- Included in Eastons: Yes
- Included in Hitchcocks: No
- Included in Naves: No
- Included in Smiths: Yes
- Included in Websters: Yes
- Included in Strongs: Yes
- Included in Thayers: Yes
- Included in BDB: Yes
The Hebrew name shushan or shoshan, i.e., "whiteness", was used as the general name of several plants common to Syria, such as the tulip, iris, anemone, gladiolus, ranunculus, etc. Some interpret it, with much probability, as denoting in the Old Testament the water-lily (Nymphoea lotus of Linn.), or lotus (Song of Solomon 2:1, 2; 2:16; 4:5; 5:13; 6:2, 3; 7:2). "Its flowers are large, and they are of a white colour, with streaks of pink. They supplied models for the ornaments of the pillars and the molten sea" (1 Kings 7:19, 22, 26; 2 Chronicles 4:5). In the Canticles its beauty and fragrance shadow forth the preciousness of Christ to the Church. Groser, however (Scrip. Nat. Hist.), strongly argues that the word, both in the Old and New Testaments, denotes liliaceous plants in general, or if one genus is to be selected, that it must be the genus Iris, which is "large, vigorous, elegant in form, and gorgeous in colouring."
The lilies (Gr. krinia) spoken of in the New Testament (Matthew 6:28; Luke 12:27) were probably the scarlet martagon (Lilium Chalcedonicum) or "red Turk's-cap lily", which "comes into flower at the season of the year when our Lord's sermon on the mount is supposed to have been delivered. It is abundant in the district of Galilee; and its fine scarlet flowers render it a very conspicous and showy object, which would naturally attract the attention of the hearers" (Balfour's Plants of the Bible).
Of the true "floral glories of Palestine" the pheasant's eye (Adonis Palestina), the ranunuculus (R. Asiaticus), and the anemone (A coronaria), the last named is however, with the greatest probability regarded as the "lily of the field" to which our Lord refers. "Certainly," says Tristram (Nat. Hist. of the Bible), "if, in the wondrous richness of bloom which characterizes the land of Israel in spring, any one plant can claim pre-eminence, it is the anemone, the most natural flower for our Lord to pluck and seize upon as an illustration, whether walking in the fields or sitting on the hill-side." "The white water-lily (Nymphcea alba) and the yellow water-lily (Nuphar lutea) are both abundant in the marshes of the Upper Jordan, but have no connection with the lily of Scripture."
Figurative, of the lips of the beloved
Song of Solomon 5:13
(Heb. shushan, shoshannah). Although there is little doubt that the Hebrew word denotes some plant of the lily species, it is by no means certain what individual of this class it specially designates. The plant must have been a conspicuous object on the shores of the Lake of Gennesaret, (Matthew 6:28; Luke 12:27) it must have flourished in the deep broad valleys of Palestine, (Solomon 2:1) among the thorny shrubs, ib. (Solomon 2:2) and pastures of the desert, ib. (Solomon 2:16; 4:5; 6:3) and must have been remarkable for its rapid and luxuriant growth. (Hosea 14:5), Ecclus. 39.14. That its flowers were brilliant in color would seem to be indicated in (Matthew 6:28) where it is compared with the gorgeous robes of Solomon; and that this color was scarlet or purple is implied in (Solomon 5:13) There appears to be no species of lily which so completely answers all these requirements as the Lilium chalcedonicum , or scarlet martagon, which grows in profusing in the Levant. But direct evidence on the point is still to be desired from the observation of travellers. (It is very probable that the term lily here is general, not referring to any particular species, but to a large class of flowers growing in Palestine, and resembling the lily, as the tulip, iris, gladiolus, etc.
LIL'Y, noun [Latin lilium; Gr.] A genus of plants of many species, which are all bulbous-rooted, herbaceous perennials, producing bell-shaped, hexapetalous flowers of great beauty and variety of colors.
Lily of the valley, a plant of the genus convallaria, with a monopetalous, bell-shaped corol, divided at the top into six segments.
LILY-DAF'FODIL, noun A plant and flower.
LIL'Y-HANDED, adjective Having white delicate hands.
LIL'Y-HYACINTH, noun A plant.
LILY-LIV'ERED, adjective White-livered; cowardly. [Not used.]