Because batos is a Greek word it is only found in the New Testament where it is mentioned four times.

The batos is thought to be the bramble (Rubus sanguineus or Rubus sanctus), commonly called the blackberry. The blackberry usually grows in the moister areas of the Mediterranean, but can grow in the Sinai which is much drier.



The batos is thought to be the bramble (Rubus sanguineus or Rubus sanctus), commonly called the blackberry.

Jesus mentioned the batos in His teaching, using the illustration of plants and their fruit: "No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. Each tree is recognised by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes (akanthos), or grapes from (batos) briers. A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of." - Luke 6: 43-45.

Interestingly both Mark and Luke translate Jesus’ words regarding the bush that Moses saw burning as the batos: "Now about the dead rising - have you not read in the Book of Moses, in the account of the batos (burning bush), how God said to him, ‘I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob'? He is not the God of the dead, but of the living. You are badly mistaken!” - Mark 12: 26-27 and Luke 20: 37.

Luke also uses this word when he recounts Stephen’s speech, which would have been given originally in Aramaic:

"After 40 years had passed, an angel appeared to Moses in the flames of a batos (burning bush) in the desert near Mount Sinai. When he saw this, he was amazed at the sight. As he went over to get a closer look, he heard the Lord say: ‘I am the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.’ Moses trembled with fear and did not dare to look.
     “Then the Lord said to him, ‘Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground. I have indeed seen the oppression of my people in Egypt. I have heard their groaning and have come down to set them free. Now come, I will send you back to Egypt.’
     “This is the same Moses they had rejected with the words, ‘Who made you ruler and judge?’ He was sent to be their ruler and deliverer by God himself, through the angel who appeared to him in the bush. - Acts 7:29-35

In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Old Testament (called the Septuagint). it is the word batos that is used in the passage of Moses and the burning bush (Exodus 3:1-6). In Hebrew the word is 'sneh'. 

This is an edited excerpt from Alvin Johnson's iBook 'Biblical Flora', 2017. The book is available for free download on iTunes. A teacher's edition is also available for purchase.