XIII. 1. The Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices - Some of the followers of Judas Gaulonites. They absolutely refused to own the Roman authority. Pilate surrounded and slew them, while they were worshipping in the temple, at a public feast.
Verse 3. Ye shall all likewise perish - All ye of Galilee and of Jerusalem shall perish in the very same manner. So the Greek word implies. And so they did. There was a remarkable resemblance between the fate of these Galileans and of the main body of the Jewish nation; the flower of which was slain at Jerusalem by the Roman sword, while they were assembled at one of their great festivals. And many thousands of them perished in the temple itself, and were literally buried under its ruins.
Verse 6. A man had a fig tree - Either we may understand God the Father by him that had the vineyard , and Christ by him that kept it: or Christ himself is he that hath it, and his ministers they that keep it. Psalms 80:8. &c.
Verse 7. Three years - Christ was then in the third year of his ministry. But it may mean only several years; a certain number being put for an uncertain. Why doth it also cumber the ground? - That is, not only bear no fruit itself, but take up the ground of another tree that would.
Verse 11. She was bowed together, and utterly unable to lift up herself -The evil spirit which possessed her afflicted her in this manner. To many doubtless it appeared a natural distemper. Would not a modern physician have termed it a nervous case?
Verse 15. Thou hypocrite - For the real motive of his speaking was envy, not (as he pretended) pure zeal for the glory of God.
Verse 16. And ought not this woman? - Ought not any human creature, which is so far better than an ox or an ass? Much more, this daughter of Abraham - probably in a spiritual as well as natural sense, to be loosed?
Verse 18. Matthew 13:31; Mark 4:30.
Verse 20. Matthew 13:33.
Verse 21. Covered up - So that, for a time, nothing of it appeared.
Verse 24. Strive to enter in - Agonize. Strive as in an agony. So the word signifies Otherwise none shall enter in. Barely seeking will not avail. Matthew 7:13.
Verse 25. And even agonizing will not avail, after the door is shut. Agonize, therefore, now by faith, prayer, holiness, patience. And ye begin to stand without - Till then they had not thought of it! O how new will that sense of their misery be? How late? How lasting? I know not whence ye are - I know not, that is, I approve not of your ways.
Verse 27. Matthew 7:23.
Verse 28. Matthew 8:11.
Verse 29. They shall sit down in the kingdom of God - Both the kingdom of grace and of glory.
Verse 30. But there are last - Many of the Gentiles who were latest called, shall be most highly rewarded; and many of the Jews who were first called, shall have no reward at all. Matthew 19:30.
Verse 31. Herod is minded to kill thee - Possibly they gave him the caution out of good will.
Verse 32. And he said, Go and tell that fox - With great propriety so called, for his subtilty and cowardice. The meaning of our Lord's answer is, Notwithstanding all that he can do, I shall for the short time I have left, do the works of him that sent me. When that time is fulfilled, I shall be offered up. Yet not here, but in the bloody city. Behold, I cast out devils - With what majesty does he speak to his enemies! With what tenderness to his friends! The third day I am perfected - On the third day he left Galilee, and set out for Jerusalem, to die there. But let us carefully distinguish between those things wherein Christ is our pattern, and those which were peculiar to his office. His extraordinary office justified him in using that severity of language, when speaking of wicked princes, and corrupt teachers, to which we have no call; and by which we should only bring scandal on religion, and ruin on ourselves, while we irritated rather than convinced or reformed those whom we so indecently rebuked.
Verse 33. It cannot be, that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem - Which claims prescription for murdering the messengers of God. Such cruelty and malice cannot be found elsewhere.
Verse 34. How often would I have gathered thy children together - Three solemn visits he had made to Jerusalem since his baptism for this very purpose. Matthew 23:37.
Verse 35. Your house is left to you desolate - Is now irrecoverably consigned to desolation and destruction: And verily I say to you, after a very short space, ye shall not see me till the time come, when taught by your calamities, ye shall be ready and disposed to say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. It does not imply, that they should then see Jesus at all; but only that they would earnestly wish for the Messiah, and in their extremity be ready to entertain any who should assume that character.