What is "a broom tree"? (1 Kings 19:4)

but he went on a day’s journey into the wilderness. He sat down under a broom tree and prayed that he might die. He said, “I have had enough! Lord, take my life, for I’m no better than my fathers.”

1 Kings 19:4

ESV - 4 But he himself went a day's journey into the wilderness and came and sat down under a broom tree. And he asked that he might die, saying, "It is enough; now, O Lord, take away my life, for I am no better than my fathers.

Clarify Share Report Asked April 26 2020 My picture Jack Gutknecht

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Mini Tim Maas Retired Quality Assurance Specialist with the U.S. Army
Broom trees, which come in a variety of forms, derive their name from the same linguistic root as the bramble, which refers to the thorny or pointed ends of the tree's branches. The usefulness of those branches for sweeping gave rise to the implements fabricated from them for that purpose being called "brooms".

Brooms tolerate (and often thrive best in) poor soils and growing conditions. In cultivation they need little care, though they need good drainage and perform poorly on wet soils.

They are widely used as ornamental landscape plants and also for wasteland reclamation (e.g. mine tailings) and sand dune stabilizing.

Although originally introduced as ornamental plants in the Americas, they later became invasive weeds that crowded out native vegetation, due to their agressive seed dispersal.

Although the buds and flowers of some broom species were used as a salad ingredient hundreds of years ago, there are now concerns about their possible toxicity, particularly with regard to their effects on the heart, and as a cause of problems during pregnancy.

April 26 2020 4 responses Vote Up Share Report

My picture Jack Gutknecht ABC/DTS graduate, guitar music ministry Baptist church
1 Kings 19:3-5 NET Bible -- 3Elijah was afraid, so he got up and fled for his life to Beer Sheba in Judah. He left his servant there, 4while he went a day’s journey into the desert. He went and sat down under a shrub and asked the Lord to take his life: “I’ve had enough! Now, O Lord, take my life. After all, I’m no better than my ancestors.” 5He stretched out and fell asleep under the shrub. All of a sudden an angelic messenger touched him and said, “Get up and eat.”

A broom tree is a low bushy desert plant whose embers burn far longer than the wood of other species. The Ryrie Study Bible says that “a juniper tree” in 1 Kings 19:4 is “a desert shrub that sometimes grows 10 feet high” only. 

The white broom is used as a symbol of scorn in Job 30:4 (digging its roots for livelihood, i.e. sustenance/nourishment), and of long-lasting fire in Psalm 120:4. Ryrie says Psalm 120:4 refers to God’s judgment which will burn like “coals of juniper” (broom tree), which burns hot and long. “Sharp arrows of the mighty, with coals of juniper.” (Ps 120:4 KJV). "Juniper" in the King James Version is "broom tree" in other versions of the Bible.

See BDB which is more properly called “Brown-Driver-Briggs” (A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament, more commonly known as Brown–Driver–Briggs or BDB (from the name of its three authors) is a standard reference for Biblical Hebrew and Aramaic, first published in 1906.)
רֹ֫תֶם noun masculine1Kings 19:5 a kind of broom-shrub, broom-plant, retem (Late Hebrew id.; Arabic (on form Lag BN 152); ᵑ7 רִיתְמָא, all = Biblical Hebrew); — absolute אֶחָד ׳ר 1 Kings 19:5, אחת ׳ר V:4 Kt (אֶחָד Qr); plural שֹׁרֶשׁ רְתָמִים לַחְמָם Job 30:4 (on text see Bu Che below); גַּחֲלֵי רְתָמִים Psalm 120:4, RobBR i. 84, 203, 205, 500 LöwNo. 313 PostHastings, DB 'Juniper' CheEncy. Bib. 'Juniper'.

April 27 2020 0 responses Vote Up Share Report

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