Palm Tree

From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

תמר ,  Exodus 15:27 , &c. This tree, sometimes called the date tree, grows plentifully in the east. It rises to a great height. The stalks are generally full of rugged knots, which are the vestiges of the decayed leaves; for the trunk of this tree is not solid, like other trees, but its centre is filled with pith, round which is a tough bark full of strong fibres when young, which, as the tree grows old, hardens and becomes ligneous. To this bark the leaves are closely joined, which in the centre rise erect; but, after they are advanced above the vagina which surrounds them, they expand very wide on every side the stem; and, as the older leaves decay, the stalk advances in height. The leaves, when the tree has grown to a size for bearing fruit, are six or eight feet long, are very broad when spread out, and are used for covering the tops of houses, &c. The fruit, which is called date, grows below the leaves in clusters, and is of a sweet and agreeable taste. The learned Kaempfer, as a botanist, an antiquary, and a traveller, has exhausted the whole subject of palm trees. "The diligent natives," says Mr. Gibbon, "celebrated, either in verse or prose, the three hundred and sixty uses to which the trunk, the branches, the leaves, the juice, and the fruit, were skilfully applied." "The extensive importance of the date tree," says Dr. E. D. Clarke, "is one of the most curious subjects to which a traveller can direct his attention. A considerable part of the inhabitants of Egypt, of Arabia, and Persia, subsist almost entirely upon its fruit. They boast also of its medicinal virtues. Their camels feed upon the date stone. From the leaves they make couches, baskets, bags, mats, and brushes; from the branches, cages for their poultry, and fences for their gardens; from the fibres of the boughs, thread, ropes, and rigging; from the sap is prepared a spirituous liquor; and the body of the tree furnishes fuel.

It is even said that from one variety of the palm tree, the phoenix farinifera, meal has been extracted, which is found among the fibres of the trunk, and has been used for food."

In the temple of Solomon were pilasters made in the form of palm trees,  1 Kings 6:29 . It was under a tree of this kind that Deborah dwelt between Ramah and Bethel,  Judges 4:5 . To the fair, flourishing, and fruitful condition of this tree, the psalmist very aptly compares the votary of virtue,  Psalms 92:12-14 :—

The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree. Those that are planted in the house of Jehovah, In the courts of our God, shall flourish;

In old age they shall still put forth buds, They shall be full of sap and vigorous.

The palm tree is crowned at its top with a large tuft of spiring leaves about four feet long, which never fall off, but always continue in the same flourishing verdure. The tree, as Dr. Shaw was informed, is in its greatest vigour about thirty years after it is planted, and continues in full vigour seventy years longer; bearing all this while, every year, about three or four hundred pounds' weight of dates. The trunk of the tree is remarkably straight and lofty. Jeremiah, speaking of the idols that were carried in procession, says they were upright as the palm tree,  Jeremiah 10:5 . And for erect stature and slenderness of form, the spouse, in  Song of Solomon 7:7 , is compared to this tree:—

How framed, O my love, for delights! Lo, thy stature is like a palm tree, And thy bosom like clusters of dates.

On this passage Mr. Good observes, that "the very word tamar, here used for the palm tree, and whose radical meaning is ‘straight,' or ‘upright,' (whence it was afterward applied to pillars or columns, as well as to the palm,) was also a general name among the ladies of Palestine, and unquestionably adopted in honour of the stature they had already acquired, or gave a fair promise of attaining."

A branch of palm was a signal of victory, and was carried before conquerors in the triumphs. To this, allusion is made,  Revelation 7:9 : and for this purpose were they borne before Christ in his way to Jerusalem,  John 12:13 . From the inspissated sap of the tree, a kind of honey, or dispse, as it is called, is produced, little inferior to that of bees. The same juice, after fermentation, makes a sort of wine much used in the east. It is once mentioned as wine,  Numbers 28:7;  Exodus 29:40; and by it is intended the strong drink,  Isaiah 5:11;  Isaiah 24:9 . Theodoret and Chrysostom, on these places, both Syrians, and unexceptionable witnesses in what belongs to their own country, confirm this declaration. "This liquor," says Dr. Shaw, "which has a more luscious sweetness than honey, is of the consistence of a thin syrup, but quickly grows tart and ropy, acquiring an intoxicating quality, and giving by distillation an agreeable spirit, or araky, according to the general name of these people for all hot liquors, extracted by the alembic." Its Hebrew name is שכר , the σικερα of the Greeks; and from its sweetness, probably, the saccharum of the Romans. Jerom informs us that in Hebrew "any inebriating liquor is called sicera, whether made of grain, the juice of apples, honey, dates, or any other fruit."

This tree was formerly of great value and esteem among the Israelites, and so very much cultivated in Judea, that, in after times, it became the emblem of that country, as may be seen in a medal of the Emperor Vespasian upon the conquest of Judea. It represents a captive woman sitting under a palm tree, with this inscription, "Judea capta;" [Judea captivated;] and upon a Greek coin, likewise, of his son Titus, struck upon the like occasion, we see a shield suspended upon a palm tree, with a Victory writing upon it.

Pliny also calls Judea palmis inclyta, "renowned for palms." Jericho, in particular, was called "the city of palms,"  Deuteronomy 34:3;  2 Chronicles 28:15; because, as Josephus, Strabo, and Pliny have remarked, it anciently abounded in palm trees. And so Dr. Shaw remarks, that, though these trees are not now either plentiful or fruitful in other parts of the holy land, yet there are several of them at Jericho, where there is the conveniency they require of being often watered; where, likewise, the climate is warm, and the soil sandy, such as they thrive and delight in. Tamar, a city built in the desert by Solomon,  1 Kings 9:18;  Ezekiel 47:19;  Ezekiel 48:28 , was probably so named from the palm trees growing about it; as it was afterward by the Romans called Palmyra, or rather Palmira, on the same account, from palma, "a palm tree."

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [2]

This beautiful tree is spoken of in Scripture with so much commendation, that it merits our attention; and the more so because the Lord Jesus, when describing the loveliness of his church, compares her stature to it, and speaks with a degree of fervour and delight while professing his determination to take hold of her. "I said I will go up to the palm tree, I will take hold of the boughs thereof: now also thy breasts shall be as the clusters of the vine, and the smell of thy nose like apples." ( Song of Song of Solomon 7:7-8)

So very highly esteemed in the eastern world was the palm tree, that Jericho, where they chiefly grew, was called by the name, "The city of palm trees." ( Deuteronomy 34:3) Engedi was also called Hazazon Tamar, or the village of palm trees, from the number of palm trees which grew there. The Jews called the palm tree Tamar. And not only in Judea, but in all places of the east where palms are found, the branches of it have always been celebrated as the tokens of triumph and victory; hence when the Lord Jesus entered Jerusalem, the multitude, as if overruled by a divine power, "took branches of palm trees, and went forth to meet him, and cried, Hosanna, blessed is the King of Israel, that cometh in the name of the Lord." ( John 12:12-13) And hence also, as if to shew the same glorious testimony to the Lord Jesus, the redeemed in heaven are represented as "standing before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms their hands." ( Revelation 7:9) I defy any man upon earth to shew the shadow of a reason wherefore the correspondence between Christ's appearance upon earth, in the day of his unequalled humility, and the day of his supreme power and glory, should have been thus set forth, but from the one certain and unquestionable truth of his almighty power and Godhead and the divinity of his mission. What could have induced the whole multitude to have honoured Christ with those palm trees in the days of his flesh, when in the garb of a poor Jew, but the power of God overruling the whole mind of the people as the mind of one man? And wherefore the same display made in heaven, but to testify the approbation of God?

I cannot prevail upon myself to dismiss our attention to the palm tree before that I have first remarked some of the properties of it, by way of illustrating the beauty of our Lord's comparing his church to it. The Psalmist hath said, ( Psalms 92:12) that "the righteous shall flourish like the palm tree; he shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon." And there will appear a striking allusion between the believer in Jesus and the palm tree of Engedi, if we consider a few of the leading particulars. The growth of the palm is very upright and tall; and, as we are told by naturalists, is to old age always in this state of progression. And surely the church of Jesus, and every individual of the church, is in constant tendency upward. Trees of the Lord's "right hand planting are trees of righteousness," always supposed to be looking upward to Jesus, and their branches extending in every direction according to the exercise of his grace in them, by living wholly upon him in his person, blood, and righteousness.

Moreover, the palm tree is very fruitful, and the fruit is both lovely to the eye and delicious to the taste. And such are the followers of the Lord Jesus. What more lovely than to behold a truly regenerated believer in Christ Jesus? and who more blessed in his day and generation? Like the lofty and luxuriant palm tree of Engedi, which forms both a shade to the traveller to protect him from the heat, and fruit to refresh him as he passeth by, so the church of Jesus becomes a blessedness in her Lord to every spiritual traveller, and affords shelter, and nourishment, and every delight.

There is one property yet, if possible, more striking in the palm tree, which serves to open to a spiritual. Improvement, in allusion to Christ and his church, of a very singular nature, and peculiar, as far as I have learned, to the palm; namely, that the chief source of life in this tree is in its top; or, as it is physically called, the brain of the tree. We are told by those who are acquainted with the nature of palm trees, that if by any means this top be cut off, the tree is for ever after barren. Now here the reader will instantly perceive the striking resemblance between the palm tree and the child of God. To be wholly in Jesus is found the source of life and fruitfulness; and were it possible for a believer to be separated from Christ, yea, but for a moment, everlasting barrenness would follow. How blessedly hath Jesus spoken to this point when he said, "From me is thy fruit found." ( Hosea 14:8) And so again, ( John 15:4) "Abide in me, and I in you; as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine, no more can ye, except ye abide in me?"

We are told that the palm tree is all evergreen. On the top of the tree is a kind of tuft or coronet, which never falls off, but is continually the same in verdure. A beautiful representation this of the church in Jesus. Many parts of Scripture correspond in speaking of the real disciple of Christ as one whose "leaf shall never fade nor fall;" and certainly, in the unceasing spring and summer of his glorious head, into whom he is ingrafted, there are no wintery dispensations or change.

One property more merits regard in the resemblance of the palm tree to the Christian, namely, the great duration and continuance of the palm. Dr. Shaw, in his travels, relates that the commonly-received opinion of the inhabitants of those countries where palm trees mostly abound is, that for seventy or eighty years the palm will live, bearing fruit to a great extent, even of 300 lb. weight of dates every year. It need not be noticed, by way of shewing the striking similarity to our nature, that the Psalmist represents the age of man as three-score years and ten, and (saith the Psalmist) "by reason of strength sometimes to four-score years." ( Psalms 90:10) What a lovely palm tree then is the real follower of the Lord Jesus, if thus living to extreme old age he still brings forth fruit to the praise of the Lord's grace, "some thirty fold, some sixty fold, some au hundred fold!" So speaks the Holy Ghost concerning the faithful: "Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God; they shall still bring forth fruit in old age, they shall be fat and flourishing; to shew that the Lord is upright: he is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in him." ( Psalms 92:13-15)

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]

PALM. —Palm trees, though frequently referred to in the OT, are mentioned in connexion with the life of Christ only once: viz. in the account of the triumphal entry into Jerusalem ( John 12:13). The English name (Lat. palma ) is due to the similarity of the leaves of some kinds to the open hand. The term in Greek (applied only to a genus) is φοίνιξ, which gave its name to a town in Crete ( Acts 27:12). The word also means ‘a Phoenician,’ ‘a purple colour,’ and the fabulous phœnix . In  Revelation 7:9 it is used of the leaf (or so-called branch), which is usually called βαΐον

The palm tree is amongst the foremost both in beauty and in utility. It grows with uniform trunk, straight like the mast of a ship. The trunk is in some kinds smooth, in others clearly annulated, in others rough with the roots of former fronds. At the top the leaves (or fronds) spring out in a spreading circle or crown, while beneath them the flowers and clusters of fruit are formed. The tree is endogenous, without bark and without branch. The leaves vary in length from three to ‘thirty feet. And along the stalk on either side long leaflets grow close, presenting in many kinds (pinnated) the shape of an enlarged feather, in others, including most of the fan-shaped palms, a rounder, broader form of palmate or webbed configuration, while in the bi-pinnate caryota and the mauritia they have a triangular (or fish-tailed or wedge-shaped) appearance. The fruit is often valuable, and by incision the juice is obtained that makes palm wine. Palm trees are tropical and semi-tropical. Some grow near wells, as the palms of Elim ( Exodus 15:27), but this may be attributed to culture; others flourish in sandy deserts; some are found in mountainous regions, and many rear themselves erect on wind-swept ridges. Besides yielding food, drink, and oil, they afford house-building material, and many are highly serviceable for the various uses to which fibres are applicable.

Palms have been divided into five tribes, over a hundred genera, over a thousand species: but there is a limited number of main kinds. The palm of Palestine is the date-palm. This tree ( phœnix dactylifera , date being a contraction of dactylus , ‘finger’) rises gracefully to a height of from fifty to ninety feet. It grows in various climates and latitudes, but its fruit fails both in Europe and in India. The female tree (for the phœnix, unlike most others, is not hermaphrodite) bears a cluster which may contain 200 dates, and it may continue to bear for two hundred years. These fruits, which are half sugar, are a chief article of food in Arabia and North Africa. From an incision near the top the fermenting sap flows so as to yield in one month twenty gallons of wine or toddy. The pinnated leaves, which are of a deep) green colour and from 9 to 12 feet in length, are used to make mats and baskets, and the fibres of their stalks make cordage. The leaves also make thatch, and the trunk is useful timber. This tree abounded in the valley of the Jordan, but Jericho was specially the city of palm trees ( Deuteronomy 34:3). A group of palms, with their magnificent crowns, might afford ample shade. Accordingly, we find that early in the history of Israel Deborah dwelt under her palm tree ( Judges 4:5), while in the time of our Lord many of the Essenes were said to live in palm groves. Fructification is artificial or accidental; and forests may be cultivated that in years of famine will support the population of a country.

The palm, being upright, green, fruitful, and imposing, was an emblem of the righteous in their prosperity ( Psalms 92:12). In appreciation of the beauty of its form it was carved on the walls and doors of the Temple ( 1 Kings 6:29;  1 Kings 6:32, cf.  Ezekiel 40:16;  Ezekiel 41:18). Its leaves were borne as symbols of rejoicing at the Feast of Tabernacles ( Leviticus 23:40) and also at the Maccabaean Feast of Dedication, of which the special feature was the illumination. This tall, firm, unbending tree, with its magnificent crown of fronds, with fruit and leaves that served for sustenance and ornament, was readily reckoned emblematic of moral qualities—rectitude, constancy, gracefulness, usefulness—such as are the constituents of success. The palm came to be regarded specially as the symbol of victory and triumph. It is in that sense that the name has acquired its metaphorical meaning. The winner (we say) carries off the palm. A period of exceptional prosperity is remembered as ‘palmy days’. ‘Another race hath been, and other palms are won’ (Wordsworth).

The carrying of palm leaves (τὰ βαΐα τῶν φοινίκων) by the people in honour Of the Messiah ( John 12:13) was in accordance with the custom observed at feasts and on great public occasions. Jesus was saluted as a king proceeding to His coronation. The palms symbolized His triumph and the people’s joy. He allowed the homage of the multitude as the spontaneous expression of pure-minded loyalty. On the other hand, the Pharisees and officials regarded it as a challenge of their authority. The incident has been commemorated since the 5th cent. by the Greek and Latin Churches in the Palm Sunday ( dominica palmarum , or feast of palm-leaves), immediately preceding Easter, at which palms are consecrated and a procession takes place.

The supreme expression of the palm as the symbol of triumphant homage is in the Apocalyptic vision, where the innumerable multitude who nave come through the great tribulation, and who serve God day and night, stand before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes and with palms in their hands ( Revelation 7:9;  Revelation 7:14).

Literature.—Artt. in Encyc. Brit. 9 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] , Chambers’s Encyc. , the EBi [Note: Bi Encyclopaedia Biblica.] , and Hasting's Dictionary of the Bible  ; Historiœ Palmarum by Martius; Griffiths’ Palms of British East India is a volume of illustrations.

R. Scott.

Smith's Bible Dictionary [4]

Palm Tree. (Hebrew, tamar ). Under this generic term, many species are botanically included; but we have here only to do with the date palm, the Phoenix dactylifera of Linnaeus. While this tree was abundant generally in the Levant, it was regarded, by the ancients, as peculiarly characteristic of Palestine and the neighboring regions, though now it is rare.

("The palm tree frequently attains a height of eighty feet, but more commonly forty to fifty feet. It begins to bear fruit, after it has been planted six or eight years, and continues to be productive for a century. Its trunk is straight, tall and unbroken, terminating in a crown of emerald-green plumes, like a diadem of gigantic ostrich-feathers; these leaves are frequently twenty feet in length, droop slightly at the ends, and whisper musically in the breeze.

The palm is, in truth, a beautiful and most useful tree. Its fruit is the daily food of millions; its sap furnishes an agreeable wine; the fibres of the base of its leaves are woven into ropes and rigging; its tall stem supplies a valuable timber; its leaves are manufactured into brushes, mats, bags, couches and baskets. This one tree supplies almost all the wants of the Arab or Egyptian." - Bible Plants).

Many places are mentioned in the Bible as having connection with palm trees; Elim , where grew three score and ten palm trees,  Exodus 15:27, and Elath .  Deuteronomy 2:8. Jericho was the city of "Palm Trees",  Deuteronomy 31:3, Hazezon-Tamar , "The Felling Of The Palm Tree", is clear in its derivation. There is also Tamar , "The Palm".  Ezekiel 47:19. Bethany means the "House Of Dates". The word Phoenicia , which occurs twice in the New Testament -  Acts 11:19;  Acts 15:3 - is in all probability derived from the Greek word for a palm.

The striking appearance of the tree, its uprightness and beauty, would naturally suggest the giving of its name, occasionally, to women.  Genesis 38:6;  2 Samuel 13:1;  2 Samuel 14:27. There is, in the Psalms,  Psalms 92:12, the familiar comparison, "The righteous shall flourish like the palm tree," which suggests a world of illustration, whether respect be had to the orderly and regular aspect of the tree, its fruitfulness, the perpetual greenness of its foliage, or the height at which the foliage grows, as far as possible, from earth, and as near as possible, to heaven.

Perhaps no point is more worthy of mention, we wish to pursue the comparison, than the elasticity of the fibre of the palm, and its determined growth upward, even when loaded with weights. The passage in  Revelation 7:9, where the glorified of all nations are described as "clothed with white robes and palms in their hands," might seem to us a purely classical image; but palm branches were used, by the Jews, in token of victory and peace.

(To these points of comparison may be added, its principle of growth: it is an endogen , and grows from within; its usefulness; the Syrians enumerating 360 different uses to which it may be put; and the statement that it bears its best fruit in old age. - Editor). It is curious that this tree, once so abundant in Judea, is now comparatively rare, except in the Philistine plain, and in the old Phoenicia about Beyrout .

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [5]

Palm Tree ( tâmâr ). The date palm ( PhÅ“nix dactylifera ) is a tree essential to existence in the deserts of Arabia, and was therefore held sacred among the Semites from the earliest historic times. It flourishes in Egypt, Mesopotamia, and the oases of Arabia (  Exodus 15:27 ,   Numbers 33:9 ), but its cultivation has for long been much neglected in Palestine. It is still found in considerable numbers in the Maritime Plain, e.g . at the Bay of ‘Akka and at Gaza; and small scattered groups occur all over the land in the neighbourhood of springs. In the valleys east of the Dead Sea, many sterile, dwarfed palms occur. Both in the OT (  Deuteronomy 34:3 ,   Judges 1:16;   Judges 3:13 ,   2 Chronicles 28:15 ) and in Josephus ( BJ IV. viii. 2 3), Jericho is famous for its vast groves of palms; to-day there are but few, and these quite modern trees. Not only are dates a staple diet in Arabia and an important article of export, but the plaited leaves furnish mats and baskets, the bark is made into ropes, and the seeds are ground up for cattle. From the dates is made a kind of syrup, date-honey or dibs , a valuable substitute for sugar. The method of fertilization of the female (pistillate) flowers by the pollen from the male (staminate) flowers was known in very ancient times, and nature was then, as now, assisted by shaking out the pollen over the female flowers. The palm tree is referred to (  Psalms 92:12 ) as a sign of prosperity and (  Song of Solomon 7:7-8 ) of beauty. Figures of palm trees were used to ornament the Temple (  1 Kings 6:1-38 ); at a later period they occur on Jewish coins and in the sculpture of the ancient Jewish synagogues, notably in the recently excavated synagogue at Tell Hûm (Capernaum). The sacredness of this tree thus persisted from the early Semite to late Jewish times. Palm branches were used at the rejoicings of the Feast of Tabernacles (  Leviticus 23:40 ,   Nehemiah 8:15 ), as they are among the modern Jews, who daily, during this feast, wave branches of palms in their synagogues. In 1Ma 13:51 we read of the bearing of palm branches as the sign of triumphant rejoicing an idea also implied in their use in   John 12:13 and   Revelation 7:9 . To-day these branches are used by the Moslems especially at funeral processions, and to decorate graves.

E. W. G. Masterman.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Psalm 92:12 Song of Solomon 7:7 Jeremiah 10:5 Revelation 7:9 Deuteronomy 34:3 Leviticus 23:40 Matthew 21:8 John 12:13Date

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia [7]

palm´trē ( תּמר , tāmār , same as the Aramaic and Ethiopic, but in Arabic = "date"; φοίνιξ , phoı́nix (  Exodus 15:27;  Leviticus 23:40;  Numbers 33:9;  Deuteronomy 34:3;  Judges 1:16;  Judges 3:13;  2 Chronicles 28:15;  Nehemiah 8:15;  Psalm 92:12;  Song of Solomon 7:7 f;   Joel 1:12 ); תּמר , tōmer , Deborah "dwelt under the palm-tree" ( Judges 4:5 ); "They are like a palm-tree (margin "pillar"), of turned work" ( Jeremiah 10:5 ); תּמרה , tı̄mōrāh (only in the plural), the palm tree as an architectural feature ( 1 Kings 6:29 ,  1 Kings 6:32 ,  1 Kings 6:35;  1 Kings 7:36;  2 Chronicles 3:5;  Ezekiel 40:16 ); Greek only Ecclesiasticus 50:12;  John 12:13;  Revelation 7:9 ):

The palm, Phoenix dactylifera (Natural Order Palmeae ), Arabic nakhl , is a tree which from the earliest times has been associated with the Semitic peoples. In Arabia the very existence of man depends largely upon its presence, and many authorities consider this to have been its original habitat. It is only natural that such a tree should have been sacred both there and in Assyria in the earliest ages. In Palestine the palm leaf appears as an ornament upon pottery as far back as 1800 Bc (compare Pef , Gezer Mere., II, 172). In Egypt the tall palm stem forms a constant feature in early architecture, and among the Hebrews it was extensively used as a decoration of the temple ( 1 Kings 6:29 ,  1 Kings 6:32 ,  1 Kings 6:35;  1 Kings 7:36;  2 Chronicles 3:5 ). It is a symbol of beauty ( Song of Solomon 7:7 ) and of the righteous man:

"The righteous shall flourish like the palm-tree:

He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.

They are planted in the house of Yahweh;

They shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall still bring forth fruit in old age;

They shall be full of sap and green" ( Psalm 92:12-14 ).

The palm tree or branch is used extensively on Jewish coinage and most noticeably appears as a symbol of the land upon the celebrated Judea Capta coins of Vespasian. A couple of centuries or so later it forms a prominent architectural feature in the ornamentation of the Galilean synagogues, e.g. at Tell Ḥûm (Capernaum). The method of artificial fertilization of the pistillate (female) flowers by means of the staminate (male) flowers appears to have been known in the earliest historic times. Winged figures are depicted on some of the early Assyrian sculptures shaking a bunch of the male flowers over the female for the same purpose as the people of modern Gaza ascend the tall trunks of the fruit-bearing palms and tie among the female flowers a bunch of the pollen-bearing male flowers.

In Palestine today the palm is much neglected; there are few groves except along the coast, e.g. at the bay of Akka, Jaffa and Gaza; solitary palms occur all over the land in the courtyards of mosques (compare  Psalm 92:13 ) and houses even in the mountains. Once palms flourished upon the Mount of Olives ( Nehemiah 8:15 ), and Jericho was long known as the "city of palm-trees" ( Deuteronomy 34:3;  Judges 1:16;  Judges 3:13;  2 Chronicles 28:15; Josephus BJ , IV, viii, 2-3), but today the only palms are scarce and small; under its name Hazazon-tamar ( 2 Chronicles 20:2 ), En-gedi would appear to have been as much a place of palms in ancient days as we know it was in later history. A city, too, called Tamar ("date palm") appears to have been somewhere near the southwestern corner of the Dead Sea ( Ezekiel 47:19;  Ezekiel 48:28 ). Today the numerous salt-encrusted stumps of wild palm trees washed up all along the shores of the Dead Sea witness to the existence of these trees within recent times in some of the deep valleys around.

Branches of palms have been symbolically associated with several different ideas. A palm branch is used in  Isaiah 9:14;  Isaiah 19:15 to signify he "head," the highest of the people, as contrasted with the rush, the "tail," or humblest of the people. Palm branches appear from early times to have been associated with rejoicing. On the first day of the Feast of Tabernacles the Hebrews were commanded to take branches of palms, with other trees, and rejoice before God (  Leviticus 23:40; compare  Nehemiah 8:15; 2 Macc 10:7). The palm branch still forms the chief feature of the lūlābh carried daily by every pious Jew to the synagogue, during the feast. Later it was connected with the idea of triumph and victory. Simon Maccabeus entered the Akra at Jerusalem after its capture, "with thanksgiving, and branches of palm trees, and with harps, and cymbals, and with viols, and hymns, and songs: because there was destroyed a great enemy out of Israel" (1 Macc 13:51 the King James Version; compare 2 Macc 10:7). The same idea comes out in the use of palm branches by the multitudes who escorted Jesus to Jerusalem ( John 12:13 ) and also in the vision of the "great multitude, which no man could number ... standing before the ... Lamb, arrayed in white robes, and palms in their hands" ( Revelation 7:9 ). Today palms are carried in every Moslem funeral procession and are laid on the new-made grave.

See also Tamar as a proper name.