God hates figs

No, really: "Mark 11:12-14 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs. 14Then he said to the tree, 'May no one ever eat fruit from you again.' And his disciples heard him say it."

God hates figs


      1. My JW visitors assure me the bible is the word of God. So God wrote the whole thing without bothering to add CRC error-checking?

  1. I think, if anything, the passage illustrates that God (the Son, anyway, the Holy Spirit keeping silent on the matter, unless that’s what all the glossolalia’s about) LOVES figs– so much so that his disappointment on not getting any throws him into such an uncharacteristic fit of pique.

      1. I was wondering why he didn’t just make one grow, being the son of god and all. Then I thought that if I had to choose between superpowers, I would choose the water-into-booze thing too.

  2. There used to be a “God Hates Figs” website, but it went bye-bye. There’s still a website for “God Hates Shrimp,” though.

    1. Not just a website, we at God Hates Shrimp also have a FB group and the beginnings of a movement. It’s pretty wacky. :)

    2. Charlie Jane Anders (Managing editor of io9.com) used to own the godhatesfigs.com domain. I don’t know why she let the registration lapse, but it’s archived here:


      IIRC, someone once managed to steal the Phelps site and register it in Charlie’s name. However, she wisely wanted no part in the shenanigans and immediately helped the Phelps get it back.

  3. I always wondered about Jesus after that… I mean, really, expecting a fig tree to have figs in January? And then cursing the tree because you were disappointed? My two-year-old knows better than to go postal on the tree. WWJD indeed…

  4. “Then there is the curious story of the fig tree, which always rather puzzled me… This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree.”

    Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not A Christian

  5. “God hates Fogs”

    1:3 – And God said, Let there be light: and there was light.
    1:4 – And God saw the light, and it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness.

  6. Doesn’t Genesis 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat ” contradict Jesus?

    That said, I don’t really like figs either, so Jesus is just alright with me.

    1. Doesn’t Genesis 1:29 “And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed

      so god supports prop 19? :-)

  7. So has all the religious gay rhetoric been possibly based on a typo or misnomer?

    No, just stupidity. Which is one of the few things even more common than tpyo’s.

  8. Fig trees come into foliage when their figs appear. In this case the tree had foliage but no fruit.

    Jesus cursing the tree was allegorical of the leaders of the time. Like the religious leaders the fig tree had foliage (IE richly dressed) but no fruit. All pomp but no substance. This is what Jesus despised.

    1. Fig (Ficus) are evergreen in a Mediterranean climate. I can look out my window and prove it 24/7/365. So, um, you’re wrong

      1. Being allegorical the fig is representative of humans with the God given right of free choice. He couldn’t make the religious leaders produce good fruits (they killed him in the end) as he didn’t with the tree. We’ve all seen examples of religious leaders wearing watches and clothes of extreme value with negligible fruits.

        Also figs, man and God have a history. For instance Adam and Eve after they made the decision to do the one thing they were asked not to do clothed themselves in fig leaves. Genesis 3:7

        With figs and the Mediterranean, plants have more and less (or next to none) foliage depending on the seasons and the temperature of the location (IE Jerusalem can snow in winter). Mark 11:13 “And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing”. Grant it states it wasn’t the season for figs, but the fig tree nominated itself in appearance as having figs.

    2. But was it necessary to destroy the tree (one of “god’s creations”) and hope that clever people decipher the allegory? Why not just say, “The Pharisees are like this fig tree…”

      BTW (off-topic)…fresh figs are really tasty if you’ve never tried them. Not at all like the candied things people in the States bake with.

  9. I agree with Anon – why didn’t he . . . er, excuse me, He just whip out one of those miracles and miracle himself a fig? You’re telling me he^H^HHe can raise both Himself and somebody else from the dead, walk on water, turn water into wine, etc. etc. but can’t make a fig tree cough up a couple of figs out of season? What kind of lame-ass Messiah is this guy?

    I was the original owner of the domain godhatesfred.com, which now redirects to the godhatesshrimp site. Nice to see someone putting the name to good use – I lost it during a spell of bad finances a few years back.

  10. So… you have the power to make the tree barren, but no power to make it bear fruit?

    What’s with all the willy-nilly miracle usage?

    If you’re going to curse the tree, at least do it like old school god and open up a chasm to swallow it up or something.

    I have often wondered if the Internet age would usher in an era where Abrahamic religion was sidelined by an onslaught of Information debunking it… or simply by good humor. Are we getting any closer?

  11. What would Horus do? (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jesus_Christ_in_comparative_mythology#Ancient_Egypt)

    Bertrand Russell discusses this passage in his essay “Why I Am Not a Christian” (http://www.users.drew.edu/~jlenz/whynot.html):

    “Then there is the curious story of the fig tree, which always rather puzzled me. You remember what happened about the fig tree. “He was hungry; and seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, He came if haply He might find anything thereon; and when He came to it He found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it: ‘No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever’ . . . and Peter . . . saith unto Him: ‘Master, behold the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.'” This is a very curious story, because it was not the right time of year for figs, and you really could not blame the tree. I cannot myself feel that either in the matter of wisdom or in the matter of virtue Christ stands quite as high as some other people known to history. I think I should put Buddha and Socrates above Him in those respects.”

  12. I’m obviously not an expert, and I imagine not all fig species are the same, but do they have seasons? I thought that fig trees were notable for their fairly unpredictable fruiting.

  13. Replying to “Anon in reply to Markle”:

    “Grant it states it wasn’t the season for figs, but the fig tree nominated itself in appearance as having figs.”

    So…You’re saying that a FIG TREE was ASKING FOR IT?!

  14. For what it’s worth, here’s one explanation I came across:

    Was it not unreasonable to curse the tree for being fruitless when, as Mark expressly says, “it was not the season for figs”? The problem is most satisfactorily cleared up in a discussion called “The Barren Fig Tree” published many years ago by W. M. Christie, a Church of Scotland minister in Palestine under the British mandatory regime. He pointed out first the time of year at which the incident is said to have occurred (if, as is probable, Jesus was crucified on April 6th, A.D. 30, the incident occurred during the first days of April). “Now,” wrote Christie, “the facts connected with the fig tree are these. Toward the end of March the leaves begin to appear, and in about a week the foliage coating is complete. Coincident with [this], and sometimes even before, there appears quite a crop of small knobs, not the real figs, but a kind of early forerunner. They grown to the size of green almonds, in which condition they are eaten by peasants and others when hungry. When they come to their own indefinite maturity they drop off.” These precursors of the true fig are called taqsh in Palestinian Arabic. Their appearance is a harbinger of the fully formed appearance of the true fig some six weeks later. So, as Mark says, the time for figs had not yet come. But if the leaves appear without any taqsh, that is a sign that there will be no figs. Since Jesus found “nothing but leaves” – leaves without any taqsh – he knew that “it was an absolutely hopeless, fruitless fig tree” and said as much.

    From F.F. Bruce, Hard Sayings of the Bible, quoted here. (Please note that I’m not an expert on figs; so I can’t vouch for the accuracy of this information – I only present it as a seemingly plausible explanation that I happened to come across.)

    Be that as it may, I think the real point of the story was allegorical, like a parable. In fact, it closely resembles the parable of the barren fig tree from Luke 13. In fact, I suspect that these are really just two versions of the same story: one presented as if it were something Jesus actually did, and the other presented as if it were a parable Jesus told. But, even if I’m wrong about that, I think it’s pretty clear that there is some connection between the story of Jesus and the fig tree in Mark 11 and the parable of the barren fig tree in Luke 13. Of course, there are debates about the meaning of the parable of the barren fig tree; so the allegorical significance of Jesus cursing the fig tree in Mark 11 is also debatable. Nonetheless, if all you’re getting from this story is that Jesus was so petulant that he unfairly took out his frustration on an innocent fig tree, I think you’re probably missing the true point of the story. After all, why would Mark include a story in his gospel that made Jesus look like a jerk? There has to be more to it than meets the eye.

  15. There are tales of palm trees bending in half to provide dates for the holy family during the flight into Egypt. Maybe he had just developed unrealistic expectations regarding the behavior of frugiferous plants.

    1. Ah, Anti – even after 50 comments you can still manage to out-dry all the other smart-asses. Impressive.

      As others have pointed out, I am just happy that we finally have a comprehensive answer to WWJD?:

      Neuter it.

  16. I know sometimes it feels like you don’t have any other option, that you’re trapped. But I’ve been there before. I’ve craved fig during non-fig season, and I can tell you one thing.

    It gets better.

    (just wait a few months)

  17. Guys, you’re all missing the good Christian message.

    This isn’t a story about figs, it’s an allegory of why Jews are evil…


  18. Warning:Facts!

    The idea that the story was against displays of piety without substance doesn’t hold up to…well…substance.

    Figs loose their leaves in late autumn, but have them again by spring and summer. They don’t produce fruit until late summer or early autumn. So unless Jesus had never seen a Fig tree, he has no reason to expect there to be “fruit” in April (though there would’ve been leaves).

    To reconcile this story with reality, we have Jesus coming early to a tree and cursing it for not doing something it wasn’t capable of doing anyway.

    So, why was Jesus a dick to the fig tree?

    Fig Tree = “Israel” = bigwig religious guys of the day.

    Jesus here is saying: “I see all of you Moral Majority assholes think I’m a bad influence. Well, if you’re not careful, you’ll wind up like this fig tree here: no one will want to hear what you have to say.”

    The interpretation as being a condemnation of the Jewish rulership is closest to accurate, but you don’t need the gained antisemitism in there. This was a threat to those in power that he was going to shake up the joint.

    Right after that, in the Bible’s chronology, he busts into Jerusalem and kicks over the tables of the moneylenders in the temple.

    The cursing of the Fig tree is where, in the Jerry Bruckheimer version of the Bible, the chugging electric guitar begins as he walks away from it exploding in slow-motion while putting on sunglasses, holding his gun aloft.

    Though I suppose it says something about Jesus’s idea of revolution that it involves killing a tree and then deatroying a free market economy with unnecessary regulation (ie: his fists).

  19. I’m pretty sure this parable was put in here later by some pope or other as a slam against the Jewish faith. They are the unripe figs who haven’t met Jesus’ expectations. At least, that is the interpretation that I was taught. I’m not saying it’s true or right – just an interpretation. And a pretty good example of why people who take the bible as literal truth are idiots. A book filled with parables where one of the main characters speaks in parables is obviously not meant as literal truth. See, the fish aren’t really fish and the seeds aren’t really seeds…etc.

  20. apparently it wasn’t even the season for figs. So Jesus got cranky because a fig tree was being true to it’s nature

  21. That may not be the only christian doctrine started by a typo. Celibate and celebrate are very close.

  22. Jesus condemning the figs was much more than him condemning religious leaders at the time. His actions in the passage are a “signpost,” if you will, of what he was about to do. Short-term, yes, he was about to cleanse the temple at Jerusalem; but ultimately, he was about to fulfill Old Testament prophecies of God “pouring out his spirit” upon Israel. He would do this through his death and resurrection.

    Jesus condemned the fig tree that bore no fruit as a sign of condemnation of Israel. Israel failed to live up to her calling to be a blessing to other nations, so God’s taking the reigns and fulfilling the requirements of the law and sacrifices himself. Jesus is saying through this parable that the rebuilding of Jerusalem’s temple was no longer the goal of redemptive history.

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