|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
11:19-26 The disciples could not think why that fig-tree should so soon wither away; but all wither who reject Christ; it represented the state of the Jewish church. We should rest in no religion that does not make us fruitful in good works. Christ taught them from hence to pray in faith. It may be applied to that mighty faith with which all true Christians are endued, and which does wonders in spiritual things. It justifies us, and so removes mountains of guilt, never to rise up in judgment against us. It purifies the heart, and so removes mountains of corruption, and makes them plain before the grace of God. One great errand to the throne of grace is to pray for the pardon of our sins; and care about this ought to be our daily concern.
Verses 20, 21. - And as they passed by in the morning, they saw the fig tree withered away from the roots. They had returned the evening before, probably after sunset, to Bethany; and so, in the twilight, had not noticed the withered tree. St. Matthew gathers the whole account of the fig tree into one notice. St. Mark disposes of the facts in their chronological order. It was on the Monday morning, the day after the triumphant entry, and when they were on their way to Jerusalem, that our Lord cursed the fig tree. Thence he passed on at once into Jerusalem, and drove out the profaners of the temple, and taught the people. In the evening he returned to Bethany; and then on the next morning, as they were on their way into the city, they saw what had happened to the fig tree. And then Peter calling to remembrance saith unto him; Rabbi, behold, the fig tree which thou cursedst is withered away (ἐξήρανται), the same Greek word as in the preceding verse. Some have thought that the fig tree was the tree forbidden to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. (See Cornelius a Lapide on Genesis 2:9).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And in the morning, as they passed by,.... The fig tree; when they returned the next morning from Bethany, or the Mount of Olives, or the place, wherever it was, they had been that night:
they saw the fig tree dried up from the roots; they did not see it immediately wither as it did, nor could they see it, as they went from Jerusalem to this place, because it was then in the evening; but in the morning, as they came along, they observed it; not only that the tender branches and boughs of it, but the trunk and body of the tree, and even the roots of it, were all dried up; so that it was entirely dead, and there was no room ever to expect it would revive, and bear any more fruit.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
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 Mt 21:19 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.
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