Try out the new BibleStudyTools.com. Click here!

Palm tree

Palm tree [N] [S]

(Heb. tamar), the date-palm characteristic of Palestine. It is described as "flourishing" ( Psalms 92:12 ), tall (Cant 7:7 ), "upright" ( Jeremiah 10:5 ). Its branches are a symbol of victory ( Revelation 7:9 ). "Rising with slender stem 40 or 50, at times even 80, feet aloft, its only branches, the feathery, snow-like, pale-green fronds from 6 to 12 feet long, bending from its top, the palm attracts the eye wherever it is seen." The whole land of Palestine was called by the Greeks and Romans Phoenicia, i.e., "the land of palms." Tadmor in the desert was called by the Greeks and Romans Palmyra, i.e., "the city of palms." The finest specimens of this tree grew at Jericho ( Deuteronomy 34:3 ) and Engedi and along the banks of the Jordan. Branches of the palm tree were carried at the feast of Tabernacles ( Leviticus 23:40 ). At our Lord's triumphal entrance into Jerusalem the crowds took palm branches, and went forth to meet him, crying, "Hosanna: Blessed is the King of Israel that cometh in the name of the Lord" ( Matthew 21:8 ; John 12:13 ). (See DATE .)

These dictionary topics are from
M.G. Easton M.A., D.D., Illustrated Bible Dictionary, Third Edition,
published by Thomas Nelson, 1897. Public Domain, copy freely.

[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[S] indicates this entry was also found in Smith's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Easton, Matthew George. "Entry for Palm tree". "Easton's Bible Dictionary". .

Palm tree [N] [E]

(Heb. 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. 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. ( 2:8 ) Jericho was the city of "palm trees." ( 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 ; 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 ; 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. --ED.) 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 .


[N] indicates this entry was also found in Nave's Topical Bible
[E] indicates this entry was also found in Easton's Bible Dictionary

Bibliography Information

Smith, William, Dr. "Entry for 'Palm tree'". "Smith's Bible Dictionary". . 1901.