oil tree Summary and Overview
oil tree in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(Heb. ets shemen). The Hebrew words occur in #Ne 8:15| (Authorized Version "pine branches"), #1Ki 6:23| ("olive tree") and in #Isa 41:19| ("oil tree"). From the passage in Nehemiah, where the ets shemen is mentioned as distinct from the olive tree, if may perhaps be identified with the zackum tree of the Arabs, the Balanites aegyptiaca, a well-known and abundant shrub or small tree in the plain of Jordan. The zackum oil is held in high repute by the Arabs for its medicinal properties. [OLIVE]
oil tree in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
OIL TREE (tree of oil). Isa 41:19 In 1 Kgs 6:23, 1 Kgs 6:31-33 these words are rendered "olive tree," and represent the material of the cherubim, doors, and posts of Solomon's temple. They are translated "pine" in Neh 8:15. But the olive tree is also unmistakably mentioned in this verse. If the oil tree was not the olive tree, what was it? Tristram and others believe it to be the oleaster (Elaeagnus angustifolia). This shrub has no affinity to the olive, though resembling it in leaf and general appearance and yielding from its berries an inferior oil. It is found plentifully on the highlands of Palestine and about Jerusalem, thus meeting the direction of Neh 8:15, as the Balanites AEgyptiaca, a shrub of the Jordan valley, does not. Dr Tristram therefore suggests in one place (under "Oil Tree") that its "fine hard wood" was the wood of the cherubim, but in another place (under "Olive") states that material to have been olive wood (as the A.V. reads). The latter opinion has a strong probability in its favor, and it does not appear that the oleaster is more than a large shrub, though the author cited calls it, as compared with the olive, "a smaller tree." For the passage in Nehemiah there would then be no present explanation unless we believe, as is very possible, that the term "oil tree," in later times at least, was extended or restricted to the oleaster.
oil tree in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
'eets shemen (Isaiah 41:19), but in KJV Nehemiah 8:15 "pine branches." Probably the zackum or Balanites Aegyptiaca is meant. Distinct from the zayit, "olive tree." The zackum is a small tree abundant in the Jordan plain. It is found all the way from India to Syria, Abyssinia, and the Niger. The zackum oil is highly esteemed by the Arabs as a remedy for wounds.