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 did not 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 in 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 asks why do you say to 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
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