Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:7

And he said to the vineyard-keeper, ‘Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?'
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Fig Tree;   God Continued...;   Holy Spirit;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Judgment;   Probation;   Reproof;   Responsibility;   Unfaithfulness;   Unfruitfulness;   Vineyard;   Wicked (People);   Works;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Delays, Divine;   Error;   Fruit Test;   Penalty, Delayed;   Punishment;   Sin;   Sin's;   Sin-Saviour;   Test, Fruit;   Transgression;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Fig-Tree, the;   Parables;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Barrenness;   Parable;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Fig;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Ethics;   Suffering;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Daniel, the Book of;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Matthew, Gospel According to;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Condemnation (2);   Discourse;   Fig-Tree ;   Food;   Head ;   Indolence;   Numbers;   Numbers (2);   Quotations (2);   Saying and Doing;   Science (2);   Self-Control;   Morrish Bible Dictionary - Fig, Fig-Tree;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Fig;   Fig tree;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Cut;   Watson's Biblical & Theological Dictionary - Fig Tree;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Chronology of the New Testament;   Cumber;   Fig;   Food;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Number;  
Devotionals:
Chip Shots from the Ruff of Life - Devotion for May 24;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

Behold these three years - From this circumstance in the parable, it may be reasonably concluded that Jesus had been, at the time of saying this, exercising his ministry for three years past; and, from what is said in Luke 13:8, of letting it alone this year also, it may be concluded likewise that this parable was spoken about a year before Christ's crucifixion; and, if both these conclusions are reasonable, we may thence infer that this parable was not spoken at the time which appears to be assigned to it, and that the whole time of Christ's public ministry was about four years. See Bishop Pearce. But it has already been remarked that St. Luke never studies chronological arrangement. See the Preface to this Gospel.

Why cumbereth it the ground? - Or, in other words, Why should the ground be also useless? The tree itself brings forth no fruit; let it be cut down that a more profitable one may be planted in its place. Cut it down. The Codex Bezae has added here, φερε την αξινην, Bring the axe and cut it down. If this reading be genuine, it is doubtless an allusion to Matthew 3:10; (note): Now the axe lieth at the root of the trees. If the writer has added it on his own authority, he probably referred to the place above mentioned. See the note on the above text.

There is something very like this in the Γεωπονικα, or De Re Rustica of the ancient Greek writers on agriculture. I refer to cap. 83 of lib. x., p. 773; edit. Niclas, entitled, Δενδρον ακαρπον καρποφορειν, How to make a barren tree fruitful. Having girded yourself, and tied up your garments, take a bipen or axe, and with an angry mind approach the tree as if about to cut it down. Then let some person come forward and deprecate the cutting down of the tree, making himself responsible for its future fertility. Then, seem to be appeased, and so spare the tree, and afterwards it will yield fruit in abundance. "Bean straw (manure of that material), scattered about the roots of the tree, will make it fruitful." That a similar superstition prevailed among the Asiatics, Michaelis proves from the Cosmographer Ibn Alvardi, who prescribes the following as the mode to render a sterile palm tree fruitful: "The owner, armed with an axe, having an attendant with him, approaches the tree, and says, I must cut this tree down, because it is unfruitful. Let it alone, I beseech thee, says the other, and this year it will bring forth fruit. The owner immediately strikes it thrice with the back of his axe; but the other preventing him says, I beseech thee to spare it, and I will be answerable for its fertility. Then the tree becomes abundantly fruitful." Does not our Lord refer to such a custom?

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Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/luke-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

The dresser of his vineyard - The man whose duty it was to trim the vines and take care of his vineyard.

These three years - These words are not to be referred to the time which Christ had been preaching the gospel, as if he meant to specify the exact period. They mean, as applicable to the vineyard, that the owner had been “a long time” expecting fruit on the tree. For three successive years he had been disappointed. In his view it was long enough to show that the tree was barren and would yield no fruit, and that therefore it should be cut down.

Why cumbereth it the ground? - The word “cumber” here means to render “barren” or “sterile.” By taking up the juices of the earth, this useless tree rendered the ground sterile, and prevented the growth of the neighboring vines. It was not merely “useless,” but was doing mischief, which may be said of all sinners and all hypocritical professors of religion. Dr. Thomson (“The Land and the Book,” vol. i. p. 539) says of the barren fig-tree: “There are many such trees now; and if the ground is not properly cultivated, especially when the trees are young - as the one of the parable was, for only “three” years are mentioned they do not bear at all; and even when full grown they quickly fail, and wither away if neglected. Those who expect to gather good crops of well-flavored figs are particularly attentive to their culture - not only plow and dig about them frequently, and manure them plentifully, but they carefully gather out the stones from the orchards, contrary to their general slovenly habits.”

This parable is to be taken in connection with what goes before, and with our Saviour‘s calling the Jewish nation to repentance. It was spoken to illustrate the dealings of God with them, and their own wickedness under all his kindness, and we may understand the different parts of the parable as designed to represent:

1.God, by the man who owned the vineyard.

2.The vineyard as the Jewish people.

3.The coming of the owner for fruit, the desire of God that they should produce good works.

4.The barrenness of the tree, the wickedness of the people.

5.The dresser was perhaps intended to denote the Saviour and the other messengers of God, pleading that God would spare the Jews, and save them from their enemies that stood ready to destroy them, as soon as God should permit.

6.His waiting denotes the delay of vengeance, to give them an opportunity of repentance. And,

7.The remark of the dresser that he might “then” cut it down, denotes the acquiescence of all in the belief that such a judgment would be just.

We may also remark that God treats sinners in this manner now; that he spares them long; that he gives them opportunities of repentance; that many live but to cumber the ground; that they are not only useless to the church, but pernicious to the world; that in due time, when they are fairly tried, they shall be cut down; and that the universe will bow to the awful decree of God, and say that their damnation is just.

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Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/luke-13.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Then said he unto the dresser of the vineyard,.... If by the owner of the vineyard is meant God the Father, then by the dresser of the vineyard Jesus Christ is intended; but as he seems rather designed by the owner, the vinedresser, or "the gardeners", as the Persic version reads, in the plural number, may signify the ministers of the word, to whom Christ, who is Solomon's antitype, lets out his vineyard to dress and cultivate it, and to keep the fruit of it; see Song of Solomon 8:11,

behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none; or "behold, there are three years since I came"; so read the Vulgate Latin and Persic versions, and Beza's most ancient copy. Some think Christ here refers to the three years of his public ministry, which he had now gone through among the Jews with little success; but he seems rather to allude to the nature of fig trees, which, if fruitful, bear in three years time; for even בנות שוח, "a sort of white figs", which are the longest before they bring forth fruit to perfection, yet their fruit is ripe in three years time. These trees bear fruit once in three years; they bear fruit indeed every year, but their fruit does not come to maturity till after three yearsF9T. Hieros. Sheviith, fol. 35. 4. Jarchi, Maimon. & Bartenora in Misn. Demai, c. 1. sect. 1. & Sheviith, c. 5. sect. 1. ; and this may be the reason why this number is fixed upon; for if such fig trees do not bring forth ripe fruit in three years time, there is little reason to expect any from them: and thus it was time after time with the Jewish nation; and so it is with carnal professors: hence it follows,

cut it down, why cumbereth it the ground? or "that it may not cumber"; or "render the ground useless", as read the Arabic version, and one of Beza's copies; for unfruitful trees suck up the juices of the earth, and draw away nourishment from other trees that are near them, and so make the earth barren, and not only hurt other trees, but stand in the way and place of fruitful ones; and therefore it is best to cut them down. So barren professors, as were the Jews, are not only useless and unprofitable themselves, being fruitless, but make churches barren, and stand in the way of others, who are stumbled by them; they are grieving to God, to Christ, and to the blessed Spirit, and are troublesome and burdensome to churches, ministers, and true believers: and the cutting them down may regard the judgment of God upon the nation of the Jews, which Christ would not have his apostles and ministers interpose for the averting of; or the excommunication of such worthless and hurtful professors out of the churches by them.

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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 13:7". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why c cumbereth it the ground?

(c) Make the ground barren in that part which is otherwise good for vines.
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Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/luke-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

three years — a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficient period of culture for spiritual fruit. The supposed allusion to the duration of our Lord‘s ministry is precarious.

cut it down — indignant language.

cumbereth — not only doing no good, but wasting ground.

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
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Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/luke-13.html. 1871-8.

John Lightfoot's Commentary on the Gospels

7. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

Behold, these three years I come, &c.] There was no tree that was of a kind to bear fruit might lightly and upon every small occasion be cut down, that law providing against it in Deuteronomy 20:19,20; where the Pesikta observes that there is both an affirmative and also a negative command, by which it is the more forbidden that any tree of that kind should be cut down, unless upon a very indispensable occasion. "Rabh saith, 'Cut not down the palm that bears a cab of dates.' They urge, 'And what of the olive, that that should not be cut down?' 'If it bear but the fourth part of a cab.' R. Chaninah said, My son Shibchah had not died, had he not cut down a fig-tree before its time."

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-13.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

The vinedresser (τον αμπελουργονton ampelourgon). Old word, but here only in the N.T., from αμπελοςampelos vine, and εργονergon work.

These three years I come (τρια ετη απ ου ερχομαιtria etē aph' hou erchomai). Literally, “three years since (from which time) I come.” These three years, of course, have nothing to do with the three years of Christ‘s public ministry. The three years are counted from the time when the fig tree would normally be expected to bear, not from the time of planting. The Jewish nation is meant by this parable of the barren fig tree. In the withering of the barren fig tree later at Jerusalem we see parable changed to object lesson or fact (Mark 11:12-14; Matthew 21:18.).

Cut it down (εκκοπσονekkopson). “Cut it out,” the Greek has it, out of the vineyard, perfective use of εκek with the effective aorist active imperative of κοπτωkoptō where we prefer “down.”

Why? (ινα τιhina ti). Ellipsis here of γενηταιgenētai of which τιti is subject (Robertson, Grammar, pp. 739, 916).

Also (καιkai). Besides bearing no fruit.

Doth cumber the ground (την γην καταργειtēn gēn katargei). Makes the ground completely idle, of no use (κατα αργεωkata αργοςargeō from αargos εργονa privative and ergon work). Late verb, here only in the N.T. except in Paul‘s Epistles.

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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 13:7". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

Vincent's Word Studies

These three years I come

The best texts insert ἀφ ' οὗ , from which, or since. “It is three years from the time at which I came.”

Cut it down ( ἔκκοψον )

Rather, “cut it out ” ( ἐκ ) from among the other trees and the vines.

Why cumbereth it

The A. V. omits the very important καὶ , also (Rev.), which, as Trench observes, is the key-word of the sentence. Besides being barren in itself, it also injures the soil. “Not only is it unfruitful, but it draws away the juices which the vines would extract from the earth, intercepts the sun, and occupies room” (Bengel). The verb cumbereth ( καταργεῖ ) means to make of no effect. So Romans 3:3, Romans 3:31; Galatians 3:17. Cumbereth expresses the meaning in a very general and comprehensive way. The specific elements included in it are expressed by Bengel above. De Wette, makes the land unfruitful. See on barren and unfruitful, 2 Peter 1:8.

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Vincent, Marvin R. DD. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "Vincent's Word Studies in the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/vnt/luke-13.html. Charles Schribner's Sons. New York, USA. 1887.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

Three years — Christ was then in the third year of his ministry. But it may mean only several years; a certain number being put for an uncertain.

Why doth it also cumber the ground? — That is, not only bear no fruit itself, but take up the ground of another tree that would.

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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 13:7". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/luke-13.html. 1765.

The Fourfold Gospel

And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down1; why doth it also cumber the ground2?

  1. And he said unto the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down. There is no emphasis on the number three, and no allusion to the national history of the Jews, as some suppose. It simply means that a fig-tree's failure to bear fruit for three years would justify its being cut down.

  2. Why doth it also cumber the ground? It cumbered the ground by occupying ground which the vines should have had, and by interfering with their light by its shade, which is very dense.

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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.
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J. W. McGarvey and Philip Y. Pendleton. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "The Fourfold Gospel". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tfg/luke-13.html. Standard Publishing Company, Cincinnati, Ohio. 1914.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

7 Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

Ver. 7. Cut it down] Trees that are not for fruit are for the fire. God will lay down his basket and take up his axe. He will not always serve men for a sinning stock.

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Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

Sermon Bible Commentary

Luke 13:7

Fit to Live.

Men ask, "Are you fit to die?" and men hold up death before the sinner's eyes, and men dwell in solemn warning on the world to come, and on far-off images of death. But God asks, "Are you fit to live?" What, then, is life, if we have to answer the question, "Are we fit to live?" We must seek for the answer where we find the question. The Lord of life has taken a fruit tree in a garden as the best example of the nature of life, both here and in the one great judgment type, when He cursed the barren fig tree, and withered it root and branch, to be for ever the emblem of the lost nation.

I. Life is an internal growth; this is the first great truth. The outer world comes to it in forces of all kinds, and it receives them all, draws them into its being, subdues them to itself, lives by and through them, but makes no stir itself; neither moves nor utters sound, nor is violent, nor fills the world with the rush of impetuous strength. But planted by a Master's hand it stays there, drawing from common earth and common air a growth and a beauty new and unknown to them by its own transforming power; and so it goes on, never losing a moment, making all things serve it in turn, be it rain or frost or wind or sun. Rain and frost and wind and sun touch it each with a power of their own, be it in hate or love; but no sooner do they touch it than the life within seizes on the power, masters it, changes it, gives it a new nature, makes it part of a new life, and to take strange new forms of bud and leaf and flower and fruit. The moment the life does not master the forces which come, that moment it begins to lose its own vitality, and therefore silent mastery of an outward world is life.

II. The great question, "Are you fit to live?" takes this form: first, has all the digging and culture and money spent and time been honestly used? Has it ornamented you, and budded into a growth of leaves fair to look on? And, secondly, is there a ripeness of life coming of such a nature as to be food for the living, and a seed of life for fresh planting? Where is the ceaseless inward power that transmutes all that reaches it into luxuriant growths of new and pleasant services, the silent sustained mastery that, come good, come evil, takes it all, and changes it into crop after crop in due season of help for others, life by which others may live? Tried by this test, are you fit to live?

E. Thring, Church of England Pulpit, April 3rd, 1880.

References: Luke 13:7, Luke 13:8.—Spurgeon, Sermons, vol. xi., No. 650; Ibid., vol. xxv., No. 1451. Luke 13:8.—J. Natt, Posthumous Sermons, p. 384; Preacher's Monthly, vol. i., p. 48.

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Nicoll, William R. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "Sermon Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/sbc/luke-13.html.

Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible

Luke 13:7. Behold, these three years I come See how long I have waited, even three years past, in vain, and still this fig-tree is entirely barren: cut it down; why should it any longer take up the place of better plants, and draw away the fructifying juices of my ground, which might be profitable to other trees? Though this parable was originally meant of the Jews, it may be applied to men in every age; for it exhibits a law observed in the divine administration, which should strike terror into all who enjoy spiritual privileges, without improving them. Every man is allowed a certain time of trial, during which he enjoys the means and helps necessary to holiness. If he continues ignorant of God's visitation, despises the riches of the divine mercy, and goes on obstinately in sin, these advantages are frequently taken away from him, his day of grace ends; the utmost term of God's patience is past for ever; the divine spirit being grieved, is provoked to depart, and the man is delivered over to a hardened heart.

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Coke, Thomas. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". Thomas Coke Commentary on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tcc/luke-13.html. 1801-1803.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

7. τρία ἔτη] I have little doubt (against Bleek, alli(91).) that an allusion is intended to the three years of our Lord’s ministry. The objection to this, that the cutting down ought then to have taken place at the end of τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος, does not apply; for all is left indefinite in the request and the implied answer. In the individual application, many thousands did bear fruit this very year; and of those who did not, who shall say when the Spirit ceased pleading with them, and the final sentence went forth?

καὶ τ. γ. κατ.] Why, besides bearing no fruit, is it impoverishing the soil [rendering the neighbouring ground useless]?

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hac/luke-13.html. 1863-1878.

Johann Albrecht Bengel's Gnomon of the New Testament

Luke 13:7. τρία, three) A number in some measure decisive and determinate. The Lord was beginning His third year of teaching, as the true harmony of the Evangelists shows.— ἔρχομαι, I come) An abbreviated expression, as in ch. Luke 15:29, τοσαῦτα ἔτη δουλεύω, these so many years I (have served and still) serve thee.— ἔκκοψον, cut it off [down]) (Great, severity (stern strictness in punishing) is expressed in this word: as also there is implied the great power of the ἀμπελουργὸς, Vine-dresser.— ἵνα τί καὶ, why even [not expressed in the Engl. Vers.]) Not only is it of no use, but it even draws off the juices, which the vines would otherwise extract (suck) out of the earth, and intercepts the sun’s rays; and it takes up valuable room.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". 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

See Poole on "Luke 13:6"

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Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Luke 13:7". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/luke-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

7.Behold these three years—The fig produces within this period after planting. This is applied by some to represent the period of the Lord’s ministry. If so the nation was allowed to survive near forty years after the voice of the intercessor had surrendered and ceased on earth.

I come—This is a verb of continuity. During the whole three years again and again have I been coming. The visits of God are secret and unrecognized, though they be ever recurring. Our fruitfulness, our barrenness, our production of the wild poison fruit, all take place beneath his watchful but patient eye.

Seeking fruit—The master seeks, and seeks from season to season. There may be no fruit; there may be leaves; there may be the leafless branch; in either case he departs in sorrowful disappointment.

Cumbereth the ground—Renders the ground barren, absorbing the virtue of the soil only to abuse it. For the sinner can never sin by omission alone. He will commit positive sin, and produce positive evil and destruction.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "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 said to the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I have come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and have found none. Cut it down. Why does it also act as a burden on the ground?”

It appears that the owner had given it three years in order to see if its fruitless condition was permanent. He wanted to give it every opportunity. But when it still proved to be fruitless he called on the vinedresser to cut it down and prevent it from filling up useful space where another tree could be planted and from taking the nutrients out of the ground to no purpose.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "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 13:7. Vine-dresser. The cultivator of the vineyard.

These three years. The planted tree would ordinarily bear within three years. Whatever be the special interpretation, this period indicates that fruit is not demanded too soon. ‘Three years are the time of a full trial, at the end of which the inference of incurable sterility may be drawn.’ (Godet) Some refer this to the three years of our Lord’s ministry, now so nearly ended. But the time is uncertain (see above).

Why also, besides bearing no fruit, cumbereth it the ground? Why is it allowed to impoverish the soil, and interfere with the other products of the vineyard. Barrenness curses others also.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "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 13:7. , the vine-dresser ( , ) here only in N.T.— , lo! as of one who has a right to complain.— , three years, reckoned not from the planting of the tree (it is three years after planting that it begins to bear fruit), but from the time that it might have been expected in ordinary course to yield a crop of figs. Three years is not a long period, but enough to determine whether it is going to be fruit-bearing, the one thing it is there for. In the spiritual sphere in national life that cannot be determined to soon. It may take as many thousand years.— , I keep coming, the progressive present. The master comes not merely once a year, but again and again within the year, at the seasons when fruit may be found on a fig tree (Hahn). Cf. in Luke 15:29.— , I do not find it. I come and come and am always disappointed. Hence the impatient , cut it out (from the root).— : points to a second ground of complaint. Besides bearing no fruit it occupies space which might be more profitably filled.— (here and in Paul’s epistles), renders useless; Vulgate, occupat, practically if not verbally the right rendering. A barren fig tree renders the land useless by occupying valuable space.

 

 

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Bibliographical Information
Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-13.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

unto. Greek. pros. App-104.

dresser of vineyard. One word in Greek. Occurs only here. Behold. Figure of speech Asterismos. App-6.

these three years. Can refer only to the period of the Lord"s ministry. The texts add aph" hou = from which, or since (three years). on. Greek. en. App-104.

cut it down = cut it out: i.e. from among the vines.

cumbereth it the ground = injureth it the soil also. The Authorized Version omits this "also", though it stands in the Greek text.

cumbereth. Greek. katargeo. Only here in the Gospels. Twenty-five times in the Epistles in the sense of vitiate. See Romans 3:3.

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Bibliographical Information
Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "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

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard - to him whom he employed to take charge of his vineyard, which in this case we know to be Christ.

Behold, these three years - a long enough trial for a fig tree, and so denoting probably just a sufficient period of culture for spiritual fruit. The supposed allusion to the duration of our Lord's ministry is precarious.

I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down. There is a certain indignation in this language.

Why cumbereth it the ground? - not only doing no good, but wasting ground.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "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

(7) Why cumbereth it the ground?—The Greek verb means more than that the fig-tree was what we call a useless burden or incumbrance, and implies positive injury. It is commonly rendered by “bring to nought,” or some like phrase. (In 1 Corinthians 13:8 it is rendered “fail.”) This would seem, indeed, to have been the old meaning of the English verb. Comp. Shakespeare’s Julius Cœsar, iii. 1:—

“Domestic fury, and fierce civil strife.

Shall cumber all the parts of Italy.”

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Bibliographical Information
Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground?
three
Leviticus 19:23; 25:21; Romans 2:4,5
cut
3:9; Exodus 32:10; Daniel 4:14; Matthew 3:10; 7:19; John 15:2,6
why
Exodus 32:10; Matthew 3:9
Reciprocal: Deuteronomy 20:19 - thou shalt not;  Judges 9:11 - GeneralEcclesiastes 11:3 - if the tree;  Song of Solomon 2:13 - fig tree;  Song of Solomon 6:11 - to see the;  Isaiah 5:2 - he looked;  Ezekiel 24:13 - because;  Hosea 6:4 - what;  2 Timothy 1:10 - abolished;  Hebrews 6:8 - beareth

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Bibliographical Information
Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 13:7". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-13.html.