Trees are the silent heroes of nature. They provide food, medicines, oxygen, shade, a home for birds and animals, and more. But trees were created not just for their many practical uses; they also provide fascinating spiritual lessons. There are countless scriptures about trees and their relationship to the Jewish people. Listed below are a few trees mentioned in the Bible.
The Olive Tree is one of the most special trees on earth, and a treasured symbol in the land of Israel. The list of health benefits surrounding olives and their oil are on an ever-growing list. The olive branch is a well-known international symbol for peace and hope, and since olive trees have been known to live over 2000 years, they also symbolize longevity.
Anyone who has eaten an olive straight off the tree will tell you that it is bitter and unpalatable but transforms into a delicacy after being pressed. A value which we all can internalize; that when God puts us under pressure, He’s looking to create in us a quality product! Olive oil was also part of some of the temple sacrifices and the temple lamp (menorah) was kept burning continuously with only the purest olive oil. King David, drawing on the symbolism of the steadfastness of the olive tree, writes in Psalm 52, “I am like a leafy olive tree in the house of God, I trust in the mercy of God forever and ever.”
The Willow. In a prophecy about the end of days in Isaiah 44, God says he will pour out his spirit upon Jacob his servant (the Jewish people) and that they will “flourish among the grass like willows by streams of waters.” The willow is stronger than it looks. With its soft and flowing appearance, one might think that this tree is weak and fragile. In truth, it is stronger than most trees because it remains flexible against the violent torrents of wind and storms, ever bending, but never breaking. A tree planted by water symbolizes someone who draws their strength from God’s truth and stands strong against spiritual torrents. We should be like the willow, flexible to God’s plans and rooted in truth.
The Date Palm. The date, along with the olive, is one of the fruits that the spies brought back from the Promised Land, and is considered one of the official fruits of Israel. Date palms, towering tall alongside other foliage, are planted all over Israel, as they were in Biblical times. The date continues to be a common part of Israel’s cuisine; and in most Israeli homes you will find dates, date honey or date spreads. This popular fruit has also found its way into drinks, desserts, and salad dressings. Psalm 92 states that the righteous will flourish like a date palm, planted in the house of God, flourishing in His courts. The righteous will continue to grow and bear fruit into their old age, still full of “sap”; freshness, sweetness, and richness and they will declare God’s uprightness and faithfulness.
Throughout the scriptures, God compares the attributes of his people with different trees, vines, and plants. We are living, growing and being renewed every day, just like a tree. There is a tangible connection between people and nature, a concept that has been lost in the modern “concrete jungle” of today’s society. In the land of Israel, there is holiness in every plant, every stone, even the soil.
Click here to do your part by planting a tree in the Holy land of Israel.