In Genesis 35:4

So they gave Jacob all the foreign gods which they had and the rings which were in their ears, and Jacob hid them under the oak which was near Shechem.

Is this tree the referenced in Genesis 12:6-7? What points me to that is the usage of "the oak" as if the reader would know about the oak.

  • How is the reader (such as myself) supposed to know about the oak if one has no other information ?
    – Nigel J
    Jan 14, 2021 at 11:54
  • @NigelJ I can think of at least two scenarios. (1) hints in other places of the bible that clarify it, (2) the language used here implying that we really should know about that oak Jan 14, 2021 at 12:12
  • 1
    I take from that there may be a spiritual allusion which is there for the knowing, if we look for it, and have the spirituality to recognise it (as is often the case, in my own experience of the holy writings of the Spirit).
    – Nigel J
    Jan 14, 2021 at 12:43

1 Answer 1


The two trees mention in Gen 12:6 and 35:4 are unlikely to be the same tree as their Hebrew word is different. However, it is more likely that it the same tree mentioned in Judges 9:6, 36 where Joshua condemned idol worship.

Note the comments of Ellicott in Gen 35:4 -

The oak.—Not Abraham’s oak-grove (Genesis 12:6), referred to probably in Judges 9:6; Judges 9:37—the Hebrew word in these three places being êlôn—but that under which Joshua set up his pillar of witness (Joshua 24:26), the tree being in both these places called allâh, or êlâh, a terebinth.

The Cambridge Commentary is similar:

the oak] R.V. marg. terebinth. It is noteworthy that Joshua, under the same “oak” of Shechem (Joshua 24:26), testified against the primitive worship of strange gods; cf. Joshua 24:2; Joshua 24:14; Joshua 24:23. For the “terebinth,” cf. Genesis 12:6. The same sacred tree is possibly mentioned in Jdg 9:6.

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