Before the fig leaf covered Adam and Eve, there was the fruit and the tree. Throughout the Biblical lands, the fig was quite important and prominent. In this article, you will learn how the fig and the tree fit into the Bible, as well as references to the pomegranate.
Throughout Biblical lands, the common fig (also known as Ficus carica) was a widely planted fruit tree. Possessing the capacity to live long (up to 200 years), it was often placed close to olive tree , another tree that lived a long time. When the tree grew, it produced many branches that started low on the trunk. The leaves were quite large, growing to about the same size of a human hand. In the springtime, the fig was the last tree to grow their leaves. This characteristic is noted in the Bible by Jesus in Mark 13:28Ã¯Â·“31: “From the fig tree learn its lesson: as soon as its branch becomes tender and puts out its leaves, you know that summer is near” [English Standard Version].
The fig tree is also known to generate several crops in the span of just one year. There were different varieties of figs as well ,producing black, green, and red fruits. Because of a high concentration of sugar, the people were able to dry figs and store for later use. This practice is additionally mentioned in the Bible. An example of this is found in Scriptures: “Abigail lost no time. She took two hundred loaves of bread, two skins of wine, five dressed sheep, five seahs of roasted grain, a hundred cakes of raisins and two hundred cakes of pressed figs, and loaded them on donkeys” [New International Version; I Samuel 25:18]
The Bible places the fig in a medical light when a poultice made with fig was used to treat a boil. The importance of the fig is seen when the prosperity of the grape and the fig together is a blessing for Israel. An example of this reference is found in Micah 4:4: ” Everyone will live in peace and prosperity, enjoying their own grapevines and fig trees, for there will be nothing to fear. The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has made this promise!” [New Living Translation]
With an attractive appearance, the pomegranate appears in the Bible, and is seen as one of the five species in Deuteronomy 8:8. During the first part of August, the fruits of the pomegranate start to reach maturity. The fruit is referenced when speaking of the garment of the high priest and within the temple, as bells and pomegranates alternate on the skirt of the high priest. This is mentioned in Exodus 28: 33: “And on the skirts thereof thou shalt make pomegranates of blue, and purple, and scarlet, round about the skirts thereof; and bells of gold between them round about.” The pomegranate tree is also mentioned in I Samuel 14:2: “Saul was staying on the outskirts of Gibeah under a pomegranate tree in Migron. With him were about six hundred men,” [New International Version]
The fruit tree was elevated in prominence when 200 pomegranates were engraved on the capitals of the two pillars that decorated the front of Solomon’s temple. Lilies were found above the pomegranates. When taken into captivity, the fruit on the pillars is specifically referenced. This is seen in Jeremiah 52: 22-23: “The bronze capital on top of the one pillar was five cubits high and was decorated with a network and pomegranates of bronze all around. The other pillar, with its pomegranates, was similar. There were ninety-six pomegranates on the sides; the total number of pomegranates above the surrounding network was a hundred. [New International Version]