35ripens in four days. The sycomore tree became highly prized for shade and timber, and thefruit, although not superlative, was esteemed. Commonly used for funeral offerings, thetree became sacred.The fruits reached ancient Israel where they were known as the food of the poor.They are referred to in the Bible in a famous passage referring to the occupation of theprophet Amos. According to the King James Version of the Hebrew Bible, Amos states: Iwas no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son, but I was a herdsman and gatherer of sycomorefruits(Amos 7,14). However, translation is in error as the Hebrew Boless Shikmimshouldbe translated as “gasher of sycomores.” In the Greek translation of the Hebrew Bible, knownas the Septuaginta (200 BCEin Alexandria), the key words are Knizon Sycaminnaor “piercerof sycomore.” The English translators obviously could not understand the concept of gash-ing the fruit and stretched the translation. Contemporary Israeli sycomores produce fruit
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