Notes storax

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They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good: therefore your daughters shall commit whoredom, and your spouses shall commit adultery.

They sacrifice on the tops of the mountains, and make offerings upon the hills, under oak, poplar, and terebinth, because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters play the harlot, and your brides commit adultery.

On the tops of the mountain they sacrifice and on the hills they make sacrificial smoke, under massive tree and storax tree and big tree because its shade is good. That is why your daughters commit fornication and your own daughters in law commit adultery.

Of the three versions, only the NWT agrees with Zohary — that the poplar of Hosea 4:13 (KJV, RSV) is styrax, livneh in Hebrew. While the PH2 covers three species of the genus Styrax and one of the genus Liquidambar, few people can identify the resins of these trees, the product of commerce. Recent authorities maintain that the "incense" used in the service of the Tabernacle was a mixture, in definite proportions of frankincense, galbanum (Ferula galbaniflua), onycha (Styrax benzoin), and stacte (Styrax officinalis), and the use of any incense not composed of these four ingredients in the proper proportions was strictly forbidden (BIB). I certainly do not want to rock city hall.

EFS aggregates the common names for this and Styrax benzoin, but I have included them only under Styrax benzoin. Few, if any, could today identify the plant by its resin, and not too many could positively identify even with flowers and fruits and foliage. Hence, I doubt we will ever be sure just which species were imported into the Holy Land and mentioned in the Bible, be it as poplar (balm) or storax. I will resist the temptation to lump the S. benzoin and S. officinalis. The USDA does not. They suggest the distribution of S. officinalis as Cyprus, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, Turkey in western Asia, Albania, Greece (including Crete), Italy, and Yugoslavia in Europe. Zohary adds that this species occurs in Israel's evergreen forest (maquis). It seems to have fewer reported activities and indications than Styrax benzoin. But it is the more likely candidate to be Hosea's poplar (KJV, RSV) or styrax (NWT).

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