olive Summary and Overview
Bible Dictionaries at a Glance
olive in Easton's Bible Dictionary
the fruit of the olive-tree. This tree yielded oil which was
highly valued. The best oil was from olives that were plucked
before being fully ripe, and then beaten or squeezed (Deut.
24:20; Isa. 17:6; 24:13). It was called "beaten," or "fresh oil"
(Ex. 27:20). There were also oil-presses, in which the oil was
trodden out by the feet (Micah 6:15). James (3:12) calls the
fruit "olive berries." The phrase "vineyards and olives" (Judg.
15:5, A.V.) should be simply "olive-yard," or "olive-garden," as
in the Revised Version. (See OIL T0002774.)
olive in Smith's Bible Dictionary
The olive was among the most abundant and characteristic vegetation of Judea. The olive tree grows freely almost everywhere on the shores of the Mediterranean, but it was peculiarly abundant in Israel. See #De 6:11; 8:8; 28:40| Oliveyards are a matter of course in descriptions of the country like vines and cornfields. #Jud 15:5; 1Sa 8:14| The kings had very extensive ones. #1Ch 27:28| Even now the is very abundant in the country. Almost every village has its olive grove. Certain districts may be specified where at various times this tree been very luxuriant. The cultivation of the olive tree had the closest connection with the domestic life of the Israelites #2Ch 2:10| their trade, #Eze 27:17; Ho 12:1| and even their Public ceremonies and religious worship. In Solomon's temple the cherubim were "of olive tree," #1Ki 6:23| as also the doors, vs. #1Ki 6:31,32| and posts. ver. #1Ki 6:33| For the various uses of olive oil see OIL. The wind was dreaded by the cultivator of the olive for the least ruffling of a breeze is apt to cause the flowers to fall.
#Job 15:33| It is needless to add that the locust was a formidable enemy of the olive. It happened not unfrequently that hopes were disappointed, and that "the labor of the olive failed." #Hab 3:17|
As to the growth of the tree, it thrives best in warm and sunny situations. It is of moderate height, with knotty gnarled trunk and a smooth ash-colored bark. It grows slowly, but lives to an immense age. Its look is singularly indicative of tenacious vigor, and this is the force of what is said in Scripture of its "greenness, as emblematic of strength and prosperity. The leaves, too, are not deciduous. Those who see olives for the first time are occasionally disappointed by the dusty color of their foilage; but those who are familiar with them find an inexpressible charm in the rippling changes of their slender gray-green leaves. (See Ruskin's "Stones of Venice," iii. 175-177.) The olive furnishes the basis of one of Paul's allegories. #Ro 11:16-25| The Gentiles are the "wild olive" grafted in upon the "good olive," to which once the Jews belonged, and with which they may again be incorporated, (The olive grows from 20 to 40 feet high. In general appearance it resembles the apple tree; in leaves and sterns, the willow. The flowers are white and appear in June, The fruit is like a plum in shape and size, and at first is green, but gradually becomes purple, and even black, with a hard stony kernel, and is remarkable from the outer fleshy part being that in which much oil is lodged, and not, as is usual, in the almond of the seed. The fruit ripens from August to September. It is sometimes eaten green, but its chief value is in its oil. The wood is hard, fine beautifully veined, and is open used for cabinet work. Olive trees were so abundant in Galilee that at the siege of Jotapata by Vespasian the Roman army were driven from the ascent of the walls by hot olive oil poured upon them and scalding them underneath their armor. --Josephus, Wars, 3; 7:28. --ED.)
olive in Schaff's Bible Dictionary
OL'IVE . From ancient times this has been one of the most common fruit trees of Palestine. Deut 6:11. As the olive stands in the orchard it resembles the apple tree in shape, size, and mode of cultivation. Its leaves are narrow, dull above and silvery beneath, so that the resulting gray-green of these trees becomes beautiful by association. Hos 14:6. The white flowers, produced in the greatest profusion, are like those of the lilac, to which the tree is botanically allied; and, though millions are prematurely scattered by the breezes. Job 15:33, enough remain to load down the trees with fruit. This latter is like a plum in shape and color, being first green, then pale, and, when ripe, nearly black. Olives are some Olive Branches and Olives. times plucked in an unripe state and put into some pickle or other preserving liquid and exported. For the most part, however, they are valuable for the oil they produce, which is expressed from the fruit in various ways, and constitutes an important article of commerce and luxury. Job 24:11; Eze 27:17. The fruit is gathered by beating, Deut 24:20, or shaking the tree, Isa 17:6; and by Jewish law gleanings were to be left for the poor. A full-sized tree in its vigor annually produces from ten to fifteen gallons of oil. The olive seems to flourish best where it can get its roots into the crevices of the rock. Deut 32:13. It grows slowly, lives to an immense age, and still bears fruit when the trunk is but a hollow shell or strip of such a shell, illustrating Ps 92:14. The olive-branch is regarded universally as the symbol of peace, Gen 8:11, and plenty. The olives from which oil is to be expressed must be gathered by the hands or softly shaken from the trees before they are fully ripe, in September or October. The best oil is that which comes from the fruit with very light pressure. This is sometimes called in Scripture "green oil," not because of its color - for it is pellucid - but because it is from unripe fruit. It is translated, in Ex 27:20, "pure oil-olive beaten," and was used for the golden candlestick. For the extraction of the first oil panniers or baskets are used, which are gently shaken. The second and third pressing produces inferior oil. The best is obtained from unripe fruit; the worst from that which is more than ripe, and which often is not gathered till winter. The oil of Egypt is worth little, because the olives are too fat. Hence the Hebrews sent gifts of oil to the Egyptian kings. Hos 12:1. The olives are themselves eaten, and the oil is employed not only as salad, but as butter and fat are in our domestic economy, and the inferior qualities are used for making soap. It is observed by travellers that the natives of oil countries manifest more attachment to this than to any other article of food, and find nothing adequate to supply its place. For other uses see Oil. A press was often used for the extraction Oil-Press and Olive Tree. of the oil, consisting of two reservoirs, usually 8 feet square and 4 feet deep, situated one above the other and hewn out of the rock. Job 29:6. The berries, being thrown into the upper one, were trodden out with the feet. Mic 6:15. Olive-wood, which is close-grained, of a dark amber color, and beautifully veined, was probably used in the temple. 1 Kgs 6:23, 1 Kgs 6:31-33. See Oil Tree. Ordinarily, at present, there are no fences about olives, but each tree has its one or more owners, and is inherited, bought, or sold separately, while the ground belongs to the village. This tree, like the apple, requires grafting, for seedlings produce but scanty, small, and poor fruit. Olive, Wild. Rom 11:17-24 does not teach that a wild twig grafted upon a good stock will produce good fruit, for this is not the fact. Paul refers rather to the adoption of the Gentiles among God's people as a process "contrary to nature," but accomplished by grace.
olive in Fausset's Bible Dictionary
Its foliage is the earliest mentioned (Genesis 8:11). Tradition from Noah's days has ever made it symbolize peace. It is the emblem of "fatness" in the oldest parable (Judges 9:8-9). Emblem of the godly (Psalm 52:5; Psalm 52:8), in spirit constantly dwelling "in the house of God"; in contrast to slave-like formalists now sojourning outwardly in it for a time, but not abiding ever (John 8:34-35; Psalm 15:1; Psalm 23:6; Psalm 27:4-5; Psalm 36:8); the wicked and antichrist shall be "rooted out of (God's) dwelling place," literally, 5 ('ohel). The Septuagint, Chaldee, Vulgate, and Aben Ezra interpret 'ohel "the tabernacle" (2 Thessalonians 2:4; Daniel 11:44-45). The saint's children are "like olive plants round about his table" (Psalm 128:3).
The old olive sends out young suckers which spring up round the parent tree, and which in after ages, when the parent's strength fails, shelter it on every side from the blast. It is the characteristic tree of Judea on Roman coins, Deuteronomy 8:8. Asher "dipped his foot in oil" (Deuteronomy 33:24). Emblem of Judah's adoption of God by grace (Jeremiah 11:16; Romans 11:17), also of joy and prosperity. The Gentile church is the wild twig "engrafted contrary to nature" on the original Jewish olive stock; it marks supernatural virtue in the stock that it enables those wild by nature to bear good fruit; ordinarily it is only a superior scion that is grafted on an inferior. The two witnesses for God (antitypes to Elijah and Moses, Zerubbabel and Joshua, the civil ruler and the priest: Malachi 4:5-6; Matthew 17:11; Acts 3:21; Judges 1:6) are "the two olive trees," channels of the oil (the Holy Spirit in them) feeding the church (Revelation 11:3-4; Zechariah 4:11-12).
The wood, fine grained, solid, and yellowish, was used for the cherubim, doors, and posts (1 Kings 6:23; 1 Kings 6:31-33). The tree was shaken to get the remnant left after the general gathering (by "beating," Deuteronomy 24:20), Isaiah 24:13; image of Israel's "remnant according to the election of grace." The least breeze makes the flowers fall; compare Job 15:33, "he shall cast off his flower as the olive," i.e. the least blast sweeps away in a moment the sinner's prosperity. The tree poetically is made to cast off its own blossom, to mark that the sinner brings on his own ruin (Isaiah 3:11; Jeremiah 6:19). It thrives best in a sunny position. A rocky calcareous subsoil suits it; compare "oil out of the flinty rock" (Deuteronomy 32:13). The trunk is knotty and gnarled, the bark smooth and ash colored. Its growth is slow, but it lives very long. The leaves are grey green, not deciduous, suggestive of tenacious strength.