Fruit and Nuts – Figs and Nabal

Figs

Let us start our discussion of figs by talking about apples. In the Garden of Eden there were two fruit trees that Adam and Eve were not to eat from; according to Wikipedia, it is probable that they “became” apple trees during the Renaissance. I would like to make the case for them being fig trees; after all, what did they sew together to cover their shame, fig leaves. Most of this is a retake of a sermon I heard several years ago that used figs as a metaphor for the church/religion. The preacher made the point that where figs are mentioned just insert the idea of  “religion.”  I will not cover all of the references to figs and I am not sure all of them fit neatly into that box but let’s take a look at a few of them.

Genesis 3:7 Adam and Eve disobey and instead of trying to get back to God they cover themselves in fig leaves and people have been doing that ever since.

The phrase “under his own vine and fig tree” is found several places in Scripture and can be a symbol of Israel being at peace but both of those plants are symbols for the church. Ex. 1 Kings4: 25, 2 Kings 18:31

Jeremiah 24: 1-10 is a vision where the prophet sees two baskets of figs in front of the Temple one good and one bad. This reminds me of Luke 6:43-46, which is the parable of the trees and the wise and foolish builder; this is where Jesus ask why call Him Lord, Lord and do not do what He says.

John 1: 48 – Philip was under his fig tree and when he was called to come to meet Jesus.

Finally, the story of Jesus cursing the fig tree because it has no fruit and it dies.               Ex. Mark 11

Now in Israel, there is a sycamore fig, it is not a true fig, but the analogy still works. And my final thought is something that is talked about in Scripture that I did not know; fig trees can bear two crops of figs, the first crop is called breba figs that grow from the old wood. The main crop follows on the ends of the branches- new wood. We can make all kinds of analogies here: natural vs spiritual Israel, former church latter church, new wineskins vs old wineskins, etc.

Please visit this blog to see more about figs.  http://ferrelljenkins.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/zaccheus-climbed-up-into-a-sycamore-tree/  The fig pic is from – http://www.raysfiginfo.com/graphics/sycamore04.jpg

Nabal

Proverbs 18:11 – The wealth of the rich is their fortified city; they imagine it an unscalable wall.             :23 – A poor man pleads for mercy, but a rich man answers harshly. (NIV)

I think these two verses are examples of why I picked Nabal as my first “nut.” But we will get back to him, let us look at 1 Samuel 25 and get some background. Carmel means, “Planted orchard” and is in the area of En Gedi, which is south of Jerusalem (yes there is an Mt. Carmel that is in northern Israel).  Abigail (Nabal’s wife) means “a father’s cause of joy” and after she married David she had his second son, Daniel     (1 Chronicles 3:5).  The Desert of Maon, which means “dwelling”, is in the land of Judea and became a hiding place for David.

Nabal was a descendant of Caleb who was one of the two faithful spies in the book of Numbers; so he was loosely related to David. This leads us to why I think he was a “nut.” In verse 10 when Nabal harshly answers David’s men he knew exactly who David was and what he was capable of doing so verse 10 and 11 is really a high-level insult. David’s request for a gift was for protection that he and his men had given Nabal’s flocks.  So insulting a “warlord” with 600 men when a few sheep would have made him happy is a “nutty” thing to do. Now the problem actually started in verse 9 when the young men “waited.” This word is only translated twice as “wait” many of the times it is used it is “rest” and many of those references are inferring a LONG rest. So as it says in Proverbs 18 Nabal thinks his money is his fortress and so he answers people harshly and made the men wait a long time. (see Judas)

Fortunately for David and all the men around Nabal’s house, Abigail had good judgment. Note – part of the gift was pressed figs.

As I enjoy trying to place Psalms where they may have been written I would put Psalm 109 after verse 35.

Also, the Lord’s use of “tens” in this text is interesting; Nabal was in a coma ten days, which also was the number of men David sent for the gift.

Map of Carmel and Maon from http://home.comcast.net/~davebowser/bible/david/david15.html

 

 

Judas in the Old Testament

Finding foreshadowing of the New Testament hidden in the Old Testament has been a study I always enjoy. This year I marked out months just for that in my study plan so here is the first. What I would attribute to Judas being like is found in several Psalms. I will mention the Psalm but also where I think the inspiration for that Psalm came from in scripture and who was the shadow of Judas.

Psalm 52David was writing this about Doeg the Edomite from 1 Samuel 22. He was the instrument of destruction for an entire branch of the priestly family; this was part of the sentence handed down from the Lord because of Eli and his wicked sons in 1 Samuel 2.  The final part of the story is found in 1 Kings 2:27.  Psalm 52:1 – 4 gives a look at what I think he was like: boasted of evil, practiced deceit, loved evil and spoke harmful words. Verses 5 -7 talks of his downfall and how he is remembered: in everlasting ruin, uprooted from the living, destroyed others.

Psalm 55 – Verses 12 – 14, 20 and 21 also talks about Judas’ character. “My companion, my close friend, with whom I once enjoyed sweet fellowship as we walked to the house of God”, Psalm 55:13,14 (NIV). And in verse 20 +21, “My companion attacks his friends; he violates his covenant.”  A possible point when this was birthed is 1 Samuel 22:3 when David is hiding his parents from King Saul.  But as I thought about it, it could be referring to his cousin Joab the commander of the army and a consistent problem for David or even his son Absalom.

Psalm 41:9 Even my close friend, whom I trusted, he who shared my bread, has lifted up his heel against me. This verse is quoted in John 13:18.

Psalm 109:1 – 20 – verse 8 is quoted in Acts 1:20 May his days be few; may another take his place of leadership. (Matthias) I think this Psalm was written because of Nabal in 1Samuel 25:35. The reason for this is in vs. 16 – 20 and describes both Nabal and Judas – never thought of doing a kindness, hounded the poor, needy and broken hearted, loved to pronounce curses and wore them like a garment.

Psalm 69:25 is also quoted in Acts 1:20 “let there be no one to dwell in their tents.”

Zechariah 11:12 – If you think it best, give me my pay; but if not keep it. So they paid me thirty pieces of silver. (Matt. 26:15)

So as expected Judas has some of the worst guys in the Bible providing his foreshadowing: Doeg the Edomite (priest killer), Nabal (the selfish fool) and possibly Joab (under minding cousin) and Absalom (son with ambition).