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- International Standard Bible Encyclopedia
- » Fig, Fig-Tree
- Greek - untimely fig, unripe figs
- Greek - fig, figs
- Greek - fig tree
- Hebrew - fig, fig tree, fig trees, figs, figs on the fig tree
- Hebrew - cake of figs, cakes of figs, fig cake, fig cakes
- Hebrew - first-ripe fig
The fig tree is common in Palestine and the East, and flourishes with the greatest luxuriance in those barren and stony situations where little else will grow. Its large size, and its abundance of five-lobed leaves, render it a pleasant shade tree; and its fruit furnished a wholesome food, very much used in all the lands of the Bible. Thus it was a symbol of peace and plenty, 1 Kings 4:25 Micah 4:4 Zechariah 3:10 John 1:49-51. Figs are of two sorts, the "baccore," and the "kermouse." The black and white boccore, or early fig, is produced in June; thought the kermouse, the fig properly so called, which is preserved, and made up into cakes, is rarely ripe before August. There is also a long dark-colored kermouse, that sometimes hangs upon the trees all winter.
The fruit of the fig tree is one of the delicacies of the East, and is very often spoken of in Scripture. The early fig was especially prized, Isaiah 28:4 Jeremiah 24:2 Nahum 3:12, though the summer fig is most abundant, 2 Kings 20:7 Isaiah 38:21. It is a peculiarity of the fig tree that its fruit begins to appear before the leaves, and without any show of blossoms. It has, indeed, small and hidden blossoms, but the passage in Habakkuk 3:17, should read, according to the original Hebrew, "Although the fig tree should not bear," instead of "blossom." Its leaves come so late in the spring as to justify the words of Christ, "Ye know that summer is nigh," Matthew 24:32 Song of Solomon 2:13. The fresh fruit is shaped like a pear. The dried figs of Palestine were probably like those which are brought to our own country; sometimes, however, they are dried on a string. We likewise read of "cakes of figs," 1 Samuel 25:18 2 Kings 20:7 1 Chronicles 12:40. These were probably formed by pressing the fruit forcibly into baskets or other vessels, so as to reduce them to a solid cake or lump. In this way dates are still prepared in Arabia.
The barren fig tree which was withered at our Savior’s word, as an awful warning to unfruitful professors of religion, seems to have spent itself in leaves. It stood by the wayside, free to all; and as the time for stripping the trees of their fruit had not come, Mark 11:14, it was reasonable to expect to find it covered with figs in various stages of growth. Yet there was "nothing thereon, but leaves only," Matthew 21:19.
These dictionary topics are from American Tract Society Bible Dictionary published in 1859. Public Domain, copy freely.
Rand, W. W. "Entry for 'FIG'". "American Tract Society Bible Dictionary".