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Where did that phrase come from - Extend an olive branch
Stan St. Clair

An olive branch is a universal symbol of peace. This means to offer a truce or propose a treaty of peace. The earliest mention of greenery from an olive tree is in the Bible, in Genesis 8:11, when the dove brought back an “olive leaf,” possibly a twig containing leaves, to Noah after the waters of the great deluge subsided, which, like the rainbow, served as an emblem that the disaster was over and men could once again live at peace on earth.

“Then the dove came to him in the evening, and behold, a freshly plucked olive leaf was in her mouth; and Noah knew that the waters had receded from the earth.” (NKJV)

Then, in Ancient Greece and Rome, olive branches became symbols of peace. Defeated armies traditionally would carry with them literal olive branches to signal their surrender. The Ancient Roman poet, Virgil (70 B.C. to 10 B.C.), in Aenid, used the olive branch as a sign of peace:

“High on the stern Aeneas his stand,

And held a branch of olive in his hand …”

In today’s world of discord every person and every group has their own opinions. We Americans are guaranteed freedom of speech, freedom of press and the right to peaceful assembly, liberties not granted to so many in other countries. I may not agree with someone’s opinion, but I would defend their rights till my dying breath.

The modern flood is not comprised of water. It is a deluge of conflict. I hope the leaders of our nation and world will send out the dove of peace into our devastated planet and find terra firma where olive trees can once again grow and we can extend their branches to all humankind.


If you would like to know the origin of a favorite expression, text the author at 931-212-3303 or email him at stan@stclair.net.