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. 3:18). Figurative for desolation (Prov. 24:31; Isa. 5:6; Hos. 2:6); providential visitation (Num. 33:55; Judg. 2:3; 2 Cor. 12:7); hindrance (Prov. 15:19); troubles (Prov. 22:5). “Crown of thorns,” both punishment and derision (Matt. 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 14:9). Thorns are often mentioned as growing up in places given to desolation.
The Hebrew word atad, translated “thorns” in Psalm 58:9, and “bramble” in Judges 9:14-15, has been identified with the Lycium Europaeum, this and the L. afrum are both found in Palestine. Its identification seems to be confirmed by the Arabs calling the plant atad, but it is also known by the name of ausej.
In the millennium, “instead of the thorn shall come up the myrtle tree” (Gen. 3:18; Isa. 32:13; Isa. 55:13). See CROWN OF THORNS.
Lycium Europaeum

From Manners and Customs of the Bible:

Psalm 58:9. Before your pots can feel the thorns, he shall take them away as with a whirlwind.
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. 33:12). It has been supposed from this text that thorns may have been used in lime-kilns.
Allusion to the use of thorns for fuel is also made in 2 Samuel 23:6-7; Psalm 118:12; Eccl 7:6; Isaiah 9.18; 10:17; Nahum 1:10.
See note on 1 Kings 17:10 (#304) and also on Matthew 6:30 (#646).

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