Thorns; Thistles

Boyd’s Bible Dictionary:

No less than eighteen Hebrew words embrace the thistle, thorn, brier, and bramble species, which is prolific in Palestine
(Gen. 3:1818Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; (Genesis 3:18)). Figurative for desolation (Prov. 24:3131And, lo, it was all grown over with thorns, and nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone wall thereof was broken down. (Proverbs 24:31); Isa. 5:66And I will lay it waste: it shall not be pruned, nor digged; but there shall come up briers and thorns: I will also command the clouds that they rain no rain upon it. (Isaiah 5:6); Hos. 2:66Therefore, behold, I will hedge up thy way with thorns, and make a wall, that she shall not find her paths. (Hosea 2:6)); providential visitation (Num. 33:5555But if ye will not drive out the inhabitants of the land from before you; then it shall come to pass, that those which ye let remain of them shall be pricks in your eyes, and thorns in your sides, and shall vex you in the land wherein ye dwell. (Numbers 33:55); Judg. 2:33Wherefore I also said, I will not drive them out from before you; but they shall be as thorns in your sides, and their gods shall be a snare unto you. (Judges 2:3); 2 Cor. 12:77And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. (2 Corinthians 12:7)); hindrance (Prov. 15:1919The way of the slothful man is as an hedge of thorns: but the way of the righteous is made plain. (Proverbs 15:19)); troubles (Prov. 22:55Thorns and snares are in the way of the froward: he that doth keep his soul shall be far from them. (Proverbs 22:5)). “Crown of thorns,” both punishment and derision (Matt. 27:2929And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews! (Matthew 27:29)).

Concise Bible Dictionary:

There are about a dozen different words translated “thorns,” and “thistles,” showing how, plentiful these results of the curse are in this sin-stained world. The different species cannot be identified with most of the Hebrew words. The thistle is used to signify a worthless person in the parable of Jehoash, king of Israel (2 Kings 14:99And Jehoash the king of Israel sent to Amaziah king of Judah, saying, The thistle that was in Lebanon sent to the cedar that was in Lebanon, saying, Give thy daughter to my son to wife: and there passed by a wild beast that was in Lebanon, and trode down the thistle. (2 Kings 14:9)). Thorns are often mentioned as growing up in places given to desolation.
Lycium Europaeum

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

There is a great variety of thorny shrubs and plants abounding in Palestine. These the people gladly gather and use for fuel. They make a quick, hot fire, which kindles easily and soon expires. The idea conveyed in the text is that of swift destruction. The wicked are to be destroyed quicker than the heat from a fire of thorns could reach the cooking vessels.
A similar figure is used in the prophecy of Isaiah: “And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire” (Isa. 33:1212And the people shall be as the burnings of lime: as thorns cut up shall they be burned in the fire. (Isaiah 33:12)). It has been supposed from this text that thorns may have been used in lime-kilns.

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