|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:12-18 Christ looked to find some fruit, for the time of gathering figs, though it was near, was not yet come; but he found none. He made this fig-tree an example, not to the trees, but to the men of that generation. It was a figure of the doom upon the Jewish church, to which he came seeking fruit, but found none. Christ went to the temple, and began to reform the abuses in its courts, to show that when the Redeemer came to Zion, it was to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The scribes and the chief priests sought, not how they might make their peace with him, but how they might destroy him. A desperate attempt, which they could not but fear was fighting against God.
Verse 14. - No man eat fruit from thee henceforward for ever (εἰς τὸν αἰῶνα). These words, in their application to the Jewish nation, have a merciful limitation - a limitation which lies in the original words rendered "for ever," which literally mean for the age. "No man eat fruit of thee henceforward, for the age;" until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled. A day will doubtless come when Israel, which now says, "I am a dry tree," shall accept the words of its true Lord, "From me is thy fruit found," and shall be clothed with the richest fruits of all trees. (See Trench on the Miracles). St. Matthew (Matthew 21:19) tells us that "immediately the fig tree withered away." "Straightway a shivering fear and trembling passed through its leaves, as though it was at once struck to the heart by the malediction of its Creator." Our Lord's disciples heard his words; but they appear not to have noticed the immediate effect of them upon the tree. It was not until the next day that they observed what had happened. This miracle would show his disciples how soon he could have withered his enemies, who were about to crucify him; but he waited with long-suffering for their salvation, by repentance and faith in him.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Jesus answered and said unto it,.... The fig tree; a Jewish way of speaking, often used when nothing before is said; the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the word "answered", as they do also the word "Jesus"; and which is likewise omitted by the Vulgate Latin, though the other is retained:
no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever; which is all one, as if he had said, as the other evangelist does, let no fruit grow on thee; for where no fruit is, none can be had, or eaten of. This tree may not only be an emblem of the Jewish people, who made a great show of religion, and enjoyed a great many privileges; and from whom, speaking after the manner of men, the fruits of good works, righteousness, and holiness, might have been hoped and looked for; when instead thereof, there was nothing but talk about them, and an observance of some insignificant rites and traditions of the "elders"; on which account, utter ruin and destruction ensued; but also of any outward professor of religion, who enjoying the means of grace, and making great pretensions to devotion and piety, it might be expected that he should do good works, well pleasing to God, and bring forth fruit to the glory of his name: whereas he only talks of good works, but does none; at least, no fruits of grace and righteousness are to be found on him; and at the last day, he will be cast as dry wood, as a withered branch, into everlasting burnings, being fit fuel for them.
And his disciples heard it; "this saying", as the Persic version adds, and took notice of it, being in company with him.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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 Mt 13:13-15.
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 this day.
Second Cleansing of the Temple (Mr 11:15-18).
For the exposition of this portion, see on Lu 19:45-48.
Lessons from the Cursing of the Fig Tree (Mr 11:20-26).
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