8 Oak (Quercus suber)
© Pixabay

Botanical Background

order: Fagales

family: Fagaceae

genus: Oaks (Quercus)

species: cork oak (Quercus suber)

attributes: evergreen broad-leafed tree, thick layer of cork around the trunk

origin: Mediterranean area

habitat: northwestern Africa, western Mediterranean region


In the bible

For the day of Jehovah of Hosts shall be on every proud and lofty one, and on every lifted up one; and he shall be brought low, And it shall be on all the high and lifted up cedars of Lebanon, and on all the oaks of Bashan, and on all the high mountains, and on all the lifted up hills; and on every high tower, and on every fortified wall; and on all the ships of Tarshish, and on all pleasurable craft. And the pride of man shall be bowed down, and the loftiness of men shall be made low; and Jehovah alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isaiah 2,12-17


Owing to their size oaks are a symbol of dignity and strenght in the Bible. In his announcement of God‘s judgement (Isaiah 2,13) the prophet mentions the oaks of Lebanon who are reputed to be especially big and strong (Ez27,6; Sach 11,2). Baschan is the name of a plateau on the eastern bank of the Jordan in then Canaan, which belongs to the Syrian province Darʿā today. In the Bible this area is associated with fruitful meadows and woods with tall trees. Oak wood was used for the construction of houses, oars and idols (Isaiah 44,14). Both the biblical Hebrew words אַּלּוֺן (ʼallôn) and אֵלָה (ʼelāh) are translated with oak in the Luther Bible, although the latter is in fact a terebinth.

The exact species of the oak in the text is unknown. The cork oak (Quercus suber L.) was chosen exemplarily.


mentions: several

other text passages (selected):

Genesis 35,8

2. Samuel 18,9

Isaiah 2,13

Hesekiel 27,6

Sacharja 11,2



Riede, Peter: Eiche, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (März. 2018), URL: https://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/wibilex/das-bibellexikon/lexikon/sachwort/anzeigen/details/eiche-1/ch/d4fd6a22b71a2685a6915753e1682a25/ (abgerufen 06.06.2023).

Modern King James Version.

Oak (Quercus suber)
© Pixabay
Oak (Quercus suber)
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster
Oak (Quercus suber)
© Botanischer Garten, Uni Münster