Citrus Wood
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Citrus Wood
(Revelation 18.11-12)
Page 258

"The merchants of the earth will weep and mourn over her because no one buys their cargoes anymore — cargoes of gold, silver, precious stones and pearls, fine linen, purple, silk and scarlet cloth, every sort of citron wood, and articles of every kind made of ivory, costly wood, bronze, iron and marble." (Revelation 18.11-12)

Citron Tree

Citrus woodThe most interesting of the woods mentioned in this Revelation passage is "every sort of citron wood" or "costly wood." The citrus tree from which this wood was obtained grew into a large fragrant fruit tree. It was in the same family as the orange, lemon, lime and grapefruit. The lemony fruit came with a thick rind. In Latin, it was called "citrus medica." Coming from North Africa, from the Atlas region, it was sweet-smelling and beautifully grained. It was therefore prized especially for table tops in the Ancient Roman world. But since the citrus tree was seldom very large, wood large enough to make table tops was very scarce. Tables made of this wood could cost anything from $8,000 to $30,000 each in today's money. Seneca the Elder (BC 54-c39 AD), Nero's prime minister, was said to have three hundred such tables with marble legs. Citrus wood was also used from ancient to medieval times for medical purposes, to combat sea sickness, breathing problems, intestine treatments, scurvy and other ailments. Juice from the citrus tree mixed with wine was thought to have been an effective antidote to poison. In Leviticus 23.40, we read, "On the first day you are to take branches from luxuriant trees — from palms, willows and other leafy trees — and rejoice before the Lord your God for seven days." Thus the "fruit of the tree 'hadar'" or the "citron tree" was required for ritual use by Jews during the Feast of Tabernacles.✞

"Citrus Wood"
by Ron Meacock © 2018

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