Matthew 21:19
Parallel Verses
New International Version
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" Immediately the tree withered.

New Living Translation
and he noticed a fig tree beside the road. He went over to see if there were any figs, but there were only leaves. Then he said to it, "May you never bear fruit again!" And immediately the fig tree withered up.

English Standard Version
And seeing a fig tree by the wayside, he went to it and found nothing on it but only leaves. And he said to it, “May no fruit ever come from you again!” And the fig tree withered at once.

New American Standard Bible
Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered.

King James Bible
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He went up to it and found nothing on it except leaves. And He said to it, "May no fruit ever come from you again!" At once the fig tree withered.

International Standard Version
Seeing a fig tree by the roadside, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. He told it, "May fruit never come from you again!" And immediately the fig tree dried up.

NET Bible
After noticing a fig tree by the road he went to it, but found nothing on it except leaves. He said to it, "Never again will there be fruit from you!" And the fig tree withered at once.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English
And he saw one fig tree by the road and came to it and he found nothing on it except leaves only, and he said to it, “There will be no fruit on you again forever”, and at once that fig tree withered up.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
When he saw a fig tree by the road, he went up to the tree and found nothing on it but leaves. He said to the tree, "May fruit never grow on you again!" At once the fig tree dried up.

Jubilee Bible 2000
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it and found nothing upon it, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on thee from now on for ever. And then the fig tree withered away.

King James 2000 Bible
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, Let no fruit grow on you again forever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

American King James Version
And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said to it, Let no fruit grow on you henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

American Standard Version
And seeing a fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only; and he saith unto it, Let there be no fruit from thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And seeing a certain fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves only, and he saith to it: May no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.

Darby Bible Translation
And seeing one fig-tree in the way, he came to it and found on it nothing but leaves only. And he says to it, Let there be never more fruit of thee for ever. And the fig-tree was immediately dried up.

English Revised Version
And seeing a fig tree by the way side, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only; and he saith unto it, Let there be no fruit from thee henceforward for ever. And immediately the fig tree withered away.

Webster's Bible Translation
And when he saw a fig-tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing on it, but leaves only, and said to it, Let no fruit grow on thee henceforth for ever. And immediately the fig-tree withered.

Weymouth New Testament
and seeing a fig-tree on the road-side He went up to it, but found nothing on it but leaves. "On you," He said, "no fruit shall ever again grow." And immediately the fig-tree withered away.

World English Bible
Seeing a fig tree by the road, he came to it, and found nothing on it but leaves. He said to it, "Let there be no fruit from you forever!" Immediately the fig tree withered away.

Young's Literal Translation
and having seen a certain fig-tree on the way, he came to it, and found nothing in it except leaves only, and he saith to it, 'No more from thee may fruit be -- to the age;' and forthwith the fig-tree withered.
Parallel Commentaries
Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary

21:18-22 This cursing of the barren fig-tree represents the state of hypocrites in general, and so teaches us that Christ looks for the power of religion in those who profess it, and the savour of it from those that have the show of it. His just expectations from flourishing professors are often disappointed; he comes to many, seeking fruit, and finds leaves only. A false profession commonly withers in this world, and it is the effect of Christ's curse. The fig-tree that had no fruit, soon lost its leaves. This represents the state of the nation and people of the Jews in particular. Our Lord Jesus found among them nothing but leaves. And after they rejected Christ, blindness and hardness grew upon them, till they were undone, and their place and nation rooted up. The Lord was righteous in it. Let us greatly fear the doom denounced on the barren fig-tree.

Pulpit Commentary

Verse 19. - When he saw a (μίαν, a single) fig tree in the way. The tree stood all alone in a conspicuous situation by the roadside, as if courting observation. It was allowable to pluck and eat fruit in an orchard (Deuteronomy 23:24, 25); but this tree, placed where it was, seemed to be common property, belonging to no private owner. The sight of the leaves thereon, as St. Mark tells us, attracted the notice of Christ, who beheld with pleasure the prospect of relieving his long abstinence with the refreshment of cool and juicy fruit. He came to it. Knowing the nature of the tree, and that under some circumstances the fruit ripens before the leaves are fully out, Jesus naturally expected to find on it some figs fit to eat. Further, besides the fruit which comes to maturity in the usual way during the summer, there are often late figs produced in autumn which hang on the tree during winter, and ripen at the reawakening of vegetation in the spring. The vigour of this particular tree was apparently proved by the luxuriance of its foliage, and it might reasonably be expected to retain some of its winter produce. Found nothing thereon, but leaves only. It was all outward show, promise without performance, seeming precocity with no adequate results. There is no question here of Christ's omniscience being at fault. He acted as a man would act; he was not deceived himself nor did he deceive the apostles, though they at first misapprehended his purpose. The whole action was symbolical, and was meant so to appear. In strict propriety of conduct, as a man led by the appearance of the tree might act, he carried out the figure, at the same time showing, by his treatment of this inanimate object, that he had something higher in view, and that he does not mean that which his outward conduct seemed to imply. He is enacting a parable where all the parts are in due keeping, and all have their twofold signification in the world of nature and the world of grace. The hunger is real, the tree is real, the expectation of fruit legitimate, the barrenness disappointing and criminal; the spiritual side, however, is left to be inferred, and, as we shall see, only one of many possible lessons is drawn from the result of the incident. Let no fruit grow on thee (let there be no fruit from thee) henceforward forever. Such is the sentence passed on this ostentations tree. Christ addresses it as if replying to the profession made by its show of leaves. It had the sap of life, it had power to produce luxuriant leaves; therefore it might and ought to have borne fruit. It vaunted itself as being superior to its neighbours, and the boast was utterly empty. Presently (παραχρῆμα) the fig tree withered away. The process was doubtless gradual, commencing at Christ's word, and continuing till the tree died; but St. Matthew completes the account at once, giving in one picture the event, with its surroundings and results. It was a moral necessity that what had incurred Christ's censure should perish; the spiritual controlled the material; the higher overbore the lower. Thus the designed teaching was placed in visible shape before the eyes, and silently uttered its important lesson. It has been remarked (by Neander) that we are not to suppose that the tree thus handled was previously altogether sound and healthy. Its show of leaves at an unusual period without fruit may point to some abnormal development of activity which was consequent upon some radical defect. Had it been in vigorous health, it would not have been a fitting symbol of the Jewish Church; nor would it have corresponded with the idea which Christ designed to bring to the notice of his apostles. There was already some process at work which would have issued in decay, and Christ's curse merely accelerated this natural result. This is considered to be the only instance in which our Lord exerted his miraculous power in destruction; all his other actions were beneficent, saving, gracious. The drowning of the swine at Gadara was only permitted for a wise purpose; it was not commanded or inflicted by him. The whole transaction in our text is mysterious. That the Son of man should show wrath against a senseless tree, as tree, is, of course, not conceivable. Them was an apparent unfitness, if not injustice, in the proceeding, which at once demonstrated that the tree was not the real object of the action - that something more important was in view. Christ does not treat trees as moral agents, responsible for life and action. He uses inanimate objects to convey lessons to men, dealing with them according to his good pleasure, even his supreme will, which is the law by which they are controlled. In themselves they have no fault and incur no punishment, but they are treated in such a way as to profit the nobler creatures of God's hand. There may have been two reasons for Christ's conduct which were not set prominently forward at the time. First, he desired to show his power, his absolute control, over material forces, so that, in what was about to happen to him, his apostles might be sure that he suffered not through weakness or compulsion, but because he willed to have it so. This would prepare his followers for his own and their coming trials. Then there was another great lesson taught by the sign. The fig tree is a symbol of the Jewish Church. The prophets had used both it. and the vine in this connection (comp. Hosea 9:10), and our Lord himself makes an unmistakable allusion in his parable of the fig tree planted in the vineyard, from which the owner for three years sought fruit in vain (Luke 13:6, etc.). Many of his subsequent discourses are, as it were, commentaries upon this incident (see vers. 28-44; Matthew 22:1-14; Matthew 23-25.). Here was a parable enacted. The Saviour had seen this tree, the Jewish Church, afar off, looking down upon it from heaven; it was one, single, standing conspicuous among all nations as that whereon the Lord had lavished most care, that which ought to have shown the effect of this culture in abundant produce of holiness and righteousness. But what was the result? Boasting to be children of Abraham, the special heritage of Jehovah, gifted with highest privileges, the sole possessors of the knowledge of God, the Israelites professed to have what no other people had, and were in reality empty and bare. There was plenty of outward show - rites, ceremonies, scrupulous observances, much speaking - but no real devotion, no righteousness, no heart worship, no good works. Other nations, indeed, were equally fruitless, but they did not profess to be holy; they were sinners, and offered no cloak for their sinfulness. The Jews were no less unrighteous; but they were hypocrites, and boasted of the good which they had not. Other nations were unproductive, for their time had not come; but for Israel the season had arrived; she ought to have been the first to accept the Messiah, to unite the new with the old fruit, to pass from the Law to the gospel, and to learn and practise the lesson of faith. Perfect fruit was not yet to be expected; but Israel's sin was that she vaunted her perfection, counted herself sound and whole, while rotten at the very core, and barren of all good results. Her falsehood, hypocrisy, and arrogant complacency were fearfully punished. The terms of the curse pronounced by the Judge are very emphatic. It denounces perpetual barrenness on the Jewish Church and people. From Judaea was to have gone forth the healing of the nations; from it all peoples of the earth were to be blessed. The complete fulfilment of this promise is no longer in the literal Israel; she is nothing in the world; no one resorts to her for food and refreshment; she has none to offer the wayfarer. For eighteen centuries has that fruitlessness continued; the withered tree still stands, a monument of unbelief and its punishment. The Lord's sentence, "forever," must be understood with some limitation. In his parable of the fig tree, which adumbrates the last days, he intimates that it shall some day bud and blossom, and be clothed once more with leaf and fruit; and St. Paul looks forward to the conversion of Israel, when the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled (Romans 11:23-26).

Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

And when he saw a fig tree,.... In the Greek text it is "one fig tree", one remarkable fig tree: he must see a great many, as he went along; for a large tract of the Mount Of Olives was full of fig trees, and therefore called "Bethphage": and notice has been taken already of the figs of Bethany: but he saw none that had such large and spreading leaves as this; for it was the time when the fig tree was just budding, and putting forth its leaves: wherefore he took notice of it; and though it was "afar off", as Mark says, yet being hungry, he made up to it, expecting, from its promising appearance, to find fruit on it. This fig tree was "in the way"; by the road side, and probably had no owner; was common to anybody, and so no injury was done to any person by losing it: he came to it,

and found nothing thereon but leaves only: Mark says, "he came, if haply he might find anything thereon"; which must be understood of him as man; for as he hungered as man, so he judged and expected as man, from the appearance of this fig tree, that he might find fruit upon it; and which is no contradiction to his deity, and his having the Spirit of God, as the Jew (t) objects; and especially since, as Bishop Kidder (u) observes, such an expectation is attributed to God himself, in Isaiah 5:2 and it may be added, and with regard to that people, of which this fig tree was an emblem, and designed by Christ to be considered as such in what he did to it. The same evangelist further observes, "and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet". The word "yet" is not in the original text; which last clause is a reason, either why he found no fruit, or nothing but leaves upon it, because it was not a time, or season of figs: it was not a good fig year, so Dr. Hammond interprets it; and yet though it was not, since this tree was so very flourishing, fruit might have been expected on it: and also, it furnishes out a reason why Christ took so much pains to go to it, seeing there were very few figs to be had elsewhere, and this bid very fair to supply him with some in this time of scarcity: or else, as a reason why, besides its promising appearance, he expected fruit upon it, because the time of figs, that is, of the gathering of the figs, was not come: in which sense the phrase is used in Matthew 21:34; and is Bishop Kidder's interpretation of the passage: and since therefore the time was not come for the ingathering of the figs, none had been taken off of it, the more might be expected on it. This sense would be very probable, did it appear that figs were usually ripe about this time; but the contrary seems manifest, both from Scripture, which represents the fig tree putting forth its leaves, as a sign the summer is nigh, Matthew 24:32 and from the Talmudists, who say (w), that the beginning of leaves, or putting forth of the leaves of trees, is in the month Nisan, the month in which the passover was kept, and so the then present time of the year; and who, from this time, reckon three times fifty days, or five full months before the figs are ripe (x): so that these words are rather a reason why Christ did not expect to find figs on other trees, which he saw in great abundance as he passed along, because the time of common, ordinary figs being ripe, was not come; and why he particularly expected to find some on this tree, because it being full of leaves, appeared to be of a different kind from other fig trees: and was either of that sort which they call , "Benoth Shuach", as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures which were a kind of white figs that were not ripe till the third year (y). This tree put forth its fruit the first year, which hung on it the second, and were brought to perfection on the third: so that when it was three years old, it had fruit of the first, second, and third year on it: this being such a tree, by its being full of leaves, when others had none, or were just putting out, fruit, of one year, or more might have been expected on it, when it had none at all, and therefore was cursed: or it might be one of that sort which brought forth fruit twice a year; for of such sort of fig trees we read in the Jewish writings (z): and therefore though it was not the time of the common figs being ripe, yet this being one of the seasons, in which this tree bore ripe fruit, and being so very flourishing, might reasonably be expected from it: but there being none,

he said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; or, as it is expressed in Mark, "no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever": for if none grew on it henceforward, no man could hereafter eat of it. Both expressions design the same thing, the perpetual barrenness of the fig tree:

and presently the fig tree withered away: immediately, upon Christ's saying these words, its sap was dried up, it lost its verdure; its leaves were shrivelled and shrunk up, and dropped off, and the whole was blasted. This tree was an emblem of the Jews: Christ being hungry, and very desirous of the salvation of men, came first to them, from whom, on account of their large profession of religion, and great pretensions to holiness, and the many advantages they enjoyed, humanly speaking, much fruit of righteousness might have been expected; but, alas! he found nothing but mere words, empty boasts, an outward show of religion, an external profession, and a bare performance of trifling ceremonies, and oral traditions; wherefore Christ rejected them, and in a little time after, the kingdom of God, the Gospel, was taken away from them, and their temple, city, and nation, entirely destroyed.

(t) R. Isaac, Chizzuk Emuna, par. 2. c. 30. p. 421. (u) Demonstration of the Messiah, par. 2. p. 38. (w) Jarchi & Bartenora in Misn. Sheviith, c. 4. sect. 10. (x) T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 35. 4. (y) Misn. Sheviith, c. 5. sect. 1. & Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (z) Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Maimon. in ib. T. Bab. Erubin, fol. 18. 1.



Matthew 21:19 Additional Commentaries
Context
The Barren Fig Tree
18Now in the morning, when He was returning to the city, He became hungry. 19Seeing a lone fig tree by the road, He came to it and found nothing on it except leaves only; and He said to it, "No longer shall there ever be any fruit from you." And at once the fig tree withered. 20Seeing this, the disciples were amazed and asked, "How did the fig tree wither all at once?"…
Cross References
Isaiah 5:2
He dug it up and cleared it of stones and planted it with the choicest vines. He built a watchtower in it and cut out a winepress as well. Then he looked for a crop of good grapes, but it yielded only bad fruit.

Jeremiah 8:13
"'I will take away their harvest, declares the LORD. There will be no grapes on the vine. There will be no figs on the tree, and their leaves will wither. What I have given them will be taken from them.'"

Matthew 21:20
When the disciples saw this, they were amazed. "How did the fig tree wither so quickly?" they asked.

Mark 11:20
In the morning, as they went along, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots.

Luke 13:6
Then he told this parable: "A man had a fig tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any.
Treasury of Scripture

And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said to it, Let no fruit grow on you henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away.

fig-tree. Gr. one fig-tree. and found

Isaiah 5:4,5 What could have been done more to my vineyard, that I have not done …

Luke 3:9 And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: every tree …

Luke 13:6-9 He spoke also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted …

John 15:2,6 Every branch in me that bears not fruit he takes away: and every …

2 Timothy 3:5 Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being …

Let.

Mark 11:14 And Jesus answered and said to it, No man eat fruit of you hereafter …

Luke 19:42-44 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day…

Hebrews 6:7,8 For the earth which drinks in the rain that comes oft on it, and …

2 Peter 2:20-22 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through …

Revelation 22:11 He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, …

the fig-tree.

Jude 1:12 These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, …

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Alphabetical: a again and any at be bear but by came ever except fig found from fruit he Immediately it leaves lone longer May never No nothing on once only road said Seeing shall the Then there to tree up went withered you

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