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Terebinth Tree aka The Witness Tree

Thanks to the wonders of computers I was able to search the entire NKJV Bible completely for the word "terebinth." It appears twenty one times. Just to show the consistency of the terebinth tree's witnessing application I have included all twenty one passages in this page.

Exactly what kind of tree the terebinth is is somewhat debatable. Some say it's a type of oak, some say it's an elm, some even call it a turpentine tree. In some translations it's an oak. In some translations, no tree at all is mentioned where a tree is mentioned in others. Young's Literal Translation uses the word "oak" instead of terebinth. The New King James Version calls it a terebinth.

Some describe the terebinth as being a large wide spread tree resembling an oak. The terebinth supposedly is very common in the Middle East.

I'm not real sure if the tree names found in the translations are taxonomically correct because the translators were not botanists. They may very well have said each time we see this tree mentioned in the manuscript regardless of where it appears we'll use "terebinth." In whatever Biblical book the Hebrew word meaning this tree is found we will use "terebinth." Wherever the terebinth tree is named it has a witnessing application of either a statement or an event and sometimes both. Since the books of the bible were written over a 1500 year or so span by some forty different authors, this consistency of the terebinth tree usage every place it is mentioned in Biblical books is but one of the evidences of God's existence.

Here is the first mention of the terebinth tree in the NKJV...

5 Then Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son, and all their possessions that they had gathered, and the people whom they had acquired in Haran, and they departed to go to the land of Canaan. So they came to the land of Canaan. 6 Abram passed through the land to the place of Shechem, as far as the terebinth tree of Moreh. And the Canaanites were then in the land. 7 Then the Lord appeared to Abram and said, "To your descendants I will give this land." And there he built an altar to the Lord, who had appeared to him. (Genesis 12:5-7 NKJV)

What was the tree witnessing? God's promise to give the land to Abram's descendants.

Again in Genesis 13...

17 Arise, walk in the land through its length and its width, for I give it to you." 18 Then Abram moved his tent, and went and dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre, which are in Hebron, and built an altar there to the Lord. (Genesis 13:17-18 NKJV)

A terebinth tree witnesses God repeating His promise to give the land to Abram's descendants.

12 They also took Lot, Abramís brother's son who dwelt in Sodom, and his goods, and departed. 13 Then one who had escaped came and told Abram the Hebrew, for he dwelt by the terebinth trees of Mamre the Amorite, brother of Eshcol and brother of Aner; and they were allies with Abram. 14 Now when Abram heard that his brother was taken captive, he armed his three hundred and eighteen trained servants who were born in his own house, and went in pursuit as far as Dan. (Genesis 14:12-14 NKJV)

The terebinth trees witness Abram being told of the captivity of his nephew Lot and his gathering of his forces to go after them.

So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and the earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the terebinth tree which was by Shechem. (Genesis 35:4 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessed Jacob burying the idols.

Now Deborah, Rebekah's nurse, died, and she was buried below Bethel under the terebinth tree. So the name of it was called Allon Bachuth. (Genesis 35:8 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessed the burial of Rebekah's caretaker.

Are they not on the other side of the Jordan, toward the setting sun, in the land of the Canaanites who dwell in the plain opposite Gilgal, beside the terebinth trees of Moreh? (Deuteronomy 11:30 NKJV)

Terebinth trees witnessing the location statement.

And their border began at Heleph, enclosing the territory from the terebinth tree in Zaanannim, Adami Nekeb, and Jabneel, as far as Lakkum; it ended at the Jordan. (Joshua 19:33 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing a boundary.

Now Heber the Kenite, of the children of Hobab the father-in-law of Moses, had separated himself from the Kenites and pitched his tent near the terebinth tree at Zaanaim, which is beside Kedesh. (Judges 4:11 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing a separation.

Now the Angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth tree which was in Ophrah, which belonged to Joash the Abiezrite, while his son Gideon threshed wheat in the winepress, in order to hide it from the Midianites. (Judges 6:11 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the appearance of the Angel of the Lord (Jesus) to Gideon.

So Gideon went in and prepared a young goat, and unleavened bread from an ephah of flour. The meat he put in a basket, and he put the broth in a pot; and he brought them out to Him under the terebinth tree and presented them. (Judges 6:19 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the hospitality of Gideon to Jesus.

And all the men of Shechem gathered together, all of Beth Millo, and they went and made Abimelech king beside the terebinth tree at the pillar that was in Shechem. (Judges 9:6 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the coronation of an illegal king.

So Gaal spoke again and said, "See, people are coming down from the center of the land, and another company is coming from the Diviners' Terebinth Tree." (Judges 9:37 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the source of the arriving people.

Then you shall go on forward from there and come to the terebinth tree of Tabor. There three men going up to God at Bethel will meet you, one carrying three young goats, another carrying three loaves of bread, and another carrying a skin of wine. (1 Samuel 10:3 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the prediction of a future event.

Then Absalom met the servants of David. Absalom rode on a mule. The mule went under the thick boughs of a great terebinth tree, and his head caught in the terebinth; so he was left hanging between heaven and earth. And the mule which was under him went on. (2 Samuel 18:9 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the capture of the rebellious Absalom.

Now a certain man saw it and told Joab, and said, "I just saw Absalom hanging in a terebinth tree!" (2 Samuel 18:10 NKJV)

The news of the capture is told to Joab.

Then Joab said, "I cannot linger with you." And he took three spears in his hand and thrust them through Absalom's heart, while he was still alive in the midst of the terebinth tree. (1 Samuel 18:14 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing the death of Absalom at the hands of Joab.

For they shall be ashamed of the terebinth trees Which you have desired; And you shall be embarrassed because of the gardens Which you have chosen. (Isaiah 1:29 NKJV)

And...

For you shall be as a terebinth whose leaf fades, And as a garden that has no water. (Isaiah 1:30 NKJV)

The terebinth trees witnessing a prediction, or prophecy, from God Himself.

But yet a tenth will be in it, And will return and be for consuming, As a terebinth tree or as an oak, Whose stump remains when it is cut down. So the holy seed shall be its stump." (Isaiah 6:13 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing another prediction, or prophecy, from God Himself.

They offer sacrifices on the mountaintops, And burn incense on the hills, Under oaks, poplars, and terebinths, Because their shade is good. Therefore your daughters commit harlotry, And your brides commit adultery. (Hosea 4:13 NKJV)

The terebinth tree witnessing a condemnation of God.

The terebinth tree is not the only consistent application found in scripture. Time after time we see this consistency not only in trees but in numbers, metals, colors, precious stones, rivers and so on, throughout all of the books of the Bible, which were written by different men of different classes and status as they were inspired by God.

16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (II Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV)

21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (II Peter 1:21 NKJV)

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