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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature


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Oror, the word thus rendered occurs in two or three places of Scripture, and has been variously translated, as tamarisk; tamarin, which is an Indian tree, the tamarind; retama, that is the broom; and also, as in the French and English versions, heath, which is perhaps the most incorrect of all, though Hasselquist mentions finding heath near Jericho, in Syria. As far as the context is concerned, some of these plants, as the retam and tamarisk, would answer very well; but the Arabic name arar, is applied to a totally-different plant, a species of juniper.

Several species of juniper are no doubt found in Syria and Palestine. Robinson met with some in proceeding from Hebron to Wady Musa, near the romantic pass of Nemela: 'On the rocks above we found the juniper tree, Arabic ar'ar; its berries have the appearance and taste of the common juniper, except that there is more of the aroma of the pine. These trees were ten or fifteen feet in height, and hung upon the rocks even to the summits of the cliffs and needles.' In a note the author says: 'This is doubtless the Hebrew aroer(); whence both the English version and Luther read incorrectly heath' (Bibl. Researches, ii. 506). In proceeding S.E. he states: 'Large trees of the juniper become quite common in the Wadys and on the rocks.' It is mentioned in the same situations by other travelers, and is no doubt common enough, particularly in wild, uncultivated, and often inaccessible situations, and is thus suitable to : 'Flee, save your lives, and be like the heath (oror) in the wilderness.'





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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Heath'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature".

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