If you’ve spent much time in Israel, you will know that pomegranates are a big deal. Between seeing them in carvings in ancient walls, in recipes, or in decorative sculpture forms in gift shops, you see the brightly colored fruit everywhere.
Beyond being a beautiful color, having a unique shape and a delicious taste the fruit also holds a place of prominence in biblical and Israeli history as well.
Here are 8 facts you may not have known about the pomegranate:
- The pomegranate is one of the seven agricultural plants listed in Deuteronomy 8:8. Pomegranates, wheat, barley, grapes, figs, olives and dates were staples of the biblical diet.
- The pomegranate traditionally symbolizes fertility and love and is talked about in Song of Solomon. 4:3.
- King Solomon’s Temple was decorated with 400 ornamental pomegranates.
- There is said to be 613 seeds in each pomegranate, which corresponds to the 613 commandments (though no one is sure who keeps track of the seed count!)
- King Solomon was the first king to wear a crown designed after the pomegranate.
- The 12 spies who went to the Land of Canaan brought back pomegranates as examples of what they found.
- Pomegranate adornments lined the hem of the High Priests garment along with bells so you would know to leave and not risk defiling the Priest. Exodus 28:33 – 35:
“On its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue and purple and scarlet yarns, around its hem, with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe. And it shall be on Aaron when he ministers, and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place before the Lord, and when he comes out, so that he does not die.”
- If you visit Capernaum today, you will see ruins with pomegranates carved into stone cornices.
- Pomegranates often decorated Jewish coins, the earliest found being from second century BC.
The pomegranate’s significance we feel continues today as we at Immanuel Tours hand out pomegranates to all who travel with us as a thank you gift! We hope it will remind everyone of the journey of faith they have taken and help them make a #pomegranatepromise to pray for the land and people of Israel!