Lily

“The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., “whiteness”, was used” “as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as” “the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some” “interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old” “Testament the water-lily (Nymphoea lotus of Linn.), or lotus” “(Cant. 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). “Its flowers are” “large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink.” They supplied models for the ornaments of the pillars and the “molten sea” (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chr. 4:5). In the Canticles” its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ “to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly” “argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments,” “denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be” “selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is “large,” “vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring.” “The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matt. 6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium “Chalcedonicum) or “red Turk’s-cap lily”, which “comes into” flower at the season of the year when our Lord’s sermon on the mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a “very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract” “the attention of the hearers” (Balfour’s Plants of the Bible).” “Of the true “floral glories of Palestine” the pheasant’s eye “(Adonis Palestina), the ranunuculus (R. Asiaticus), and the” “anemone (A coronaria), the last named is however, with the” “greatest probability regarded as the “lily of the field” to” “which our Lord refers. “Certainly,” says Tristram (Nat. Hist. of” “the Bible), “if, in the wondrous richness of bloom which” “characterizes the land of Israel in spring, any one plant can” “claim pre-eminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower” “for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether” “walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side.” “The white” water-lily (Nymphcea alba) and the yellow water-lily (Nuphar “lutea) are both abundant in the marshes of the Upper Jordan, but” “have no connection with the lily of Scripture.”

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