Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:6

And He began telling this parable: "A man had a fig tree which had been planted in his vineyard; and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Fig Tree;   God Continued...;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Judgment;   Probation;   Reproof;   Responsibility;   Unfaithfulness;   Unfruitfulness;   Vineyard;   Wicked (People);   Works;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Fig-Trees;   Fruitfulness-Unfruitfulness;   Parables;   Trees;   Truth;   Unfruitfulness;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fig-Tree, the;   Long-Suffering of God, the;   Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Barrenness;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Fig;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ethics;   Suffering;   Charles Buck Theological Dictionary - Patience of God;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Parable;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Vine;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Anger (Wrath) of God;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Condemnation (2);   Discourse;   Fig-Tree ;   Husbandman ;   Indolence;   Mustard;   Poet;   Quotations (2);   Retribution (2);   Saying and Doing;   Science (2);   Self-Control;   Vine, Vineyard ;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Fig, Fig-Tree;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Certain;   Fig tree;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Fig;   Fig tree;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Fig (tree);   Fruit;   Vineyard;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Fig Tree;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Fig;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);  

Adam Clarke Commentary

A certain man - Many meanings are given to this parable, and divines may abound in them; the sense which our Lord designed to convey by it appears to be the following: -

  1. A person, τις, God Almighty.
  • Had a fig tree, the Jewish Church.
  • Planted in his vineyard - established in the land of Judea.
  • He came seeking fruit - he required that the Jewish people should walk in righteousness, in proportion to the spiritual culture he bestowed on them.
  • The vine-dresser - the Lord Jesus, for God hath committed all judgment to the Son, John 5:22.
  • Cut it down - let the Roman sword be unsheathed against it.
  • Let it alone - Christ is represented as intercessor for sinners, for whose sake the day of their probation is often lengthened; during which time he is constantly employed in doing every thing that has a tendency to promote their salvation.
  • 8. Thou shalt cut it down - a time will come, that those who have not turned at God's invitations and reproofs shall be cut off, and numbered with the transgressors.

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    Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-13.html. 1832.

    Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

    This parable - See the notes at Matthew 13:3.

    Vineyard - A place where vines were planted. It was not common to plant fig-trees in them, but our Lord represents it as having been sometimes done.

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    Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-13.html. 1870.

    Coffman Commentaries on the Bible

    And he spake a parable; a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; cut it down; why doth it also cumber the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, until I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit thenceforth, well; but if not, thou shalt cut it down.

    ANALOGIES IN THE PARABLE

    Owner of the vineyard = the heavenly Father

    The vinedresser = the Lord Jesus Christ

    The vineyard = the world

    The fig tree = the Jewish nation

    Three years = the first three years of Jesus' ministry

    Fruitlessness = Israel's rejection of Jesus

    This year also = Jesus' final year of preaching

    Thou shalt cut it down = God's judgment against Israel

    There is nothing in this parable that requires us to consider that fig tree as being only three years old. The Greek text in this place uses the past perfect "having been planted,"[9] that is, having been planted long ago in the call of Abraham. "These three years" refer to the special anticipation upon the part of the Father that when the Son of God appeared Israel would receive and acknowledge him. The whole history of the chosen people was epitomized by what took place in the ministry of Jesus.

    Although the fig tree in this parable primarily stands for Israel, "the fig tree symbolizes also every individual who remains unrepentant."[10]

    Most modern commentators, due to the "one parable, one point" philosophy, are very reluctant to assign any meaning to the "three years"; but Christ's use of such an expression could not have been coincidental. It came first in the sentence, and coincided with a number of other "threes" in this chapter, the parable itself being the third call to repentance. Also, the three measures of meal (Luke 13:20) point to some definite meaning.

    Russell's concise explanation of the parable is the following:

    In this, the fig tree is the Jewish nation, God the owner, Christ the vinedresser. The fig tree is condemned for fruitlessness, but the vinedresser asks for more time ... in order that it might yet bear fruit. If not, that is, if the Jewish or any other nation or individual fails to bear fruit ... it is to be destroyed.[11]

    [9] Nestle Greek Text (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), p. 296.

    [10] Norval Geldenhuys, op. cit., p. 373.

    [11] John William Russell, Compact Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1964), p. 173.

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    Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.
    Bibliographical Information
    Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Coffman Commentaries on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/luke-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

    John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

    He spoke also this parable,.... That is, Jesus spake, as the Persic version expresses it, that which follows; and at the same time, and upon the above occasion; setting forth the patience of God towards the Jewish nation, their unfruitfulness, and the danger of their being destroyed, in case of non-amendment:

    a certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard. This was not at all contrary to the law in Deuteronomy 22:9 "thou shalt not sow thy vineyard with divers seeds": for according to the Jewish canonsF5Maimon. Hilchot Celaim, c. 5. sect. 6. ,

    "the prohibition on account of divers seeds in a vineyard, concerned divers sorts of corn, (as wheat, barley, &c.) and divers sorts of herbs only: but it was lawful to sow other sorts of seeds in a vineyard, and there is no need to say other trees.'

    And there are cases put, and instances given, which express, or suppose fig trees, particularly, to have been planted in vineyards; for it is saidF6Misn. Celaim, c. 6. sect. 4. ,

    "if a man carries a vine over part of a tree for meat, he may sow seed under the other part of it--it happened that R. Joshua went to R. Ishmael to Cephar Aziz, and he showed him a "vine", carried over, מקצה תאנה, "part of a fig tree".'

    Again, more than once it is said in a parabolical wayF7Vajikra Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 164. 3. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 9. 2. ,

    "this is like unto a king that has a paradise, or orchard planted, שורה של תאנים ושל גפנים, "a row of fig trees, and of vines", and of pomegranates, and of apples, &c.'

    By the "certain man" may be meant, either God the Father, who is sometimes called an husbandman; or rather the Lord Jesus Christ, who is truly man, as well as properly God; and "by his vineyard" may be meant, the Jewish nation; see Isaiah 5:1 which were his own nation and people, from whence he sprung, and to whom he was particularly sent, and among whom he had a special property; and may also be applied to the church of God in any age or nation, which is often compared to a vineyard, consisting of persons separated from the world, and planted with various plants, some fruitful, pleasant, profitable, and valuable, and are Christ's by his Father's gift, and his own purchase. And by "the fig tree planted" in it, may be principally meant the Scribes and Pharisees, and the generality of the Jewish people; who were plants, but not of Christ's Father's planting, and therefore to be cut down, or rooted up: and may be accommodated to professors of religion; some of which are true and real, and may be compared to the fig tree, because of its large and green leaves, expressive of their profession; and become fruitful, as they are, being filled with the fruits of the Spirit, of righteousness, and of grace; and because it puts forth its fruit before its leaves, as there should be the fruit of grace before a profession of faith is made. Others are only nominal professors; and are like a fig tree, of which sort was this in the parable, that has large leaves, but no fruit; make a large profession, but bring forth no fruit to the glory of God; and though they are planted in the house of God, yet not by God the Father, nor by Christ, only at best by ministers and churches hoping well of them, but mistaken in them:

    and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. This, if understood of God the Father, designs his coming to the Jewish people by his servants and prophets, time after time, and at last by John the Baptist, and Jesus Christ, and his apostles, seeking and requiring fruits of holiness, righteousness, and judgment, but found instead thereof the wild grapes of wickedness, oppression, and violence: but if of Christ, which sense is rather to be chosen, it denotes his incarnation, or his coming into the world in human nature, and seeking by his ministry, the fruits of faith in himself, and repentance towards God among the people of the Jews, but found none; at least instances of faith in Israel were very rare, and few repented of their evil works; and hence he upbraided many with their impenitence and unbelief; see Matthew 11:20.

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    The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
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    Bibliographical Information
    Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-13.html. 1999.

    Geneva Study Bible

    2 He spake also this parable; A certain [man] had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

    (2) Great and long suffering is the patience of God, but yet he eventually executes judgment.
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    Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-13.html. 1599-1645.

    Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

    Planted (πεπυτευμενηνpephuteumenēn). Perfect passive participle of πυτευωphuteuō to plant, an old verb, from πυτονphuton a plant, and that from πυωphuō to grow. But this participle with ειχενeichen (imperfect active of εχωechō) does not make a periphrastic past perfect like our English “had planted.” It means rather, he had a fig tree, one already planted in his vineyard.

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    The Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament. Copyright Broadman Press 1932,33, Renewal 1960. All rights reserved. Used by permission of Broadman Press (Southern Baptist Sunday School Board)
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    Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

    Wesley's Explanatory Notes

    He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

    A man had a fig tree — Either we may understand God the Father by him that had the vineyard, and Christ by him that kept it: or Christ himself is he that hath it, and his ministers they that keep it. Psalm 80:8. etc.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
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    Wesley, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-13.html. 1765.

    The Fourfold Gospel

    And he spake this parable1; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none2.
      Luke 13:6-9

    1. And he spake this parable. This parable is closely connected with Luke 13:3,5; Luke 12:58,59.

    2. A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came seeking fruit thereon, and found none. In this parable Jesus likened his hearers to a fig-tree planted in a choice place--a vineyard, the odd corners of which are still used as advantageous spots for fig- trees.

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    These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website. These files were made available by Mr. Ernie Stefanik. First published online in 1996 at The Restoration Movement Pages.
    Bibliographical Information
    J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

    John Trapp Complete Commentary

    6 He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

    Ver. 6. A vineyard] So the Church is frequently called. {See Trapp on "Matthew 21:33"}

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    Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

    Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

    Our blessed Saviour, that he might excite the Jews to the practice of the last mentioned duty of repentance, sets forth his long-suffering with them, and forbearance towards them, by the parable of the fig tree, which the Master of the vineyard had long expected fruit there from, but found none.

    Where note, 1. The great care that God takes to make poor sinners happy; he plants them in his church, as in a vineyard, that by the cultivating care of his ministers, and the fructifying influences of his Spirit, they may be fruitful in good works.

    Note, 2. That God keeps an exact account or reckoning, what means and advantages every place and people have enjoyed; These three years have I come seeking fruit, alluding to the three years of his own ministry among them. God keeps a memorial how many years the gospel has been amongst a people, how many ministers they have had, and how long with them, what pathetical exhortations, what pressing admonitions, what cutting reproofs; all are upon the file, and must be accounted for.

    Learn, 3. That God expects suitable and proportionable fruit from a people, according to the time of their standing in his vineyard, and answering to the cost and culture which his ministers have expended upon them, and the pains they have taken with them.

    Note farther, 4. That although God does and justly may expect fruit from such as are planted, in his vineyard, to with, the Christian church, yet he expects it with much patience and forbearnace, waiting from year to year, to see if time will work amendment. These three years I have come seeking fruit, and found none.

    Lastly, if after all the cost that God has bestowed upon a people by his ministers and ordinances, they continue unfruitful, there is nothing to be expected but excision and final destruction: Cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground?

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    Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-13.html. 1700-1703.

    Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

    Luke 13:6. συκῆν, a fig-tree) a tree which in itself has no rightful place in a vineyard. God took Israel as His people by the freest exercise of grace.— αὐτοῦ, His) The Father has a vineyard, and Christ cultivates and dresses it, עבד יהוה. Comp. Luke 13:8, Lord [which implies, the vineyard has Him for its Lord and owner]: or else Christ has the vineyard, and His ministers cultivate it.— πεφυτευμένην, planted) designedly.

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    Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jab/luke-13.html. 1897.

    Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

    Ver. 6-9. This parable very fitly coheres with the preceding discourse: there he had let his hearers know, that though God spareth some sinners, and hath a longer patience with them than others, though they be every whit as great transgressors, in expectation still that they should bring forth fruit; yet if they answer not the means which God useth, with them to bring them to repentance, they shall not be spared long, but vengeance shall overtake them also. Those who think that this parable concerned not the Jews only, but all mankind, or more especially those who are in the pale of the church, judge well, provided that they allow it to have been spoken with a primary reference to that nation, amongst whom Christ had now been preaching and working miracles three years, and expected the fruits of repentance and reformation from them in vain. I do not think it any prejudice to this, that the vine dresser begged but for one year longer, whereas after this Christ had patience with them forty years, before they were destroyed; for one year may not be intended strictly, (though the three years be), but to signify some little time more, that the apostles might use all probable means to reclaim them, and make them more fruitful. Grotius thinks the term of three years is used, because every fig tree (not wholly barren) brought forth fruit one year in three; which notion (if true) of that plant is valuable, but may be of ill consequence, if any should thence conclude, that men’s days of grace exceed not three years: yet thus much is observable, that when God sends a faithful minister to a place, the greatest success and blessing of his ministry is within a few of his first years in a place. The parable doubtless extendeth much further than to the people of the Jews, and learns us all these lessons:

    1. That where God plants any one within the pale of his church, he looks he or she should bring forth the fruits of repentance and faith.

    2. That many are so planted, yet bring forth no fruit.

    3. That there is a determined time beyond which God will not bear with barren souls.

    4. That barren souls are not only useless, but also spoil others; thn ghn katargei, they make the soil unprofitable: a quench coal spoils the fire.

    5. That faithful ministers will be very earnest with God to spare even barren souls.

    6. That it is their work and duty to use all probable means to make barren souls fruitful. I will dig about it, and dung it.

    7. That bearing fruit at last will save souls from ruin and destruction.

    8. That out it every soul, though standing in God’s vineyard, will at last perish eternally.

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    Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 13:6". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-13.html. 1685.

    Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture

    смоковницу Она часто использовалась как символ Израиля (см. пояснения к Мф. 21:19; Мк. 11:14). Однако в этом случае урок притчи о бесплодности равно относится ко всему народу и к каждой отдельной душе.

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    MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-13.html.

    Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

    6.A certain man—The man is Jehovah; the fig-tree is the Jew, national or personal; the vine-dresser is the Redeemer. This is a parable in words, as the cursing of the barren fig-tree was the same parable in action. See note on Matthew 21:18-23.

    He came—This He is the same as the owner in the parable of the wicked husbandman, namely, God the Father Almighty.

    Sought fruit—Fruit is a very common and very expressive image of men’s moral actions; springing as both do from the natural vigor of the being by which they are produced. But they differ in one important point, that the fruit is a necessary inevitable product, whereas a good or evil deed is free and responsible.

    Found none—In the beautiful passage of Isaiah 5:1, where the same sad truths are illustrated under the image of a vineyard, the planter not merely finds no true fruit, but he finds the opposite, namely, an evil product. There was not only omission of good, but commission of bad.

     

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    Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/luke-13.html. 1874-1909.

    Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible

    ‘And he spoke this parable, “A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard, and he came seeking fruit on it, and found none.” ’

    In the Old Testament fruit trees were regularly seen as symbols of Israel, especially the vine in the vineyard (Psalms 80:8-15; Isaiah 5:1-7; Isaiah 27:1-4; Jeremiah 2:21; Hosea 10:1). But a fig tree would be an equally good symbol (Hosea 9:20) for it is often seen in parallel to the vine (Deuteronomy 8:8; 1 Kings 4:25; 2 Kings 18:31; Psalms 105:33; Joel 1:7) and was regularly found in vineyards. Compare the fig tree which Jesus cursed which was clearly figurative of either Israel, Jerusalem or the Temple (Mark 11:13; Mark 11:20).

    But Jesus may deliberately have used the fig tree rather than a vine as a symbol so as to indicate individual lives within ‘his vineyard’, one of those planted in the vineyard of Israel, for the vine would have indicated Israel as a whole. The main point of the story, however, is that the tree should have borne fruit, but that the owner finds no fruit on it, presumably at a time when fruit would be expected. It is a picture of many of Jesus’ listeners.

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    Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/pet/luke-13.html. 2013.

    Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament

    Luke 13:6. A fig tree planted in his vineyard. This was not unusual, nor contrary to Deuteronomy 22:9.

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    Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/luke-13.html. 1879-90.

    The Expositor's Greek Testament

    Luke 13:6. : a fig tree, quite appropriate and common in corners of a vineyard, yet not the main plant in such a place; selected rather than a vine to represent Israel, by way of protest against assumed inalienable privilege. “Perish,” Jesus had said once and again (Luke 13:3; Luke 13:5). Some hearers might think: What! the Lord’s elect people perish? Yes, replies Jesus in effect, like a barren fig tree cast out of a vineyard, where at best it has but a subordinate place.

     

     

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    Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-13.html. 1897-1910.

    George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

    A certain man, &c. Each one, inasmuch as he holds a place in life, if he produce not the fruit of good works, like a barren tree encumbers the ground; because the place he holds, were it occupied by others, might be a place of fertility. (St. Gregory)

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    Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/luke-13.html. 1859.

    E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

    this parable. Combining the fig tree and the vineyard. See John 15:1.

    a fig tree. The symbol of Israel"s national privilege. See notes on Judges 9:8-12. Here it denotes that special privilege of that generation. Compare Jeremiah 24:3. Hosea 9:10. Matthew 21:19.

    vineyard. Psalms 80:8-11. Compare Isaiah 5:2, &c.

    thereon = on (Greek. en. App-104.) it.

    none = not (App-105. a) any.

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    Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/luke-13.html. 1909-1922.

    Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

    He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.

    He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree - meaning Israel as the visible witness for God in the world; but generally, all within the pale of the visible Church of God: a familiar figure-compare Isaiah 5:1-7; John 15:1-8, etc.

    Planted in his vineyard - a spot selected for its fertility, separated from the surrounding fields, and cultivated with special care, with a view solely to fruit.

    And he came and sought fruit thereon - a heart turned to God, the fruits of righteousness. Compare Matthew 21:33-34, and Isaiah 5:2. "He looked that it should bring forth fruit:" He has a right to it, and will require it.

    And found none.

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    Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/luke-13.html. 1871-8.

    Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

    (6) A certain man had a fig tree.—The parable stands obviously in very close connection with the foregoing teaching. The people had been warned of the danger of perishing, unless they repented. They are now taught that the forbearance and long-suffering of God are leading them to repentance. The sharp warning of the Baptist, “Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down” (Matthew 3:10), is expanded into a parable. As regards the outward framework of the story, we have only to note that the joint culture of the fig-tree and the vine was so common as to have passed into a proverb (2 Kings 18:31; Song of Solomon 2:13). The interpretation of the parable as to its general drift is easy enough. The barren fig-tree is the symbol of a fruitless profession of godliness; the delay represents the forbearance of God in allowing yet a time for repentance. When we come to details, however, serious difficulties present themselves. If we take the fig-tree as representing Israel, what are we to make of the vineyard? If the owner of the vineyard be Christ, who is the vine-dresser? Do the three years refer to the actual duration of our Lord’s ministry? Answers to these questions will be found in the following considerations:—(1) The vineyard is uniformly in the parabolic language of Scripture the symbol of Israel. (See Note on Matthew 21:33.) (2) The owner of that vineyard is none other than the great King, the Lord of Hosts (Isaiah 5:7). (3) If this be so, then the fig-tree must stand for something else than Israel as a nation, and the context points to its being the symbol of the individual soul, which inheriting its place in a divine order, is as a tree planted in the garden of the Lord. (Comp. Psalms 1:3; Jeremiah 18:8.) (4) The “three years” in which the owner comes seeking fruit can, on this view, answer neither to the three stages of Revelation—Patriarchal, Mosaic, and Prophetic—nor the three years of our Lord’s ministry, but represent, as the symbol of completeness, the full opportunities given to men, the calls to repentance and conversion which come to them in the several stages of their lives in youth, manhood, age. (5) The dresser of the vineyard, following the same line of thought, is the Lord Jesus Himself, who intercedes, as for the nation as a whole, so for each individual member of the nation. He pleads for delay. He will do what can be done by “digging” into the fallow ground of the soul, and by imparting new sources of nourishment or fruitfulness. If these avail, well. If not, the fig-tree, by implication every fig-tree in the vineyard that continued barren, would be cut down.

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    Bibliographical Information
    Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-13.html. 1905.

    Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

    He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.
    fig-tree
    Psalms 80:8-13; Isaiah 5:1-4; Jeremiah 2:21; Matthew 21:19,20; Mark 11:12-14
    and he came
    20:10-14; Matthew 21:34-40; John 15:16; Galatians 5:22; Philippians 4:17
    Reciprocal: Judges 9:11 - GeneralSong of Solomon 2:13 - fig tree;  Jeremiah 8:13 - there;  Matthew 3:10 - is hewn;  Matthew 7:17 - every;  Matthew 7:19 - bringeth;  Mark 11:13 - seeing;  Mark 12:1 - planted;  Luke 8:14 - and bring;  John 15:5 - same;  Philippians 1:11 - filled;  Titus 3:14 - that

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    These files are public domain.
    Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. Used by Permission.
    Bibliographical Information
    Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-13.html.

    Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

    6.He spoke also this parable. The substance of it is, that many are endured for a time who deserve to be cut off; but that they gain nothing by the delay, if they persist in their obstinacy. The wicked flattery, by which hypocrites are hardened, and become more obstinate, arises from this cause, that they do not think of their sins till they are compelled; and, therefore, so long as God winks at these, and delays his chastisements, they imagine that he is well satisfied with them. Thus they indulge themselves more freely, as if, to use the words of Isaiah, (Isaiah 28:15,) they had made a covenant with death, and were in friendship with the grave. And this is the reason why Paul denounces them in such earnestness of language for

    treasuring up to themselves the wrath of God against the last day,
    (
    Romans 2:5.)

    It is well known that trees are sometimes preserved, not because their owners find them to be useful and productive, but because the careful and industrious husbandman makes every possible trial and experiment before he determines to remove them out of the field or vineyard. This teaches us that, when the Lord does not immediately take vengeance on the reprobate, but delays to punish them, there are the best reasons for his forbearance. Such considerations serve to restrain human rashness, that no man may dare to murmur against the supreme Judge of all, if He does not always execute his judgments in one uniform manner. A comparison is here drawn between the owner and the vine-dresser: not that God’s ministers go beyond him in gentleness and forbearance, but because the Lord not only prolongs the life of sinners, but likewise cultivates them in a variety of ways, that they may yield better fruit.

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    These files are public domain.
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    Calvin, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:6". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/luke-13.html. 1840-57.