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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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APPLE . That the apple ( tappuah ) of the OT is the fruit known by that name to-day is extremely doubtful. It is true that the tree in size and foliage would answer to the reference in Song of Solomon 8:5 , Joel 1:12 ; the fruit too in its sweetness ( Song of Solomon 2:3 ) and its smell ( Song of Solomon 7:8 ) is very appropriate. It is also suggestive that Heb. tappuah closely resembles the Arabic for ‘apple,’ tuffah . On the other hand, it is a substantial difficulty that the apple does not grow well in Palestine proper, as distinguished from the Lebanon. The native fruit is small and wanting in sweetness; almost all eatable apples are imported from the North. In consequence of this, several fruits which to-day are found in Palestine have been suggested. The citron , a favourite with the Jews on account of its smell and golden colour, is certainly a more recent introduction. The apricot , suggested by Tristiam, which flourishes in parts of Palestine in greater profusion than any other fruit, would seem to answer to the references well. It is deliciously sweet, with a pleasant smell, and, when ripe, of a brilliant golden colour. The tree is one of the most beautiful in the land, and when loaded with its golden fruit might well suggest the expression ‘apples of gold in pictures of silver’ ( Proverbs 25:11 ). Unfortunately there is considerable doubt whether this tree, a native of China, was known in Palestine much before the Christian era. A fourth fruit has been suggested, namely, the quince . This is certainly a native of the land, and is common all over Palestine. The fruit, when ripe, though smelling pleasantly, is not ‘sweet’ according to our ideas, but even to-day is much appreciated. It is a great favourite when cooked, and is extensively used for making a delicious confection. The quince, along with the true apple, was sacred to Aphrodite, the goddess of love.

E. W. G. Masterman.

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These files are public domain.
Text Courtesy of Used by Permission.

Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Apple'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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