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What is an Olive?
        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.


Bibliography Information
Schaff, Philip, Dr. "Biblical Definition for 'olive' in Schaffs Bible Dictionary".
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