A tree common to Israel and an important agricultural resource in Bible lands. It is grown for its wood, fruit, and oil. The olive tree is used most frequently in the scriptures to symbolize the house of Israel.
The well-known Olea europea. It is extensively cultivated in Palestine for the sake of the oil. The olive requires being grafted; hence Paul’s allusion to the Gentiles (Rom. 11:17–24); but what he describes is the reverse of the ordinary gardening operation and is therefore spoken of as “contrary to nature” (verse 24). Using the olive tree in an allegorical sense to illustrate Israel and the Gentiles is also done by Zenos, as quoted by Jacob 5. Isaiah uses the illustration of a grape vine for the same purpose (Isa. 5:1–7).