“‘The time of figs was not yet’, says Mark, for it was just before Passover, about six weeks before the fully-formed fig appears. The fact that Mark adds these words shows that he knew what he was talking about. When the fig leaves appear about the end of March they are accompanied by a crop of small knobs, called taqsh by the Arabs, a sort of forerunner of the real figs. These taqsh are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. They drop off before the real fig is formed. But if the leaves appear unaccompanied by taqsh, there will be no figs that year. So it was evident to our Lord, when He turned aside to see if there were any of these taqsh on the fig tree to assuage His hunger for the time being, that the absence of the taqsh meant that there would be no figs when the time for figs came. For all its fair show of foliage, it was a fruitless and hopeless tree.” (F. F. Bruce, The New Testament Documents: Are They Reliable?, p. 73-74)

Ah, that explains it. When Mark wrote ‘the time of figs was not yet’, it didn’t mean that Jesus was unreasonable in expecting something to be eaten from the tree when ‘the time of figs was not yet’, but precisely he should expect some taqsh to be there to be eaten.


3 thoughts on “Taqsh

  1. Matt

    Here, again, is proof of the infallable accuracy of the Bible – and of the need to consult together with other Believers in order to properly understand the Word of God (i.e., Bible study). Intially, this NT story gave me trouble, as it has done for many others. In the simple language in which it is presented in the Gospels, the story makes little if any sense. “Would Jesus really curse a poor defenseless fig tree for NOT producing figs when it is NOT the time for them?”, is the question that naturally comes to mind. The answer, as we find when we delve deeper into the details of this enacted parable, is “of course not”. The fig tree should indeed have borne, if not fully ripe fruit, then at least something edible; just as we who claim the saving blood of Jesus, the Messiah, should produce something – however small – of value to His Kingdom. To do otherwise is to risk the same fate as the accursed tree.

    Thank you Lord, for your infallable Word!


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