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Scripture Natural History

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Pages: 122

Book format: An electronic version of a printed book that can be read on a computer or handheld device designed specifically for this purpose.

Publisher: Date:8/4/2009 - General Books LLC

By: Henry Chichester Hart

Excerpt from book: CHAPTER III. FRUIT TREES AND SHRUBS. PALESTINE, with its varieties of climate and its fertile soil, was and is well adapted for the cultivation of a corresponding variety of edible fruits. At the present time this is actually the case, notwithstanding the insecure and depopulated state of the country: but in Old Testament times the species of fruit-bearing trees known to the Hebrews seem to have scarcely reached a dozen. Several useful kinds, as the apple and pear, plum, orange, and peach, have been introduced at a comparatively modern date: but the abundance and excellence of the primitive produce more than compensated for its lack of variety. It was peculiarly ' a land of vines and fig trees,' of ' pomegranates and oil-olive,' and these were inferior to none of their kind : while there were others of secondary importance, such as the carob-tree and the pistachia, which, beside the common fig, were deemed worthy of being imported from the province of Syria into Italyi. Of ' herbs ' and ' vegetables,' in the common acceptation of those terms, we shall have to speak in a succeeding chapter. 1 Dr. Daubeny (Roman Husbandry) considers that but few kinds of fruit were known to the ancients. The olive and the vine are supposed to have reached Italy through Greece: and the damson was brought from Damascus, as its name implies. EGYPTIAN VEGETATION. The Israelites would naturally have brought from Egypt some knowledge of horticulture: and when settled in their own land, we have sufficient hints in the Old Testament writings for concluding that gardens and orchards were by no means unusual among them. The picture of' a watered garden' was a very common one on the banks of the Nile, where irrigation was easy, and where lakes and canals were readily constructed and maintaine...  

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