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English Bible Dictionary

Sycamore

 

(Heb. shikmah). Although it may be admitted that the sycamine is properly, and in (Luke 17:6) the mulberry, and the sycamore the mulberry, or sycamore-fig (Ficus sycomorus), yet the latter is the tree generally referred to in the Old Testament and called by the Septuagint sycamine, as (1 Kings 10:27; 1 Chronicles 27:28; Psalms 78:47; Amos 7:14) The Sycamore or fig-mulberry, is in Egypt and Palestine a tree of great importance and very extensive use. It attains the size of a walnut tree has wide-spreading branches and affords a delightful shade. On this account it is frequently planted by the waysides. Its leaves are heart-shaped, downy on the under side, and fragrant. The Fruit grows directly from the trunk itself on little sprigs, and in clusters like the grape. To make It eatable, each fruit, three or four days before gathering, must, it is said, be punctured with a sharp instrument or the finger-nail, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. This was the original employment of the prophet Amos, as he says. (Amos 7:14) So great was the value of these trees that David appointed for them in his kingdom a special overseer, as he did for the olives (1 Chronicles 27:28) and it is mentioned as one of the heaviest of Egypt's calamities that her sycamore were destroyed by hailstones.

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