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minal birthday, and the fourteenth of Nisan when he actually suffered, according to the Julian, was his true: that is to say, the fifth of the Julian April, which coincided in the year of his birth with the tenth of Nisan, coincided in this year when he suffered with the fourteenth. For the proof of these positions I must refer to my first volume; but if the positions themselves are true, we need no other argument to convince us that the day of our Lord's procession to the temple before he suffered was Monday, the first of April, which coincided with the tenth of Nisan; as the day when he suffered was Friday, the fifth of April, which coincided with the fourteenth.
b Vide Dissertation xii.
On the proceedings of Tuesday in Passion-week, and on the time of the cleansing of the Temple.
THE transactions of this day, which answers to the
eleventh of the Jewish Nisan and the second of the Julian April, as far as they have been recorded, are only these three; first, the cursing of the barren figtree, before the arrival of our Lord at the temple; secondly, the cleansing or purgation of the temple; and thirdly, the day's teaching in it afterwards. On the last of these points there is no difficulty; but upon each of the former there is. We will consider them in the order of their occurrence.
The malediction pronounced upon the fig-tree, is related by St. Matthew and by St. Mark; but for a reason which might easily be assigned, is omitted by St. Luke; and both the former place it on the day after the procession to the temple, as our Lord with his disciples was returning thither from Bethany again. The scene of the malediction is consequently ascertained to be somewhere between Bethany and the city, on the mount of Olives; and the time, which St. Mark's expression, τ éπaúptova, would have left indefinite, becomes similarly determined by St. Matthew's b, πρωΐας δὲ ἐπανάγων εἰς τὴν πόλιν, to a period very probably prior, and certainly not posterior to the
* This reason is the affinity and connexion between the final end of the act of striking the barren fig-tree, and the moral of
a Mark xi. 12.
the parable of the fig-tree planted in the vineyard, which St. Luke has recorded.
Matt. xxi. 18.
first hour of the day. Πρωΐ and πρωΐα, however nearly akin, are not exactly the same in their signification; and as the former properly implies the first hour of the day, which began at sunrise, so does the latter the time immediately prior to that, which is the interval between dawn and sunrise. The same hour was the period of the usual morning's meal among the Jews; in which case, the hunger of our Lord—which is specified by each of the Evangelists, independently of any other considerations, as the moving cause to the act in question becomes naturally accounted for *. that the return to the temple both this morning and the next was early, may be collected from the general declaration of St. Luke quoted above; as well as from John viii. 2, which shews, it was our Saviour's practice, whenever he repaired to the temple, to go thither early. The hour of ρwi, indeed, was the commencement of the morning service; and from that time to the third hour of the day was one of the stated periods for the resort of the people to worship. It is no wonder, then, that our Lord should be in the temple during these times more particularly.
The final end of striking the fig-tree, which was a symbolical action, and more closely connected with the scope and design of the parable recorded Luke xiii. 6-9 than is commonly supposed, I cannot now undertake to explain; but whatever other difficulties, in relation to the material fact there might be-as why the tree, by exhibiting a show of leaves, should have raised the expectation of fruit, and yet the time or
* According to Mr. Harmer, (iii. 126, 127. ch. iv. Obs. xxxix.) the people of the East still eat as soon as they get up, break
fasting on eggs, cheese, honey, &c., bread, milk, fruit. And their practice is to rise at break of day, all the year round.
e Ch. xxi. 37, 38.
season of the fruit not yet be comed-it may be proper, and it is not difficult, to obviate.
The natural period for the principal crop of the fig is every where the same, the close of the summer or the beginning of autumn; and that is consequently the proper season of figs. But it is known to naturalists that, in its own country, the fig-tree produces a second crop, the season of which is the winter. It might be some of this second crop which our Lord expected to find on this occasion: and in that case, it must have been of the remnant of the fruit of the former year. But it is also possible that it might be fruit actually of that year's growth. Ficus et præcoces habet, says Pliny, quas Athenis prodromos vocante. Sunt et biferæ in eisdem. And again: Contra novissima sub hieme maturatur chelidonia. sunt præterea eædem serotinæ et præcoces, biferæ, alba ac nigra, cum messe, vindemiaque, maturescentes *g. According to Maimonides,
* Athenæus, iii. 7; ex Epigene: εἶτ ̓ ἔρχεται | χελιδονείων μετ ̓ eir' | ὀλίγον σκληρῶν ἁδρὸς | πινακίσκος. These figs, like certain winds, were probably so called because they appeared with the swallow.
Ibid. 11: rà de xeiμepivà σvka Πάμφιλος καλεῖσθαί φησι Κυδωναῖα ὑπὸ ̓Αχαιῶν. Of the early ripe figs, called рódpoμo, the same author (12) quotes from Theophrastus: πάλιν δὲ τοὺς προδρόμους αἱ μὲν φέρουσιν, ἥ τε Λακωνικὴ καὶ ἕτεραι πλείους· αἱ δ ̓ οὐ φέρουσιν. Again: Σέλευκος δ ̓ ἐν Γλώσσαις, προτερικήν φησι καλεῖσθαι γένος τι συκῆς, ἥτις φέρει πρώϊον τὸν καρπόν. διφόρου δὲ συκῆς μνημονεύει καὶ ̓Αριστοφάνης ἐν Ἐκκλησιαζούσαις· ὑμᾶς· δὲ τέως θρία λαβόντας | διφόρου συκῆς.
νης, ἐν Σκληρίαις· ἔστι δὲ παρ ̓ αὐτὴν τὴν δίφορον συκῆν κάτω. Hieronymus, iii. 644. ad calc. in Jerem. 25: Comparat autem calathum, qui bonas ficus habebat, et bonas nimis, ficis primi temporis, quæ Grace appellantur πρώϊμα.
In Ovid's Fasti, ii. 253, there is a legendary story relating to the constellation Anguis, Avis, Crater, the time of whose rising was xvi Kal. Martias. Stabat adhuc duris ficus densissima pomis: Tentat eam rostro; non erat apta legi. | Immemor imperii sedisse sub arbore fertur, | Dum fierent tarda dulcia poma mora. On which principle, there must have been a possibility of meeting with green figs, in a considerable state of forwardness,
d Mark xi. 13.
e H. N. xvi. 49.
f Ibid. 1.
g H. N. xv. 19.
the fruits of certain trees were required to be offered along with the spáryua, manipulus, or wave-sheaf of barley at the Passover: which implies that, generally speaking, ripe fruits were to be had at that season as well as ripe barley. If this was likely to be the case
so early even as February 14. Cf. Hyginus, Poeticum Astronomicon, i. 40. Scholia ad Arati Phænomena, 449, and ad Germanici Aratea Phænomena, 426.
The physical history of these early ripe figs is thus detailed by Hilary of Poictiers, in Matt. Canon xxi. Operum 570. A—D.
Hæc namque arbor dissimili
ter a ceterarum arborum et natura et conditione florescit. nam flos ei primus in pomis est, sed non his, quæ maturitatem, ut emerserint, consequentur. grossa enim hæc et communis usus et prophetica authoritas nuncupavit. verum postea internæ fæcunditatis virtute exuberante, ejusdem speciei atque forma poma prorumpunt: quibus prorumpentibus ista truduntur, et dissolutis quibus continebantur radicibus, decidunt (ita leg.) aliaque illa exeuntia usque ad maturitatem fructuum provehuntur. sed de superioribus illis, si quando inciderit ut in sinu vir. gularum ex ramulo eodem prodeuntium emerserint, manent semper, et non sicut grossa cetera decidunt, sed hærent sola tantum poma quæ cetera maturitate præveniunt. et hos pulcherrimos fructus arbor illa ex se dabit, qui cum grossis ceteris promergentes de medio utrarumque virgularum claviculo proferentur. The same account is given by Ambrose, Operum i. 1449. B-E: in Lucam, lib. vii. §. 162, and in terms so much
the same, as necessarily to lead to the inference that Ambrose borrowed from Hilary, or Hilary from Ambrose, or both from some common original. I give the latter part of this account: Etenim qua se medio trudere de cortice gemma consuevit, ea minutissima quæque hujus generis poma prorumpunt...itaque ceteris albentibus primo vere virgultis, sola ficus proprio nescit flore canescere ; ideo fortasse quod nullus istis maturior sit usus in pomis. nam succedentibus aliis, hæc quasi degenerantia respuuntur, et arenti infirma radice, renovatis quibus sit succus utilior, exuruntur. manent tamen aliqua perrara, nec decidunt, quibus hic proventus arriserit; ut de medio duarum virgarum claviculo brevi erumpente promergant, quo geminis tecta præsidiis tamquam naturæ parentis gremio, succi fotu plenioris inolescant. ea clementioris auræ provocata temperie, et prolixioribus adultiora temporibus, ubi sylvestrem animum succi prioris exuerint, specie ceteris et maturitatis gratia præferuntur.
Mr. Harmer, vol. i. 405. chap. iv. Obs. lv. informs us from Dr. Shaw, that though the Boccore or early fig is not ripe before June, nor the fig which is exported before August, yet a few figs are sometimes ripe six weeks or more earlier, and consequently in April or May.