Notes (Italian Cypress):
He heweth him down cedars, and taketh the cypress and the oak, which he strengtheneth for himself among the trees of the forest: he planteth an ash, and the rain doth nourish it.
Isaiah 44:14 (KJV)
Zohary (1982) notes that biblical berosh occurs more than 30 times in the Scriptures, but thinks of it as a collective term, meaning merely conifers with scale-like rather than needle-like leaves. He lists Abies cilicica, Cupressus sempervirens, and Juniperus excelsa as candidates for the word berosh. He interpreted it to mean coniferous trees with small scale-like or short linear leaves. He concludes that berosh is a collective name for all three. Amazingly, on page 120 of his excellent book, he identified ash in the HJV quote above as laurel (Laurus nobilis). The colloquial taxonomic names are so different in the RSV that I quote here Zohary's quote of the RSV:
He cuts down cedars; or he chooses a holm tree or an oak and lets it grow strong among the trees of the forest; he plants a cedar and the rain nourishes it.
Note that the RSV says cedar, the KJV says ash. Perhaps this is not so amazing; there are many supra-specific and suprageneric terms in the United States, such as scrub oaks and conifer, respectively. The latter embraces more kinds of gymnosperms than Zohary's berosh. The cypress was an important biblical timber tree, used by the Egyptians for coffins in olden times, and in Greece more recently. The doors of St. Peter's in Rome and the gates of Constantinople, made of cypress, both survived more than 1000 years. Its timbers were used for house building, ship building (even the ark), and musical instruments. David and all the house of Israel played on musical instruments made of cypress (BIB). Oil of cypress is a valuable perfume ingredient, providing ambergris- and ladanum-like odors. The trees are often planted as ornamentals in cemeteries, gardens, and parks. The Island of Cyprus, where the tree was once worshipped, derives its name from the cypress. Regarded as antiseptic, astringent, diuretic, expectorant, pectoral, styptic, sudorific, vasoconstrictor, vermifuge, and vulnerary, cypress is used in folk remedies for cancer or tumors of the eyes, nose, breast, tests, uterus, and indurations of the liver, spleen, stomach, and testicles. In Palestine, the oil derived from the leaves was used for whooping cough. Lebanese use for cough, dyspepsia, hiccup, inflammation, and ulcers. The berries serve in a cough syrup. Mashed berries are applied to lesions. Algerians ate stewed fruits for dyspepsia. In India, the fruits are described as "an aromatic stimulant" in piles. The cone has been used for bronchitis, cough, diarrhea, enuresis, fever, hemorrhage, and hemorrhoids (BIB).
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