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Hebrew: ya'ar, meaning a dense wood, from its luxuriance
Thus all the great primeval forests of Syria (Eccl. 2:6; Isaiah 44:14; Jeremiah 5:6; Micah 5:8). The most extensive was the trans-Jordanic forest of Ephraim (2 Samuel 18:6, 8; Joshua 17:15, 18), which is probably the same as the wood of Ephratah (Psalms 132:6), some part of the great forest of Gilead. It was in this forest that Absalom was slain by Joab. David withdrew to the forest of Hareth in the mountains of Judah to avoid the fury of Saul (1 Samuel 22:5). We read also of the forest of Bethel (2 Kings 2:23, 24), and of that which the Israelites passed in their pursuit of the Philistines (1 Samuel 14:25), and of the forest of the cedars of Lebanon (1 Kings 4:33; 2 Kings 19:23; Hos. 14:5, 6).
“The house of the forest of Lebanon (1 Kings 7:2; 10:17; 2 Chronicles 9:16) was probably Solomon’s armory, and was so called because the wood of its many pillars came from Lebanon, and they had the appearance of a forest. (See BAALBEC.)
Hebrew: horesh, denoting a thicket of trees, underwood, jungle, bushes, or trees entangled, and therefore affording a safe hiding-place. place. This word is rendered “forest” only in 2 Chronicles 27:4. It is also rendered “wood”, the “wood” in the “wilderness of Ziph,” in which david concealed himself (1 Samuel 23:15), which lay southeast of Hebron. In Isaiah 17:9 this word is in Authorized Version rendered incorrectly “bough.”
Hebrew: pardes, meaning an enclosed garden or plantation. Asaph is (Neh. 2:8) called the “keeper of the king’s forest.” The same Hebrew word is used Eccl. 2:5, where it is rendered in the plural “orchards” (Revised Version, “parks”), and Song of Songs 4:13, rendered “orchard” (Revised Version marginal note, “a paradise”).
“The forest of the vintage” (Zechariah 11:2, “inaccessible forest,” or Revised Version “strong forest”) is probably a figurative allusion to Jerusalem, or the verse may simply point to the devastation of the region referred to.
The forest is an image of unfruitfulness as contrasted with a cultivated field (Isaiah 29:17; 32:15; Jeremiah 26:18; Hos. 2:12). Isaiah (10:19, 33, 34) likens the Assyrian host under Sennacherib (q.v.) to the trees of some huge forest, to be suddenly cut down by an unseen stroke.