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Luke 13:6

Luke 13:6

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 canons {e},

``the prohibition on account of divers seeds in a vineyard, concerned divers sorts of corn, (as wheat, barley) 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 said F6,

``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, (hnat huqm) , "part of a fig tree".''

Again, more than once it is said in a parabolical way F7,

``this is like unto a king that has a paradise, or orchard planted, (Mynpg lvw Mynat lv hrwv) , "a row of fig trees, and of vines", and of pomegranates, and of apples''

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 Isaiah 5:2 Isaiah 5:7 ) 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 ) .


FOOTNOTES:

F5 Maimon. Hilchot Celaim, c. 5. sect. 6.
F6 Misn. Celaim, c. 6. sect. 4.
F7 Vajikra Rabba, sect. 23. fol. 164. 3. Shirhashirim Rabba, fol. 9. 2.
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