The olive tree grows profusely in Mediterranean lands and
the Middle East generally. It has a crop of small berries
which, when crushed, produce a rich oil, valuable for food.
The wood is also used for making small furniture. In the Bible
we read that olive oil was the basis for incense and anointing
oil, and was used as lamp oil in the Tabernacle and Temple
(see Exodus 27:20).
The apostle Paul compares Israel to a cultivated olive tree.
Because the tree bore no fruit God cut out the natural branches
(Israel) and grafted in shoots of the wild olive, meaning
the Gentile Christians, who would then share the 'root and
fatness' of the parent tree-God's goodness towards mankind-and
bear fruit for Him (see Romans ch.11).