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Updated on September 2, 2015

GOD exhorted the Israelites in Deuteronomy 8:1 to obedience in regard of God's mercy and goodness in His dealings with Israel before they stepped into the Promised Land.

  • All the commandments which I command thee this day shall ye observe to do, that ye may live, and multiply, and go in and possess the land which the Lord sware unto your fathers.
  • The land was described as "a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig trees, and pomegranates; a land of oil olive, and honey (v. 8)."

Deuteronomy 8:19-20 warned the people against disobedience.

  • And it shall be, if thou do at all forget the Lord thy God, and walk after other gods, and serve them, and worship them, I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish.

  • As the nations which the Lord destroyeth before your face, so shall ye perish; because ye would not be obedient unto the voice of the Lord your God.


The Seven Species were the staple foods consumed by the Jewish people in the Land of Israel during biblical times. In modern Israel with dozens of species in a diverse diet, only wheat remains a staple. However, the seven species dominate large areas of the countryside, making continuity between the biblical Land of Israel and modern Israel.

Seven Speices
Seven Speices


The seven species of food symbolize the close relationship between the Jewish People and the Land of Israel.

  • Rimon Season (pomegranate)—September/October—Rosh HaShanah/Yom Kippur/Sukkot
  • Tamar Season (date/honey)—September/October—Rosh HaShanah/Sukkot
  • Zayit Season (olive)—November/December—Hanukkah
  • Te’ena Season (fig)—January/February—Tu B’Shevat
  • Gefen Season (vine, grape)—March—Purim
  • Wheat and Barley Season—April/May/June—Passover/Shavuot

The Dove, the Olive and Noah
The Dove, the Olive and Noah


The olive symbolizes this continuity of biblical Promised Land and Modern Israel. The gnarled barks of the ancient olive trees may live 1000 years on Israel’s terraced hillsides. Some even claim the olive tree can exist for 4000 years. In ancient times, olive oil was used to cook, to light lamps and as soap and skin conditioner. Today, the olive remains a popular food and its oil is a coveted commodity. The discovery that it lowers cholesterol has made the olive oil more popular. The olive branch persists as a symbol of peace.

The evergreen olive, which is strongly connected with Israel, its original home, was noted for beauty, fertility, and strength, as well as a symbol of peace, hope, happiness and wisdom. The olive is mentioned many times in Jewish sources. Throughout the generations, its fruit and oil served the residents of Israel in many different ways.


The Olive Tree


a. What does the olive tree represent (e.g. tzadik, knowledge, new beginnings, prosperity for Israel, the Torah, mitzvot, hope, beauty, etc.)?

  • (Several answers are possible, among others that the olive tree represents hope.)

b. Why are the people of Israel compared to the olive tree?

Text 50.

  • The Lord called your namer, full of beautiful fruit (Jeremiah 11:16). R. Joshua b. Levi said, Why is Israel likened to an olive-tree? To tell you that as the olive-tree loses not its leaves either in summer or in winter, so Israel shall never be lost either in this world or in the world to come. R. Johanan said. Menachot 53b

Text 51.

  • R. Aha said, Israel is likened to an olive tree: “A leafy olive tree with goodly fruit” (Jeremiah 11:16). And the Holy One is likened to a lamp: “The lamp of the Lord is the spirit of man” (Proverbs 20:27).

What use is made of olive oil?

  • It is put into a lamp, and then the two together give light as though they were one. Hence the holy One will say to Israel: My children, since My light is your light and your light is My light, let us go together – you and I- and give light to Zion:
  • “Arise, give light, for thy light has come” (Isaiah 60:1). R. Hoshaia said: Jerusalem is destined to become a torch for the nations of the world, who will walk by its light, as is said: “Nations shall walk at thy light” (Isaiah 60:3). (from Pekista de Rav Kahana, cited on Sefer Hahagadah p393 #41

Long Life
Long Life


If the seven foods of Deuteronomy 8:8 might be called God’s "favorites" of all foods, then perhaps the olive, judging by its special usage in the Bible, may well be called God’s "favorite of the favorites." The olive is a symbol for long life and in fact, everlasting life. Olive trees live longer than any other living organism on earth. It’s been claimed by some that an olive tree can live for up to four thousand years or more. Some Bible scholars theorize that perhaps a few of the olive trees currently growing on the Mount of Olives in Israel were actually alive at the time of Jesus.

Olive oil was used in lighting the temple Menorah (lamp stand) which stood in front of the Ark of the Covenant in the Temple’s Holy of Holies. The symbolism here is that God’s Law is everlasting. It was also used to anoint the King and High Priest in ancient Israel. Our English word Messiah comes from the Hebrew word "mashiyach" which simply means to smear with olive oil. The Greek word "Christ" has the same meaning. Olive oil was spread on bread, used in cooking, and mixed with flour to make bread. Apparently, the olive industry was a huge trade in Biblical times.

Perhaps the most amazing thing of all about the olive is the fact that today, thousands of years after the Bible was written, researchers are finding out just what a miracle food this really is. For instance, olive oil has been shown to help in the prevention of cardiovascular disease, aid in digestive problems, while protecting against everything from arthritis to diabetes to constipation to cancer.

Other researchers have shown that oils high in mono-unsaturated fats, of which olive oil ranks the highest, are excellent protectors of the arteries against heart attacks. Olive oil is 77 percent mono-unsaturated fat. Olive oil also assists the body in regulating cholesterol production, keeping the so-called LDL’s or Low Density Lipoproteins while encouraging the production of the good cholesterols known as HDL’s or High Density Lipoproteins. Olive oil also helps the body defend itself against harmful free radicals.

Certainly, olives and olive oil most definitely belong on the "Magnificent Seven" from Deuteronomy 8:8

Anointing of David
Anointing of David


Genesis 8:11

  • The olive was first mentioned in the Bible after the devastating flood when the dove returned to Noah, signifying peace and restoration.

I Sam 10:1,6,7,13; II Sam 2:4; 5:3; I Ki 1:39; 19:16; II Ki 9:1,3,6; 11:12

  • The Messiah or Christ means the anointed one and the Kings of Israel were anointed with oil.

Psa 45:7; Heb 1:9

  • Oil is associated with joy and the Messiah. We are told to faithfully tithe, and eat before the Lord the tithe of our corn, wine and oil in the place God chooses to place His name.

Lev 8:30; I Sam 10:1; 16:13; I Ki 1:39

  • Consecration of Aaron as High Priest
  • Saul anointed by Samuel
  • Samuel anointed David
  • Zadok the priest anointed Solomon

Ex 27:20-21; Lev 24:2

  • Israelites were to bring pure beaten olive oil for the eternal light in the tabernacle.

The olive is most important to the Israelites, for symbolism, food and not least of all, use for medicinal purposes. The whole world was destroyed by flood except Noah and his family. After the flood subsided, Noah sent a dove to see if the waters were abated from off the face of the ground. The dove found no resting place and returned to Noah. After seven days, Noah sent forth the dove again. In the evening the dove returned with an olive leaf, and Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth. The olive leaf herald the beginning of a new generation of people and new earth cleansed by the flood.

The High Priest and kings of Israel were anointed with olive oil, a sign of authority from God that He had chosen them as a mark of acceptance and the chosen ones would be revered by the people. In recent years, the olive oil was discovered to have good medicinal effects on the health, and the oil is one of the main exports of Israel.

The olive oil was also used to light the lamps in the tabernacle for without the oil, there would be no light in the darkness.








Israel: Seven Species (6) Olive

Do you know the Israelites believe the olive symbolizes the continuity of biblical Promised Land and Modern Israel?

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Do you know the Israelites celebrate the seven species every year to commemorate God's gifts to them? This shows their gratitude to God.

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© 2010 einron


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    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Woody Marx

      Great that you love reading this. I have been to Israel only once. I doubt I shall go there again. I recall riding on a donkey in Golan Heights. I recall some episodes clearly.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      I loved reading this and loved to recall the many beautiful olive trees I've seen in Eretz Israel! :)

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Glad you like olives so much. God's provision is good for many things in the body. Enjoy!

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      Hi einron, I knew that there was a reason that I loved olives so much, very interesting hub!!

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Woody Marx

      I have seen the olive trees in Israel, but dont recall seeing any olives. Thanks for commenting.

    • Woody Marx profile image

      Woody Marx 

      8 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great Hub. I picked so many olives in Israel I still see them years later in my dreams! I love olives so I love this Hub!

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Thank you for visiting and I am glad you love the symbolism. Read and tell me what you think of the other five hubs I have written on the seven species.

    • Tamarajo profile image


      8 years ago

      Interesting! I love the symbolism you share. thank you

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Thank you!

    • Girish1000 profile image


      8 years ago from India

      hit for u

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA


      Good of you to comment. Thanks for your thoughts. Many Christians seem to shun anything to do with Jews. They have forgotten the source of their belief. Jesus Christ is from the seed of King David. You cannot never erase the lineage.

    • djbraman profile image


      8 years ago

      I like theses thoughts, that the word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart. Blessed is the man that brings the gospel to the poor in spirit! Amen, good article on the olive tree and its meaning!

    • einron profile imageAUTHOR


      8 years ago from Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

      Captain Jimmy

      Thanks for visiting and comments.

      I thank you for the quote on Romans 10:8-15. The feet of them that preach the gospel of peace and bring glad tidings of good things are beautiful in the sight of God.

      Amen. Blessings and peace.

      Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

    • Captain Jimmy profile image

      Captain Jimmy 

      8 years ago from WV

      Intereting Hub! I agree that God's men need to be anointed!

      Romans 10:8 But what saith it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach;

      Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

      Romans 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

      Romans 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

      Romans 10:12 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.

      Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

      Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

      Romans 10:15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!


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