Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Luke 13:8

And he answered and said to him, ‘Let it alone, sir, for this year too, until I dig around it and put in fertilizer;
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Church;   Fig Tree;   God Continued...;   Jesus, the Christ;   Jesus Continued;   Judgment;   Manure;   Probation;   Reproof;   Responsibility;   Unfaithfulness;   Unfruitfulness;   Vineyard;   Works;   Scofield Reference Index - Parables;   Thompson Chain Reference - Delays, Divine;   Error;   Life;   Penalty, Delayed;   Probation;   Punishment;   Sin;   Sin's;   Sin-Saviour;   Transgression;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Agriculture or Husbandry;   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;   Easton Bible Dictionary - Dung;   Fausset Bible Dictionary - Daniel, the Book of;   Dung;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Parables;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Dung;   Matthew, Gospel According to;   Parable;   Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament - Agriculture;   Beauty;   Condemnation (2);   Discourse;   Earthquake ;   Fig-Tree ;   Indolence;   Lord (2);   Nature and Natural Phenomena;   Poet;   Sanctify, Sanctification;   Saying and Doing;   Science (2);   Self-Control;   Sir ;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Chief parables and miracles in the bible;   Fig;   Fig tree;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Dung;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Jesus of Nazareth;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Dung;   Jesus Christ (Part 2 of 2);   Wisdom of God;  

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

And he answering, said unto him, Lord,.... Which, if understood of God the Father, may intend the intercession of Christ with him, who not only intercedes for his elect, for those that are unconverted, that they may be converted; and for converted ones, for the carrying on of the work of sanctification; for fresh discoveries of pardoning grace; for consolation and support under trouble; for their final perseverance, and eternal glorification: but also for his enemies, for profane sinners, and for formal professors; for the sake of his own people among them, and for their preservation, and for the averting of divine judgments from them, at least as yet: and so the Jewish nation was spared for some time after this, though now deserving of immediate destruction. But rather, the intercession of the ministers of Christ, and other good men, may be here meant; who, as Abraham interceded for Sodom, and Moses and Aaron for Israel, so do they for a sinful nation, a barren and unfruitful church and people, and particular persons, that they may be spared, at least a little longer, as here:

let it alone this year also; have patience one year more, or a little while longer. The Ethiopic version renders it, "until the winter", that being a time for digging about, and dunging of trees, as follows,

till I shall dig about it, and dung it; these same phrases are used in the "Misna"F11Sheviith, c. 2. sect. 2. ,

מזבלין ומעדרין, "they dung and dig" in gardens of cucumbers, and gourds, until the beginning of the year:'

upon which their commentators sayF12Jarchi, Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. , that they carry dung into their gardens to moisten the earth, and dig about the roots of the trees, and lay them bare, and cover them again, and prune them, and smoke them to kill the worms. And by these phrases may be signified the various means Christ made use of by his own ministry, and by the ministry of his apostles, to make the Jews a fruitful people; and rather the means Christ's ministers make use of, as did the apostles with the Jews, to reach the cases of barren professors; as by "digging", striking at, and exposing some secret sin or sins, which are the root and source of their barrenness; showing them, that they have no root in Christ, nor the root of the matter in them; and declaring to them the insufficiency of a mere profession of religion to save them: and "dunging", which as it supposes want of heat, or coldness, which is the cause of barrenness, and signifies, that such professors are without spiritual life, and without spiritual heat, or real warmth of love to Christ, his truths, ordinances, and people, and discharge their duty in a cold and lifeless manner; so it may design the means they make use of to warm and fire them with zeal for God, and true religion; by preaching the soul quickening doctrines of the Gospel, and by laying before them the agreeableness of a becoming zeal, and the disagreeableness of a lukewarm spirit and disposition, an indolence and unconcern for the glory of God, and interest of Christ.

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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.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/luke-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

he answering, etc. — Christ, as Intercessor, loath to see it cut down so long as there was any hope (see Luke 13:34).

dig, etc. — loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure; pointing to changes of method in the divine treatment of the impenitent, in order to freshen spiritual culture.

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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.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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

8. And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

[I will dig about it, and dung it.] They dung it and dig it &c. The Gloss is; "They lay dung in their gardens to moisten the earth. They dig about the roots of their trees, they pluck up the suckers, they take off the leaves, they sprinkle ashes, and they smoke under the trees to kill worms."

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Lightfoot, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "John Lightfoot Commentary on the Gospels". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jlc/luke-13.html. 1675.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament

Till I shall dig (εως οτου σκαπσωheōs hotou skapsō). First aorist active subjunctive like βαλωbalō (second aorist active subjunctive of βαλλωballō), both common verbs.

Dung it (βαλω κοπριαbalō kopria). Cast dung around it, manure it. ΚοπριαKopria late word, here alone in the N.T.

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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)
Bibliographical Information
Robertson, A.T. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "Robertson's Word Pictures of the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/rwp/luke-13.html. Broadman Press 1932,33. Renewal 1960.

James Nisbet's Church Pulpit Commentary

ONE MORE CHANCE

‘Lord, let it alone this year also.’

Luke 13:8

How very few of us ever stop to think of the great mercy and long-suffering of our God, Who spares our lives from day to day and year to year.

Let us resolve, as we stretch forth our hands into the hidden future, let us resolve to bring forth more holy fruit than we have done in the years now for ever gone.

I. The call to arise.—The stirring summons and the beautiful promise of St. Paul to the Ephesians should be ringing in our ears and touching our hearts: ‘Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.’ Sins and shortcomings of all kinds, especially those which through the power of the flesh would kill the spirit, must be left dead in the darkness of the past as we arise and come towards the light. I know thousands will say that, even when we have manfully resolved to let all that is unworthy die, it is not easy; nay, it is very hard. But remember, God shows us how to do it. As in the natural world there is no poison without an antidote, so in the spiritual world there is a God-sent antidote for the poison of sin (see Illustration). Sin is the poison which is death to the soul; the Cross of Christ is the certain cure. Kneel in penitence before the Cross, and the blood of the holy Victim cleanseth us from all sin.

II. The new light.—And He Who has the power to cleanse us from the sins of the past is the same Holy Friend Who gives the light to walk by in the present and in the future. ‘Christ shall give thee light.’ And we know full well by experience how sorely we shall need this light as the days and hours fly by. There are many enemies of the soul hidden as it were in the dark, but nevertheless striving to lead us into unclean paths, far, far away from all that is holy. There is that one great adversary, the devil: and it is only by the power of the light which Christ gives that we can detect his many devices to destroy our peace (see Illustration).

III. Light in the darkness.—Let us pray for this mighty gift.

(a) Some of us may have to feel bitterly the darkness that enshrouds the soul when it is wounded and bruised by an unexpected fall.

(b) Some of us may have to feel the darkness that falls upon the heart when one we love is taken away from earth, and the bitterness of bereavement cannot be sweetened by human power.

(c) And some may themselves have to hear the call, to lie down and die, and feel the darkness that hangs around the hour of death.

Whatever may be the nature of the darkness that is sure to come, the darkness of sin, of temptation, of bereavement, of sickness, of poverty, of death itself, there is but one light wherein we shall hope, and that is the light that Jesus gives.

Rev. W. E. Coghlan.

Illustrations

(1) ‘I have read somewhere that in the West Indies there is a tree which bears beautiful golden apples; they are enticing beyond measure to look at, but to eat they are deadly poison. When the natives used to go to war they would dip their arrows into the juice that their foes might meet with certain death. Now, wherever this tree is found there is always another close by, the juice of which, if used in time, is a certain cure.’

(2) ‘There is a story told of a hunter in a far-off land, who had to pass the weary hours of a dark night close to a wounded tiger. He dared not move a limb, for even when the leaves were stirred by the passing breeze he heard the hoarse growl of his fearful enemy. “Hours rolled on, and his powers of endurance were well-nigh exhausted; when at length the welcome streaks of light shot up from the eastern horizon. When the day dawned the tiger stalked away to a distant thicket, and the stiff and weary watcher felt that he was safe.” Thus it is with the beleagured soul; it is only in the light given by the Sun of Righteousness that our enemies can be put to flight.’

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Bibliographical Information
Nisbet, James. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". Church Pulpit Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cpc/luke-13.html. 1876.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

8 And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

Ver. 8. Lord, let it alone this year] Happy that people that have praying vinedressers to intercede for them! God will yield somewhat to prayer, when he is bitterly bent against a people or person.

Till I shall dig, &c.] Donec eam ablaqueavero et stercoravero. (Beza.) Ministers must try their utmost to fulfil their ministry that they have received of the Lord, Colossians 4:17.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/luke-13.html. 1865-1868.

Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament

Observe here, 1. The vine-dresser's petition and request, Lord, let it alone this year also. This points out unto us the office and duty of the ministers of God, who are laborers in his vineyard, to be intercessors with God, for sparing a barren and unfruitful people. Lord, spare them a little longer, Let alone this year also. If they cannot absolutely prevent judgment coming upon an unfruitful people, yet they endeavor to respite it, and delay its coming all they can.

Observe, 2. The condition upon which the vine-dresser's petition is grounded, Till I shall dig about it, and dung it; phrases which intimate unto us the nature and quality of the ministerial work and service, signifying it to be a very difficult and laborious service. Digging is a painful work, and a spending work: and such is our ministerial work, if followed as it ought to be. We deal in mysteries, in the deep things of God, which are not received without much digging.

Observe, 3. A double supposition here made by the vine-dresser:

First, of future fruitfulness; If it bear fruit, well.

Secondly, of future incorrigibleness; If not, after that thou shalt cut it down.

Here is a supposition of future fruitfulness; If it bear fruit, well; that is, it will be well for the Master of the vineyard; herein is he glorified, when his fig trees bear much fruit: well for the dresser of the vineyard; it rejoices the ministers of God to see their people bring forth fruit unto God: well for the vineyard, and the rest of the trees that are in it: but more especially well for the tree itself, thereby avoiding the punishment of barrenness, and procuring the reward of fruitfulness; thus, If it bear fruit, well.

Here is a supposition of future incorrigibleness, After that thou shalt cut it down: that is, after thou hast spared it, and I have pruned it; after thy patience and my pains; after thou hast forborne it, and I have manured it, digged and dunged it; if after all this, it bear no fruit, then I have not a word more to say, Thou shalt cut it down. Thou may cut it down, nobody will go about to hinder thee.

From hence learn, that a people's continued unfruitfulness under the means of grace, does in time take off the prayers and intercessions of the ministers of God for them, and provokes God to bring his judgments unavoidably and irrevocably upon them: After that thou shalt cut it down.

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Bibliographical Information
Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wbc/luke-13.html. 1700-1703.

Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary

8.] σκ. καὶ βάλ. κ., dig holes about the root, and cast in manure, as is done (Trench in loc.) to orange-trees in the south of Italy: and to hops in England.

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Alford, Henry. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". 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 13:8. ἀποκριθεὶς, having answered) By reason of His tender affection for the tree, inasmuch as being the object of His care as its dresser.— ἄφες, let it alone) This is akin to an argument drawn from its costing no great trouble or expense, [To such a degree are even they benefited by the intercession of Christ, who if left to themselves would have long since perished.—V. g.]— τοῦτο τὸ ἔτος, this year) the third, year, on which Jesus most especially visited them (in mercy), ch. Luke 19:42; Luke 19:44; and perfected the work of redemption, and sent His apostles: Acts 2. [It follows from this parable, that three Passovers in all elapsed between the baptism and resurrection of Christ.—Harm., p. 403.]— κόπρια) Greg. Naz., κόπρια περιβαλεῖν. Sing. κόπριον.

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Bengel, Johann Albrecht. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". 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 13:8". 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

оставь ее и на этот год Здесь показывается как заступничество Христа, так и чрезвычайное терпение и милосердие Отца.

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MacLaren, Alexander. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". Alexander MacLaren's Expositions of Holy Scripture. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mac/luke-13.html.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

8.Let it alone—It is the voice of the intercessor. No worth or worthiness in the sinner preserves him. He lives upon sufferance, and dies when the pleading voice becomes silent.

Dig about it—Hollow the earth around the root of the tree, and then pour in the manure, keeping the soil loose and mellow to catch the nourishing dews and rains that a cherishing heaven may send. Thus from beneath and from around and from above is the sinner beset with mercies to save his soul from death.

 

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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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 answering says to him, “Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and feed it with manure, and if it bear fruit from then on, well, and if not, you shall cut it down.”

The vinedresser then suggested that the fig tree be given one more chance to prove itself. He will turn over the soil around it and feed it with manure, Then if it produces fruit all will be satisfied, and if it does not then it can be cut down.

The parable is based on the same idea as lies behind John’s words in Luke 3:9. The fig tree represents God’s supposed people who should be fruitful. Over a complete period of three years (a period which is a sufficient and complete test) they had been tested and had not been fruitful. The warning is then of judgment to come because they are fruitless. The owner is probably God the Judge of all the world. The vinedresser is probably intended to be Jesus Who was here to nourish Israel and was giving them one last chance. The vinedresser’s suggestion indicates that this is their last chance. If they remain fruitless they will perish. The words clearly indicate that He considers that the people have been given every opportunity, and are now being given their last opportunity. If the people still fail to respond to His teaching then only judgment awaits them, and He wants them to know that God is in full agreement with Him on the matter. If they will not be made straight then they will perish. It will be noted that parables of fruitfulness occur both sides of the story of the woman who was made straight, stressing that that story is to be seen as more than just a miracle story, but as an indication of God’s purpose for His own, a making fruitful of His elect.

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Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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 13:8. This year also. A brief respite is asked for, and whatever intercessor may be here represented, there is never any certainty of more than a brief one.

Dig about it, and dung it. The digging was for the purpose of casting in the manure near the roots. Take additional pains with it, using the means adapted to further fruitfulness. A more special interpretation is not necessary. It is always true that the intercessor is also the laborer.

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Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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 13:8. , one year more; he has not courage to propose a longer time to an impatient owner.— (neuter plural from adjective ), dung stuffs. A natural proposal, but sometimes fertility is better promoted by starving, cutting roots, so preventing a tree from running to wood.

 

 

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Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/luke-13.html. 1897-1910.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Lord. App-98.

this: i.e. this third year.

about. Greek. peri. App-104.

dung it = put manure. Greek. kopria. Only here, and Luke 14:35.

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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

And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:

And he answering said unto him. This represents Christ as Intercessor, loath to see it cut down so long as there was any hope. (See Luke 13:34). Lord, let it alone this year also, until I shall dig about it, and dung it - loosen the earth about it and enrich it with manure: pointing to changes of method in the divine treatment of the impenitent, in order to fresh spiritual culture.

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "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

(8) And dung it.—Literally, and put dung. Homely as the imagery is, it suggests fertilising and gracious influences not less vividly than the dew or rain from heaven, and points, perhaps, specifically to such as are working on us in our earthly surroundings, as contrasted with the directly supernatural action of God’s grace.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/luke-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:
Lord, let
Exodus 32:11-13,30-32; 34:9; Numbers 14:11-20; Joshua 7:7-9; Psalms 106:23; Jeremiah 14:7-9,13-18; 15:1; 18:20; Joel 2:17; Romans 10:1; 11:14; 2 Peter 3:9
Reciprocal: Ezekiel 12:3 - it may

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Luke 13:8". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/luke-13.html.