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Bible Encyclopedias

Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Pomegranate

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The pomegranate is a native of Asia; and we may trace it from Syria, through Persia, even to the mountains of Northern India. It is common in Northern Africa, and was early cultivated in Egypt: hence the Israelites in the desert complain (), 'It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates.' Being common in Syria and Persia, it must have early attracted the attention of Eastern nations. In the present day it is highly valued, and travelers describe the pomegranate as being delicious throughout Persia. The late Sir A. Burnes states that the famous pomegranates without seeds are grown in gardens under the snowy hills, near the River Cabul. The bright and dark-green foliage of the pomegranate, and its flowers conspicuous for the crimson color both of the calyx and petals, must have made it an object of desire in gardens; while its large reddish-colored fruit, filled with numerous seeds, each surrounded with juicy pleasant-tasted pulp, would make it still more valuable as a fruit in warm countries. The pulpy grains of this fruit are sometimes eaten by themselves, sometimes sprinkled with sugar; at other times the juice is pressed out and made into wine, or one of the esteemed sherbets of the East. This seems also to have been the custom in ancient times, for it is said in , 'I would cause thee to drink of spiced wine of the juice of my pomegranate.'

The pomegranate was well known to the Greeks. It was employed as a medicine by Hippocrates, and is mentioned by Homer. Various parts of the plant were employed medicinally, as, for instance, the root, or rather its bark, the flowers, and the double flowers; also the rind of the pericarp. Some of the properties which these plants possess, make them useful both as drugs and as medicines. We have hence a combination of useful and ornamental properties, which would make the pomegranate an object sure to command attention: and these, in addition to the showy nature of the flowers, and the roundish form of the fruit, crowned by the protuberant remains of the calyx, would induce its selection as an ornament to be imitated in carved work. Hence we find frequent mention of it as an ornament on the robes of the priests (; ); and also in the temple (;;;;; ). It might, therefore, well be adduced by Moses among the desirable objects of the land of promise (): 'a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil-olive and honey.'

 

 

 

 

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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Pomegranate'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/p/pomegranate.html.

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