From BiblePortal Wikipedia

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary [1]

is the first and largest of the vegetable kind, consisting of a single trunk, out of which spring forth branches and leaves. Heat is so essential to the growth of trees, that we see them grow larger and smaller in a sort of gradation as the climates in which they stand are more or less hot. The hottest countries yield, in general, the largest and tallest trees, and those, also, in much greater beauty and variety than the colder do; and even those plants which are common to both arrive at a much greater bulk in the southern than in the northern climates; nay, there are some regions so bleak and chill, that they raise no vegetables at all to any considerable height. Greenland, Iceland, and similar places, afford no trees at all; and the shrubs which grow in them are always little and low. In the warmer climates, where trees grow to a moderate size, any accidental diminution of the common heat is found very greatly to impede vegetation; and even in England the cold summers we sometimes have give us an evident proof of this in the scarcity of produce from all our large fruit trees. Heat, whatever be the producing cause, acts as well upon vegetation one way as another. Thus the heat of manure, and the artificial heat of coal fires in stoves, are found to supply the place of the sun. Great numbers of the eastern trees, in their native soil, flower twice in a year, and some flower and bear ripe fruit all the year round; and it is observed of these last, that they are at once the most frequent and the most useful to the inhabitants; their fruits, which always hang on them in readiness, containing cool juices, which are good in fevers, and other of the common diseases of hot countries. The umbrageous foliage, with which the God of providence has generally furnished all trees in warm climates, affords a most refreshing and grateful shade to those who seek relief from the direct and hurtful rays of a tropical sun.

The Land of Promise cannot boast, like many other countries, of extensive woods; but considerable thickets of trees and of reeds sometimes arise to diversify and adorn the scene. Between the Lake Samochonites and the sea of Tiberias, the river Jordan is almost concealed by shady trees from the view of the traveller. When the waters of the Jordan are low, the Lake Samochonites is only a marsh, for the most part dry and overgrown with shrubs and reeds. In these thickets, among other ferocious animals, the wild boar seeks a covert from the burning rays of the sun. Large herds of them are sometimes to be seen on the banks of the river, near the sea of Tiberias, lying among the reeds, or feeding under the trees. Such moist and shady places are in all countries the favourite haunts of these fierce and dangerous animals. Those marshy coverts are styled woods in the sacred Scriptures; for the wild boar of the wood is the name which that creature receives from the royal psalmist: "The boar out of the wood doth waste it; and the wild beast of the field doth devour it,"  Psalms 80:13 . The wood of Ephraim, where the battle was fought between the forces of Absalom and the servants of David, was probably a place of the same kind; for the sacred historian observes, that the wood devoured more people that day than the sword,  2 Samuel 18:8 . Some have supposed the meaning of this passage to be, that the soldiers of Absalom were destroyed by the wild beasts of the wood; but it can scarcely be supposed, that in the reign of David, when the Holy Land was crowded with inhabitants, the wild beasts could be so numerous in one of the woods as to cause such a destruction. But, supposing the wood of Ephraim to have been a morass covered with trees and bushes, like the haunts of the wild boar near the banks of Jordan, the difficulty is easily removed. It is certain that such a place has more than once proved fatal to contending armies, partly by suffocating those who in the hurry of flight inadvertently venture over places incapable of supporting them, and partly by retarding them till their pursuers come up and cut them to pieces. In this manner a greater number of men than fell in the heat of battle may be destroyed. It is probable, however, that nothing more is intended by the sacred historian, than the mention of a fact familiar to military men in all ages, and whatever kind of weapons were then employed in warfare,—that forests, especially such thick and impassable forests as are common in warm countries, constitute the very worst ground along which a discomfited army can be compelled to retreat. Their orderly ranks are broken; the direction which each warrior for his own safety must take is uncertain; and while one tumultuous mass is making a pass for itself through intervening brushwood and closely matted jungle, and another is hurrying along a different path and encountering similar or perhaps greater impediments, the cool and deliberate pursuers, whether archers or sharp shooters, enjoy an immense advantage in being able to choose their own points of annoyance, and by flank or cross attacks to kill their retreating foes, with scarcely any risk to themselves, but with immense carnage to the routed army.

Several critics imagine that by עצ חדר , rendered "goodly trees,"

 Leviticus 23:40 , the citron tree is intended. עצ עבת , rendered "thick trees" in the same verse, and in  Nehemiah 8:15;  Ezekiel 20:28 , is the myrtle, according to the rabbins, the Chaldee paraphrase, Syriac version, and Deodatus. The word אשל , translated "grove" in  Genesis 21:33 , has been variously translated. Parkhurst renders it an oak, and says, that from this word may be derived the name of the famous asylum, opened by Romulus between two groves of oak at Rome. On the other hand, Celsius, Michaelis, and Dr. Geddes render it the tamarisk, which is a lofty and beautiful tree, and grows abundantly in Egypt and Arabia. The same word in  1 Samuel 22:6;  1 Samuel 31:13 , is rendered "a tree." It must be noted too, that in the first of these places, the common version is equally obscure and contradictory, by making ramah a proper name: it signifies hillock or bank. Of the trees that produced precious balsams there was one in particular that long flourished in Judea, having been supposed to have been an object of great attention to Solomon, which was afterward transplanted to Matarea, in Egypt, where it continued till about two hundred and fifty years ago, according to Maillet, who gives a description of it, drawn, it is supposed, from the Arabian authors, in which he says, "This shrub had two very differently coloured barks, the one red, the other perfectly green; that they tasted strongly like incense and turpentine, and when bruised between the fingers they smelt very nearly like cardamoms. This balsam, which was extremely precious and celebrated, and was used by the Coptic church in their chrism, was produced by a very low shrub; and it is said, that all those shrubs that produced balsams are every where low, and do not exceed two or three cubits in height."

Descriptions of the principal trees and shrubs mentioned in Holy Writ, the reader will find noticed in distinct articles under their several denominations.

Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types [2]

This beautiful plant of GOD's design and creation is used in many ways in the Scripture. Each type of tree represents a different truth. Trees are also used to represent positions of great power, or of lesser power. Trees represent GOD's people in some cases, while they represent Satan's product in other cases.

 Genesis 2:17 (c) It has been suggested that this tree represents human reasonings, searchings and conclusions about GOD's matters. Men today prefer psychological investigations and mental processes rather than to believe GOD and His Word. The Devil offers many philosophies and theories which men eagerly grasp and prefer them to GOD's revealed truth. (See also  Genesis 3:3).

 Exodus 15:25 (c) Perhaps this tree represents the Lord Jesus Christ who certainly does sweeten the bitter things of life, and make the sorrows of earth a blessing to the soul.

 Exodus 15:27 (c) Strangely enough, these trees may, and possibly do, represent the seventy persons who came down to Egypt from the land of Israel. The twelve springs may represent the twelve tribes. Certainly they were to be a blessing to the whole earth.

 Numbers 24:6 (a) It is a type of the people of GOD seen in the light of GOD's thoughts, as His own choice planting, and bearing fruit for His glory. (See  Jeremiah 17:8).

 Job 14:7 (c) The teaching of this passage is that though a man may fail in business, or fall as a sinner, it is quite possible for him to be restored and to recover and to end his days in blessing, and with GOD's approval.

 Psalm 1:3 (a) This is the child of GOD who is rooted and grounded in the Word of GOD, and is having his soul and life permeated by the Holy Spirit (the river). He is not planted in the river, but by the river. The finest tree will not grow in the best of soil unless there is water available. The water represents the Holy Spirit.

 Proverbs 3:18 (a) GOD is giving us here a picture of "wisdom." Those who exercise this virtue certainly save themselves from much trouble, and become a rich blessing to many. Christ bears this name.

 Proverbs 11:30 (a) The tree represents a fruitful life lived for the glory of GOD and the blessing of men.

 Proverbs 13:12 (a) The Lord uses this picture to illustrate the blessings of answered prayer, and the receiving of the desires of the heart.

 Proverbs 15:4 (a) Good talk and wise words certainly do bring the blessings that a tree of life would bring. The Lord tells us to let our conversation be always with grace. The Psalmist also requested that "the words of my mouth" might be acceptable to GOD.

 Isaiah 56:3 (a) The eunuch had no power to propagate himself, he could have no posterity. He is like the dry tree in that there would be no fruit in his life that might produce posterity.

 Isaiah 66:17 (b) Probably this tree represents some particular wicked religion which permits abominations and wicked practices. The self-righteous person is satisfied with that kind of arrangement.

 Ezekiel 17:24 (a) GOD uses this strange illustration to describe His power in bringing down the important men of the nation, and exalting the obscure man. He wrecks the life of the great man, and promotes the welfare of the small man. The trees here represent people. (See also  Ezekiel 21:10).

 Ezekiel 31:8 (a) This allegory describes Satan in his original beauty and glory. The description of Satan begins at verse3. It runs through verse9.

 Daniel 4:10 (a) This tree is King Nebuchadnezzar. Daniel explains this fully.

 Matthew 3:10 (b) The primary application of this type is to Israel. The application is also to the individual. GOD did lay the ax to the root of Israel and destroyed the nation. The roots, however, remain in the earth, and are even now producing a new tree. This happens also to individuals who, because their lives are so utterly given over to the Devil and there is no fruit for GOD, that one is cut off and sent to hell. (See also  Luke 6:43).

 Matthew 12:33 (a) The Lord is propounding here a very deep truth, which should stir every heart. The individual must be born again to become a good tree, which will bring forth good fruit. No man is naturally a Christian. The tree itself must be made before the fruit can be right. An unsaved person lives the life of an unsaved person. If he is transformed by the power and grace of GOD, then he becomes a Christian and lives the life of a Christian. (See  Luke 6:44).

 Matthew 13:32 (a) Mustard does not grow on trees. There is no such things as a mustard tree. The mustard grows on a bush. Therefore, this tree is an unnatural thing, and it represents the great, unnatural religious system, which consists of many denominations having a multitude of beliefs, many of them grotesque, and even wicked. GOD never intended that His church should be of this sort. Those who really trust Jesus Christ and are true Christians form only a very small part of that great institution we call Christendom. The birds in this story represent evil spirits. They are made to feel at home in this great unnatural religious system, which is a curse to the earth. (See  Luke 13:19).

 Luke 17:6 (b) The reference is to any trouble or difficulty in the life, which seems like a mountain that cannot be moved by any human means. Our Lord is able to do it, and therefore He gives us the privilege of bringing the problem to Him. (See "SEED").

 Revelation 2:7 (b) We find no indication of the meaning of this type, but we may assume that it refers to the blessings that come from the Lord Jesus Christ to those who walk with GOD, dwell in His presence, and are planted in His courts.

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [3]


‘Tree’ is used five times in the NT as a synonym for the Cross ( Acts 5:30;  Acts 10:39;  Acts 13:29,  Galatians 3:13;  1 Peter 2:24). In classical Greek ξύλον means wood cut, timber (as in  1 Corinthians 3:12,  Revelation 18:12); an instrument of punishment, resembling the pillory (Herod. vi. 75, ix. 37; so in  Acts 16:24); rarely a living tree (as in  Revelation 22:2;  Revelation 22:14;  Revelation 22:19); and never a cross. But in the Septuagint, where ξύλον is used for עַץ, ‘tree,’ the phrase ‘hang on a tree’ occurs several times ( Genesis 40:19,  Deuteronomy 21:22,  Joshua 10:26); and the dread saying, κατηραμένος ὑπὸ θεοῦ πᾶς κρεμάμενος ἐπὶ ξύλον (‘maledictus a Deo est qui pendet in ligno’), seems to have been applied very early in the Christian Church-apparently many years before the writing of the Epistle to the Galatians-with a deep theological meaning as well as a poignant pathos, to the death of Christ, whose Cross then came to be commonly known as ‘the tree.’

Among the ancient Israelites the criminal was not executed by being hanged, but hanged after execution, his corpse being exposed before all eyes as a proof that he had met the reward of his deeds ( 2 Samuel 4:12;  2 Samuel 21:9-10). But  Genesis 40:19, which refers to a case in Egypt, may denote a death by suspension (see J. Skinner, International Critical Commentary , ‘Genesis,’ Edinburgh, 1910). Be that as it may, the tree used for this gruesome purpose was no doubt a literal living tree, not an artificial ‘gallows-tree.’

The Cross is called ‘a tree’ in two addresses which are said to have been delivered by St. Peter ( Acts 5:30;  Acts 10:39), and  1 Peter 2:24 refers to Christ bearing our sins in His body upon the tree. Cf. also St. Paul’s words in  Acts 13:29 with  Galatians 3:18. The theme ‘crux est arbor’ is a favourite one in mediaeval poetry, and ‘the tree’ is a common synonym for ‘the Cross’ in modern hymnology.

In  Judges 1:12 apostates are compared to autumn trees without fruit. The writer of the Apocalypse refers to a conflagration among forest trees ( Revelation 8:7); also to trees spared by hurricanes ( Revelation 7:1;  Revelation 7:3) and by locusts ( Revelation 9:4). See also Tree of Life.

James Strahan.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of OT Words [4]

‛Êts ( עֵץ , Strong'S #6086), “tree; wood; timber; stick; stalk.” This word has cognates in Ugaritic, Akkadian, Phoenician, Aramaic (‘e’), and Arabic. It occurs about 325 times in biblical Hebrew and in all periods.

In its first biblical appearance ‘ets is used as a collective noun representing all trees bearing fruit (Gen. 1:11). In Exod. 9:25 the word means “tree” indiscriminately: “… And the hail smote every herb of the field, and brake every tree of the field.” God forbids Israel to destroy the orchards around besieged cities: “When thou shalt besiege a city a long time, in making war against it to take it, thou shalt not destroy the trees … : for thou mayest eat of them [literally, “… its tree or orchard … for you may eat from it …”] …” (Deut. 20:19).

This word may signify a single “tree,” as it does in Gen. 2:9: “… The tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

This word may be used of the genus “tree.” So Isa. 41:19 lists the olive “tree” and the box “tree” in the midst of a long list of various species of trees.

‛Êts can mean “wood.” Thus, Deut. 16:21 should read: “You shall not plant for yourself an Asherah of any kind of wood” (NASB, “any kind of tree”). This word can represent “wood” as a material from which things are constructed, as a raw material to be carved: “… And in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship” (Exod. 31:5). Large unprocessed pieces of “wood or timber” are also signified by ‛êts  : “Go up to the mountain, and bring wood [timber], and build the house …” (Hag. 1:8). The end product of wood already processed and fashioned into something may be indicated by ‛êts  :—“And upon whatsoever any of them, when they are dead, doth fall, it shall be unclean; whether it be any vessel of wood …” (Lev. 11:32). This word means “stick” or “piece of wood” in Ezek. 37:16: “… Thou son of man, take thee one stick, and write upon it.…” This may also refer to a “pole” or “gallows”: “… Within three days shall Pharaoh lift up thy head from off thee, and shall hang thee on a tree [gallows or pole] …” (Gen. 40:19).

‛Êts once means “stalk”: “But she had brought them up to the roof of the house, and hid them with the stalks of flax, which she had laid in order upon the roof” (Josh. 2:6).

'Ayil ( אַיִל , Strong'S #352), “large, mighty tree.” This word occurs 4 times and only in poetical passages. This does not mean a particular genus or species of tree but merely a large, mighty tree: “For they shall be ashamed of the [mighty trees] [[[Kjv, Rsv, Nasb]] “oaks”] which ye have desired …” (Isa. 1:29—the first biblical occurrence).

'Êlôn ( אֵלוֹן , Strong'S #436), “large tree.” This noun is probably related to ‘ayil , “large tree.” ‘Elon occurs 10 times and only in relation to places of worship. It may well be that these were all ancient cultic sites. The word does not represent a particular genus or species of tree but, like the noun to which it is related, simply a “big tree”: “Gaal spoke again and said, Look, men are coming down from the center of the land, and one company is coming from the direction of the Diviners’ oak [KJV, “Meonenim”; NASB, “oak”]” (Judg. 9:37, RSV). Judg. 9:6 speaks of the “tree of the pillar” (KJV, “plain of the piilar”) in Shechem where the men of Shechem and Beth-millo made Abimelech king.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [5]

1: Δένδρον (Strong'S #1186 — Noun Neuter — dendron — den'-dron )

"a living, growing tree" (cp. Eng., "rhododendron," lit., "rose tree"), known by the fruit it produces,  Matthew 12:33;  Luke 6:44; certain qualities are mentioned in the NT; "a good tree,"  Matthew 7:17,18;  12:33;  Luke 6:43; "a corrupt tree" (ditto); in  Jude 1:12 , metaphorically, of evil teachers, "autumn trees (AV, 'trees whose fruit withereth') without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots," RV; in  Luke 13:19 in some texts, "a great tree," AV (RV, "a tree"); for this and   Matthew 13:32 see MUSTARD; in   Luke 21:29 "the fig tree" is illustrative of Israel, "all the trees" indicating Gentile nations.

2: Ξύλον (Strong'S #3586 — Noun Neuter — xulon — xoo'-lon )

"wood, a piece of wood, anything made of wood" (see Staff , Stocks is used, with the rendering "tree," (a) in  Luke 23:31 , where "the green tree" refers either to Christ, figuratively of all His living power and excellencies, or to the life of the Jewish people while still inhabiting their land, in contrast to "the dry," a figure fulfilled in the horrors of the Roman massacre and devastation in A.D. 70 (cp. the Lord's parable in  Luke 13:6-9; see  Ezekiel 20:47 , and cp.  Ezekiel 21:3 ); (b) of "the cross," the tree being the stauros, the upright pale or stake to which Romans nailed those who were thus to be executed,  Acts 5:30;  10:39;  13:29;  Galatians 3:13;  1—Peter 2:24; (c) of "the tree of life,"  Revelation 2:7;  22:2 (twice),14,19, RV, AV, "book." See Wood.

Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary [6]

We meet with the names of a great variety of trees in Scripture, but if we may give credit to ancient writers, there was nothing in the Hebrew language less determined than the special names of trees. The sacred writers, however, have very largely and very beautifully classed them under their respective names. I do not take upon me to say that in numberless instances the names and trees are not figurative, for I rather think they are. It has been thought so by some writers, and there is reason for the opinion; and when we consider how God the Holy Ghost, from the description of the garden of Eden, in the very opening of the Bible, to the closing the canon of Scripture, in the description of the Paradise of God, makes use of the several names of "the tree of life, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil," which were evidently symbolical and sacramental, I cannot but pause over the several elegantly and highly finished representations which the whole Book of God abounds with, more or less, from beginning to end, and accept them as such. Hence, in this point of view, are the "trees of the garden and of the forest, the trees of righteousness, and of the Lord's right hand planting;" but chiefly and above all in beholding that most striking and lovely representation of Jesus, under the similitude of the tree of life. ( Revelation 22:2) Amidst a thousand beauties included in this lovely figure, how blessed is it to see that in his person, the life, the fruit, the healing, the shadow of his branches, the everlasting root, the verdure of his leaves, all, and every one, are beautifully described as figurative of temporal, spiritual, and eternal blessings in Jesus. And it is not the least of the beauty of this similitude, that this tree of life is said to be in the midst of the street, and on either side of the river. For as the church of Jesus, though but one, and the only one of her mother, ( Song of Song of Solomon 6:9) is in both worlds, the river of Jordan only separating in place, but not in union; Jesus is equally the life of both, and gives blessedness to the body below as well as happiness to the society above. Hail! thou everlasting and eternal tree of life! Cause me to sit down under thy shadow with great delight this side the river, until thou shalt bring me home to the everlasting rest and enjoyment of thy fulness, in the paradise of God above. Amen.

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( n.) Any perennial woody plant of considerable size (usually over twenty feet high) and growing with a single trunk.

(2): ( n.) A piece of timber, or something commonly made of timber; - used in composition, as in axletree, boottree, chesstree, crosstree, whiffletree, and the like.

(3): ( n.) Something constructed in the form of, or considered as resembling, a tree, consisting of a stem, or stock, and branches; as, a genealogical tree.

(4): ( n.) A cross or gallows; as Tyburn tree.

(5): ( n.) Wood; timber.

(6): ( n.) A mass of crystals, aggregated in arborescent forms, obtained by precipitation of a metal from solution. See Lead tree, under Lead.

(7): ( v. t.) To drive to a tree; to cause to ascend a tree; as, a dog trees a squirrel.

(8): ( v. t.) To place upon a tree; to fit with a tree; to stretch upon a tree; as, to tree a boot. See Tree, n., 3.

King James Dictionary [8]

TREE, n.

1. The general name of the largest of the vegetable kind, consisting of a firm woody stem springing from woody roots, and spreading above into branches which terminate in leaves. A tree differs from a shrub principally in size, many species of trees growing to the highth of fifty or sixty feet, and some species to seventy or eighty, and a few, particularly the pine, to a much greater highth.

Trees are of various kinds as nuciferous, or nut-bearing trees bacciferous, or berry-bearing coniferous, or cone-bearing, &c. Some are forest-trees, and useful for timber or fuel others are fruit trees, and cultivated in gardens and orchards others are used chiefly for shade and ornament.

2. Something resembling a tree, consisting of a stem or stalk and branches as a genealogical tree. 3. In ship-building, pieces of timber are called chess-trees, cross-trees, roof-trees, tressel-trees, &c. 4. In Scripture, a cross.

--Jesus, whom they slew and hanged on a tree.  Acts 10

5. Wood.

Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible [9]

TREE . ‘Tree’ is used as a poetic name for the Cross in   Acts 5:30;   Acts 10:39;   Acts 13:29 ,   1 Peter 2:24; cf.   Galatians 3:12 . For sacred trees see High Place, 1  ; and Israel, ii. 1 (5); and, for the various trees of the Bible, the artt. under their respective names.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [10]

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