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So the field of Ephron that was in Machpelah, which was to the east of Mamre, the field, the cave that was in it and all the trees that were in the field, that were within its boundaries, were deeded over Bible

“all the trees.” When someone buys a field today it is understood that he is buying the trees in it too, but that was not necessarily the custom in ancient times. The trees, especially any kind of fruit or olive trees, were very valuable in producing a cash crop every year, so they had to be clearly included in the price. One of the reasons that Israel was so denuded before the British took over after WWI was that the Turks who possessed the land since the 1500’s taxed not only the land, but every tree, so many landowners cut down all their trees to save tax money. After that, the goats foraged the land and kept more trees from growing up. Worse, the weather over the centuries washed away much of the topsoil and left the country of Israel looking like a rocky desert. When the Jews regained possession in 1948 they started planting trees and controlling the goats and the land is slowly recovering.


Commentary for: Genesis 23:17