The mention of apple in the Bible especially in the Old Testament is significant. The fall of man as recorded in Genesis is woven around the forbidden fruit which many take to represent the apple. In the New Testament, the apple serves as an emblem of redemption from the original sin.
There are many instances in the Bible where apples are mentioned and in the sections that we follow, we shall discuss each instance according to the context.
What You'll Learn Today
A Symbol of Wisdom
In the Book of Proverbs 25:11, the Bible has this to say,
“Like apples of gold in settings of silver is a ruling rightly given.”
In many instances, this verse has been quoted on greeting cards, possibly due to the beautiful imagery that accompanies it.
However, when you compare the words as written and the purpose they are meant to serve, a much deeper significance can be derived. Solomon teaches us through this verse of scripture that words spoken in befitting situations are wisdom to those who hear them.
There are precious and they edify the listeners. The same applies to those who wish to please God, they should speak the whole truth because therein lies wisdom.
To support this verse of scripture, Proverbs 16:24 says,
“Pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.”
The pleasant words described here are the same as those fitly spoken. They reflect good judgment on the part of the speaker, and they uplift the intended audience.
A Symbol of Beauty
King Solomon in his Book the Song of Solomon 2:3 says,
“Like an apple tree among the trees of the forest is my beloved among the young men. I delight to sit in his shade, and his fruit is sweet to my taste.”
In this verse, Solomon captured the imagination and thoughts of a young lover admiring her beloved. The expression of beauty and love likened to the apple tree is deep, unique, and distinguishable.
Even amongst other young men, the lover stood out and was conspicuous as an apple tree among the other trees of the forest. A background study of the Song of Solomon shows that many of these expressions were directed to God and the admiration Solomon had to the God of Israel.
A Symbol of Protection
As Christians, our ultimate protection comes from God. Every leader both in the ancient world and in the present must rely on God if they are to succeed in what they do. In Psalm 17:8, David said,
“Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings”
Reading through the scripture, David is asking God to protect him against his enemies.
Many Bible scholars have attributed this Psalm to represent the troubles of David during the time before he became King of Israel. Saul and his household had declared total enmity to David to the extent of them wanting to kill him.
The mention of apple here is not the fruit, but rather the pupil of God’s eye. Naturally, a person guards their pupil because if it is injured, it can potentially lead to blindness.
In the spiritual sense, David applies the same imagery and defines himself as the apple of God’s eye. This means God will not allow him to be hurt and will go to all extent to protect him from danger.
The Symbol of Joy and Prosperity
In ancient Israel, there were certain trees that represented the livelihood of the natives. Whenever those trees or vegetation get affected, people’s livelihoods are directly impacted. In the Book of Joel 1:12, a similar expression is brought out through scripture. This is what it says,
“The vine is dried up and the fig tree is withered; the pomegranate, the palm and the apple tree— all the trees of the field—are dried up. Surely the people’s joy is withered away. “
The Book of Joel describes an instance in the times of the Israelites when they had turned against the commandments of God. In response, God punishes them by opening up their economy to destruction.
Since their economy depended much on animal rearing and agriculture, any interference with these resources would affect them directly. The apple is mentioned among the palm and pomegranate as significant trees whose drying up almost immediately dries up the gladness of the people.
It is a lesson to us as well that we should prioritize God and follow his commandments lest our apples and palms be affected and bring us down economically. God is the provider of all and as long as we abide in him, we are guaranteed of both joy and provision.
Symbol of Obedience
It is the desire of God that we should live and fulfill the purposes of our lives. One way or the only way of doing this is by keeping his commandments. However, many times we fail to do so and this keeps us in harms way. In Proverbs 7:2, the Bible says,
“Keep my commands and you will live; guard my teachings as the apple of your eye.”
It is evident from this verse of scripture that keeping the commandments and teachings of God is possible. However, we need to be diligent and as protective as a person guarding the pupil of their own eye.
In this way, we will not allow the word of God and his commandments to be abused or broken. As doing so will affect our own walk in God.
Whether the apple is used in the context of a fruit or the pupil of the eye, the word of God is clear on every context. When used as the apple of the eye, the theme the Bible wants to advance is that of sensitivity and extra protection.
When used as an apple in the context of a fruit, it could symbolize provision, love, wisdom, and joy. Therefore, when analyzing the symbolism, context plays a very key role.