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Q&A: Did Herod Plant Sycamores in Jericho?

Question: Many years ago I read that Herod the Great had planted sycamore trees lining the street at Jericho. If true, the irony would be when Zacchaeus climbed one such tree to see Jesus. I cannot locate that reference. Have you come across this? –L.M.


Answer:

1. I have not heard of this.

2. It sounds suspicious (“too good to be true”; “preaches too well”).

3. The only primary source I can think of that would mention this is Josephus. A search of the works of Josephus showed only one reference to sycamore and it is related to King Solomon.

4. I checked two good commentaries on Luke and neither of them say anything about it.

I would guess it’s one of those urban legends. If anyone knows anything else, please comment below
or send me an email.

Sycamore-fig tree, Jericho, tb052205965
Sycamore tree in Jericho
(photo source)
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One thought on “Q&A: Did Herod Plant Sycamores in Jericho?

  1. This is driving me crazy! A few years ago I read that Herod had lined the streets of Jericho with sycamore trees. However, I've spent nearly two hours this evening looking for the source and can't find it! I am certain I read about this in a published book, not just a webpage—but without the original source I can't use it. Another great sermon illustration ruined by research!

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About the BiblePlaces Blog

The BiblePlaces Blog provides updates and analysis of the latest in biblical archaeology, history, and geography. Unless otherwise noted, the posts are written by Todd Bolen, PhD, Professor of Biblical Studies at The Master’s University.

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