Stories We Like: Novels For Language Lovers
"evergreen shrub," late 14c., from Latin iuniperus (source of French genièvre, Spanish enebro, Portuguese zimbro, Italian ginepro), of uncertain origin, perhaps related to iunco "reed." Watkins has it from PIE *yoini-paros "bearing juniper berries," from *yoi-ni- "juniper berry." Applied to various North American species from 1748. In the Bible, it renders Hebrew rethem, the name of a white-flowered shrub unrelated to the European evergreen.
(Heb. rothem), called by the Arabs retem, and known as Spanish broom; ranked under the genus genista. It is a desert shrub, and abounds in many parts of Palestine. In the account of his journey from Akabah to Jerusalem, Dr. Robinson says: "This is the largest and most conspicuous shrub of these deserts, growing thickly in the water-courses and valleys. Our Arabs always selected the place of encampment, if possible, in a spot where it grew, in order to be sheltered by it at night from the wind; and during the day, when they often went on in advance of the camels, we found them not unfrequently sitting or sleeping under a bush of retem to shelter them from the sun. It was in this very desert, a day's journey from Beersheba, that the prophet Elijah lay down and slept beneath the same shrub" (1 Kings 19:4, 5). It afforded material for fuel, and also in cases of extremity for human food (Ps. 120:4; Job 30:4). One of the encampments in the wilderness of Paran is called Rithmah, i.e., "place of broom" (Num. 33:18). "The Bedawin of Sinai still burn this very plant into a charcoal which throws out the most intense heat."