1Behold, how good and pleasant it is
when brothers dwell in unity!
2It is like the precious oil on the head,
running down on the beard,
on the beard of Aaron,
running down on the collar of his robes!
3It is like the dew of Hermon,
which falls on the mountains of Zion!
For there the Lord has commanded the blessing,
se’-dar, se’-der (‘erez, from Hebrew root meaning “to be firm”; kedros): The ‘erez was in almost all the Old Testament references the true cedar, Cedrus libani, but the name may have been applied in a loose way to allied trees, such as junipers and pines. In Nu 24:6–“as cedar-trees beside the waters”–the reference must, as is most probable, be purely poetical (see ALOES) or the ‘arazim must signify some other kind of tree which flourishes beside water.
1. Cedar for Ritual Cleansing:
Cedar is twice mentioned as a substance for ritual cleansing. In Lev 14:4 the cleansed leper was sprinkled with the blood of a “clean bird” into which had been put “cedar-wood, and scarlet, and hyssop.” In Nu 19:6 “cedar-wood, and hyssop, and scarlet” were to be cast into the holocaust of the red heifer. (For the symbolical meaning see CLEAN.) Here it is very generally considered that the cedar could not have been the wood of Cedrus libani, which so far as we know never grew in the wilderness, but that of some species of juniper–according to Post, Juniperis phoenicea, which may still be found in the wilderness of Edom.
2. Cedar Trees in the Old Testament:
Cedar trees are everywhere mentioned with admiration in the Old Testament. Solomon made the cedar the first of trees (1 Ki 4:33). They are the “glory of Lebanon” (Isa 35:2; 60:13). The most boastful threat of Sennacherib was that he would cut down the tall cedars of Lebanon (Isa 37:24). They were strong, as is implied in–
“The voice of Yahweh is powerful; ….
The voice of Yahweh breaketh the cedars;
Yea, Yahweh breaketh in pieces the cedars of Lebanon”
The cedars are tall–“whose height was like the height of the cedars”–(Am 2:9; 2 Ki 19:23); majestic (2 Ki 14:9), and excellent (Song 5:15). The Assyrian power is compared to–“a cedar in Lebanon with fair branches, and with a forest-like shade, an high stature; and its top was among the thick boughs …. its stature was exalted above all the trees of the field; and its boughs were multiplied, and its branches became long” (Ezek 31:3-5). They are in particular God’s trees–
“The trees of Yahweh are filled with moisture,
The cedars of Lebanon, which he hath planted” (Ps 104:16).
Doubtless as a reminiscence of this the Syrians today call the cedar `ars er rubb, “the cedar of the Lord.” The growth of the cedar is typical of that of the righteous man (Ps 92:12).
That cedars were once very abundant in the Lebanon is evident (1 Ki 6:9-18; 10:27). What they contributed to the glory and beauty of that district may be seen in Zec 11:1-2:
“Open thy doors, O Lebanon, that the fire may devour thy cedars.
Wail, O fir-tree, for the cedar is fallen, because the
glorious (Revised Version margin) ones are destroyed:
Wail, O ye oaks of Bashan, for the strong forest is come down.”
3. Cedar Timber:
The wood of the cedar has always been highly prized–much more so than the sycamore (1 Ki 10:27; Isa 9:10). David had a house of cedar built for him by Hiram, king of Tyre (2 Sam 5:11), and he prepared “cedar-trees without number” for the temple which his son was to build (1 Ch 22:4). Cedar timber was very much used in the construction of Solomon’s temple and palace, the trees being cut in the Lebanon by Sidonians by orders of the king of Tyre–“Hiram gave Solomon timber of cedar and timber of fir according to all his desire” (1 Ki 5:6-10). One of Solomon’s most important buildings was known as “the house of the forest of Lebanon” (1 Ki 7:2; 10:17; 2 Ch 9:16), on account of the source of its materials. While cedar was well adapted for beams ( 1 Ki 6:9; Song 1:17), boards (Song 8:9), pillars (1 Ki 7:2) and ceilings (Jer 22:14), it was suited as well for carved work, such as idols (Isa 44:14,15). It was also used for ships’ masts (Ezek 27:5).
4. Cedars in Modern Syria:
The Cedrus libani still survives in the mountains of Syria and flourishes in much greater numbers in the Taurus mountains. “There are groves of cedars above el-Ma`acir, Baruk, `Ain Zehaltah, Hadith, Besherri, and Sir” (Post, Flora, 751). Of these the grove at Besherri is of world-wide renown. It consists of a group of about 400 trees, among them some magnificent old patriarchs, which lies on the bare slopes of the Lebanon some 6,000 ft. above the sea. Doubtless they are survivors of a forest which here once covered the mountain slopes for miles. The half a dozen highest specimens reach a height of between 70 and 80 ft., and have trunks of a circumference of 40 ft. or more. It is impossible to estimate with any certainty their age, but they may be as much as 800, or even 1,000, years old. Though magnificent, these are by no means the largest of their kind. Some of the cedars of Amanus are quite 100 ft. high and the Himalayan cedar, Cedrus deodara, a variety of Cedrus libani, reaches a height of 150 ft. The impressiveness of the cedar lies, however, not so much in its height and massive trunk, as in the wonderful lateral spread of its branches, which often exceeds its height. The branches grow out horizontally in successive tiers, each horizontal plane presenting, when looked at from above, the appearance of a green sward. The leaves are about an inch long, arranged in clusters; at first they are bright green, but they change with age to a deeper tint with a glaucous hue; the foliage is evergreen, the successive annual growths of leaves each lasting two years. The cones, 4 to 6 inches long, are oval or oblong-ovate, with a depression at times at the apex; they require two years to reach maturity and then, unlike other conifers, they remain attached to the tree, dropping out their scales bearing the seeds.
The wood of the cedar, specially grown under the conditions of its natural habitat, is hard, close grained, and takes a high polish. It is full of resin (Ps 92:14) which preserves it from rot and from worms. Cedar oil, a kind of turpentine extracted from the wood, was used in ancient times as a preservative for parchments and garments.
E. W. G. Masterman Bibliography Information
Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor. “Definition for ‘CEDAR'”. “International Standard Bible Encyclopedia”. bible-history.com – ISBE; 1915.
© International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE)
I was in deep deep prayer last night as I studied in my prayer closet like every night and the blessings to be poured forth to my daughters this morning came in these two verses. I hear the word the LORD speaks and the verses come to mind. I do remember being prayed over when I was a younger and well, it is funny how the same words pop up throughout Scripture.
I anointed my daughters today. My eldest had the oil of Sharon and she anointed the two and I anointed her with these two verses.
The royal priesthood.
We first see Melchizedek in Genesis 14 who is a theophany of Christ. In Psalms 110 it says he is a prototype of Jesus. It’s funny as his name means ‘king of righteousness’ and ‘king of peace’. The priest of the God Most High. Then the LORD commands a blessing and sets up the Aaronic priesthood. Then we see Jesus in Hebrews 5:6, Jesus as High Priest according to the order of Melchizedek, Prince of peace. Jesus who is our covenant partner who makes intercession for us. How Scripture interprets Scripture. We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, 1 Peter 2:9. Today, after the service I put my hand on the back of my youngest daughter and it was very hot. And both her shoulders as well. I have to say, mine are so hot as well. So very very hot.
Tonight I continue to plod on in my reading of ‘Great Commission Strategies’. Chapter 7. I may even be able to complete one essay. I have decided to participate as a volunteer in the Alpha Course in my church, reaching out to the non-believers.
Messiah will return and set foot on the Mount of Olives. Our great High Priest. From Genesis to Revelation, it’s all about Jesus. The LORD of our salvation. I was taught that it is the very ❤ of the matter when we study Scripture. Our ❤ must be changed from glory to glory in Christ, otherwise it is just head knowledge. What comes out of our mouth is from our ❤ . We confess with our mouth that Jesus is LORD.
I prayed during worship for open heavens. The open portal and the glory of the LORD to fall down upon them all the days of their lives and for all eternity. One by one. My children. Then, I saw the huge cedar tree growing up up up to the heavens. Indeed, I cannot make choices for them but things look good. Even Jo’s mum and dad wanted to anointed in these verses. My two grandsons were busy with a family activity. Someone was being baptized in St. John’s.
Take note of Jo’s banner. She is using two of the same colour banners but the presence of the LORD has reflected a different colour on her left banner on her right and. Purple represents royalty and the white represents light, righteousness and purity.