The fig tree (Ficus carica) is very common in Palestine. (8:8) Mount Olivet was famous for its fig trees in ancient times, and they are still found there. To "sit under one's own vine and one's own fig tree" became a proverbial expression among the Jews to denote peace and prosperity. (1 Kings 4:25; Micah 4:4; Zechariah 3:10) The fig is a pear-shaped fruit, and is much used by the Orientals for food, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries. The young figs are especially prized for their sweetness and flavor. The fruit always appears before the leaves; so that when Christ saw leaves on the fig tree by the wayside, (Mark 11:13) he had a right to expect fruit. The usual summer crop of fruits is not gathered till May or June; but in the sunny ravines of Olivet fig trees could have ripe fruit some weeks earlier (Dr. Thomson), and it was not strange so early as Easter Christ might find the young eatable figs, although it was not the usual season for gathering the fruit.
Main reference: Smith's Bible Dictionary (1860s)
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