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Chapter 11

11:1 Unto Bethphage and Bethany [eis Bēthphagē kai Bēthanian]. Both together as in Lu 19:29, though Mt 21:1 mentions only Bethphage. See discussion in Matthew for this and the Mount of Olives.

11:2 As ye enter [eisporeuomenoi]. So also Lu 19:30. Present middle participle. Colt [pōlon]. So Lu 19:30. Mt 21:2 speaks of the ass [onon] also. Whereon no one ever yet sat [eph’ hon oudeis anthrōpōn ekathisen]. So Lu 19:30.

11:3 The Lord [ho Kurios]. So Matt. and Luke. See on Mt 21:3 for discussion of this word applied to Jesus by himself. He will send him back [apostellei]. Present indicative in futuristic sense. Mt 21:3 has the future [apostelei].

11:4 A colt tied at the door without in the open street [pōlon dedemenon pros thuran exō epi tou amphodou]. A carefully drawn picture. The colt was outside the house in the street, but fastened (bound, perfect passive participle) to the door. “The better class of houses were built about an open court, from which a passage way under the house led to the street outside. It was at this outside opening to the street that the colt was tied” (Gould). The word [amphodos] (from [amphō], both, and [hodos], road) is difficult. It apparently means road around a thing, a crooked street as most of them were (cf. Straight Street in Ac 9:11). It occurs only here in the N.T. besides D in Ac 19:28. It is very common in the papyri for vicus or “quarter.” And they loose him [kai luousin auton]. Dramatic present tense. Perhaps Peter was one of those sent this time as he was later (Lu 22:8). If so, that explains Mark’s vivid details here.

11:5 Certain of those that stood there [tines tōn ekei hestēkotōn]. Perfect active participle, genitive plural. Bystanders. Lu 19:33 terms them “the owners thereof” [hoi kurioi autou]. The lords or masters of the colt. They make a natural protest.

11:7 They bring the colt unto Jesus [pherousin ton pōlon pros ton Iēsoun]. Vivid historical present. The owners acquiesced as Jesus had predicted. Evidently friends of Jesus.

11:7 Branches [stibadas]. A litter of leaves and rushes from the fields. Textus Receptus spells this word [stoibadas]. Mt 21:7 has [kladous], from [klaō], to break, branches broken or cut from trees. Joh 12:13 uses the branches of the palm trees [ta baia tōn phoinikōn], “the feathery fronds forming the tufted crown of the tree” (Vincent). That is to say, some of the crowd did one of these things, some another. See on Mt 21:4-9 for discussion of other details. The deliberate conduct of Jesus on this occasion could have but one meaning. It was the public proclamation of himself as the Messiah, now at last for his “hour” has come. The excited crowds in front [hoi proagontes] and behind [hoi akolouthountes] fully realize the significance of it all. Hence their unrestrained enthusiasm. They expect Jesus, of course, now to set up his rule in opposition to that of Caesar, to drive Rome out of Palestine, to conquer the world for the Jews.

11:11 When he had looked round about upon all things [periblepsamenos panta]. Another Markan detail in this aorist middle participle. Mark does not give what Lu 19:39-55 has nor what Mt 21:10-17 does. But it is all implied in this swift glance at the temple before he went out to Bethany with the Twelve, it being now eventide [opse ēdē ousēs tēs hōrās]. Genitive absolute, the hour being already late. What a day it had been! What did the apostles think now?

11:12 On the morrow [tēi epaurion]. Mt 21:17 has “early” [prōi], often of the fourth watch before six A.M. This was Monday morning. The Triumphal Entry had taken place on our Sunday, the first day of the week.

11:13 If haply he might find anything thereon [ei ara ti heurēsei en autēi]. This use of [ei] and the future indicative for purpose (to see if, a sort of indirect question) as in Ac 8:22; 17:27. Jesus was hungry as if he had had no food on the night before after the excitement and strain of the Triumphal Entry. The early figs in Palestine do not get ripe before May or June, the later crop in August. It was not the season of figs, Mark notes. But this precocious tree in a sheltered spot had put out leaves as a sign of fruit. It had promise without performance.

11:14 No man eat fruit from thee henceforward forever [Mēketi eis ton aiōna ek sou mēdeis karpon phagoi]. The verb [phagoi] is in the second aorist active optative. It is a wish for the future that in its negative form constitutes a curse upon the tree. Mt 21:19 has the aorist subjunctive with double negative [ou mēketi genētai], a very strong negative prediction that amounts to a prohibition. See on Matthew. Jesus probably spoke in the Aramaic on this occasion. And his disciples heard it [kai ēkouon hoi mathētai autou]. Imperfect tense, “were listening to it,” and evidently in amazement, for, after all, it was not the fault of the poor fig tree that it had put out leaves. One often sees peach blossoms nipped by the frost when they are too precocious in the changeable weather. But Jesus offered no explanation at this time.

11:15 Began to cast out [ērxato ekballein]. Mark is fond of “began.” See on Mt 21:12f. for discussion of this second cleansing of the temple in its bearing on that in Joh 2:14f. Money-changers [kollubistōn]. This same late word in Mt 21:12 which see for discussion. It occurs in papyri.

11:16 Through the temple [dia tou hierou]. The temple authorities had prohibited using the outer court of the temple through the Precinct as a sort of short cut or by-path from the city to the Mount of Olives. But the rule was neglected and all sorts of irreverent conduct was going on that stirred the spirit of Jesus. This item is given only in Mark. Note the use of [hina] after [ēphie] (imperfect tense) instead of the infinitive (the usual construction).

11:17 For all the nations [pāsin tois ethnesin]. Mark alone has this phrase from Isa 56:7; Jer 7:11. The people as well as the temple authorities were guilty of graft, extortion, and desecration of the house of prayer. Jesus assumes and exercises Messianic authority and dares to smite this political and financial abuse. Some people deny the right of the preacher to denounce such abuses in business and politics even when they invade the realm of morals and religion. But Jesus did not hesitate.

11:17 Sought how they might destroy him [ezētoun pōs auton apolesōsin]. Imperfect indicative, a continuous attitude and endeavour. Note deliberative subjunctive with [pōs] retained in indirect question. Here both Sadducees (chief priests) and Pharisees (scribes) combine in their resentment against the claims of Jesus and in the determination to kill him. Long ago the Pharisees and the Herodians had plotted for his death (Mr 3:6). Now in Jerusalem the climax has come right in the temple. For they feared him [ephobounto gar]. Imperfect middle indicative. Hence in wrath they planned his death and yet they had to be cautious. The Triumphal Entry had shown his power with the people. And now right in the temple itself “all the multitude was astonished at his teaching” [pās ho ochlos exeplēsseto epi tēi didachēi autou]. Imperfect passive. The people looked on Jesus as a hero, as the Messiah. This verse aptly describes the crisis that has now come between Christ and the Sanhedrin.

11:19 Every evening [hotan opse egeneto]. Literally, whenever evening came on or more exactly whenever it became late. The use of [hotan] [hote an] with the aorist indicative is like [hopou an] with the imperfect indicative [eiseporeueto] and [hosoi an] with the aorist indicative [hēpsanto] in Mr 6:56. The use of [an] makes the clause more indefinite and general, as here, unless it renders it more definite, a curious result, but true. Lu 21:37 has the accusative of extent of time, “the days,” “the nights.” The imperfect tense he (or they) would go [exeporeueto, exeporeuonto] out of the city suggests “whenever” as the meaning here.

11:20 As they passed by in the morning [paraporeuomenoi prōi]. Literally, passing by in the morning. The next morning. They went back by the lower road up the Mount of Olives and came down each morning by the steep and more direct way. Hence they saw it. Mt 21:20 does not separate the two mornings as Mark does. From the roots [ek rizōn]. Mark alone gives this detail with [exērammenēn] perfect passive predicate participle from [xērainō].

11:21 Peter calling to remembrance [anamnēstheis ho Petros]. First aorist participle, being reminded. Only in Mark and due to Peter’s story. For his quick memory see also 14:72. Which thou cursedst [hēn katērasō]. First aorist middle indicative second person singular from [kataraomai]. It almost sounds as if Peter blamed Jesus for what he had done to the fig tree.

11:22 Have faith in God [echete pistin theou]. Objective genitive [theou] as in Gal 2:26; Ro 3:22,26. That was the lesson for the disciples from the curse on the fig tree so promptly fulfilled. See this point explained by Jesus in Mt 21:21 which see for “this mountain” also.

11:23 Shall not doubt in his heart [mē diakrithēi en tēi kardiāi autou]. First aorist passive subjunctive with [hos an]. The verb means a divided judgment [dia] from [duo], two, and [krinō], to judge). Wavering doubt. Not a single act of doubt [diakrithēi], but continued faith [pisteuēi]. Cometh to pass [ginetai]. Futuristic present middle indicative.

11:24 Believe that ye have received them [pisteuete hoti elabete]. That is the test of faith, the kind that sees the fulfilment before it happens. [Elabete] is second aorist active indicative, antecedent in time to [pisteuete], unless it be considered the timeless aorist when it is simultaneous with it. For this aorist of immediate consequence see Joh 15:6.

11:25 Whensoever ye stand [hotan stēkete]. Late form of present indicative [stēkō], from perfect stem [hestēka]. In LXX. Note use of [hotan] as in 11:19. Jesus does not mean by the use of “stand” here to teach that this is the only proper attitude in prayer. That your Father also may forgive you [hina kai ho patēr aphēi humin]. Evidently God’s willingness to forgive is limited by our willingness to forgive others. This is a solemn thought for all who pray. Recall the words of Jesus in Mt 6:12, 14f.

11:26 This verse is omitted by Westcott and Hort. The Revised Version puts it in a footnote.

11:27 The chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders [hoi archiereis kai hoi grammateis kai hoi presbuteroi]. Note the article with each separate group as in Lu 20:1 and Mt 21:23. These three classes were in the Sanhedrin. Clearly a large committee of the Sanhedrin including both Sadducees and Pharisees here confront Jesus in a formal attack upon his authority for cleansing the temple and teaching in it.

11:27 By what authority [en poiāi exousiāi]. This question in all three Gospels was a perfectly legitimate one. See on Mt 21:23-27 for discussion. Note present subjunctive here [hina tauta poiēis], that you keep on doing these things.

11:30 Answer me [apokrithēte moi]. This sharp demand for a reply is only in Mark. See also verse 29. Jesus has a right to take this turn because of John’s direct relation to himself. It was not a dodge, but a home thrust that cleared the air and defined their attitude both to John and Jesus. They rejected John as they now reject Jesus.

11:31 If we say [ean eipōmen]. Third-class condition with aorist active subjunctive. The alternatives are sharply presented in their secret conclave. They see the two horns of the dilemma clearly and poignantly. They know only too well what Jesus will say in reply. They wish to break Christ’s power with the multitude, but a false step now will turn the laugh on them. They see it.

11:32 But should we say [alla eipōmen]. Deliberative subjunctive with aorist active subjunctive again. It is possible to supply [ean] from verse 31 and treat it as a condition as there. So Mt 21:26 and Lu 20:6. But in Mark the structure continues rugged after “from men” with anacoluthon or even aposiopesis—“they feared the people” Mark adds. Matthew has it: “We fear the multitude.” Luke puts it: “all the people will stone us.” All three Gospels state the popular view of John as a prophet. Mark’s “verily” is [ontōs] really, actually. They feared John though dead as much as Herod Antipas did. His martyrdom had deepened his power over the people and disrespect towards his memory now might raise a storm (Swete).

11:33 We know not [ouk oidamen]. It was for the purpose of getting out of the trap into which they had fallen by challenging the authority of Jesus. Their self-imposed ignorance, refusal to take a stand about the Baptist who was the Forerunner of Christ, absolved Jesus from a categorical reply. But he has no notion of letting them off at this point.

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