Friday, February 08, 2013

Q&A: Did Herod Plant Sycamores in Jericho?

Question: Many years ago I read that Herod the Great had planted sycamore trees lining the street at Jericho. If true, the irony would be when Zacchaeus climbed one such tree to see Jesus. I cannot locate that reference. Have you come across this? –L.M.

Answer:

1. I have not heard of this.

2. It sounds suspicious ("too good to be true"; "preaches too well").

3. The only primary source I can think of that would mention this is Josephus. A search of the works of Josephus showed only one reference to sycamore and it is related to King Solomon.

4. I checked two good commentaries on Luke and neither of them say anything about it.

I would guess it's one of those urban legends. If anyone knows anything else, please comment below or send me an email.

Sycamore-fig tree, Jericho, tb052205965

Sycamore tree in Jericho
(photo source)

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1 Comments:

  • This is driving me crazy! A few years ago I read that Herod had lined the streets of Jericho with sycamore trees. However, I've spent nearly two hours this evening looking for the source and can't find it! I am certain I read about this in a published book, not just a webpage—but without the original source I can't use it. Another great sermon illustration ruined by research!

    By Blogger All Seasons Cyclist, at Mon Mar 23, 10:30:00 PM  

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