Luke 13:7
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"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?'

King James 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 cumbereth it the ground?

Darby Bible Translation
And he said to the vinedresser, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig-tree and find none: cut it down; why does it also render the ground useless?

World English Bible
He said to the vine dresser, 'Behold, these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and found none. Cut it down. Why does it waste the soil?'

Young's Literal Translation
and he said unto the vine-dresser, Lo, three years I come seeking fruit in this fig-tree, and do not find, cut it off, why also the ground doth it render useless?

Luke 13:7 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the 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.

Luke 13:7 Parallel Commentaries

Library
The Strait Gate
'And He went through the cities and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. 23. Then said one unto Him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And He said unto them, 24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not he able. 25. When once the Master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open unto us; and He shall answer and say unto you, I know
Alexander Maclaren—Expositions Of Holy Scripture

On the Words of the Gospel, Luke xiii. 6, Where we are Told of the Fig-Tree, which Bare no Fruit for Three Years; and of The
1. Touching "the fig-tree" which had its three years' trial, and bare no fruit, and "the woman which was in an infirmity eighteen years," hearken to what the Lord may grant me to say. The fig-tree is the human race. And the three years are the three times; one before the Law, the second under the Law, the third under grace. Now there is nothing unsuitable in understanding by "the fig-tree" the human race. For when the first man sinned, he covered his nakedness with fig-leaves; [3442] covered those
Saint Augustine—sermons on selected lessons of the new testament

The Early Ministry in Judea
113. We owe to the fourth gospel our knowledge of the fact that Jesus began his general ministry in Jerusalem. The silence of the other records concerning this beginning cannot discredit the testimony of John. For these other records themselves indicate in various ways that Jesus had repeatedly sought to win Jerusalem before his final visit at the end of his life (compare Luke xiii. 34; Matt. xxiii. 37). Moreover, the fourth gospel is confirmed by the probability, rising almost to necessity, that
Rush Rhees—The Life of Jesus of Nazareth

The Barren Fig-Tree.
"There were present at that season some that told him of the Galileans, whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answering said unto them, Suppose ye that these Galileans were sinners above all the Galileans, because they suffered such things? I tell you, Nay: but, except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish. Or those eighteen, upon whom the tower in Siloam fell, and slew them, think ye that they were sinners above all men that dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, Nay: but, except
William Arnot—The Parables of Our Lord

Cross References
Daniel 4:14
'He shouted out and spoke as follows: "Chop down the tree and cut off its branches, Strip off its foliage and scatter its fruit; Let the beasts flee from under it And the birds from its branches.

Matthew 3:10
"The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Matthew 7:19
"Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Luke 3:9
"Indeed the axe is already laid at the root of the trees; so every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire."

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;

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