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olives in the Bible

the fruit of the olive tree

Olives growing in Jordan
Olives on a tree in Jordan by the Dead Sea
Photo © Nick Fraser, 2005. Licensed by CC BY-SA 3.0.

This tree yields oil which was highly valued in ancient times—and still is today.

The best oil was from olives that were plucked before being fully ripe, and then beaten or squeezed (Deuteronomy 24:20; Isaiah 17:6; 24:13). It was called “beaten,” or “fresh oil” (Exodus 27:20).

There were also oil presses, in which the oil was trodden out by human feet (Micah 6:15).

James calls the fruit “olive berries” (James 3:12).

The phrase “vineyards and olives” in Judges 15:5 KJV (King James Version) should be simply “olive orchards,” “olive yards,” or “olive gardens,” as in other Bible translations.

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