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Bible Dictionaries

Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament

Garden

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GARDEN (κῆπος).—In its most precise application the term refers to a level piece of ground enclosed by a wall or hedge, in which plants, shrubs, and trees are cultivated by irrigation. Its area, ranging from a small vegetable plot beside the house to the dimensions of a farm, is limited only by the supply of water. While not excluding the idea of garden familiar in the West, its meaning in general is often nearer to that of our nursery-garden and orchard. In the irrigated garden, vines, fig, walnut, pomegranate, lemon, and other trees are grown for the sake of ornament, shade, and fruit. In the Gospels mention is made of mint, anise, and cummin (Matthew 23:23) as the cheap and common garden produce that occupied the laboured scrupulosity of the scribes and Pharisees, to the neglect of more important matters.

The fact of its being artificially and continually watered, distinguishes the garden proper from the ordinary grain field, the vineyard, and the plantation of olive or fig trees. The necessity, however, of having a protecting wall for fruit trees gives also to such an enclosure in a more general sense the name and character of a garden. These may be resorted to and passed through without objection except during summer and autumn, when the fruit is ripening. Such may have been the garden of Gethsemane, to which Christ retired with His disciples (John 18:1-2). In the garden containing the tomb in which Christ’s body was laid, Mary’s expectation of meeting with the gardener or caretaker (John 20:15) at the time of Easter would rather point to the more careful cultivation of the irrigated garden.

To the Oriental the garden is a place of retirement and rest. Its sound of falling or running water is one of the luxuries of life. Its shade affords escape from the glare of the sun, and its recognized privacy forbids the introduction at the close of the day of disturbing news, exacting claims, or perplexing decisions. The voice of nature seems to say, ‘I will give you rest.’ It has thus become a symbol of Heaven, and supplies a common term of immortal hope to the three great monotheistic religions, inasmuch as the Christian ‘Paradise’ is the equivalent of the Jewish Gan-Eden, ‘Garden of Eden,’ and the Moslem il-Gannat, ‘the Garden.’

G. M. Mackie.

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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Garden'. Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/eng/hdn/g/garden.html. 1906-1918.

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