Verse 32. "They feared the people" - Or rather, We fear, &c. Instead of efobounto, they feared; the Codex Bezae, seven others, later Syriac, Arabic, Coptic, AEthiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and all the Itala, read foboumen, or foboumeqa. The common reading appearing to me quite improper.
WE fear the people. ean, if, before eipwmen, we shall say, is omitted by ABCEFGHLS, and more than fifty others. Bengel leaves it out of the text, and puts a note of interrogation after ex anqrwpwn; and then the whole passage reads thus: But shall we say, Of men? They feared the people, &c.
This change renders the adoption of foboumen, we fear, unnecessary.
Several critics prefer this mode of distinguishing the text. However the critics may be puzzled with the text, the scribes, chief priests, and elders were worse puzzled with our Lord's question. They must convict themselves or tell a most palpable falsehood.-They told the lie, and so escaped for the present.
1. ENVY, malice, and double dealing have always a difficult part to act, and are ultimately confounded by their own projects and ruined by their own operations. On the other hand, simplicity and sincerity are not obliged to use a mask, but always walk in a plain way.
2. The case of the barren fig-tree which our Lord cursed has been pitifully misunderstood and misapplied. The whole account of this transaction, as stated above, I believe to be correct; it is so much in our Lord's usual manner that the propriety of it will scarcely be doubted. He was ever acting the part of the philosopher, moralist, and divine, as well as that of the saviour of sinners. In his hand, every providential occurrence and every object of nature, became a means of instruction: the stones of the desert, the lilies of the field, the fowls of heaven, the beasts of the forest, fruitful and unfruitful trees, with every ordinary occurrence, were so many grand texts, from which he preached the most illuminating and impressive sermons, for the instruction and salvation of his audience. This wisdom and condescension cannot be sufficiently admired. But shall the example of the fruitless fig tree be lost on us as well as on the Jews? God forbid! Let us therefore take heed, lest having been so long unfruitful, God should say, Let no fruit appear on thee hereafter for ever! and in consequence of this, we wither and die away! See on "ver. 27".