The date palm (Phoenix dactylifera) was among the earliest cultivated trees. Five thousand-year-old inscriptions from Mesopotamia give instruction for their cultivation. Palms are characteristic of oases and watered places (Exodus 15:27;
Numbers 33:9). The fruit of the date palm is highly valued by desert travelers since it may be consumed fresh or else dried or made into cakes for a portable and easily storable food. Jericho was known as the city of palms (Deuteronomy 34:3;
Judges 3:13). The judge Deborah rendered her decisions under a palm bearing her name (Judges 4:5). The palm was a symbol of both beauty (Song of Solomon 7:7) and prosperity (Psalms 92:12). Thus, images of palms were used in the decoration of the Temple (1 Kings 6:29,1 Kings 6:35;
1 Kings 7:36) and were part of Ezekiel's vision of the new Temple (Ezekiel 40:16,Ezekiel 40:22,Ezekiel 40:26). Palms were used in the construction of the booths for the festival of booths (Leviticus 23:40;
Nehemiah 8:15). In
John 12:13, the crowd used palm branches to welcome Jesus to Jerusalem. See Dates; Plants.
These dictionary topics are from the Holman Bible Dictionary, published by Broadman & Holman, 1991. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman & Holman.
Butler, Trent C. Editor.. "Entry for 'PALMS'". "Holman Bible Dictionary".