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English Bible Dictionary

Myrtle

 

A plant mentioned in (Nehemiah 8:15; Isaiah 41:19; 55:13; Zechariah 1:8,10,11) The modern Jews still adorn with myrtle the booths and sheds at the feast of tabernacles. Formerly, as we learn from Nehemiah, (Nehemiah 8:15) myrtles grew on the hills about Jerusalem. "On Olivet." says Dean Stanley, "nothing is now to be seen but the olive and the fig tree:" on some of the hills near Jerusalem, however, Hasselquist observed the myrtle. Dr. Hooker says it is not uncommon in Samaria and Galilee. The Myrtus communis is the kind denoted by the Hebrew word. (It is a shrub or low tree sometimes ten feet high, with green shining leaves, and snow-white flowers bordered with purple, "which emit a perfume more exquisite than that of the rose." The seeds of the myrtle, dried before they are ripe, form our allspice: ED.)

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