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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Sycamine —The sycamine-tree (συκάμινος) is mentioned in the Gospels only once, viz. in  Luke 17:6. The Heb. שִׁקִמִים from which the Gr. name seems to be derived, denotes the sycomore , but the sycamine is by general consent identified with the black mulberry ( Morus nigra ). In his Hebrew NT, Delitzsch renders by תּוּת, which is the name given to the mulberry in the Mishna (cf. Arab. [Note: Arabic.] tût ). Two species are common in modern Palestine, the black mulberry and the white ( M. alba ). The latter, however, which is cultivated for purposes of sericulture, and whose fruit, owing to its insipidity, was little eaten, was hardly likely to be known in our Lord’s time. The black mulberry, on the other hand, yields a compound fruit which, eaten fresh, is of fine flavour, and is a great favourite in the East. This tree, which is deciduous, has a dense foliage, and affords a most welcome shade during the heat of summer.

Thomson ( LB [Note: The Land and the Book.] pp. 23, 24) would identify the sycamine with the sycomore. In support of this view he appeals to the common Hebrew origin of the two names; but his main argument is that

‘the mulberry is more easily plucked up by the roots than any other tree of the same size in the country, and the thing is oftener done. Hundreds of them are plucked up every year in this vicinity, and brought to the city for firewood. It is not to be supposed,1 [Note: designates the particular edition of the work referred] he adds, ‘that He who spake as man never spoke would select this tree, with its short, feeble roots, to illustrate the irresistible power of faith.’

The argument is plausible, but not conclusive. On the contrary, what weight it has must be laid in the scale against this theory rather than in its support. The rooting up of the mulberry tree was a common practice. Granted; but was it not from the commonest doings and happenings that our Lord habitually drew His illustrations? When He would find some fit emblem of the Kingdom of God, He appealed not to the unusual but to the familiar, not to the heroic but to the homely. One of the marked charms of His teaching is the gift He had of making the commonplaces of earth speak the language of heaven. When, therefore, He would figure forth ‘the irresistible power of faith,’ it need not surprise us that He selected the mulberry tree, the uprooting of which was quite familiar to His hearers. True, it was more easily plucked up than any other tree of the size. But that fact does not impair the force of the figure. The law of gravitation is as clearly manifested in the fall of the leaf as in the majestic order of the planets, and the power of faith is as vividly illustrated in the figure of uprooting a mulberry tree by the word of command, as in that of uprooting a sycomore, or even of moving a mountain.

Hugh Duncan.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Συκάμινος (Strong'S #4807 — Noun Feminine — sukaminos — soo-kam'-ee-nos )

occurs in  Luke 17:6 . It is generally recognized as the black mulberry, with fruit like blackberries. The leaves are too tough for silkworms and thus are unlike the white mulberry. Neither kind is the same as the mulberry of  2—Samuel 5:23,24 , etc. The town Haifa was called Sycaminopolis, from the name of the tree.

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [3]

συκαμινος , in Arabic sokam,   Luke 17:6 . This is a different tree from the sycamore, mentioned  Luke 19:4 . Dioscorides says that this tree is the mulberry, though he allows that some apprehend that it is the same with the sycamore. Galen has a separate article on the sycamorus, which he speaks of as rare, and mentions as having seen it at Alexandria in Egypt. The Greeks name the morus the sycamine. Grotius says the word συκαμινος has no connection with συκεη , the fig-tree, but is entirely Syrian, שקמין , in Hebrew, שקמים . It should seem, indeed, to be very similar to the mulberry, as not only the Latin, but the Syriac and the Arabic, render it by morus; and thus Coverdale's, the Rheim's and Purver's English translations render it by the mulberry; and so it is in Bishop Wilson's Bible.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [4]

SYCAMINE (  Luke 17:6 ). sykaminos is, strictly speaking, the black mulberry ( Morus nigra the tût shâmî of the Syrians), and it is probably this tree that is referred to in   Luke 17:6 and in 1Ma 6:34 . But sykaminos is also used in LXX [Note: Septuagint.] in many passages as the equivalent of the shiqmîm or sycomore (wh. see).

E. W. G. Masterman.

King James Dictionary [5]

SYCAMINE. See Sycamore.

Webster's Dictionary [6]

(n.) See Sycamore.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [7]

Bibliography Information McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Sycamine'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.