Hebrew Highlights 126 – Apples
Shalom! This is Yuval Shomron coming to you from Jerusalem.
SOL 2:3, "Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest, so is my beloved among the young men. In his shade I took great delight and sat down, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
My study for today is a sweet one, apples. There is no mystery this time in the Hebrew word behind it. The word “tapuach” simply means apple. The verb form means “swollen”. I suppose this is simply because of the way an apple grows, getting bigger and bigger by the day until it is ripe for the picking. Of course, like the chicken and the egg, we don’t know which word came first, the apple, or the swollen. For our purposes, it is not important.
In the Bible, the apple has a good reputation, and is always used in a positive context. As in the passage I read in Song of Solomon, both the tree and the fruit itself provide comfort and refreshing.
The apple tree appears again in the Song of Solomon in chapter 8, and verse 5, "Who is this coming up from the wilderness, Leaning on her beloved?" "Beneath the apple tree I awakened you; There your mother was in labor with you, There she was in labor and gave you birth.”
It seems that historically, the apple tree serves as a good meeting place for lovers. Some of you may remember the words of the old song, “Don’t sit under the apple tree with anyone else but me.” I’m sure that is how our groom Yeshua feels about us. It would be fun to imagine our Lord carving our initials along with His on the trunk of the tree as we exchange promises.
Now of course you have also heard the saying, “an apple a day keeps the doctor away.” This of course has no biblical basis as far a physical healing is concerned. However, we do read in SOL 2:5, "Sustain me with raisin cakes, Refresh me with apples, because I am lovesick.” Naturally, in the right circumstances, lovesickness can be a welcome malady. I wonder if the apple is actually called for to ward off the cure rather than to bring it about.
Although the apple may have no probable healing properties, it may help halitosis, as we see in SOL 7:8 "I said, 'I will climb the palm tree, I will take hold of its fruit stalks.' Oh, may your breasts be like clusters of the vine, And the fragrance of your breath like apples.” I actually heard a report on BBC once that said all of the breath mints and sprays we spend money on usually last no more than 30 seconds. However munching on a fresh fruit or vegetable such as an apple, or a cucumber can freshen our breath for a long time. Once again, the Bible wins over the scientists.
On a more negative note, JOE 1:12 mentions some of the signs of the end times. “The vine dries up, and the fig tree fails; the pomegranate, the palm also, and the apple tree, All the trees of the field dry up. Indeed, rejoicing dries up from the sons of men.”
With today’s refrigeration and marketing techniques, we can walk into the grocery store and buy an apple any day of the year. How sad it would be indeed to find all of the fruit trees have dried up.
The apple gets a bad rap when used to demonstrate Eve’s temptation by the serpent in the Garden of Eden. To set the record straight, there is no way of knowing what fruit she really ate. We shouldn’t blame the fall of mankind into sin on such a sweet and innocent delicacy.
My kids love to take an apple in their lunch, or on a trip. Unlike a plumb or apricot, it won’t get squished in a backpack. And although my wife insists on washing them before consumption, in case there are any remnants of chemical spray, I must admit that I have more than once grabbed one out of the bag and munched on it on the way home from the market.
One last scripture is appropriate at this point. PRO 25:11, “Like apples of gold in settings of silver Is a word spoken in right circumstances.” I hope that my words today have been such.
So run along now and enjoy some apple juice, or applesauce, or apple dumplings, or dried apples, or apple pie with vanilla ice cream. Or, better yet, if there is an apple tree near by, just grab a fresh one and enjoy it in the shade with your heavenly groom.
Shalom, Shalom from Jerusalem