botanical background


order: Rosales

family: Rosaceae

subfamily: Pyrinae

genus: Malus

species: apple (Malus domestica)        

attributes: deciduous broad-leaf tree measuring eight to twelf meters, white blossoms 

origin: cultivated in Middle East as early as 4000 BC, modern apple bread out of wild form in Asia

habitat: on all continents


in the Bible

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver.

Proverbs 25,11


Although it is not sure if the apple tree grew in Palestine during biblical times, the word can be found six times in the German translation of the Old Testament. The Hebrew word תַּפּוּחַ (tappûaḥ) which has been translated with apple is especially frequent in the Song of Songs, where the good scent of the fruit is praised (2,5;7,9)

Throughout church history the apple became a symbol for original sin, although it doesn‘t feature in the story. The word apple instead of fruit came into the translations by error when the Hebrew text was mediated into Latin.


Now the serpent was more cunning than any beast of the field which Jehovah God had made. And he said to the woman, Is it so that God has said, You shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said to the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden. But of the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of the garden, God has said, You shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said to the woman, You shall not surely die, for God knows that in the day you eat of it, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as God, knowing good and evil.

Genesis 3, 1-6


mentions: several

other text passages (selected): 

Song of Songs 2,3.5

Song of Songs 7,9

Song of Songs 8,5

Joel 1,12



Dobat, Klaus: Pflanzen der Bibel, Darmstadt 2012, 10-13.

Neumann-Gorsolke, Ute: Apfel/ Apfelbaum, in: Das wissenschaftliche Bibellexikon im Internet (Dez. 2005), URL: (abgerufen am 01.05.2023).

Modern King James Version.

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