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The Lesson of the Fig:  Stuffed Fig Salad

March 25, 2009
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The next reference we find to this luscious fruit is in Number 13, where Caleb and his fellow spies carry back huge grapes and figs after spying out the Land. In Deuteronomy 8, we find a description of the Land of Promise, a place of plenty, including the seven species (figs among them) that would become central to the Israeli diet. Figs were a sign of prosperity and peace with “each man under his own vine and fig tree” (1 Kings 4:25). They are even used as an illustration of end-time events in Revelation 6:12–13.

There are basically three types of fruit produced by fig trees in Israel, identified by the time of year in which they appear on the tree. One of those is called the pag. It is not literally a fruit but a bud. However, it is edible; it appears on the tree simultaneously with the growth of leaves, and without it, there will be no fruit. A tree without pag is a barren tree. This helps us understand Yeshua’s (Jesus’s) story in Mark 11. Yeshua comes upon a fig tree in full leaf early in the year. Even though it has the appearance of a fruit-bearing tree, on closer examination, it is clear that it is all show. There is not a pag to be found, and there will be no fruit. Jesus curses the tree and it withers and dies.

Commentators have struggled to understand the meaning of this story, and some have felt Yeshua was acting capriciously, cursing a tree for not having fruit when it was too early in the year for that fruit to have appeared. But now we understand. The pag should have been there, and since it wasn’t, Yeshua used the tree as a very vital lesson. When the Lord looks among the leaves of our lives, He needs to find pag—those buds of surrender, commitment, and righteousness that will lead to pleasing fruit. If not, we can become like that fig tree, living a life that might look good to the casual observer, but lacking true righteousness and the power of God to bear real and lasting fruit for His Kingdom.


10 ripe but firm figs
pomegranate concentrate (to garnish)

For filling:

1 cup grated carrot
1/2 cup chopped dried cranberries
2–3 tbsp. chopped fresh coriander (cilantro)
1 tbsp. sesame seeds (roasted)
3 tbsp. chopped pecans
2 tbsp. pomegranate concentrate
3 1/2 oz (100 g) bulgur wheat (optional)

1. If you opt to include bulgur wheat, soak it in water for 4–5 hours until it swells up and softens. Allow to cool.

2. Mix the bulgur with the other filling ingredients. This may be done in advance and kept in the refrigerator.

3. Half the figs and scoop out some of the flesh, which you can add to the salad. Place two fig halves on each plate, heap on the salad, drizzle with pomegranate concentrate, and serve. Serves 10.

Adapted from The Book of New Israeli Food by Janna Gur

By Cheryl Hauer, International Development Director


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