ter'-e-binth: (1) 'elah (Isa 6:13, the King James Version "teil tree"; Ho 4:13, the King James Version "elms"); in Ge 35:4 (the King James Version "oak"); Jg 6:11,19; 9:6 (the King James Version "plain"); 2Sa 18:9-10,14; 1Ki 13:14; 1Ch 10:12; Isa 1:30; Eze 6:13, translated "oak," and in margin "terebinth"; "vale of Elah," margin "the terebinth" in 1Sa 17:2,19; 21:9. (2) 'elim (Isa 1:29, "oaks," margin "terebinths"). (3) 'allah (Jos 24:26, English Versions of the Bible have "oak," but the Septuagint terebinthos). (4) 'elon, "oak (margin, "terebinth") of Zaanannim" (Jos 19:33; Jg 4:11); "oak (the Revised Version margin "terebinth," the King James Version "plain") of Tabor" (1Sa 10:3); also Ge 12:6; 13:18; 14:13; 1Sa 10:3; De 11:30; Jg 6:19 all translated "oak" or "oaks," with margin "terebinth" or "terebinths." (5) In Ge 14:6 Septuagint has terebinthos, as the translation of the el of El-paran. (6) In Ecclesiasticus 24:16 terem (b)inthos, the King James Version turpentine tree," the Revised Version (British and American) "terebinth."
It is clear that the translators are uncertain which translation is correct, and it would seem not improbable that then there was no clear distinction between oak and terebinth in the minds of the Old Testament. writers; yet the two are very different trees to any but the most superficial observation.
The terebinth--Pistacia terebinthus (Natural Order, Anacardiaceae), Arabic Butm]--is a tree allied to the P. vera, which produces the pistachio nut, and to the familiar "pepper tree" (Schinus molle) so extensively cultivated in modern Palestine. Like the latter the terebinth has red berries, like small immature grapes. The leaves are pinnate, four to six pairs, and they change color and fall in autumn, leaving the trunk bare (compare Isa 1:30). The terebinth is liable to be infected by many showy galls, some varieties looking like pieces of red coral. In Palestine, this tree assumes noble proportions, especially in situations when, from its association with some sacred tomb, it is allowed to flourish undisturbed. It is in such situations not infrequently as much as 40 ft. high and spreads its branches, with their thick, dark-green foliage, over a wide area (compare 2Sa 18:9 f,2Sa 14:1-33; Ecclesiasticus 24:16). Dwarfed trees occur among the brushwood all over the land.
From this tree a kind of turpentine is obtained, hence, the alternative name "turpentine tree" (Ecclesiasticus 24:16 the King James Version, the Revised Version (British and American) "terebinth").
E. W. G. Masterman