Jesus and the fig tree

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There is little agreement as to what Jesus looked like.

The story of Jesus and the fig tree appears in the New Testament of the Bible, in Matthew 21:17-22 Bible-icon.png and Mark 11:12-14, 20-26 Bible-icon.png. In this story, Jesus is hungry and goes up to a fig tree to get something to eat, even though figs are out of season. When he finds that the tree has no fruit, he becomes angry and curses the tree to death. The story sometimes interpreted as a metaphor of the Pharisees "not bearing good fruit".

This story may have been a parable rather than a real event Mark 13:28 Bible-icon.png.


This is awfully strange behavior for an omnibenevolent god to indulge in. Why blame the tree for not bearing fruit when it is not supposed to bear fruit at that time of year? Behavior like this allows someone to declare that Jesus was mentally unbalanced, which satisfies the second choice of the Liar, Lunatic or Lord trilemma.

Some may draw a parallel between this story and that of original sin, where God blames people for acting in ways that were seemingly designed into them.

The story of the fig tree differs between versions, Matthew 21:19 Bible-icon.png says that "And presently the fig tree withered away." Whereas Mark 11:20 Bible-icon.png has the disciples find the dried up tree the following morning: "And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots." -- Beyond being odd, the story is contradictory.

Another interpretation, cited by Richard Carrier, is the cursing of the fig tree and seeing it withered the next day book ends the clearing of the temple Mark 11:15-19 Bible-icon.png. In this case, the fig tree represents the temple or the Old Covenant. This is a highly literary use of allegory, rather than a historical account.

See also[edit]

  • Gadarene swine - another example of Jesus falling short of perfection.

External link[edit]