juniper Summary and Overview
juniper in Easton's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and abounds in many parts of Israel. In the account of his journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4, 5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e., "place of broom" (Num. 33:18). "The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."
juniper in Smith's Bible Dictionary
#1Ki 19:4,5; Job 30:4; Ps 120:4| a sort of broom, Genista monosperma, G. raetam of Forskal, answering to the Arabic rethem. It is very abundant in the desert of Sinai, and affords shade and protection, in both heat and storm, to travellers. The rethem is a leguminous plant, and bears a white flower. It is found also in Spain. It is an erect shrub, with no main trunk, but many wand-like, slender branches, and is sometimes twelve feet high. Its use is very great in stopping the sand. --ED.)
juniper in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
JU'NIPER . Unquestionably, the original intends the re-tem (Retama raetum), a shrub of the broom family, attaining a height of about 12 feet. This bush grows in the sandy regions of Arabia, northern Africa, and Spain, but is especially abundant in the desert Retem or Juniper Bush. (After Tristram.) of Sinai, and is often the only possible shelter. Under its shade travelers are glad to creep on a sultry day for a noontime nap, and thus Elijah lay and slept after his long journey. 1 Kgs 19:4-5. The retem has no main trunk, but consists of many stems, mostly small. The roots are disproportionally massive and dense, and from them the Bedouins manufacture charcoal, which is sold in Cairo and other towns, where it brings the highest price, since, of all charcoal, it produces the most intense heat, Ps 120:4. In Job 30:4 we read of hunger so extreme that the bitter roots of this shrub are used for food. During the wanderings of the Israelites one of their stations was named Rithmah, doubtless from the abundance of the retem at that place. Num 33:18.
juniper in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
rothem, the Spanish broom, Genista monosperma, white blossoming (<111904> 1 Kings 19:4-6; <183004> Job 30:4, <19C004> Psalm 120:4). Abundant in the desert of Sinai. The bushy shrub, eight or ten feet high, shaded Elijah from the heat. The Bedouins still make charcoal of the wood, as the psalmist describes. The eating of its bitter roots for food is Job's illustration of the degradation and famine to which the outcasts he describes were reduced.