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Bible Dictionaries

Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary


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The religious veneration paid to this tree by the original natives of our island in the time of the Druids, is well known to every reader of British history. We have reason to think that this veneration was brought from the east; and that the Druids did no more than transfer the sentiments their progenitors had received in oriental countries. It should appear that the Patriarch Abraham resided under an oak, or a grove of oaks, which our translators render the plain of Mamre; and that he planted a grove of this tree, Genesis 13:18 . In fact, since in hot countries nothing is more desirable than shade, nothing more refreshing than the shade of a tree, we may easily suppose the inhabitants would resort for such enjoyment to

Where'er the oak's thick branches spread

A deeper, darker shade.

Oaks, and groves of oaks, were esteemed proper places for religious services; altars were set up under them, Joshua 24:26; and, probably, in the east as well as in the west, appointments to meet at conspicuous oaks were made, and many affairs were transacted or treated of under their shade, as we read in Homer, Theocritus, and other poets. It was common among the Hebrews to sit under oaks, Judges 6:11; 1 Kings 13:14 . Jacob buried idolatrous images under an oak, Genesis 35:4; and Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, was buried under one of these trees, Genesis 35:8 . See 1 Chronicles 10:12 . Abimelech was made king under an oak, Judges 9:6 . Idolatry was practised under oaks, Isaiah 1:29; Isaiah 57:5; Hosea 4:13 . Idols were made of oaks, Isaiah 44:14 .

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Watson, Richard. Entry for 'Oak'. Richard Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary. 1831-2.

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