A kind of tree or wood, which Hiram brought from Ophir for the use of Solomon in making pillars for the temple and his own house, and also musical instruments, 1Ki 10:11; 2Ch 2:8. The rabbins call it coral; but it could not be this. It was more probably the tree, which furnishes what is now commonly called Brazil wood, which is also a native of the East Indies, Siam, the Molucca islands, and Japan, and has several species. Its wood is very durable, and is used in fine cabinet work. It yields also a dye of a beautiful red color, for which it is much used. Its resemblance in color to coral may have given occasion for the name almug, which in rabbinic still signifies coral; and thus the meaning of the name would be coral-wood.
(1 Kings 10:11, 12) = algum (2 Chr. 2:8; 9:10, 11), in the Hebrew occurring only in the plural almuggim (indicating that the wood was brought in planks), the name of a wood brought from Ophir to be used in the building of the temple, and for other purposes. Some suppose it to have been the white sandal-wood of India, the Santalum album of botanists, a native of the mountainous parts of the Malabar coasts. It is a fragrant wood, and is used in China for incense in idol-worship. Others, with some probability, think that it was the Indian red sandal-wood, the pterocarpus santalinus, a heavy, fine-grained wood, the Sanscrit name of which is valguka. It is found on the Coromandel coast and in Ceylon.
al’-gum, (‘algummim (2Chr 2:8; 2Chr 9:10 f); (‘almuggim, 1Ki 10:11 f)): It is generally supposed that these two names refer to one kind of tree, the consonants being transposed as is not uncommon in Semitic words. Solomon sent to Hiram, king of Tyre, saying, “Send me also cedar-trees, fir-trees, and algum-trees, out of Lebanon” (2Ch 2:8). In 1Ki 10:11 it is said that the navy of Hiram “that brought gold from Ophir, brought in from Ophir great plenty of almug-trees and precious stones.” In the parallel passage in 2Ch 9:10 it is said that “algum-trees and precious stones” were brought. From this wood “the king made …. pillars for the house of Yahweh, and for the king’s house, harps also and psalteries for the singers: there came no such almug-trees, nor were seen, unto this day” (1Ki 10:12). The wood was evidently very precious and apparently came from East Asia–unless we suppose from 2Ch 2:8 that it actually grew on Lebanon, which is highly improbable; it was evidently a fine, close grained wood, suitable for carving. Tradition says that this was the famous sandal wood, which was in ancient times put to similar uses in India and was all through the ages highly prized for its color, fragrance, durability and texture. It is the wood of a tree, Pterocar pussantalinus (N.D. Santalaceae), which grows to a height of 25 to 30 feet; it is a native of the mountains of Malabar.
E. W. G. Masterman
Algum Trees, Almug Trees.
By comparing 1 Kings 10:11 with 2 Chr. 9:10, 11, it is clear that the two names refer to the same tree; it came from the same place, Ophir, and was used for the same purposes, namely, pillars or props, terraces or stairs, harps and psalteries. 2 Chr. 2:8 presents a difficulty, for it seems to say that algum trees came from Lebanon, and the same trees could scarcely be indigenous to places so dissimilar as Lebanon and Ophir. In the last passage the several trees sent by Huram may be named together without meaning that they were all cut from Lebanon. It is supposed that the sandal wood is referred to. Josephus describes this wood as peculiar pine, not like those called pine in his days:to the sight it was like the wood of the fig tree, but whiter and more shining. Ant. viii. 7. 1.
the former occurring in (2 Chronicles 2:8; 2Chr 9:10; 2Chr 9:11) the latter in (1Kgs 10:11; 1Kgs 10:12) These words are identical. From (1Kgs 10:11; 1Kgs 10:12; 2Chr 9:10; 2Chr 9:11) we learn that the almug was brought in great plenty from Ophir for Solomon’s temple and house, and for the construction of musical instruments. It is probable that this tree is the red sandle wood, which is a native of India and Ceylon. The wood is very heavy, hard and fine grained, and of a beautiful garnet color.