One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Like the figs that are first ripe.—Figs were usually gathered in August. The “first ripe,” the “summer fruits” of Micah 7:1, the “hasty fruit before the summer” (Isaiah 28:4; Hosea 9:10) were looked upon as a choice delicacy. The “naughty” (i.e., worthless) fruits were those that had been left behind on the tree, bruised and decayed. The word was not confined in the 16th century to the language of the nursery, and was applied freely to things as well as persons. So North’s translation of Plutarch speaks of men “fighting on naughty ground.”
“So shines a good deed in a naughty world.”
SHAKESPEARE, Merchant of Venice, v. 1.Jeremiah 24:2. One basket had very good figs — Dr. Shaw speaks of three sorts of figs; the first of which he calls “boccore, (being those here spoken of,) which come to maturity toward the middle or latter end of June; the second, the kermez, or summer fig, which ripens seldom before August; and the third, the winter fig. This is usually of a much longer shape, and dark complexion than the kermez, hanging and ripening upon the tree even after the leaves are shed; and, provided the winter proves temperate, is gathered as a delicious morsel in the spring.” — Shaw’s Travels, p. 370, fol. The doctor thinks that the latter sort were those which our Saviour expected to find on the fig-tree at the time of the passover in March, Matthew 21:19; Mark 11:13. See Blaney.
good figs, as will appear by the following verses, are intended Jeconiah or Jehoiachin, with the ten thousand mentioned 2 Kings 24:14, and the seven thousand mentioned 2 Kings 24:16, which went with him into captivity. By the other figs which were very bad, not to be eaten, are signified Zedekiah and the residue of the people carried with him into captivity. Some may object that Jeconiah and the people then carried away were wicked enough, why else were they carried away? and being so, how are they compared to good figs?
Answ. 1. Though they were bad, yet they might be comparatively good; this people, for the eleven years they continued in their own land, after that their brethren were carried away, not only continuing in their former courses, but still growing worse and worse.
2. They seem not to be called good or bad figs with respect to their manners or quality, but in respect to what God intended to do to them, viz. to use them as bad figs are used, not fit to: be eaten. Micah 7:1; these signified those that were carried captive into Babylon with Jeconiah, among whom were some very good men, as Ezekiel, and others; and all might be said to be so, in comparison of those that were at Jerusalem, who were very wicked, and grew worse and worse:
and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad; as nothing is more sweet and luscious, and agreeable to the taste than a sound ripe fig, and especially a first ripe one; so nothing is more nauseous than a naughty rotten one: these signified the wicked Jews at Jerusalem indulging themselves in all manner of sin; so those who seemed to be the worst, through their being carried captive, were the best; and those who, seemed to be the best, by their prosperity, were the worst. This is to be understood in a comparative sense, as Calvin observes; though this does not so much design the quality of persons, as the issue of things, with respect unto them. The captivity of the one would issue in their good, and so are compared to good figs; when the sins of the other would bring upon them utter ruin and destruction without recovery, and therefore compared to bad figs that cannot be eaten.One basket had very good figs, even like the figs that are first ripe: and the other basket had very naughty figs, which could not be eaten, they were so bad.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)2. the figs that are first ripe] The proper time for gathering figs in Palestine is in August. Certain kinds of trees, however, bear twice in the year, in which case the first crop, ripening in June, are esteemed a special delicacy. See Isaiah 28:4; Hosea 9:10; Micah 7:1; Nahum 3:12.
“The bad figs may have been such either from having decayed and thus been reduced to a rotten condition, or as being the fruit of the sycamore, which contains a bitter juice.” Tristram, op. cit. p. 399.Verse 2. - Like the figs that are first ripe. The early spring fig was considered a special delicacy (comp. Isaiah 27:4; Hosea 9:10); "ficus praecox," Pliny calls it ('Hist. Nat.,' 15:19, quoted by Trench). Tristram suggests that the "bad figs" were those of a sycamore tree. Jeremiah 23:33. "And when this people, or the prophet, or a priest ask thee, saying: What is the burden of Jahveh? then say to them: What the burden is - now I will cast you off, saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 23:34. And the prophet, the priest, and the people that shall say: burden of Jahveh, on that man will I visit it and on his house. Jeremiah 23:35. Thus shall ye say each to the other, and each to his brother: What hath Jahveh answered, and what hath Jahveh spoken? Jeremiah 23:36. But burden of Jahveh shall ye mention no more, for a burden to every one shall his own word be; and ye wrest the words of the living God Jahveh of hosts, our God. Jeremiah 23:37. Thus shalt thou say to the prophet: What hath Jahveh answered thee, and what hath He spoken? Jeremiah 23:38. But if ye say: burden of Jahveh, therefore thus saith Jahveh: Because ye say this word: burden of Jahveh, and yet I have sent unto you, saying, Ye shall not say: burden of Jahveh; Jeremiah 23:39. Therefore, behold, I will utterly forget you, and cast away from my face you and this city that I gave you and your fathers, Jeremiah 23:40. And will lay upon you everlasting reproach, and everlasting, never-to-be-forgotten disgrace."
The word משּׂא, from נשׂא, lift up, bear, sig. burden, and, like the phrase: lift up the voice, means a saying of weighty or dread import. The word has the latter sig. in the headings to the prophecies of threatening character; see on Nahum 1:1, where this meaning of the word in the headings is asserted, and the widespread opinion that it means effatum is refuted. Jeremiah's adversaries - as appears from these verses - used the word "burden" of his prophetic sayings by way of mockery, meaning burdensome prophecies, in order to throw ridicule on the prophet's speeches, by them regarded as offensive. Thus if the people, or a prophet, or a priest ask: What is the burden of Jahveh, i.e., how runs it, or what does it contain? he is to answer: The Lord saith: I will cast you off, i.e., disburden myself of you, as it were - the idea of "burden" being kept up in the answer to the question. The article on the word prophet is used to show that the word is used generally of the class of prophets at large. The את in the answering clause is nota accus., the following phrase being designedly repeated from the question; and hence the unusual combination את־מה. The sense is: as regards the question what the burden is, I will cast you away. There is no reason to alter the text to fit the lxx translation: ὑμεῖς ἐστὲ τὸ λῆμμα, or Vulg.: vos estis onus, as Cappell., J. D. Mich., Hitz., Gr., etc., do. The lxx rendering is based, not on another reading, but on another division of the words, viz., אתם המשׂא. - In Jeremiah 23:34 the meaning of this answer is more fully explained. On every one that uses the word "burden" in this sneering way God will avenge the sneer, and not only on his person, but on his house, his family as well. In Jeremiah 23:35 they are told how they are to speak of prophecy. Jeremiah 23:36. They are no longer to make use of the phrase "burden of Jahveh," "for the burden shall his word be to each one," i.e., the word "burden" will be to each who uses it a burden that crushes him down. "And ye wrest," etc., is part of the reason for what is said: and ye have equals for ye have wrested the words of the living God. The clause is properly a corollary which tells what happens when they use the forbidden word.
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