Olive Trees Live a Long Time

Olive Trees Live a Long Time

Did you know that seven olive trees in Israel have lived over 3,000 years old? Imagine all the changes those trees witnessed in those years!

Olive trees, a type of evergreen, can grow over forty feet. That’s taller than a four-story building! The branches can spread twenty feet from the trunk, or forty feet from one side to the other so the tree can be as wide as it is tall. The trunks have a unique gnarled (twisted) pattern. When the tree is young, the bark is green. As the tree ages, the bark turns gray. A mature olive tree can be chopped to the ground and grow back. What an amazing trick!

A long time ago, olive oil was prepared by crushing olives in a large wooden or stone bowl called a mortar. Oil presses were also used. “Gethsemane” comes from the Hebrew for “oil press”. The Garden of Gethsemane, where Jesus went to pray before He went to the cross, may have held an oil press. Numerous olive trees grew on the Mount of Olives, the hillside where the garden was located outside of Jerusalem.

Olive oil was used for cooking, in lamps, and for anointing kings. Jesus, the King of Kings, might have thought of this as He entered the garden to pray and prepare to die on a cross for all of us.

The olive tree is a symbol of peace. Olive oil symbolizes goodness and purity. The phrase “extending an olive branch” means to make a peaceful gesture.

What a wonderful place Jesus chose to spend His last quiet moments in prayer before dying on a cross.


— Sandra Merville Hart

“About Olives…,” Olives Australia, 2015/04/03 http://www.oliveaustralia.com.au/About_Olive_Trees/about_olive_trees.html.

“Gethsemane,” See The Holy Land, 2015/04/03 http://www.seetheholyland.net/gethsemane/.

New International Version Women’s Devotional Bible, Zondervan Publishing House, 1994.

“Olive Cultivation,” Mediterranean Garden Society, 2015/04/03 http://www.mediterraneangardensociety.org/olives.html.

“Olive Tree,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia Online, 2015/04/03 http://www.internationalstandardbible.com/O/olive-tree.html.

“Olive Trees,” Bibleplaces.com, 2015/04/03 http://www.bibleplaces.com/olive-trees.htm.

Russell, Sean. “Olive Tree Growth Rates,” Demand Media, 2015/04/03 http://homeguides.sfgate.com/olive-tree-growth-rates-56428.html.

Stein, Larry, Kamas, Jim, and Nesbitt, Monte. “Olives,” AgriLife Extension, 2015/04/03 http://aggie-horticulture.tamu.edu/fruit-nut/files/2010/10/olives.pdf.


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