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Verses 12-14

Mark 11:12-14. On the morrow, when he was come from Bethany Where he had lodged, and was returning into the city; he was hungry, &c. See note on Matthew 21:18-22. And seeing a fig-tree, having leaves The fig-tree, it must be observed, puts forth its fruit first, and its leaves afterward, so that it was natural to suppose, as it had leaves, it would also have fruit upon it. And when he came, he found nothing but leaves There was not so much as any fruit in the bud: which unfruitfulness at this season showed it to be absolutely barren. For the time of figs, that is, the season of gathering figs, was not yet. Thus, in Matthew 21:34, καιρος των καρπων , signifies the season of gathering the fruits. In construing this passage, the latter clause must be joined with the words, He came, if haply, &c., the middle clause being a parenthesis; thus, He came, if haply he might find any thing thereon, for the season of gathering figs was not yet. That this is the true construction of the passage is plain, because the evangelist is not giving the reason why there were no figs on the tree, but the reason why Jesus expected to find some on it. He tells us the season of gathering figs was not come, to show that none had been taken off the tree; and consequently, that, having its whole produce upon it, there was nothing improper in Christ’s expecting fruit on it then. Whereas, if we should think the reason why he did not find any figs was, that the time of them was not come, we must acknowledge the tree was cursed very improperly for having none. It is true, this interpretation makes a trajection necessary; yet it is not more extraordinary than that which is found in Mark 16:3-4; where the clause, for it was very great, namely, the stone at the door of the sepulchre, does not relate to what immediately precedes it, namely, and when they looked they saw the stone rolled away, but to the remote member, they said, Who shall roll us away the stone? This interpretation is approved by Dr. Campbell, who renders the original expression, the fig-harvest, justly asking, “What can the time of any fruit be, but the time of its full maturity? And what is the season of gathering, but the time of maturity? But figs may be eaten for allaying hunger before they be fully ripe: and the declaration that the season of figs was not yet come, cannot be the reason why there was nothing but leaves on the tree; for the fig is of that tribe of vegetables wherein the fruit appears before the leaf. The leaves therefore showed that the figs should not only be formed, but well advanced; and, the season of reaping being not yet come, removed all suspicion that they had been gathered. When both circumstances are considered, nothing could account for its want of fruit but the barrenness of the tree.” Jesus said, No man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever This, like some other of our Lord’s actions, was emblematical and prophetic. “This fig-tree,” says Origen, “was, δενδρον του λαου , a tree representing the people, εμψυχος συκη , a living fig-tree, on which was pronounced a curse suitable to its condition; for, δια τουτο ακαρπος εστιν η Ιουδαιων συναγωγη , και τουτο γινεται αυτη εως της συντελειας του αιωνος , therefore the synagogue of the Jews is unfruitful, and will continue so till the fulness of the Gentiles shall come in. And the disciples heard it And took notice of the words.

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