James 3:12

12 My brothers and sisters, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.

Read James 3:12 Using Other Translations

Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water.
Does a fig tree produce olives, or a grapevine produce figs? No, and you can’t draw fresh water from a salty spring.

What does James 3:12 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
James 3:12

Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries?
&c.] Every tree bears fruit, according to its kind; a fig tree produces figs, and an olive tree olive berries; a fig tree does not produce olive berries, or an olive tree figs; and neither of them both:

either a vine, figs?
or fig trees, grapes; or either of them, figs and grapes:

so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.
The Alexandrian copy reads, "neither can the salt water yield sweet water"; that is, the sea cannot yield sweet or fresh water: the Syriac version renders it, "neither can salt water be made sweet": but naturalists say, it may be made sweet, by being strained through sand: the design of these similes is to observe how absurd a thing it is that a man should both bless and curse with his tongue.

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