|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 16. - And he would not suffer that any man should carry a vessel through the temple. It was a great temptation to make the temple, at least the great court of the Gentiles, a thoroughfare. It was so extensive that a long and tedious circuit would be avoided, in going from one part of the city to another, by passing through it. To those, for example, who were passing from the sheep market, Bethesda, into the upper part of the city, the shortest cut was through this court and by Solomon's Porch. The distance would be greatly increased if they went round it. So the priests permitted servants and laborers, laden with anything, to take this shorter way through the great court of the temple. But our Lord hindered them, forbidding them with the voice of one that had authority, and restraining them with his hand, and compelling them to go back. He would have the whole of his Father's House regarded as sacred.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And would not suffer that any man,.... He was more strict and severe than the day before; and gave orders, that they should be so far from being allowed to sit and trade in that sacred place, that no man
should carry any vessel through the temple; should make a, thoroughfare of it, by carrying through to any other place, any vessel that was for common use, or any sort of burden whatever: and this they could not well find fault with, nor complain of, since it was agreeable to one of their own canons; for they say (h),
"a man may not go into the mountain of the house, with his staff (in his hands); nor with shoes (on his feet); nor with his girdle, and his money in it; nor with a bag thrown over his shoulders; nor with dust upon his feet; nor might he make it, "a thoroughfare", and much less spit in it.''
(h) Misn. Beracot, c. 9. sect. 5. Vid. T. Bab. Beracot, fol. 62. 2. & Yebamot, fol. 6. 2. & Midrash Kohelet, fol. 70. 3. & Maimon. Hilch. Beth Habbechira, c. 7. sect. 1, 2, 3.
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