Though it is common for schemers to try to trap an innocent person, Jehovah can reverse things and “rain down upon the wicked ones traps, fire and sulphur.” (Ps. 11:6) He can trap them, cutting off all means of escape, and then execute judgment upon them.—Compare 1 Thessalonians 5:1-3.
A place, usually a building or room, where money or other valuables are kept for security. Numbers 31:54 indicates that at an early period the “tent of meeting” served, in a sense, as a sacred treasury holding contributed gold. The valuable things from Jericho that ‘belonged to Jehovah’ were given “to the treasure of Jehovah’s house,” suggesting that a treasury of some sort was established in connection with the tabernacle. (Josh. 6:17, 24) Levites were appointed over the treasures that were contributed and that which came as spoil made holy to God. (1 Chron. 26:20-28) The temple Solomon constructed also had a treasury, where gold and silver, as well as the costly utensils of the temple, were kept.—1 Ki. 7:51; 2 Chron. 5:1.
Under the monarchy in Israel there was in addition a royal treasury. (2 Ki. 20:13; 24:13; 2 Chron. 32:27, 28; Jer. 38:11) Over the years the valuables of the royal treasury as well as the treasury of the house of Jehovah were repeatedly taken by enemies as plunder or used to buy off or bribe pagan nations.—1 Ki. 14:26; 15:18; 2 Ki. 12:18; 14:14; 16:8; 18:15; 24:13.
Concerning the Babylonian treasury, Daniel 1:2 says that Nebuchadnezzar brought the valuable utensils of Jehovah’s house into “the treasure house of his god.” One Babylonian inscription represents Nebuchadnezzar as saying about the temple of Merodach: “I stored up inside silver and gold and precious stones . . . and placed there the treasure house of my kingdom.” (Compare Ezra 1:8.) The Babylonians may have had secondary treasuries in different parts of the empire. (Dan. 3:2) The Persians had such an arrangement, with the more localized treasuries holding some of the money collected as taxes by the satraps. (Ezra 7:20, 21) At least the main Persian treasuries also served as royal archives, containing important records in addition to gold and other valuables.—Ezra 6:1, 2; Esther 3:9.
CHRISTIAN GREEK SCRIPTURES
When Jesus was on earth a portion of the temple in Jerusalem was termed “the treasury.” (John 8:20) This apparently was located in the area called the Court of the Women. According to rabbinical sources, in this temple rebuilt by Herod there were thirteen treasury chests around the wall in this court. These were shaped like trumpets, with small openings at the top, and the people would deposit in them various contributions and offerings. (Mark 12:41) The priests refused to put into this sacred treasury the silver pieces Judas threw into the temple, “because,” they said, “they are the price of blood.” (Matt. 27:6) It is believed that this temple also contained a major treasury where the money from the treasury chests was brought.
The great variation in climate of Palestine and the neighboring lands made possible a very diversified growth of trees, from the cedars of Lebanon to the date palms of Jericho and the broom trees of the desert. Some thirty different types of trees are mentioned in the Bible and these are considered in this publication under the particular name of the tree.
The problem of identifying the particular tree indicated by the original Hebrew or Greek word is frequently a difficult one, and, in a number of cases, the identification is only tentative. Such identification depends upon the extent of description given in the actual Bible record as to the characteristics of the tree (at times indicated by the meaning of the root word from which the name is derived) and by comparison of such description with the trees now known to grow in Bible lands, particularly in the regions indicated in the Bible text, when these are so mentioned. Additional help comes from a study of cognate words (that is, words that by their form give evidence of being related and having proceeded from the same original root or source) in other languages, such as Arabic and Aramaic. In some cases it seems the wiser course simply to transliterate the name, as, for example, in the case of the almug tree.
As Harold Moldenke points out in his book Plants of the Bible (p. 5) many of the trees now found in Palestine may not have been growing there in Bible times, since, as he states, “floras change, especially in regions like Palestine and Egypt where man, notorious for his aptitude in upsetting the delicately adjusted balances in nature, has been most active” for thousands of years. He further states, on page 6: “Many plants which grew in abundance in the Holy Land or surrounding countries in Biblical days are now no longer there or else grow in far smaller numbers.” Some types have been exterminated or greatly diminished by excessive cultivation of the land, by devastation of timberlands due to the invading forces of Assyria, Babylon, on down to Rome. (Jer. 6:6; Luke 19:43) The destruction of trees and forests has allowed the topsoil to wash away and has resulted in much barrenness and desolation in many areas.
As early as in Abraham’s day trees were listed in a contract for the transfer of property.—Gen. 23:15-18.
IN THE LAW
Later Jehovah God brought Israel into Canaan, a land containing “trees for food in abundance,” promised to provide the needed rain if Israel obeyed him, and required a tenth of the fruits for use of the sanctuary and the priesthood. (Neh. 9:25; Lev. 26:3, 4; 27:30) On invading the land the Israelites were instructed not to destroy the fruit-bearing trees when attacking the cities, although centuries later the kings of Judah and Israel were authorized by God to devastate the ‘good trees’ of the kingdom of Moab. The reason appears to be that Moab was outside the Promised Land. It was punitive warfare against Moab, and the Israelite action was a protection against Moabite revolt or retaliation. (Deut. 20:19, 20; 2 Ki. 3:19, 25; compare Jeremiah 6:6.) On planting a tree, the owner was not to eat of its fruit during the first three years, and on the fourth year its fruitage was to be devoted to sanctuary use. (Lev. 19:23-25; compare Deuteronomy 26:2.) Thereafter the annual first ripe fruits were likewise so dedicated.—Neh. 10:35-37.
In the Garden of Eden God employed two trees for symbolic purposes: the “tree of life” and “the tree of the knowledge of good and bad.” Failure to respect God’s decree concerning the latter brought man’s fall.—Gen. 2:9, 16, 17; 3:1-24.
The significance of the “tree of the knowledge of good and bad” and of the restriction placed on its fruit has often been incorrectly viewed as relating to the sexual act between the first human pair. This view is contradicted by God’s plain command to them as male and female to “be fruitful and become many and fill the earth.” (Gen. 1:28) Rather, by standing for “the knowledge of good and bad” and by God’s pronouncement decreeing it to be “out of bounds” for the human pair, the tree became a symbol of man’s proper dependence on God, as his Sovereign Ruler, to make known for him what is “good” (approved by God) and what is “bad” (condemned by God). It thus constituted a test of man’s respect for his Creator’s position and his willingness to remain