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Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

Fruit

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(properly פְּרַי, peri', καρπός ), an extensive term, denoting produce in general, whether vegetable or animal, and also used in a figurative sense (see Gesenius's Heb. Lex. and Robinson's Greek Lex.). The Hebrews had three generic terms designating three great classes of the fruits of the land, closely corresponding to what may be expressed in English as, 1. Corn- fruit, or field produce; 2. Vintage-fruit; 3. Orchard-fruit. The term קִיַוֹ, ka'yits, "summer-fruits," appears to denote those less important species of fruit which were adapted only to immediate consumption, or could not easily or conveniently be conserved for winter use (Jeremiah 40:10; Jeremiah 40:12). The three terms spoken of as being so frequently associated in the Scriptures, and expressive of a most comprehensive triad of blessings, are thefollowing: 1. דָּגָז, dagan', "fruit of the field," or agricultural produce. Under this term the Hebrews classed almost every object of field-culture (See AGRICULTURE). Jahn says, "The word is of general signification, and comprehends in itself different kinds of grain and pulse, such as wheat, millet, spelt, wall-barley, barley, beans, lentils, meadow-cumin, pepper- wort, flax, cotton, various species of the cucumber, and perhaps rice" (Bib. Archaeol. § 58). There is now no doubt among scholars that dagan comprehends the largest and most valuable species of vegetable produce, and therefore it will be allowed that the rendering of the word in the common version by "corn," and sometimes by "wheat," instead of "every species of corn" or field produce, tends to limit our conceptions of the divine bounty, as well as to impair the beauty of the passages where it occurs. (See CORN).

2. תַּירוֹשׁ, tirosh', "the fruit of the vine" in its natural or its solid state, comprehending grapes, moist or dried, and the fruit in general, whether in the early cluster or the mature and ripened condition (Isaiah 65:8, which is rendered by βότρυς, grape, in the Sept., refers to the young grape; while Judges 9:13, where "the vine said, Shall I leave my tirosh [fruit], which cheereth God and man?" as evidently refers to the ripened produce which was placed on the altar as a first-fruit offering in grateful acknowledgment of the divine goodness). "Sometimes," says Jahn, "the grapes were dried in the sun, and preserved in masses, which were called עֲנָבַים, anabim', אֲשַׁישַׁים, ashishim', and צַמּוּקַים, tsimmukim' (1 Samuel 25:18; 2 Samuel 16:1; 1 Chronicles 12:40; Hosea 3:1)" (Bib. Archol. § 69). It is also distinctly referred to as the yielder of wine, and therefore was not wine itself, but the raw material from which it was expressed or prepared, as is evident from its distinctive contrast with wine in Amos 6:15, last clause. (See WINE).

3. יַצְהִר , yitshar', "orchard-fruits," especially winter or keeping fruits, as dates, figs, olives, pomegranates, citrons, nuts, etc. As we distinguish dagan from חַטָח (wheat), and tirosh from עָסַיס and יִיַן, so must we yitshar from שֶׁמֶן (oil), which are unfortunately confounded together in the common version. Shemen, beyond question, is the proper word for oil, not yitshar; hence, being a specific thing, we find it in connection with a great variety of specific purposes, as sacrificial and holy uses, edibles, traffic, vessels, and used in illustration of taste, smoothness, plumpness, insinuation, condition, fertility, and luxury. Yitshar, as to the mode of its use, presents a complete contrast to shemen. It is not, even in a single passage, employed either by way of comparison or in illustration of any particular quality common to it with other specific articles. In one passage only is it joined with זִיַת, zayith, "olive," the oil of which it has erroneously been supposed to signify, and even here (2 Kings 18:32) it retains as an adjective the generic sense of the noun, "preserving-fruit." It should be read, "a land of preserving-olives (zeyth-yitshas) and dates (debash)." Cato has a similar expression, oleam conditivam, "preserving-olive tree" (De Re Rust. 6). It may be observed that the Latin terms ma'um and pomumn had an extended meaning very analogous to the Hebrew yitshar. Thus Varro asks, "Is not Italy so planted with fruit-trees as to seem one entire pomarium?" i.e., orchard (De Re Rust. 1:2). (See OLIVE); (See OIL).

Thus the triad of terms we have been considering would comprehend every vegetable substance of necessity and luxury commonly consumed by the Hebrews of which first-fruits were presented or tithes paid, and this view of their meaning will also explain why the injunctions concerning offerings and tithes were sufficiently expressed by these terms alone (Numbers 18:12; Deuteronomy 14:23). (See ORCHARD).

On the terms rendered in our version "fruitful field," "fruitful place," etc., (See CARMEL).

The term "fruit" is also used of persons (2 Kings 19:30; Jeremiah 12:2), and of offspring, children (Psalms 21:10; Hosea 9:16; Exodus 21:22), so in the phrases "fruit of the womb" (Genesis 30:2; Deuteronomy 7:13; Isaiah 13:18; Luke 1:42), "fruit of the loins" (Acts 2:30), "fruit of the body" (Psalms 132:13; Micah 6:7), and also for the progeny of beasts (Deuteronomy 28:51; Isaiah 14:29). This word is also used metaphorically in a variety of forms, the figure being often preserved: "They shall eat the fruit of their doings," i.e., experience the consequences (Isaiah 3:10; Proverbs 1:31; Jeremiah 6:19; Jeremiah 17:10); "with the fruit of thy works (of God) is the earth satisfied," i.e., is watered with rain, which is the fruit of the clouds (Psalms 104:13); "fruit of the hands," i.e., gain, profits (Proverbs 31:16); " fruit of a proud heart," i.e., boasting (Isaiah 10:12); "fruit of the mouth," i.e., what a man says, or his words (Proverbs 12:14; Proverbs 18:20); "fruit of the righteous," i.e., counsel and example (Proverbs 11:30); " to pay over the fruits," i.e., produce as rent (Matthew 21:41); "fruit of the vine," i.e., wine (Matthew 26:29; Mark 14:25; Luke 22:18); "fruits meet for repentance," i.e., conduct becoming a profession of penitence (Matthew 3:8); " fruit of the lips," i.e., what the lips utter (Hebrews 13:15; Hosea 14:3); "fruits of righteousness," i.e., holy actions springing from a renewed heart (Philippians 1:11). "Fruit," in Romans 15:28, is the contribution produced by benevolence and zeal. "Fruit unto God," and "fruit unto death," i.e., to live worthy of God or of death (Romans 7:4-5). The "fruits of the Spirit" are enumerated in Galatians 5:22-23; Ephesians 5:9; James 3:17-18. Fruitfulness in the divine life stands opposed to an empty, barren, and unproductive profession of religion (John 15:2-8; Colossians 1:10; 2 Peter 1:5-8; Matthew 7:16-20). (See GARDEN).

FRUIT, "the product of the earth, as trees, plants, etc.

1. 'Blessed shall be the fruit of thy ground and cattle.' The fruit of the body signifies children: 'Blessed shall be the fruit of thy body.' By fruit is sometimes meant reward: 'They shall eat of the fruit of their own ways' (Proverbs 1:31); they shall receive the reward of their bad conduct, and punishment answerable to their sins. The fruit of the lips is the sacrifice of praise or thanksgiving (Hebrews 13:15). The fruit of the righteous that is, the counsel, example, instruction, and reproof of the righteous is a tree of life, is a means of much good, both temporal and eternal, and that not only to himself, but to others also (Proverbs 11:30). Solomon says, in Proverbs 12:14, 'A man shall be satisfied with good by the fruit of his mouth;' that is he shall receive abundant blessings from God as the reward of that good he has done by his pious and profitable discourses. 'Fruits meet for repentance' (Matthew 3:8) is such a conduct as befits the profession of penitence.

2. "The fruits of the Spirit are those gracious habits which the Holy Spirit of God produces in those in whom he dwelleth and worketh, with those acts which flow from them, as naturally as the tree produces its fruit. The apostle enumerates these fruits in Galatians 1:22-23. The same apostle, in Ephesians 5:9, comprehends the fruits of the sanctifying Spirit in these three things, namely, goodness, righteousness, and truth. The fruits of righteousness are such good works and holy actions as spring from a gracious frame of heart: 'Being filled with the fruits of righteousness,' Philippians 1:11. Fruit is taken for a charitable contribution, which is the fruit or effect of faith and love: 'When I have sealed unto them this fruit,' Romans 15:28; when I have safely delivered this contribution. When fruit is spoken of good men, then it is to be understood of the fruits or works of holiness and righteousness; but when of evil men, then are mefant the fruits of sin, immorality, and wickedness. This is our Savior's doctrine, Matthew 7:16-18."

FRUIT-TREE (עֵצ פְּרַי, ets-peri', Genesis 1:11, etc.). From the frequent mention of fruit in the Scriptures, we may infer that fruit-bearing trees of various sorts abounded in Palestine. Among the number are specially noticed the vine, olive, pomegranate, fig, sycamore, palm, pear, almond, quince, citron, orange, mulberry, carob, pistacia, and walnut. Other trees and plants also abounded, which yielded their produce in the form of odorous resins and oils, as the balsam, galbanum, frankincense, ladanum, balm, myrrh, spikenard, storax gum, and tragacanth gum. (See PALESTINE). The ancient Egyptians bestowed great care upon fruit-trees, which are frequently delineated upon the monuments (Wilkinson, 1:36, 55, 57, abridgment). The Mosaic law contains the following prescriptions respecting fruit-trees:

1. The fruit of newly-planted trees was not to be plucked for the first four years (Leviticus 19:23 sq.). The economical effect of this provision was observed by Philo (Opp. 2:402). Michaelis remarks (Laws of Moses, art. 221), "Every gardener will teach us not to let fruit-trees bear in their earliest years, but to pluck off the blossoms; and for this reason, that they will thus thrive the better, and bear more abundantly afterwards. The very expression, 'to regard them as uncircumcised,' suggests the propriety of pinching them off." Another object of this law may have been to exclude from use crude, immature, and therefore unwholesome fruits. When fruits are in season the Orientals consume great quantities of them. Chardin says the Persians and Turks are not only fond of almonds, plums, and melons in a mature state, but they are remarkable for eating them before they are ripe. But there was also a higher moral object in the Mosaic regulation. Trees were not regarded as full-grown until the fifth year, and all products were deemed immature (ἀτελεῖς ) and unfit for use until consecrated to Jehovah (Josephu,.Ant. 4:8,19). (See FORESKIN). The Talmud gives minute rules and many puerile distinctions on the subject (Orlah, 1:10). (See FIRSTFRUITS).

2. In besieging fortified places fruit-trees were not to be cut down for fuel (q.v.) nor for military purposes (Deuteronomy 20:19; compare Josephus, Ant. 4:8, 42; Philo, Opp. 2:400). (See SIEGE). This humane prohibition, however, was not always observed (2 Kings 2:25). (See TREE).

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Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Fruit'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/eng/tce/f/fruit.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.

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