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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature
Fig. 180—Ficus carica
The fig-tree has from the earliest times been a highly esteemed fruit in the East, and its present, as well as ancient Arabic name, is teen. Though now successfully cultivated in a great part of Europe, even as far north as the southern parts of England, it is yet a native of the East, and probably of the Persian region, where it is most extensively cultivated. The climate there is such that the tree must necessarily be able to bear some degree of cold, and thus be fitted to travel northwards, and ripen its fruit where there is a sufficient amount and continuance of summer heat. The fig is still extensively cultivated in the East and in a dried state, strung upon cords, it forms an extensive article of commerce from Persia to India.
The fig is mentioned in so many passages of Scripture, that our space will not allow us to enumerate them. The first notice of it, however, occurs in , where Adam and Eve are described as sewing fig-leaves together to make themselves aprons. The common fig-leaf is not so well suited, from its lobed nature, for this purpose; but the practice of sewing or pinning leaves together is very common in the East even in the present day, and baskets, dishes, and umbrellas, are made of leaves so pinned or sewn together. The fig-tree is enumerated () as one of the valuable products of Palestine, 'a land of wheat, and barley, and vines, and fig-trees, and pomegranates.' The spies, who were sent from the wilderness of Paran, brought back from the brook of Eshcol, clusters of grapes, pomegranates, and figs. The fig-tree is referred to as one of the signs of prosperity (), 'And Judah and Israel dwelt safely, every man under his vine and under his fig-tree.' And its failure is noted as a sign of affliction (), 'He smote their fig-trees, and broke the trees of their coasts.' The very frequent references which are made in the Old Testament to the fig and other fruit trees, are in consequence of fruits forming a much more important article of diet in the warm and dry countries of the East, than they can ever do in the cold and moist regions of the north. Figs are also used medicinally, and we have a notice in , of their employment as a poultice.
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Fig-Tree'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/kbe/f/fig-tree.html.