant as the balsam of Mecca. This tree, there is reason to believe, once quite covered the mountains of Lebanon between the heights of 3000 and 7000 feet. Rev. H. H. Jessup has visited and described eleven distinct groves of cedars on those mountains, including, altogether, several thousand trees. The wood of the cedar is notable for toughness, durability, and adaptedness to the climate and circumstances of Syria. There is no such thing as a rotten cedar. The name of Lamartine, carved on one of the giant trees 109 years ago, is fresh and legible today. All other woods indigenous to Syria are liable to the attacks of insects or a kind of dry rot. Cedar beams are unchangeable. The cedar is a desirable wood for carving.  Isaiah 44:14. It is hard, fragrant, takes a high polish, which develops a beautiful grain, and it grows darker and richer by time.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [4]

 Ezekiel 31:3-5 Psalm 80:10 92:12 Ezekiel 31:6-9 Song of Solomon 4:11 Hosea 14:6 1 Kings 6:9,10 7:2 Jeremiah 22:14 Ezekiel 27:5 Isaiah 44:14

It grew very abundantly in Palestine, and particularly on Lebanon, of which it was "the glory" ( Isaiah 35:2;  60:13 ). Hiram supplied Solomon with cedar trees from Lebanon for various purposes connected with the construction of the temple and the king's palace ( 2 Samuel 5:11;  7:2,7;  1 Kings 5:6,8,10;  6:9,10,15,16,18,20;  7:2,3,7,11,12;  9:11 , etc.). Cedars were used also in the building of the second temple under Zerubbabel ( Ezra 3:7 ).

Of the ancient cedars of Lebanon there remain now only some seven or eight. They are not standing together. But beside them there are found between three hundred and four hundred of younger growth. They stand in an amphitheatre fronting the west, about 6,400 feet above the level of the sea.

The cedar is often figuratively alluded to in the sacred Scriptures. "The mighty conquerors of olden days, the despots of Assyria and the Pharaohs of Egypt, the proud and idolatrous monarchs of Judah, the Hebrew commonwealth itself, the war-like Ammonites of patriarchal times, and the moral majesty of the Messianic age, are all compared to the towering cedar, in its royal loftiness and supremacy ( Isaiah 2:13;  Ezekiel 17:3,22,23,31:3-9;;  Amos 2:9;  Zechariah 11:1,2;  Job 40:17;  Psalm 29:5;  80:10;  92:12 , etc).", Groser's Scrip. Nat. Hist. (See Box-Tree

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

CEDAR ( erez ). The finest of the trees of Lebanon, the principal constituent of its ‘glory’ (  Isaiah 35:2;   Isaiah 60:13 ); it was noted for its strength (  Psalms 29:5 ), its height (  2 Kings 19:23 ) and its majesty (  1 Kings 4:33 ,   2 Kings 14:9 ,   Zechariah 11:1-2 ). Its wood was full of resin (  Psalms 104:16 ), and, largely on that account, was one of the most valuable kinds of timber for building, especially for internal fittings. It was exceedingly durable, being not readily infected with worms, and took a high polish (cf.   1 Kings 10:27 ,   Song of Solomon 1:17 ,   Jeremiah 22:14 ). It was suitable, too, for carved work (  Isaiah 44:14-15 ). In all these respects the ‘cedar of Lebanon’ ( Cedrus Libani ) answers to the requirements. Though but a dwarf in comparison with the Indian cedar, it is the most magnificent tree in Syria; it attains a height of from 80 to 100 feet, and spreads out its branches horizontally so as to give a beautiful shade (  Ezekiel 31:3 ); it is evergreen, and has characteristic egg-shaped cones. The great region of this cedar is now the Cilician Taurus Mountains beyond Mersina, but small groves survive in places in the Lebanon. The most famous of these is that at Kadisha , where there are upwards of 400 trees, some of great age. In a few references erez does not mean the Cedrus Libani , but some other conifer. This is specially the case where ‘cedar-wood’ is used in the ritual of cleansing after defilement by contact with a leper (  Leviticus 14:4 ) or a dead body (  Numbers 19:6 ). Probably erez here is a species of juniper, Juniperus Sabina , which grows in the wilderness. The reference in   Numbers 24:6 to ‘cedar trees beside the waters’ can hardly apply to the Lebanon cedar, which flourishes best on bare mountain slopes.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [6]

ארן . The cedar is a large and noble evergreen tree. Its lofty height, and its far extended branches, afford spacious shelter and shade,  Ezekiel 31:3;  Ezekiel 31:6;  Ezekiel 31:8 . The wood is very valuable; is of a reddish colour, of an aromatic smell, and reputed incorruptible. This is owing to its bitter taste, which the worms cannot endure, and to its resin, which preserves it from the injuries of the weather. The ark of the covenant, and much of the temple of Solomon, and that of Diana at Ephesus, were built of cedar. The tree is much celebrated in Scripture. It is called, "the glory of Lebanon,"

 Isaiah 60:13 . On that mountain it must in former times have flourished in great abundance. There are some cedars still growing there which are prodigiously large. But the travellers who have visited the place within these two or three centuries, and who describe trees of vast size, inform us that their number is diminished greatly; so that, as Isaiah says, "a child may number them,"  Isaiah 10:19 . Maundrell measured one of the largest size, and found it to be twelve yards and six inches in girt, and yet sound; and thirty-seven yards in the spread of its boughs. Gabriel Sionita, a very learned Syrian Maronite, who assisted in editing the Paris Polyglott, a man worthy of all credit, thus describes the cedars of mount Lebanon, which he had examined on the spot: "The cedar grows on the most elevated part of the mountain, is taller than the pine, and so thick, that five men together could scarcely encompass one. It shoots out its branches at ten or twelve feet from the ground: they are large and distant from each other, and are perpetually green. The wood is of a brown colour, very solid and incorruptible, if preserved from wet. The tree bears a small cone like that of the pine."

Smith's Bible Dictionary [7]

Cedar. The Hebrew word, erez , invariably rendered "cedar" , by the Authorized Version, stands for that tree, in most of the passages, where the word occurs. While the word is sometimes used in a wider sense,  Leviticus 14:6, for evergreen cone-bearing trees, generally the cedar of Lebanon ( Cedrus libani ) is intended.  1 Kings 7:2;  1 Kings 10:27;  Psalms 92:12;  Song of Solomon 5:15;  Isaiah 2:13;  Ezekiel 31:3-6.

The wood is of a reddish color, of bitter taste and aromatic odor, offensive to insects, and very durable. The cedar is a 'type' of the Christian, being evergreen, beautiful, aromatic, wide spreading, slow growing, long lived, and having many uses. As far as is at present known, the cedar of Lebanon is confined in Syria, to one valley of the Lebanon range, namely, that of the Kedisha river, which flows from near the highest point of the range westward to the Mediterranean, and enters the sea at the port of Tripoli.

The grove is at the very upper part of the valley, about 15 miles from the sea, 6500 feet above that level, and its position is, moreover, above that of all other arboreous vegetation. ("Of the celebrated cedars on Mount Lebanon, eleven groves still remain. The famous B'Sherreh Grove is three-quarters of a mile in circumference, and contains about 400 trees, young and old. Perhaps a dozen of these are very old; the largest, 63 feet in girth and 70 feet high, is thought by some to have attained the age of 2000 years." - Johnson's Encyclopedia).

Morrish Bible Dictionary [8]

The beautiful tall tree that was extensively used by Solomon in building the temple and his palaces. It is called 'cedar' from the firmness of its roots; its wood is very durable and odoriferous. It was used for beams, pillars and masts, and for carved images.  1 Kings 6:9,10;  Isaiah 44:14;  Ezekiel 27:5 . Special reference is made to it in scripture, as "the trees of the Lord are full of sap; the cedars of Lebanon which he hath planted."  Psalm 104:16 . It cannot be considered as one of the trees of Palestine proper, but is constantly connected in scripture with Lebanon, where it still grows in a group of some 300, a few being very old, and with no others near: the neighbouring people regard them with reverence.

In the cleansing of the leper, and in connection with burning the Red Heifer, cedar wood and hyssop were used, typical of the highest and the lowest (the judgement of death upon all men and the whole fashion of this world).  Leviticus 14:4-52;  Numbers 19:6 . The cedar is used as a symbol of strength and stability: the righteous shall grow up as a cedar of Lebanon.  Psalm 92:12 . The Assyrian king in his strength was also compared to a cedar, which is thus described: "with fair branches, and with a shadowing shroud, and of an high stature,"  Ezekiel 31:3; for his pride he was to be brought down.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [9]

 Psalm 29:5 (b) This is a type of proud, prominent persons who take a stand against GOD, His Word and His work.

 Psalm 92:12 (a) Here is a picture of the believer who in the midst of drought, death, dearth and desolation fixes his faith and trust down deep in the living promises of GOD and flourishes for Him, in company with other believers. Cedars grow in forests and help each other to stand the storms. Cedars represent collective Christian testimony. The palm tree in this verse represents the individual testimony.

 Zechariah 11:2 (b) This is a type of the great nation of Israel which had grown to be a world power and then because of disobedience to GOD was cut down and destroyed as a nation. This passage was read at Spurgeon's funeral to teach that the lesser preachers mourned over the death of this great preacher (the cedar).

Holman Bible Dictionary [10]

Cedrus libani  Leviticus 14:4 Numbers 19:6 2 Samuel 5:11 1 Kings 5:6 1 Kings 6:9-7:12 1 Kings 10:27 Psalm 92:12 Ezekiel 17:1 Psalm 29:5 Psalm 104:16Plants In The Bible

King James Dictionary [11]

CEDAR, n. A tree. This name is given to different species of the juniper, and to a species of Pinus. The latter is that which is mentioned in scripture. It is an evergreen, grows to a great size, and is remarkable for its durability.

Webster's Dictionary [12]

(1): (a.) Of or pertaining to cedar.

(2): (n.) The name of several evergreen trees. The wood is remarkable for its durability and fragrant odor.

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature [13]

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [14]

Copyright StatementThese files are public domain. Bibliography InformationMcClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Cedar'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/c/cedar.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [15]

sē´dar , sē´dẽr ( ארז , 'erez , from Hebrew root meaning "to be firm"; κέδρος , kédros ): The 'erez was in almost all the Old Testament references the true cedar, Cedrus libani , but the name may have been applied in a loose way to allied trees, such as junipers and pines. In  Numbers 24:6 - "as cedar-trees beside the waters" - the reference must, as is most probable, be purely poetical (see Aloes ) or the 'ărāzı̄m must signify some other kind of tree which flourishes beside water.

1. Cedar for Ritual Cleansing

Cedar is twice mentioned as a substance for ritual cleansing. In  Leviticus 14:4 the cleansed leper was sprinkled with the blood of a "clean bird" into which had been put "cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop." In   Numbers 19:6 "cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet" were to be cast into the holocaust of the red heifer. (For the symbolical meaning see Clean .) Here it is very generally considered that the cedar could not have been the wood of Cedrus libani , which so far as we know never grew in the wilderness, but that of some species of juniper - according to Post, Juniperis phoenicea , which may still be found in the wilderness of Edom.

2. Cedar Trees in the Old Testament

Cedar trees are everywhere mentioned with admiration in the Old Testament. Solomon made the cedar the first of trees ( 1 Kings 4:33 ). They are the "glory of Lebanon" ( Isaiah 35:2;  Isaiah 60:13 ). The most boastful threat of Sennacherib was that he would cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon ( Isaiah 37:24 ). They were strong, as is implied in -

"The voice of Yahweh is powerful;...

The voice of Yahweh breaketh the cedars;

Yea, Yahweh breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon" ( Psalm 29:4 ,  Psalm 29:5 ).

The cedars are tall - "whose height was like the height of the cedars" - ( Amos 2:9;  2 Kings 19:23 ); majestic ( 2 Kings 14:9 ), and excellent ( Song of Solomon 5:15 ). The Assyrian power is compared to - "a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a forest-like shade, an high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs ... its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long" ( Ezekiel 31:3-5 ). They are in particular God's trees -

"The trees of Yahweh are filled with moisture,

The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted" ( Psalm 104:16 ).

Doubtless as a reminiscence of this the Syrians today call the cedar ‛ars er rubb , "the cedar of the Lord." The growth of the cedar is typical of that of the righteous man ( Psalm 92:12 ).

That cedars were once very abundant in the Lebanon is evident ( 1 Kings 6:9-18;  1 Kings 10:27 ). What they contributed to the glory and beauty of that district may be seen in  Zechariah 11:1-2 :

"Open thy doors, [[O L]] ebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.

Wail, O fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the glorious (Revised Version margin) ones are destroyed:

Wail, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest is come down."

3. Cedar Timber

The wood of the cedar has always been highly prized - much more so than the sycamore ( 1 Kings 10:27;  Isaiah 9:10 ). David had a house of cedar built for him by Hiram, king of Tyre ( 2 Samuel 5:11 ), and he prepared "cedar-trees without number" for the temple which his son was to build ( 1 Chronicles 22:4 ). Cedar timber was very much used in the construction of Solomon's temple and palace, the trees being cut in the Lebanon by Sidonians by orders of the king of Tyre - "Hiram gave Solomon timber of cedar and timber of fir according to all his desire" ( 1 Kings 5:6-10 ). One of Solomon's most important buildings was known as "the house of the forest of Lebanon" ( 1 Kings 7:2;  1 Kings 10:17;  2 Chronicles 9:16 ), on account of the source of its materials. While cedar was well adapted for beams (  1 Kings 6:9;  Song of Solomon 1:17 ), boards ( Song of Solomon 8:9 ), pillars ( 1 Kings 7:2 ) and ceilings ( Jeremiah 22:14 ), it was suited as well for carved work, such as idols ( Isaiah 44:14 ,  Isaiah 44:15 ). It was also used for ships' masts ( Ezekiel 27:5 ).

4. Cedars in Modern Syria

The Cedrus libani still survives in the mountains of Syria and flourishes in much greater numbers in the Taurus mountains. "There are groves of cedars above el - Ma‛āṣir , Barûk , ‛Ain Zehaltah , Hadith , Besherri , and Sı̂r " (Post, Flora , 751). Of these the grove at Besherri is of world-wide renown. It consists of a group of about 400 trees, among them some magnificent old patriarchs, which lies on the bare slopes of the Lebanon some 6,000 ft. above the sea. Doubtless they are survivors of a forest which here once covered the mountain slopes for miles. The half a dozen highest specimens reach a height of between 70 and 80 ft., and have trunks of a circumference of 40 ft. or more. It is impossible to estimate with any certainty their age, but they may be as much as 800, or even 1,000, years old. Though magnificent, these are by no means the largest of their kind. Some of the cedars of Amanus are quite 100 ft. high and the Himalayan cedar, Cedrus deodara , a variety of Cedrus libani , reaches a height of 150 ft. The impressiveness of the cedar lies, however, not so much in its height and massive trunk, as in the wonderful lateral spread of its branches, which often exceeds its height. The branches grow out horizontally in successive tiers, each horizontal plane presenting, when looked at from above, the appearance of a green sward. The leaves are about an inch long, arranged in clusters; at first they are bright green, but they change with age to a deeper tint with a glaucous hue; the foliage is evergreen, the successive annual growths of leaves each lasting two years. The cones, 4 to 6 inches long, are oval or oblong-ovate, with a depression at times at the apex; they require two years to reach maturity and then, unlike other conifers, they remain attached to the tree, dropping out their scales bearing the seeds.

The wood of the cedar, specially grown under the conditions of its natural habitat, is hard, close grained, and takes a high polish. It is full of resin ( Psalm 92:14 ) which preserves it from rot and from worms. Cedar oil, a kind of turpentine extracted from the wood, was used in ancient times as a preservative for parchments and garments.