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Cursing of the Fig Tree

12 Now[a] the next day, as they went out from Bethany, he was hungry. 13 After noticing in the distance a fig tree with leaves, he went to see if he could find any fruit[b] on it. When he came to it he found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. 14 He said to it,[c] “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard it.[d]

Cleansing the Temple

15 Then[e] they came to Jerusalem. Jesus[f] entered the temple area[g] and began to drive out those who were selling and buying in the temple courts.[h] He turned over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves, 16 and he would not permit anyone to carry merchandise[i] through the temple courts.[j] 17 Then he began to teach[k] them and said, “Is it not written: ‘My house will be called a house of prayer for all nations’?[l] But you have turned it into a den[m] of robbers!”[n] 18 The chief priests and the experts in the law[o] heard it and they considered how they could assassinate[p] him, for they feared him, because the whole crowd was amazed by his teaching. 19 When evening came, Jesus and his disciples[q] went out of the city.

The Withered Fig Tree

20 In the morning as they passed by, they saw the fig tree withered from the roots. 21 Peter remembered and said to him, “Rabbi, look! The fig tree you cursed has withered.” 22 Jesus said to them, “Have faith in God. 23 I tell you the truth,[r] if someone says to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. 24 For this reason I tell you, whatever you pray and ask for, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours. 25 Whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven will[s] also forgive you your sins.”[t]

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  1. Mark 11:12 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “now” to indicate the transition to a new topic.
  2. Mark 11:13 tn Grk “anything.”
  3. Mark 11:14 tn Grk “And answering, he said to it.” The participle ἀποκριθείς (apokritheis) is redundant and has not been translated.
  4. Mark 11:14 sn Mark 11:12-14. The incident of the cursing of the fig tree occurs before he enters the temple for a third time (11:27ff) and is questioned at length by the religious leaders (11:27-12:40). It appears that Mark records the incident as a portent of what is going to happen to the leadership in Jerusalem who were supposed to have borne spiritual fruit but have been found by Messiah at his coming to be barren. The fact that the nation as a whole is indicted is made explicit in chapter 13:1-37 where Jesus speaks of Jerusalem’s destruction and his second coming.
  5. Mark 11:15 tn Here καί (kai) has been translated as “then” to indicate the implied sequence of events within the narrative.
  6. Mark 11:15 tn Grk “He”; the referent (Jesus) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
  7. Mark 11:15 tn Grk “the temple.”sn The merchants (those who were selling) would have been located in the Court of the Gentiles.
  8. Mark 11:15 tn Grk “the temple.”sn Matthew (21:12-27), Mark (here, 11:15-19), and Luke (19:45-46) record this incident of the temple cleansing at the end of Jesus’ ministry. John (2:13-16) records a cleansing of the temple at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry. See the note on the word temple courts in John 2:14 for a discussion of the relationship of these accounts to one another.
  9. Mark 11:16 tn Or “things.” The Greek word σκεῦος (skeuos) can refer to merchandise, property, goods, a vessel, or even generally “things” (but in the sense of some implement or tool). The idea here is almost certainly restricted to merchandise, rather than the more general “things,” although some suggest from the parallel with m. Berakhot 9.5 that Jesus was not even allowing sandals, staffs, or coin-purses to be carried through the court. The difficulty with this interpretation, however, is that it is fundamentally an appeal to Jewish oral tradition (something Jesus rarely sided with) as well as being indiscriminate toward all the worshipers.
  10. Mark 11:16 tn Grk “the temple.”
  11. Mark 11:17 tn The imperfect ἐδίδασκεν (edidasken) is here taken ingressively.
  12. Mark 11:17 sn A quotation from Isa 56:7.
  13. Mark 11:17 tn Or “a hideout” (see L&N 1.57).
  14. Mark 11:17 sn A quotation from Jer 7:11. The meaning of Jesus’ statement about making the temple courts a den of robbers probably operates here at two levels. Not only were the religious leaders robbing the people financially, but because of this they had also robbed them spiritually by stealing from them the opportunity to come to know God genuinely. It is possible that these merchants had recently been moved to this location for convenience.
  15. Mark 11:18 tn Or “The chief priests and the scribes.” See the note on the phrase “experts in the law” in 1:22.
  16. Mark 11:18 tn Grk “how they could destroy him.”
  17. Mark 11:19 tn Grk “they”; the referents (Jesus and his disciples) have been specified in the translation for clarity. Without such clarification there is room for considerable confusion here, since there are two prior sets of plural referents in the context, “the chief priests and experts in the law” and “the whole crowd” (both in v. 18).
  18. Mark 11:23 tn Grk “Truly (ἀμήν, amēn), I say to you.”
  19. Mark 11:25 tn Although the Greek subjunctive mood, formally required in a subordinate clause introduced by ἵνα (hina), is traditionally translated by an English subjunctive (e.g., “may,” so KJV, NAB, NIV, NRSV), changes in the use of the subjunctive in English now result in most readers understanding such a statement as indicating permission (“may” = “has permission to”) or as indicating uncertainty (“may” = “might” or “may or may not”). Thus a number of more recent translations render such instances by an English future tense (“will,” so TEV, CEV, NLT, NASB 1995 update). That approach has been followed here.
  20. Mark 11:25 tc A number of significant mss of various textual families (א B L W Δ Ψ 565 700 892 sa) do not include 11:26 “But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your sins.” The verse is included in most later mss (A [C D] Θ1,13 33] M lat) and is not likely to be original. It is probably an assimilation to Matt 6:15. The present translation follows NA28 in omitting the verse number, a procedure also followed by a number of other modern translations.