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Verse 6. See Barnes "Mt 17:20".

Sycamine-tree. This name, as well as sycamore, is given, among us, to the large tree commonly called the buttonwood; but the tree here mentioned is different. The Latin Vulgate and the Syriac versions translate it mulberry-tree. It is said to have been a tree that commonly grew in Egypt, of the size and appearance of a mulberry-tree, but bearing a species of figs. This tree was common in Palestine. It is probable that our Lord was standing by one as he addressed these words to his disciples. Dr. Thomson (The Land and the Book, vol. i.p. 22-24) says of this tree : \-

"It is generally planted by the wayside, in the open

space where several paths meet." [Comp. Lu 19:4]

This sycamore is a remarkable tree. It not only bears

several crops of figs during the year, but these figs

grow on short stems along the trunk and large branches,

and not at the end of twigs, as in other fruit-bearing



The figs are small, and of a greenish-yellow colour. At

Gaza and Askelon I saw them of a purple tinge, and much

larger than they are in this part of the country. They

were carried to market in large quantities, and appeared

to be more valued there than with us. Still, they are,

at best, very insipid, and none but the poorer classes

eat them. It is easily propagated, merely by planting

a stout branch in the ground, and watering it until it

has struck its roots into the soil. This it does with

great rapidity and to a vast depth. It was with

reference to this latter fact that our Lord selected it

to illustrate the power of faith. Now, look at this

tree—its ample girth, its wide-spread arms branching

off from the parent trunk only a few feet from the

ground; then examine its enormous roots, as thick,

as numerous, and as wide-spread into the deep soil

below as the branches extend into the air above—the

very best type of invincible steadfastness. What

power on earth can pluck up such a tree ? Heaven's

thunderbolt may strike it down, the wild tornado may

tear it to fragments, but nothing short of miraculous

power can fairly pluck it up by the roots."

{e} "If ye had faith" Mt 17:20; 21:21; Mr 9:23; 11:23

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