And Jesus answered and said unto it
The fig tree; a Jewish way of speaking, often used when nothing before is said; the Syriac, Arabic, and Persic versions, leave out the word "answered", as they do also the word "Jesus"; and which is likewise omitted by the Vulgate Latin, though the other is retained:
no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever;
which is all one, as if he had said, as the other evangelist does, let no fruit grow on thee; for where no fruit is, none can be had, or eaten of. This tree may not only be an emblem of the Jewish people, who made a great show of religion, and enjoyed a great many privileges; and from whom, speaking after the manner of men, the fruits of good works, righteousness, and holiness, might have been hoped and looked for; when instead thereof, there was nothing but talk about them, and an observance of some insignificant rites and traditions of the "elders"; on which account, utter ruin and destruction ensued; but also of any outward professor of religion, who enjoying the means of grace, and making great pretensions to devotion and piety, it might be expected that he should do good works, well pleasing to God, and bring forth fruit to the glory of his name: whereas he only talks of good works, but does none; at least, no fruits of grace and righteousness are to be found on him; and at the last day, he will be cast as dry wood, as a withered branch, into everlasting burnings, being fit fuel for them.
And his disciples heard [it];
"this saying", as the Persic version adds, and took notice of it, being in company with him.