Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
JERUSALEM, ON THE
DAY OF THE
Joh 12:12, 19).
CLEANSING OF THE
TEMPLE, ON THE
DAYS OF THE
11. And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he
had looked round about upon--surveyed.
all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out into Bethany
with the twelve--Thus briefly does our Evangelist dispose of this His
first day in Jerusalem, after the triumphal entry. Nor do the Third and
Fourth Gospels give us more light. But from Matthew
(Mt 21:10, 11, 14-16)
we learn some additional and precious particulars, for which see on
It was not now safe for the Lord to sleep in the city, nor, from the
day of His Triumphal Entry, did He pass one night in it, save the last
The Barren Fig Tree Cursed
12. And on the morrow--The Triumphal Entry being on the first day of
the week, this following day was Monday.
when they were come from Bethany--"in the morning"
he was hungry--How was that? Had he stolen forth from that dear roof
at Bethany to the "mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer
or, "in the morning," as on a former occasion, "risen up a great while
before day, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed"
not breaking His fast thereafter, but bending His steps straight for
the city, that He might "work the works of Him that sent Him while it
We know not, though one lingers upon and loves to trace out the every
movement of that life of wonders. One thing, however we are sure of--it
was real bodily hunger which He now sought to allay by the fruit
of this fig tree, "if haply He might find any thing thereon"; not a
mere scene for the purpose of teaching a lesson, as some early
heretics maintained, and some still seem virtually to hold.
13. And seeing a fig tree--(In
it is "one fig tree," but the sense is the same as here, "a certain fig
tree," as in
&c.). Bethphage, which adjoined Bethany, derives its name from its
being a fig region--"House of figs."
afar off having leaves--and therefore promising fruit, which in the
case of figs come before the leaves.
he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to
it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet--What
the precise import of this explanation is, interpreters are not agreed.
Perhaps all that is meant is, that as the proper fig season had not
arrived, no fruit would have been expected even of this tree but for the
leaves which it had, which were in this case prematurely and unnaturally
14. And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee
hereafter for ever--That word did not make the tree barren,
but sealed it up in its own barrenness. See on
And his disciples heard it--and marked the saying. This is introduced
as a connecting link, to explain what was afterwards to be said on the
subject, as the narrative has to proceed to the other transactions of
Second Cleansing of the Temple
For the exposition of this portion, see on
Lessons from the Cursing of the Fig Tree
20. And in the morning--of Tuesday, the third day of the week: He
had slept, as during all this week, at Bethany.
as they passed by--going into Jerusalem again.
they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots--no partial blight,
leaving life in the root; but it was now dead, root and branch. In
it is said it withered away as soon as it was cursed. But the full
blight had not appeared probably at once; and in the dusk perhaps, as
they returned to Bethany, they had not observed it. The precision with
which Mark distinguishes the days is not observed by Matthew, intent
only on holding up the truths which the incident was designed to teach.
In Matthew the whole is represented as taking place at once, just as
the two stages of Jairus' daughter--dying and dead--are represented by
him as one. The only difference is between a more summary and a more
detailed narrative, each of which only confirms the other.
21. And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him--satisfied that
a miracle so very peculiar--a miracle, not of blessing, as all His
other miracles, but of cursing--could not have been wrought but with
some higher reference, and fully expecting to hear something weighty on
Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away--so
connecting the two things as to show that he traced the death of the
tree entirely to the curse of his Lord. Matthew
gives this simply as a general exclamation of surprise by the disciples
"how soon" the blight had taken effect.
22. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Have faith in God.
23. For verily I say unto you, That whosoever shall say unto this
mountain, Be thou removed . . . he shall have whatsoever he saith--Here
is the lesson now. From the nature of the case supposed--that they might
wish a mountain removed and cast into the sea, a thing far removed from
anything which they could be thought actually to desire--it is plain
that not physical but moral obstacles to the progress of His kingdom
were in the Redeemer's view, and that what He designed to teach was the
great lesson, that
no obstacle should be able to stand before a confiding faith in God.
24. Therefore I say unto you, What things soever ye desire, when ye
pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them--This verse
only generalizes the assurance of
which seems to show that it was designed for the special encouragement
of evangelistic and missionary efforts, while this is a
directory for prevailing prayer in general.
25. And when ye stand praying, forgive, if ye have aught against
any; that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your
trespasses, &c.--This is repeated from the Sermon on the Mount (see
to remind them that if this was necessary to the acceptableness of
all prayer, much more when great things were to be asked and