cedar in the Bible

Hebrew: אֶרֶז —transliteration: e'rez or erez

Greek: kedros

Latin: cedrus Modern cedar forest in Lebanon

Lebanon cedar forest (Cedrus libani), Cedars of God, World Heritage Site

This is a tree very frequently mentioned in Scripture. It was stately (Ezek. 31:3-5), long-branched (Psalm 80:10; 92:12; Ezek. 31:6-9), odoriferous (Song of Songs 4:11; Hos. 14:6), durable, and therefore much used for boards, pillars, and ceilings (1 Kings 6:9-10; 7:2; Jeremiah 22:14), for masts (Ezek. 27:5), and for carved images (Isaiah 44:14).

It grew very abundantly in Israel, and particularly in Lebanon, of which it was “the glory” (Isaiah 35:2; 60:13). Hiram supplied Solomon with cedar trees from Lebanon for various purposes connected with the construction of the temple and the king’s palace (2 Samuel 5:11; 7:2, 7; 1 Kings 5:6, 8, 10; 6:9-10, 15-16, 18, 20; 7:2-3, 7, 11-12; 9:11, etc.). Cedars were used also in the building of the second temple under Zerubbabel (Ezra 3:7).

Of the truly ancient cedars of Lebanon there remain now only some seven or eight. They are not standing together. But beside them there are found between three hundred and four hundred of younger growth. They stand in an amphitheater fronting the west, about 6,400 feet above the level of the sea.

The cedar is often figuratively alluded to in the sacred Scriptures.

“The mighty conquerors of olden days, the despots of Assyria and the pharaohs of Egypt, the proud and idolatrous monarchs of Judah, the Hebrew commonwealth itself, the war-like Ammonites of patriarchal times, and the moral majesty of the Messianic age, are all compared to the towering cedar, in its royal loftiness and supremacy (Isaiah 2:13; Ezek. 17:3, 22-23, 31:3-9; Amos 2:9; Zechariah 11:1-2; Job 40:17; Psalm 29:5; 80:10; 92:12, etc.).” —William Howse Groser, Scripture Natural History

The Job 40 reference compares the tail of a behemoth—a great plant-eating dinosaur—to a cedar tree (Job 40:15-19—see: Are dinosaurs mentioned in the Bible?).

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Article Version: December 27, 2020