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Bible Encyclopedias

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

Ash (1)

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ash ( ארן , 'ōren ; the Revised Version (British and American) FIR TREE; the Revised Version, margin Ash): A maker of idols "planteth a fir-tree (margin, "ash"), and the rain doth nourish it" (Isaiah 44:14 ). It is a suggestion as old as Luther that the final letter ן , "n", was originally a ז , "z", and that the word should be 'erez , "cedar"; the chief objection is that cedar occurs just before in the same verse. The word 'ōren seems to be connected with the Assyrian irin , meaning fir or cedar or allied tree. "Fir" has support from the Septuagint and from the rabbis. Post (HDB ) suggests as probable the stone pine, Pinus pinea , which has been extensively planted round Beirût and unlike most planted trees flourishes without artificial watering - "the rain doth nourish it."

The translation "ash" was probably suggested by the fanciful resemblance of the Hebrew 'ōren and the Latin ornus , the manna ash of Europe. Three varieties of ash flourish in Syria, Fraxinus ornus , F. excelsior and F. oxycarpa . The last mentioned, which is common in parts of North Palestine, being a large tree some 30 to 40 ft. high, might suit the context were there anything philological to support the idea.

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Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. Entry for 'Ash (1)'. International Standard Bible Encyclopedia. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/isb/a/ash-1.html. 1915.

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