[And when he had looked round about upon all things.] Compare Mark with the other evangelists concerning the time of casting out the merchants of the Temple, and it will appear that the word he looked about, denotes not a bare beholding or looking upon, but a beholding with reproof and correction; admonition, among the Jews.
13. And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find any thing thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet.
[For the time of figs was not yet.] See what we have said at Matthew 21:19. The sum is this:
I. The time of figs was so far off, that the time of leaves was scarcely yet present.
II. The other fig trees in the mount were of the common kind of fig trees: and on them were not leaves as yet to be seen. But that which Christ saw with leaves on it, and therefore went to it, was a fig tree of an extraordinary kind.
III. For there was a certain fig tree called Benoth Shuach, which never wanted leaves, and never wanted figs. For every year it bare fruit, but that fruit came not to full ripeness before the third year: and such, we suppose, was this fig tree.
16. And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the temple.
[And would not suffer that any man should carry any vessel through the Temple.] "What is the reverence of the Temple? That none go into the Mountain of the Temple" [or the Court of the Gentiles] "with his staff, and his shoes, with is purse, and dust upon his feet: and that none make it his common thoroughfare, nor make it a place of spitting."
The same thing is ordered concerning a synagogue; yea, concerning a synagogue that is now laid waste, much more of one that flourisheth: "A synagogue now laid waste, let not men make it a common passage." And "his disciples asked R. Eleazar Ben Shammua, Whence hast thou lived so long? He answered, I never made a synagogue a common thoroughfare."
It is therefore forbid by the masters, that the court of the Temple be not made a passage for a shorter way. And was not this bridle sufficient wherewith all might be kept back from carrying vessels through the Temple? But the 'castle of Antonia' joined to the court; and there were shops in the Court of the Gentiles where many things were sold; and that profane vessels were brought hither is scarcely to be denied. And these vessels might be said to be carried through the Temple; although those that carried them went not through the whole Temple.