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James 3:12

    James 3:12 Translations

    King James Version (KJV)

    Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

    American King James Version (AKJV)

    Can the fig tree, my brothers, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh.

    American Standard Version (ASV)

    Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can'salt water yield sweet.

    Basic English Translation (BBE)

    Is a fig-tree able to give us olives, my brothers, or do we get figs from a vine, or sweet water from the salt sea?

    Webster's Revision

    Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? Neither can'salt water yield sweet.

    World English Bible

    Can a fig tree, my brothers, yield olives, or a vine figs? Thus no spring yields both salt water and fresh water.

    English Revised Version (ERV)

    Can a fig tree, my brethren, yield olives, or a vine figs? neither can salt water yield sweet.

    Clarke's Commentary on James 3:12

    So can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh - For the reading of the common text, which is οὑτως ουδεμια πηγη ἁλυκον και γλυκυ ποιησαι ὑδωρ, so no fountain can produce salt water and sweet, there are various other readings in the MSS. and versions. The word οὑτως, so, which makes this a continuation of the comparison in James 3:11, is wanting in ABC, one other, with the Armenian and ancient Syriac; the later Syriac has it in the margin with an asterisk. ABC, five others, with the Coptic, Vulgate, one copy of the Itala, and Cyril, have ουτε ἁλυκον γλυκυ ποιησαι ὑδωρ, neither can salt water produce sweet. In the Syriac and the Arabic of Erpen, it is, So, likewise, sweet water cannot become bitter; and bitter water cannot become sweet. The true reading appears to be, Neither can salt water produce sweet, or, Neither can the sea produce fresh water; and this is a new comparison, and not an inference from that in James 3:11. This reading Griesbach has admitted into the text; and of it Professor White, in his Crisews, says, Lectio indubie genuina, "a reading undoubtedly genuine." There are therefore, four distinct comparisons here:

    1. A fountain cannot produce sweet water and bitter.

    2. A fig tree cannot produce olive berries.

    3. A vine cannot produce figs.

    4. Salt water cannot be made sweet. That is, according to the ordinary operations of nature, these things are impossible. Chemical analysis is out of the question.

    Barnes' Notes on James 3:12

    Can the fig-tree, my brethren, bear olive-berries? - Such a thing is impossible in nature, and equally absurd in morals. A fig-tree bears only figs; and so the tongue ought to give utterance only to one class of sentiments and emotions. These illustrations are very striking, and show the absurdity of that which the apostle reproves. At the same time, they accomplish the main purpose which he had in view, to repress the desire of becoming public teachers without suitable qualifications. They show the power of the tongue; they show what a dangerous power it is for a man to wield who has not the proper qualifications; they show that no one should put himself in the position where he may wield this power without such a degree of tried prudence, wisdom, discretion, and piety, that there shall be a moral certainty that he will use it aright.