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1 Christ rideth with triumph into Jerusalem: 12 curseth the fruitless leafy tree: 15 purgeth the temple: 20 exhorteth his disciples to stedfastness of faith, and to forgive their enemies: 27 and defendeth the lawfulness of his actions, by the witness of John, who was a man sent of God.
AND 'when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,
2 And saith unto them, Go your way into the village over against you: and as soon as ye be entered into it, ye shall find a colt tied, whereon never man sat; loose him, and bring him.
3 And if any man say unto you, Why do ye this? say ye that the Lord hath need of him; and straightway he will send him hither.
4 And they went their way, and found the colt tied by the door without in a place where two ways met; and they loose him.
5 And certain of them that stood there said unto them, What do ye, loosing the colt? 6 And they said unto them even as Jesus had commanded: and they let them go.
7 And they brought the colt to Jesus, and cast their garments on him; and he sat upon him.
8 And many spread their garments in the way: and others cut down branches off the trees, and strawed them in the way.
9 And they that went before, and they that followed, cried, saying, Hosanna; Blessed is he that cometh in the name of
10 Blessed be the kingdom of our father David, that cometh in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest.
11 And Jesus entered into Jerusalem, and into the temple: and when he had looked round about upon all things, and now the eventide was come, he went out unto Bethany with the twelve.
12 And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
13 And seeing a fig tree afar off having 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.
14 And Jesus answered and said unto it, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever. And his disciples heard it.
1 Matt. 21. 1. 2 Matt. 21. 19. 3 Matt. 21. 12.
4 Matt. 21. 19. 8 Matt. 21. 23.
15 And they come to Jerusalem: and Jesus went into the temple, and began to cast out them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves;
16 And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
17 And he taught, saying unto them, Is it not written, My house shall be called of all nations the house of prayer? but ye have made it a den of thieves.
18 And the Scribes and Chief Priests heard it, and sought how they might destroy him for they feared him, because all the people was astonished at his doctrine. 19 And when even was come, he went out of the city.
20 And in the morning, as they passed by, they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots.
21 And Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him, Master, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away.
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, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that those things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith.
24 Therefore I say unto you, 'What things soever ye desire, when ye pray, believe that ye receive them, and ye shall have them.
25 And when ye stand praying, 'forgive, if ye have ought against any that your Father also which is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.
26 But if ye do not forgive, neither will your Father which is in heaven forgive your trespasses.
27 And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the Chief Priests, and the Scribes, and the elders,
28 And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?
29 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.
5 Or, Have the faith of God. 6 Matt. 7.7. 19 Or, thing.
7 Matt. 6. 14.
30 The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me.
the people: for all men counted John, that he was a prophet indeed.
33 And they answered and said unto Jesus, We cannot tell. And Jesus answering saith unto them, Neither do I tell you by what authority I do these things.
31 And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? 32 But if we shall say, Of men; they feared Verse 13. "The time of figs was not yet."-This clause involves the whole passage in very considerable difficulties, by which commentators have been exceedingly perplexed. That the time for figs was not come, is a very satisfactory reason that none were not found on this tree; but the question then occurs, why our Lord expected to find figs on that or on any fig-tree at such an unseasonable time, and why he condemned the tree to sterility for wanting that which it could not naturally possess? Many have given up the explanation in despair, and others propose to cancel or alter the clause which creates the difficulty. But this way of obviating a difficulty is most dangerous, and cannot be tolerated; since, even if it were absolutely impossible to arrive at any satisfactory explanation, it would be humbler and better to attribute this to our want of sufficient knowledge of the various fig-trees of Palestine, than to conclude that the text itself contains an error or interpolation.
As a first step towards clearing the difficulty, many writers suppose a trajectio per synchysin, by which the words, "the time of figs was not yet," are to be referred not to the immediately preceding clause, The found nothing but leaves;" but to the more remote, "he came if haply he might find any thing thereon." Such trajections are not unusual, and a very remarkable one might be adduced from Mark himself (xvi. 3, 4): “They said, Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away, for it was very great." Here the reason, "for it was very great," would naturally come after the expression of their inability to roll away the stone themselves, reading, "Who shall roll away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? for it was very great." in the present instance we would then read, "He came, if haply he might find any thing thereon (for the time of figs was not yet); and when he came to it he found nothing but leaves." It will be seen that this explanation makes the fact that the time of figs was not come, a reason that Jesus expected to find figs on the tree, rather than as affording a reason for their not being found. And that this might have furnished a reason for such an expectation is clear, when "the season of figs" is understood as the season when figs become mature, and when, of course, they are gathered. The result is, then, that Jesus expected to find figs on a tree that looked so promising, since the season for gathering figs had not yet arrived. Figs might be and are pleasant and refreshing before they arrive at that condition of maturity in which they are usually gathered.
This explanation does not, however, meet all the difficulties of the subject. Let us therefore look to the account closely.
This transaction took place a few days before the passover; and in the year in which our Lord was crucified, the passover occurred at the beginning of April. But figs do not come to maturity till the middle or end of June; and therefore the season of figs was, indeed, so far from being come, that it was very distant. Here then again we come to the original difficulty, which the previous considerations by no means obviate; and there is no way of dealing with it but by meeting it fully as it stands. We think. with Lightfoot, that this cannot better be done than by considering the fact, that the time of figs was not yet," refers to the whole transaction, and not to any one part of it in particular. It seems, in fact, the key which, while it produces all the difficulties, can unlock them all.
In the note in Matth. xxi. we have premised that this transaction took place in a district where fig-trees abounded. In passing through this district, when the time of figs was not, and when, consequently, no one expected to find figs on every tree, Jesus saw one tree at a distance, and being hungry, proceeded to it, if haply he might find figs thereon. What distinguished this tree, and led to this expectation? That it was a tree "with leaves," a tree which had acquired its full foliage. This implies that the other trees had no leaves: which was true; for it was a rule of the Rabbins that the leaves of the fig-tree began to make their appearance about the passover; and our Saviour himself attests that the appearance of the leaves of the fig-tree was a sign of near summer (ch. xiii. 28). The tree was therefore in the peculiar condition of having an ample foliage: and this warranted the expectation that figs in an eatable state might be found on it; for as the fruit of the fig-tree appears before its leaf, an advanced state of the foliage would necessarily imply, in a good tree, a condition of corresponding advancement in the fruit. It is a fact that particular fig-trees, under some singular combinations of favourable circumstances, will be in advance of their species, affording a few ripe figs many weeks before the full season. And that the present tree, if of the same species with the common, was a very forward one, from which this might be expected, is evinced by the state of its foliage.
But if any one should hesitate to acquiesce in this conclusion, there are still other alternatives which may be pro vided. For we may suppose that the tree thus distinguished by its leaves was of another species than the common one; and then the intimation that "the time of figs was not yet," may well be understood as intimating the reason why fruit was not rather sought on the common fig-trees, which abounded in the district. There is a kind of fig-tree, frequently mentioned in the Talmud, to distinguish it from the common fig-tree, which always had leaves, and on which the fruit of three years was always found. Thus, the fruit which it put forth in one summer, remained till the thirdyear ripening upon the tree; and it also put forth fruit in the second year and in the third year, which remained also on the tree before that of the first year was mature, and continued afterwards until the produce of each year had reached the third season. The produce proceeded in this order, so that the figs of three years, in different states, might be seen at once upon the tree. It is true we have no distinct information concerning this tree from modern travellers; but from the business-like way in which it is mentioned, merely to distinguish it from the common fig-tree, it would be very hardy to deny its existence. On such a tree-distinguished by its foliage, which the common fig-tree wantedour Saviour might naturally expect to find figs; and that it had none, manifestly proved that it was barren.
If, however, this also should be questioned, there remains another alternative in the sycamore fig-tree, which is always green, and bears fruit at different times of the year, without observing any certain seasons. It is however not the best alternative, as this tree might be a good one, even though it had leaves without fruit; whereas the common figtree, if good, could not have had leaves without fruit: and the other tree that we have mentioned could not have been at any time without fruit, unless in a state of barrenness.
15. "Cast out them that sold and bought in the temple."-It must not be supposed that the traffic which this verse describes as being carried on in the Temple was in things for common use. The dealings had all more or less a reference to the offerings and service of the Temple. The passover being now at hand, it would seem that the buyers
and sellers were those who bought and sold lambs for the passover, and sheep and oxen for the feast of the following day, as well as the doves, which are presently mentioned separately. For such dealings a large place, furnished with shops, was appropriated in the southern part of the spacious outer court, called the Court of the Gentiles. Besides animals and birds for sacrifices, whatever else might be required for offerings and sacrifices was sold in this market, such as salt, wine, oil, and other requisites. Although this market was always open, it was more abundantly supplied, and far greater traffic carried on, just before the Passover and other great festivals. As this market was held in a part of the Temple distant from the sanctuary, and was intended for the service of the Temple, the proceedings which moved Christ's indignation were generally considered justifiable by the Jews.
"Overthrew the tables of the moneychangers.”—These money-changers appear to have been the persons who sat in the Temple to supply persons with half-shekels, with which to pay their annual tribute to the Temple. (See the note on Matt. xvii. 24.) We shall see this, if we consider that our Saviour's visit to the Temple must be placed on or about the tenth day of the month Nisan. The tribute became due in the preceding month, Adar, but was seldom fully paid in until the passover, which was now near at hand. On the first of Adar, proclamation was made in all the cities and provinces that the tribute would be due on the fifteenth, that every one might prepare his half-shekel. On the fifteenth the exchangers seated themselves in all the towns to receive the money, and asked it mildly of those who did not come spontaneously forward. On this occasion, doubtless, Peter was applied to at Capernaum. But the exchangers at Jerusalem did not seat themselves in the Temple till the twenty-fifth; and thenceforward they were urgent with those who were tardy; and, in default of the money, were empowered to take a pledge from the party, even his garment, whether he consented or not. As therefore the tenth of Nisan was but fifteen days after the commencement of the collection at the Temple, there is much reason to conclude that these were the persons whom our Saviour expelled. The Talmud describes them as sitting with tables before them. and with chests for the money. The business of these exchangers was not only to give Jewish for foreign coin, but also to give half-shekels for shekels. The exchangers were paid for this accommodation at the rate of a kolbon for every shekel they exchanged; and as it often happened that the exchange was not needful, as when two persons paid a shekel for both, it was cunningly provided that in such a case each of them must pay the kolbon. The kolbon was worth about one halfpenny; and the vast number of halfpennies thus collected, must have put a very large sum annually into the pockets of the money-changers.
"The seats of them that sold doves."-These doves were offered for sale to persons who wished to purchase them for offerings. Doves being, to a certain extent, a substitute permitted to the poor in place of larger offerings, the demand for them was very great. The principal consumption was from the offerings of poor women ("two turtle doves or two young pigeons") after child-birth, as well as from those who had running issues. The demand often made the doves extravagantly high-priced. A story is related in the Talmud, that doves were at one time of such high price as a golden penny (about 15s.) each, when Rabban Ben Simeon Gamaliel, pitying the poor people, swore that he would not lie down to sleep till he had reduced the price to a silver penny; which he accomplished by teaching in the councilhouse that one offering ought to serve for five certain births, and for five certain issues, in consequence of which the price of doves fell that very day to the point he desired.
1 In a parable of the vineyard let out to unthankful husbandmen, Christ foretelleth the reprobation of the Jews, and the calling of the Gentiles. 13 He avoideth the snare of the Pharisees and Herodians about paying tribute to Cæsar: 18 convinceth the error of the Sadducees, who denied the resurrection: 28 resolveth the Scribe, who questioned of the first commandment: 35 refuteth the opinion that the Scribes held of Christ: 38 bidding the people to beware of their ambition and hypocrisy: 41 and commendeth the poor widow for her two mites,
AND 'he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.
2 And at the season he sent to the husbandmen a servant, that he might receive from the husbandmen of the fruit of the vineyard.
3 And they caught him, and beat him, and sent him away empty.
4 And again he sent unto them another servant; and at him they cast stones, and wounded him in the head, and sent him away shamefully handled.
1 Matt. 21. 33.
5 And again he sent another; and him they killed, and many others; beating some, and killing some.
6 Having yet therefore one son, his wellbeloved, he sent him also last unto them, saying, They will reverence my son.
7 But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be our's.
8 And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
9 What shall therefore the lord of the vineyard do? he will come and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard
10 And have ye not read this Scripture; The stone which the builders rejected is become the head of the corner:
11 This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes?
12 And they sought to lay hold on him, but feared the people: for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them: and they left him, and went their way.
13 And they send unto him certain of the Pharisees and of the Herodians, to catch him in his words.
14 And when they were come, they say
unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Cæsar, or not?
15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? bring me a 'penny, that I may see it.
16 And they brought it. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Cæ
17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar's, and to God the things that are God's. And they marvelled at him.
18 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying,
19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man's brother die, and leave his wife behind
him, and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother.
20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no secd.
21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise.
22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also.
23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? for the seven had her to wife.
24 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the Scriptures, neither the power of God?
25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.
26 And as touching the dead, that they rise: have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob?
27 He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living: ye therefore do greatly err.
28 And one of the Scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?
29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:
30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater
32 And the Scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:
33 And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.
34 And when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not
6 Matt. 22. 35. 7 Matt. 22. 41. 8 Psal. 110. 1.
far from the kingdom of God. And no man after that durst ask him any question.
35 And Jesus answered and said, while he taught in the temple, How say the Scribes that Christ is the Son of David?
36 For David himself said by the Holy Ghost, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool.
37 David therefore himself calleth him Lord; and whence is he then his son? And the common people heard him gladly.
38 And he said unto them in his doctrine, "Beware of the Scribes, which love to go in long clothing, and love salutations in the marketplaces,
39 And the chief seats in the synagogues, and the uppermost rooms at feasts:
40 10Which devour widows' houses, and for a pretence make long prayers: these shall receive greater damnation.
41 "And Jesus sat over against the treasury, and beheld how the people cast money into the treasury: and many that were rich cast in much.
42 And there came a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing.
43 And he called unto him his disciples, and saith unto them, Verily I say unto you, That this poor widow hath cast more in, than all they which have cast into the treasury:
44 For all they did cast in of their abund ance; but she of her want did cast in all that she had, even all her living.
9 Matt. 23. 5.
Verse 38. "Which love to go in long clothing.”—By comparing this with Matt. xxiii. 5, we learn that the clothing was made long by an enlargement of the borders of the garment. This fringe was worn in supposed obedience to the injunction contained in Num. xv. 38, and Deut. xxii. 12. See the note on the former text: where also is given a representation of the Jewish taled, or prayer-veil, with its fringes. We thus learn that the Scribes and Pharisees, in conformity with their pretensions to superior sanctity, wore these borders much broader than the ordinary. The Babylonian Talmud also instances this practice, and notices one person of high pretensions (Ben Teitzith Ĥacceseth) who so enlarged the fringe of his garment that it was borne behind him like a train. We do not suppose that the Scribes carried the matter so far as this, since the cited instance is mentioned as something remarkable. But the example shows the manner in which the principle operated.
"Salutations in the market-places." They were fond of resorting to the markets and other public places where the people congregated, that they might display their sanctimonious appearance, and be gratified by the marks of deference and respect which it procured them from the people.
39. "The chief seats in the synagogues."-To understand this, it is necessary to observe the interior arrangement of the synagogues, which is nearly the same now as it was in the time of Christ. At the end of the synagogue opposite the entrance was a press in which the book of the law, used in the synagogue, was very carefully kept, wrapped up in embroidered linen. This place was called the ark, in allusion to the ark in the sanctuary of the temple, to which this part of the synagogue was considered to correspond. At some distance from this, between it and the entrance, was a railed platform, not very elevated, with a desk: and from this place the book was read and discourses delivered. This platform in some sort divided the place into two parts, of which the part between the desk and the ark might be regarded as a sort of chancel, and the part between the desk and the door as the body of the church, in which the bulk of the congregation remained. Now, "the chief places of the synagogues"-such as were appropriated to the elders and other eminent persons-were those parallel with or above the desk, so that the select few who sat or stood there, had their faces turned towards the body of the congregation, and were thus fully in view of the people there assembled. The space immediately between the desk and the ark was kept clear; but the rest of this upper portion of the synagogue afforded "the chief places" which were so much coveted by the Scribes and Pharisees.