Eastern Manners and Customs: "Sycamore Fruit"; "Will He Give Him a Stone"

 •  1 min. read  •  grade level: 7
THE sycamore, or common fig of Egypt, is a noble tree of wide-spreading, giant branches... Just the tree which when it over-arches the way, a man could easily climb into, and find there a safe perch of observation... It is essentially a “fruitful tree.” The natives of Syria say that it bears seven crops a year... At the end of each of its figs a drop of watery fluid is in the habit of forming, which, if it is not removed, entirely prevents the fruit ripening. The cultivation of this tree requires, therefore, that each fig should be lanced, or lacerated, to allow of the escape of this noxious matter. The way in which it is effected is by rubbing and slightly tearing the fruit, shortly before the time it should ripen, with an iron comb, when some four days afterward, it comes to perfection. The prophet Amos... tells us, as it is in the original Hebrew, “I was a cultivator of sycamore fruit.”
Revelation James Neil.
“Will he give him a stone?”
The native Egyptian bread is a sort of flap, pliant, and moist, like a cold pancake; it is always round, and of a dusky color, and in fact, resembles the flat stones often found in the bed of rivers, or in the desert. At a distance, a pile of bread might be taken for a pile of such stones, and makes one think of the beautiful expression of scripture, “What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone?” (Matthew 7:99Or what man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? (Matthew 7:9)). Will he give the mockery of a good thing, instead of its reality? M. L. W.