The Hebrew term has the root meaning “to bring out, to put forth, to produce,” and so would indicate a putting forth of shoots or buds. It occurs only four times, at Genesis 2:5; 21:15; Job 30:4, 7. The word “bush” usually refers to a low, densely branched shrub or a cluster of shrubs. Some trees in the Palestine region may properly be designated as bushes, including the dwarf juniper, the thorny lotus, the broom tree; while others are often or usually shrublike in size and appearance, such as the acacia, myrtle, storax, tamarisk, and willow trees.
In the wilderness of Beer-sheba, despairing Hagar threw Ishmael under a bush (Gen. 21:15), while Job describes persons living in a waterless region “plucking the salt herb by the bushes,” and crying out from among the bushes.—Job 30:4, 7.
The burning bush by which Jehovah’s angel attracted Moses’ attention and spoke with him is understood to have been some type of thornbush (Heb., senehʹ). (Ex. 3:2-5; Deut. 33:16) In referring to this event, the Christian writers of the Greek Scriptures employed the Greek word baʹtos, which means a bramble or any thorny bush. (Mark 12:26; Luke 20:37; Acts 7:30, 35) In Greek the blackberry is called baʹton (derived from baʹtos), and hence some lexicographers connect the thorny bush (senehʹ) with the blackberry bush (Rubus sanctus), which is common throughout Syria and much of Palestine. It is not found growing wild in the Sinai Peninsula in modern times, however. For this reason others favor an association with some type of acacia tree, as these thorny, often bushlike trees are very common throughout the Sinai region. However, no certain identification can be made.