Cedar is one of the most aromatic and resistant types of wood known. The variety known as the Cedar of Lebanon was of especially good quality, solid, not many knots, and of a deep rich reddish colour. The trees themselves were of a rather unusual shape – quite wide with branches growing nearly straight out, and a nearly flat top (in contrast to, for example, the White or Black Cedar varieties around the world which are seldom as tall and always narrower). They could sometimes reach a height of well over 30 meters. Their very name came to symbolize strength and magnificence.
Cedar wood was used in Jerusalem for various construction projects, including the king’s palace and the Temple itself (perhaps unfortunate there, when the Babylonians under King Nebuchadnezzar conquered and burned much of the city – cedar, although very beautiful and aromatic, also burns very hot and fast due to the highly flammable resins in the wood).
For a long time very plentiful, Cedars of Lebanon are now extremely rare. This magnificent tree (and many other great and beautiful plants and animals now extinct) will be making a big come-back one day however. God will be seeing to that.
Cedars In The Bible
Many writers throughout history have been highly impressed with the majestic aspects of the cedars, and have referred to them metaphorically to indicate such qualities as strength, beauty, endurance, grandeur, majesty, dignity, lofty stature and nobleness.
The Cedars are mentioned 75 times in the Bible, therefore the Cedars trees are referred as Biblical trees .Some of these statements are:”the trees of God resemble the Cedars of Lebanon which he planted”, “the righteous flourish like the palm tree and grows like the cedar in Lebanon”,
The cedar of Lebanon is also the main tool in the oldest epic ever written by man -The Epic of Gilgamesh. “On the Mountain the cedars uplift their abundance. Their shadow is beautiful, is all delight. Thistles hide under them, and the dark prick-thorn, sweet smelling flowers hide under the cedars … In all directions, ten thousand kilometers stretches that forest …”
Lamartine gives the most beautiful description of it: “The Cedars of Lebanon are the most famous natural monuments in the Universe. And Gibran Khalil Gibran’ wrote in his book “A tear and a smile”: “My love is as the cedars, beloved, and the elements shall not conquer it.”