Pistacia palaestina is a tree or shrub common in the Levant region (especially Israel and Syria). It is called terebinth in English, a name also used for Pistacia terebinthus, a similar tree from the western Mediterranean Basin.
Pistacia palaestina is distinguished from P. terebinthus "by its egg-shaped leaflets, which are drawn into a long point, with somewhat hairy margins, and by more spreading and branching flower clusters."
The terebinth is mentioned in the Hebrew Scriptures (or Old Testament), where the Hebrew word "elah" (plural "elot") is used, although the word is sometimes translated as "oak". (The Hebrew word "alon" means oak, and the words may be related. The two kinds of trees usually grow together.[original research?])
- For you will be ashamed of the terebinths that you have taken pleasure in. (Isaiah 1:29. This may refer to idolatry associated with the trees, although in the Septuagint and Vulgate the word is translated "idols", as the plural of "el".)
Terebinths are also mentioned in three successive chapters of Genesis (12:6, 13:18, 14:13) in reference to the places where Abram (later Abraham) camped called Terebinths of Mamre the Amorite. Here the traditional rendering in English is "oaks of Mamre".
The most well-known clear reference to a terebinth (elah) in the Hebrew Scriptures is that of the Valley of Elah or "Valley of the Terebinth" (עמק האלה), where David fought Goliath (1 Sam. 17:2, 19).
There are at least a few references in Judges; Ch 4 (in reference to Heber, the Kenite, of the children of Hobab), Ch 6 (in reference to an angel of the Lord who came to visit Gideon--most versions use 'oak'), and Ch 9 (in reference to the crowning of Abimelech, by the terebinth of the pillar that was in Shechem—again most versions use 'oak'). This reference of Abimelech's crowning by an oak is actually referring to the Palestine Oak, closely related to the Kermes Oak. The Hebrew distinguishes the Palestine Oak and the Terebinth.