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Holman Bible Dictionary


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The fruit of the date palm (Phoenix dactylifera ), highly valued by desert travelers who consume dates fresh, dry them, or form them into cakes for a portable and easily-storable food. As part of the celebration of bringing the ark to Jerusalem, David gave gifts of food to each Israelite gathered in Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6:19 ; 1 Chronicles 16:3 ). The meaning of the Hebrew term is uncertain. NAS and NIV use “cake of dates” at 2 Samuel 6:19 (also TEV margin). Other modern translations follow the KJV, understanding the food as a piece of meat. The NIV, but not the NAS, uses “cake of dates” in the parallel account in 1Chronicles.

The NAS of Song of Song of Solomon 5:11 describes the hair of the king as “like a cluster of dates,” perhaps a reference to a full head of hair. The REB translates the same term as “like palm-fronds”. Other translations speak of bushy hair (KJV), curly hair (KJV margin), or wavey hair (NIV, NRSV, TEV). See Palms .

Copyright Statement
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.

Bibliography Information
Butler, Trent C. Editor. Entry for 'Dates'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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