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What is the Almug Tree?

By Elizabeth Prata

In 1 Kings 10:12 we read of the Almug Tree. I enjoy learning about the plants and animals of the Bible, so I was curious about this named tree. I learned that it’s also called the Algum Tree, and that no one is quite sure what type of tree it is. It could be sandalwood. Or not.

Let’s delve.

The king made from the almug trees supports for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, and lyres and harps for the singers; such almug trees have not come in again, nor have they been seen to this day. (1 Kings 10:12)

“almug trees—Parenthetically, along with the valuable presents of the queen of Sheba, is mentioned a foreign wood, which was brought in the Ophir ships. It is thought by some to be the sandalwood; by others, to be the deodar—a species of fragrant fir, much used in India for sacred and important works. Solomon used it for stairs in his temple and palace (2Ch 9:11), but chiefly for musical instruments“. (Source Jamieson Fausset Brown Commentary.

Today, valuable harps like Salvi harps are made of Spruce, Beech, and Maple. EPrata photo

Almug trees, called also (by an inversion of the letters, which is usual among the Hebrews) algum trees, 2 Chronicles 2:8 9:10; whereof there were some in Lebanon, 2 Chronicles 2:8, but the best sort came from Ophir, as is here said.” Source, Poole’s Commentary

“ALMUG—(1 Kings 10:11, 12) = algum (2 Chr. 2:8; 9:10, 11), in the Hebrew occurring only in the plural almuggim (indicating that the wood was brought in planks), the name of a wood brought from Ophir to be used in the building of the temple, and for other purposes. Some suppose it to have been the white sandal-wood of India, the Santalum album of botanists, a native of the mountainous parts of the Malabar coasts. It is a fragrant wood, and is used in China for incense in idol-worship. Others, with some probability, think that it was the Indian red sandal-wood, the pterocarpus santalinus, a heavy, fine-grained wood, the Sanscrit name of which is valguka. It is found on the Coromandel coast and in Ceylon.” Source, Easton, M. G. (1893). In Illustrated Bible Dictionary and Treasury of Biblical History, Biography, Geography, Doctrine, and Literature (p. 33). Harper & Brothers.

When the new Earth is created it will not have any taint of death or sin. All cemeteries will be gone. There will be no animal or human bones anywhere. The Tree of Life will be front and center, and all plants, vegetation, and trees as described in Genesis 1 and 2 will be restored, freshly growing in a ground not cursed by God. (Genesis 3:17). Perhaps we will see the almug tree, or the mustard tree mentioned by Jesus as the smallest seed. Renewed will be the great cedars of Lebanon, or the terebinth tree where Abraham passed.

I’m especially interested to see olive groves without a curse on them. I enjoyed seeing them in Italy. The leaves are silvery and in the dusky setting sunlight or the luminous moonlight, the olive groves have an ethereal beauty that I still think of to this day, 27 years after seeing them.

How beautiful the vegetation will be. God’s creation is certainly beautiful, and when we see it a-fresh and remade, we will praise Him all the more for being the originator of creation beauty.

Not almug/algum trees. EPrata photo


Christian writer and Georgia teacher's aide who loves Jesus, a quiet life, art, beauty, and children.

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