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New Defender's Study Bible Notes

21:19 leaves only. The Palestinian fig tree normally produces both leaves and small figs in early March, so that this tree should have borne figs along with its leaves. The heavy foliage of fig leaves, covering the nakedness of a barren fig tree, as it were, perhaps reminded the Lord of the “aprons” of fig leaves used by Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:7) in that far off day when He came to walk with them in the Garden of Eden. More immediately, of course, He would think of Judah and Jerusalem, outwardly prosperous and religious, but inwardly spiritually barren. Israel had often been symbolized in Scripture as a fig tree (Isaiah 34:4; Jeremiah 24:1-8; Hosea 9:10; Luke 13:6-9), and its religious leaders had rejected Him and were now intent on getting rid of Him. Accordingly He “cursed” the fig tree (Mark 11:21), just as He had cursed Adam and Eve and their whole dominion (Genesis 3:16-19), thus symbolizing the terrible fate awaiting the Jews because of their spiritual unfruitfulness.

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