And when the time of the fruit drew near
Of gathering the fruit, when it was ripe, and might be eaten, or profit made of it, according to the law in ( Leviticus 19:23 Leviticus 19:24 Leviticus 19:25 ) . The fruit of all manner of trees, for the first three years, was uncircumcised; it was not to be eaten, nor any profit made of it, and on the fourth year it was to be holy to praise the Lord with; being either given to the priests, or eaten by the owners before the Lord at Jerusalem; and on the fifth year it might be eaten, and made use of for profit, and henceforward every year; which law regarded the fruit of the vine, as any other fruit: hence it is said F23, that
``the grapes of the vineyard of the fourth year, the sanhedrim ordered that they should be brought up to Jerusalem, a day's journey on every side, so that they might crown or adorn the streets with fruits.''To this time of fruit, and the custom of bringing it up to Jerusalem, the allusion seems to be here. Thus, God after a long time, after he had waited a great while for fruit from the Jewish nation, from whom much might have been expected, by reason of the advantages they enjoyed; he sent his servants to the husbandmen: by his servants are meant, the prophets of the Old Testament; who were sent by God from time to time, to the kings, priests, and people of the Jews; to instruct them in their duty, to exhort them to the performance of it, to reprove them for their sins, to stir them up to repentance, and to bring forth fruits meet for it, signified in the next clause:
that they might receive the fruits of it;
of the vineyard from the husbandmen, for the use of the owner; for fruits of justice and judgment, of righteousness and holiness, might be justly expected and demanded of such persons, to be brought forth by them, to the honour and glory of God.
F23 Maimon. Hilch. Maaser. Sheni, c. 9. 5. Misn. Maaser Sheni, c. 59. sect. 2.