All your fortresses are like fig-trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
All your fortifications are fig trees with ripe fruit— When shaken, they fall into the eater’s mouth.
All your fortresses will fall. They will be devoured like the ripe figs that fall into the mouths of those who shake the trees.
All your forts are like peach trees, the lush peaches ripe, ready for the picking. One shake of the tree and they fall straight into hungry mouths.
All your walled places will be like fig-trees and your people like the first figs, falling at a shake into the mouth which is open for them.
All your fortresses are like fig trees with first-ripe figs—if shaken they fall into the mouth of the eater.
All your strongholds are fig trees with ripened figs: If they are shaken, They fall into the mouth of the eater.
|NET © [draft] ITL
|NET © Notes
1 sn Ironically, Sennacherib had recently planted fig trees along all the major avenues in Nineveh to help beautify the city, and had encouraged the citizens of Nineveh to eat from these fruit trees. How appropriate that Nineveh’s defenses would now be compared to fig trees whose fruit would be eaten by its enemies.
2 sn This extended simile compares the siege of Nineveh with reapers shaking a tree to harvest the “first-ripe fruit.” Fruit that matured quickly and ripened early in the season dropped from the trees more easily than the later crop which developed more slowly (Isa 28:4). To harvest the later crop the worker had to climb the tree (sixteen to twenty feet tall) and pick the figs by hand from each branch. On the other hand, the fruit from the early harvest could be gathered quickly and with a minimum of effort by simply shaking the trunk of the tree (G. Dalman, Arbeit und Sitte in Palestina, 1:378-80). The point of this simile is that Nineveh would fall easily and quickly.
3 tn This conditional sentence expresses a real anticipated situation expected to occur in the future, rather than an unreal completely hypothetical situation. The particle אִם (’im, “if”) introduces real conditions (R. J. Williams, Hebrew Syntax, 75, §453). The imperfect tense verb יִנּוֹעוּ (yinno’u, “they are shaken”) depicts a future-time action conceived as a real situation expected to occur (see Joüon 2:629 §167.c; IBHS 510-11 §31.6.1).
4 tn Heb “they”; the referent (the first ripe fruit of the previous line, rendered here as “their figs”) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
5 tn The syntax of the concluding clause (apodosis) emphasizes that this action is expected and certain to occur. This clause is introduced by vav conjunction and the perfect tense verb וְנָפְלוּ (vÿnoflu, “they will fall”) which emphasizes the expected certainty of the action (see Joüon 2:627-33 §167; IBHS 526-29 §32.2.1).
6 sn This is appropriate imagery and highly ironic. After defeating their enemies, the Assyrian kings often encouraged their troops to consume the fruit of the conquered city’s fruit trees.