Mark 11:12
And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
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(12-14) And on the morrow.—On the chronological difficulty presented by this verse, see Note on Matthew 21:18-19.

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.

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.See this passage explained in the notes at Matthew 21:18-22.

Mark 11:11

Into the temple - Not into the edifice properly called "the temple," but into the "courts" which surrounded the principal edifice. Our Saviour, not being of the tribe of Levi, was not permitted to enter into the holy or most holy place; and when, therefore, it is said that he went into the "temple," it is always to be understood of the "courts" surrounding the temple. See the notes at Matthew 21:12.

And when he had looked round about upon all things - Having seen or examined everything. He saw the abominations and abuses which he afterward corrected. It may be a matter of wonder that he did not "at once" correct them, instead of waiting to another day; but it may be observed that God is slow to anger; that he does not "at once" smite the guilty, but waits patiently before he rebukes and chastises.

The eventide - The evening; the time after three o'clock p. m. It is very probable that this was before sunset. The religious services of the temple closed at the offering of the evening sacrifice, at three o'clock, and Jesus probably soon left the city.

12. And on the morrow—The Triumphal Entry being on the first day of the week, this following day was Monday.

when they were come from Bethany—"in the morning" (Mt 21:18).

he was hungry—How was that? Had he stolen forth from that dear roof at Bethany to the "mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God?" (Lu 6:12); or, "in the morning," as on a former occasion, "risen up a great while before day, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed" (Mr 1:35); not breaking His fast thereafter, but bending His steps straight for the city, that He might "work the works of Him that sent Him while it was day?" (Joh 9:4). We know not, though one lingers upon and loves to trace out the every movement of that life of wonders. One thing, however we are sure of—it was real bodily hunger which He now sought to allay by the fruit of this fig tree, "if haply He might find any thing thereon"; not a mere scene for the purpose of teaching a lesson, as some early heretics maintained, and some still seem virtually to hold.

See Poole on "Mark 11:11"

And on the morrow,.... The next day early in the morning,

when they were come from Bethany; Christ, and his twelve disciples. The Syriac and Persic versions read, "when he came out of Bethany"; though not alone, but with the twelve disciples, who went with him there, and returned with him, as appears from Mark 11:14, as he and they came out of that place early in the morning, having ate nothing, before they came from thence,

he was hungry; See Gill on Matthew 21:18.

And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry:
Mark 11:12-14. Comp. on Matthew 21:18-20, whose more compressed narrative represents a later form taken by the tradition.

εἰ ἄρα] whether under these circumstances (see Klotz, ad Devar. p. 178 f.)—namely, since the tree had leaves, which in fact in the case of fig-trees come after the fruits. Comp. on Matthew 21:19.

οὐ γὰρ ἦν καιρὸς σύκων] not inappropriate (Köstlin), but rightly giving information whence it happened that Jesus found nothing but leaves only.[142] If it had been the time for figs (June, when the Boccôre ripens, comp. Matthew 24:32) He would have found fruits also as well as the leaves, and would not have been deceived by the abnormal foliage of the tree. The objections against this logical connection—on the one hand, that figs of the previous year that had hung through the winter might still have been on the tree; on the other, that from οὐ γὰρ ἦν καιρ. σύκ. the fruitlessness of the tree would appear quite natural, and therefore not be justified as an occasion for cursing it (comp. de Wette, Strauss, Schenkel; according to Bruno Bauer, Mark made the remark on account of Hosea 9:10)—are quite irrelevant; for (1) Figs that have hung through the winter were not at all associated with a tree’s being in leaf, but might also be found on trees without leaves; the leafy tree promised summer figs, but had none,[143] because in the month Nisan it was not the time for figs, so that thus the presence of foliage which, in spite of the earliness of the time of year, justified the conclusion from the nature of the fig-tree that there would be fruit upon it, was only a deceptive anomaly. (2) The tree presents itself as deserving a curse, because, having leaves it ought also to have had fruit; the οὐ γὰρ ἦν κ. σ. would only make it appear as blameless if it had had no leaves; hence even with our simply literal apprehension of the words there in no wise results an over-hasty judicial sentence. It is almost incredible how the simple and logically appropriate meaning of the words has been distorted, in order to avoid representing Jesus as seeking figs out of the fig-season. Such explanations, however, deserve no refutation; e.g. that of Hammond, Clericus, Homberg, Paulus, Olshausen, Lange, L. J. II. 1, p. 321: for it was not a good fig-year (see, on the other hand, Strauss, II. p. 220 f.); that of Abresch, Lect. Arist. p. 16, and Triller, ad Thom. M. p. 490: for it was not a place suitable for figs; the interrogative view of Majus, Obss. I. p. 7 : “nonne enim tempus erat ficuum?;” that of Heinsius and Knatchbull: “ubi enim fuit, tempus erat ficuum” (so that οὗ would have to be read); the notion of Mill, that Jesus only feigned as if He were seeking figs, in order merely to do a miracle (Victor Antiochenus and Euthymius Zigabenus had already taken even His hunger as simulated; compare recently again Hofmann, p. 374); the view of Kuinoel (comp. Dahme in Henke’s Magaz. I. 2, p. 252): for it was not yet (οὐ = ΟὔΠΩ) fig-harvest; compare also Baumgarten-Crusius. Fritzsche has the correct view, although he reproaches Mark with having subjoined the notice “non elegantissime,” whereas it very correctly states why Jesus, notwithstanding the leaves of the tree, found no fruits. Toup (Emendatt. in Suid. II. p. 218 f.), Tittmann (Opusc. p. 509), and Wassenbergh (in Valckenaer, Schol. I. p. 18) have even declared themselves against the genuineness of the words in spite of all the critical evidence! Bornemann (in opposition to Wassenbergh) in the Schol. in Luc. p. xlix. f., and in the Stud. u. Krit. 1843, p. 131 ff., comes back again essentially to the interpretation of Hammond, and explains: “for it was not favourable weather for figs.” But καιρός could only acquire the meaning of “favourable weather” by more precise definition in the context, as in the passage quoted by Bornemann, Eur. Hec. 587, by θεόθεν, and hence this interpretation is not even favoured by the reading Ὁ ΓᾺΡ ΚΑΙΡῸς ΟὐΚ ἮΝ ΣΎΚΩΝ (B C* L Δ א, Copt. Syr.; so Tischendorf), for the time was not fig-time, which reading easily originated from an ὁ καιρός written on the margin by way of supplement, whence also is to be derived the reading of Lachmann (following D, Or.): οὐ γ. ἦν ὁ καιρὸς σ. De Wette finds the words “absolutely incomprehensible.”[144] Comp. also Baur, Markusev. p. 90, according to whom, however, Mark here only betrays his poverty in any resources of his own, as he is alleged by Hilgenfeld only to make the case worse involuntarily.

Mark 11:14. ἀποκριθείς] Appropriately Bengel adds: “arbori fructum neganti.”

ΦΆΓΟΙ] According to Mark (it is otherwise in Matthew 21:19) the cursing is expressed in the form of a wish, as imprecation, Acts 8:20.

καὶ ἤκουον οἱ μαθ. αὐτοῦ] a preparation for Mark 11:20.

[142] Not as to the point, that only a symbolical demonstration was here in question (Weizsäcker, p. 92). Nobody could have gathered this from these words without some more precise indication, since the symbolical nature of the event is wholly independent of them.

[143] No fruit indeed, even that had hung through the winter; but this Jesus had not sought, since the presence of leaves had induced Him to expect fruit—namely, fruit before the time (comp. Tobler, Denkbl. aus Jerus. p. 101 ff.).

[144] Nay, they even compelled Bleek to the conjecture that the event had occurred at another time of year, possibly in the previous year at the Feast of Tabernacles (John 7).

Mark 11:12-14. The fig tree on the way (Matthew 21:18-19).

12–19. The Second Cleansing of the Temple

12. he was hungry] Probably, after a night of fasting; “shewing His Humanity, as usual, when about to give a proof of His Deity, that we may believe Him to be both God and Man.” Bp Wordsworth.

Verse 12. - And on the morrow, when they were come out from Bethany, he hungered. This was, therefore, the day after Palm Sunday (as we call it) - on the Monday, the 11th day of the month Nisan, which, according to our computation, would be March 21. He hungered. This showed his humanity, which he was ever wont to do when he was about to display his Divine power. The fact that he hungered would lead us to the conclusion that he had not been spending the night in the house of Martha and Mary. It is far more likely that he had been in the open air during the previous night, fasting and praying. Mark 11:12
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