Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary - Alford
And when they came nigh to Jerusalem, unto Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount of Olives, he sendeth forth two of his disciples,Chap. 11:1-11.] Triumphal entry into Jerusalem. Matthew 21:1-17. Luke 19:29-44.John 12:12-36Joh_12:12-36. On the general sequence of events of this and the following day, see note on Matt. ver. 1.
1, 2.] As far as εὑρήσετε, the agreement in Matt., Mark, and Luke is nearly verbal; after that Mark and Luke only mention the foal, and add, on which never man sat. Compare with this Luke 23:53. Our Lord’s birth, triumph, and burial were to be, in this, alike. ‘A later tradition, sprung from the sacred destination of the beast (for beasts never yet worked were used for sacred purposes, Numbers 19:2: Deuteronomy 21:3: 1Samuel 6:7).’ Meyer. But does it never strike such annotators, that this very usage would lead not only to the narrative being so constructed, but to the command itself having been so given?
3. ὁ κύρ … ὧδε] The pres. ἀποστέλλει, is used of future things whose occurrence is undoubted; see Matthew 17:11; 11:3 .: but the words are somewhat ambiguous. From the ancient interpolation of πάλιν, it seems that they were understood all to belong to ὁ κύριος—‘the Lord hath need of it, and will immediately send it [back].’ Lachm., by printing the words without a stop, evidently adopts this rendering: and Origen, tom. xvi. in Matt. § 16, vol. iii. p. 741, favours it. But verisimilitude seems to me to be against it: and the final clause in ver. 6, καὶ ἀφῆκαν αὐτούς, appears to correspond with this. So that I would understand it as in E. V.: and straightway he (the speaker or owner) will send it hither. 4.
4.] The report of one of those sent: qu. Peter?
ἄμφοδ. (a road leading round a place) is probably the street: see reff. Wordsw. interprets it, ‘the back way, which led round the house:’ But there does not appear to be any reason for supposing the ἀμφι- to refer to the house, rather than to the whole block, or neighbourhood, of houses, round about which the street led. [Archbp. Trench, on the A.V. p. 116. would render it “a way round,” “a crooked lane.”]
8, 9.] On the interesting addition in Luke vv. 37-40, see notes there.
στιβ. = βαΐα τ. φοινίκων John ver. 13: but this word, by its derivation from στείβω, signifies not merely branches, but brunches cut for the purpose of being littered to walk on: and thus implies ἐστρώννυον εἰς τ. ὁδόν, which has been unskilfully supplied. Bp. Wordsw. complains of the introduction of τῶν ἀγρῶν into the text, adding “other instances, unhappily far too numerous, might be cited, where corrupt glosses and barbarisms have been recently received as improvements into the Sacred Text.” Surely a Commentator of Bp. W.’s learning and piety should know better than to write thus. He well knows, that it is not as improvements, that any such changes have been introduced as those to which he alludes, but simply and humbly in deference to the carefully weighed evidence of the best and oldest authorities, combined with that furnished by the existing phænomena of interpolation and adaptation of parallel places. The charge of attempting to “improve the Sacred Text” recoils on those, who in the face of such evidence, with such questions as “What writer would say, they cut branches off the fields?”, shelter their own rationalizing subjectivities under received readings which have been themselves glosses and “improvements” on the Sacred Text.
10.] εὐλ.… Δαυείδ, peculiar to Mark, clearly setting forth the idea of the people that the Messianic Kingdom, the restoration of the throne of David, was come.
See the additional particular of the weeping over the city, Luke vv. 41-44, and notes.
11.] See Matt. ver. 12, and notes on ver. 1: also on John 2:13-18.
I am by no means certain that the solution proposed in the notes on Matt. is the right one, but I cannot suggest a better. When Mark, as here, relates an occurrence throughout, with such signs of an eyewitness as in ver. 4, it is very difficult to suppose that he has transposed any thing; whereas Matt. certainly does not speak here so exactly, having transposed the anointing in Bethany: see notes on Matthew 26:2, Matthew 26:6.
12-26.] The barren fig-tree. The cleansing of the Temple. Matthew 21:12-22. Our account here bears strong marks of being that of a beholder and hearer: e.g. ἐξελθ. αὐ. ἀπὸ Βηθ.,—μακρόθεν,—ἔχουσαν φύλλα,—καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθ. αὐτ.
The times and order of the events are here more exact than in Matt., who places the withering of the tree immediately after the word spoken by our Lord.
13.] εἰ ἄρα, si forte, si rebus ita comparatis: see Klotz ad Devar. ii. p. 178.
ὁ γἀρ κ. οὐκ ἦν ς.] The ellipsis may be supplied,—for the season was not (one) of figs,—or, for the season was not (that) of figs, i.e. not yet the season for figs. The latter suits the context best. The tree was precocious, in being clothed with leaves: and if it had had on it winter figs, which remain on from the autumn, and ripen early the next season, they would have been ripe at this time. But there were none—it was a barren tree. On the import of this miracle, see notes on Matt.
16. οὐκ ἤφιεν ἵνα] “Observa, ἵνα et ὄφρα a recentioribus poëtis frequentari post verba jubendi.” Herm. ad Viger., p. 849. See note on 1Corinthians 14:13.
This was the court of the Gentiles, which was used as a thoroughfare; which desecration our Lord forbade.
σκεῦος is any vessel,—e.g. a pail or basket,—used for common life.
17.] πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθν., omitted in Matt. and Luke, but contained in the prophecy:—‘mentioned by Mark as writing for Gentile Christians.’—Meyer, but qu.?
18.] πᾶς ὁ ὄχλ …] This remark, given by Mark and Luke, is omitted by Matt.: probably because he has given us so much of the διδαχή, itself.
19.] See note on Matt. ver. 17. On the Sunday and Monday evenings, our Lord appears to have gone to Bethany.
20-26.] The answers are very similar to those in Matt., but with one important addition here, viz. vv. 25, 26: see Matthew 6:14, and 1Timothy 2:8. The connexion here seems to be, ‘Though you should aim at strength of faith,—yet your faith should not work in all respects as you have seen me do, in judicial anger condemning the unfruitful and evil; but you must forgive.’
24.] ἐλάβετε is aor., because the reception spoken of is the determination in the divine counsels coincident with the request—believe that when you asked, you received, and the fulfilment shall come, ἔσται. 25.
25.] On the matter cf. Matthew 6:14 f. See also ib. 5:23 f., where the converse to this is treated of.
In ὅταν στήκετε, the ἄν connects, not with the verb, but with the ὅτε, giving indefiniteness to the occasion, not to the act. See Klotz, Devar. p. 470, 475. He gives an example from Lycurgus contra Leocratem, p. 162 (§ 107), ὅταν ἐν τοῖς ὅπλοις ἐκστρατευόμενοί εἰσι.
26.] In εἰ … οὐκ, the negative must be closely joined to the verb; the verb, not the conditional particle, carrying the negative: q. d. “if ye refuse to forgive.”
27-33.] The authority of Jesus questioned. His reply. Matthew 21:23-32.Luke 20:1-8Luk_20:1-8. Our account and that of Matt. are very close in agreement. Luke’s has (cf. ver. 6, ὁ λ. ἅπας κατ. ἡμ.) few and unimportant additions: see notes on Matt.
28.] ταῦτα need not necessarily refer to the cleansing of the temple, as Meyer; but seems from Luke, to extend over our Lord’s whole course of teaching and putting himself forward in public. ἵνα ταῦτα ποιῇς is not a periphrasis of the infinitive, but contains the purpose of τὴν ἐξ. τ. ἔδ.
29.] In ἐπερωτήσω, the preposition does not signify in addition, as Fritz., but merely indicates the direction of the question.
32.] The ἐάν being omitted as spurious, a note of interrogation must be set after ἀνθρ.—a question which is answered by the Evangelist, ‘quoniam haud facile quisquam sibi aperte timorem adscribere consuevit.’ Rinck. in Meyer.