As many as six varieties of the oak are found in Palestine. Dr. Robinson speaks of one at Hebron which had a trunk twenty-two and a half feet in circumference; and saw the crests and sides of the hills beyond the Jordan still clothed, as in ancient times, with magnificent oaks, Isaiah 2:13 Zechariah 11:2. The oak is often referred to in Scripture, Genesis 35:8 Isaiah 44:14 Amos 2:9. There is, however, a second Hebrew word often translated "oak," which is supposed to denote the terebinth or turpentine-tree, called butm by the Arabs, Genesis 35:4 Judges 6:11,19 2 Samuel 18:9,14. It is translated "elm" in Hosea 4.13, and "teil-tree" in Isaiah 6:13, in which passages the true oak is also mentioned. In many passages where "plain" or "plains" occurs, we should probably understand "terebinth" or "a grove of terebinths," Genesis 12:6 13:18 14:13 18:1 Deuteronomy 11:30 Judges 9:6.
This tree was found in all countries around the Mediterranean, and in Palestine grew to a large size. It was very long-lived. For many ages after Christ, a tree of this kind near Heron was superstitiously venerated as one of those under which Abraham dwelt at Mamre. Under the welcome shade of oaks and other large trees many public affairs were transacted; sacrifices were offered, courts were held, and kings were crowned, Joshua 24:26 Judges 6:11,19 9:6. See GROVE.