The LORD showed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD…
I. THE SYMBOLS EMPLOYED. The two baskets of figs - one very good, the other very evil. But:
1. They had each the same advantages and disadvantages. The same seed, soil, training, climate, sunshine, and other influences teeming on them.
2. They were of directly opposite character. (Ver. 2.)
II. THE PEOPLE REPRESENTED BY THEM. The men of Judah and Jerusalem. Now:
1. The circumstances of all these were the same. Parentage, religion, teachers, disciplines, privileges, opportunities.
2. But some of these people were symbolized by the good figs, and the other by the evil. Those who had been carried off to Babylon were the good; those who remained still in Jerusalem were the evil.
3. The reverse results might have been looked for. For the good had been dealt with more sternly than the evil. How terrible and sad their lot appeared! Torn away from all their wonted privileges; made to endure a fate which others deserved far more than they; surrounded with idolaters and blasphemers of God. But the evil continued in the possession of all those aids to religion and piety of which those others were deprived. So that the circumstances of the good were less favorable, and those of the evil far more so. Exile, which might have been thought to injure the captives, had done them good; whilst exemption from it, which might have been thought to benefit the evil, had wrought them harm. "With the exiles were some of the choicest spirits of the nation. Ezekiel, second only to Jeremiah himself in the prophets of this epoch; and, probably, the ancestor of Mordecai; and Daniel, with his three companions." "The exiles became humble, repentant, reformed. The resident Jews became insolent, self-secure, defiant. The former became worthy of comparison with the first ripe figs; the latter as the 'naughty figs, which could not be eaten.'"
III. THE LESSONS TAUGHT THEREBY. That character and destiny do not depend on circumstances. We should have thought that either all would be alike, or else that the characters and destinies would have been the reverse of what they were.
1. Let the good who may be placed in adverse circumstances take encouragement from this fact. They can surmount and triumph over all the evil influences which surround and oppose them (cf. ver. 7.)
2. And the evil are to take warning. Prolonged privilege and opportunity have no necessary saving power. Such advantages may leave them worse than before. It was so here.
IV. OBSERVE THE GREAT ILLUSTRATION OF THE TRUTH TAUGHT HERE IN CHRIST AND HIS CHURCH.
1. Christ was "as a root out of a dry ground." How utterly opposed to all prospect of his becoming great, and his Name above every name, were the early circumstances in his history! And yet he has triumphed over all.
2. And so with the history of the Church. It was small as "a grain of mustard seed," feeble as "sheep amidst wolves," was as a thing of naught and despised. And yet what has it not become, what will it not become? And what is true of Christ and his Church shall be true likewise of all that are his. "Fear not, little flock," said our Lord; "it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." - C.
Parallel VersesKJV: The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.
WEB: Yahweh showed me, and behold, two baskets of figs set before the temple of Yahweh, after that Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the craftsmen and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.