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Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature

Fruits

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Under this head may perhaps be most appropriately noticed a classification of produce of great importance to a right understanding of the Bible. We propose to show that 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 'summer-fruits' appears to denote those less important species of fruit which were adapted only to immediate consumption, or could not be easily or conveniently conserved for winter use (; ). It would seem to indicate either the existence of some contrasted term, as 'winter-fruits,' or to imply that the products of the class under which it ranked as a species were generally distinguished by their capability of being preserved throughout the year. The three terms spoken of as being so frequently associated in the Scriptures, and expressive of a most comprehensive triad of blessings, are Dagan, Tirosh, and Yitzhar.

1. Dagan, 'fruit of the field,' or agricultural produce. Under this term the Hebrews classed almost every object of field culture [AGRICULTURE]. Dr. 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.' 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.

2. 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 (; ; ; ; ). In the Authorized Version it is usually rendered 'wine,' which is an improper restriction of its meaning.

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. Dr. Conquest's amended translation of , is, 'Thou shalt sow, but thou shalt not reap.'

3. Yitzhar, 'orchard-fruits,' especially winter or keeping fruits, as dates, figs, olives, pomegranates, citrons, nuts, etc.

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 (; ). Had dagan in these texts been restricted to wheat, no obligation would thereby have been imposed to present the first-fruits or the tithes of barley and other grain; had tirosh signified grape-juice, then this law could have been easily evaded by drying the fruit as raisins, or preserving it in other ways; and had yitzhar signified oil, it would have been difficult at all, and from these texts impossible, to educe the obligation to pay tithes or present first-fruits of a large and most valuable class of products, as dates, citrons, pomegranates, etc. But these texts are the most definite we can find in relation to the subject, and are evidently designed to be very comprehensive; and, consequently, as tithes were paid of all those fruits, the practice must interpret these expressions as including, 1st. Fruits of the field or land; 2nd. Fruits of the vintage; and, 3rd. Fruits of the orchard, including both summer and preserving fruits.

 

 

 

 


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Bibliography Information
Kitto, John, ed. Entry for 'Fruits'. "Kitto's Popular Cyclopedia of Biblial Literature". https://www.studylight.org/encyclopedias/kbe/f/fruits.html.

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