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Large, naturally-wooded areas, characteristic of the central hill country, the Galilee, and the Bashan.

Large expanses of forest covered the majority of the hills in Palestine during the Old Testament period. Because of their locations on hilly, rocky soil, forests were considered unfarmable in early periods. After the Exodus, the inability of the Israelite tribes to conquer much of their inheritance forced them to develop new settlements and camps in the wooded hill country. Unable to rescue their portion from the hands of the Canaanites, the clans of Ephraim and Manasseh cleared the forests among the hills in their territory to provide room for settlement (Joshua 17:15-18 ). Forests also provided excellent staging areas for warfare, such as the rebellion of Absalom against David which ended with a battle in the forests of Ephraim (2 Samuel 18:6-8 ).

The valuable cedars of Lebanon were imported from Tyre by Solomon for his extensive building projects in Jerusalem (1 Kings 5:8-10 ). Solomon's palace, “The house of the forest of Lebanon,” was so named for its extensive use of these cedars (1 Kings 7:2 ). As the population expanded, forested areas were cut down, and terraced orchards took their place. Large portions of the forests around Jerusalem were destroyed during the Roman seige of the city in A.D. 70.

David Maltsberger

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 'Forest'. Holman Bible Dictionary. 1991.

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