The Barren Fig Tree, Luke 13:6-9 -- A Dispensational Parable

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( Jeffrey S. Bowman, all rights reserved, use by permission only)



 

            He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  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?  And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it:  And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.  (Luke 13:6-9)

This parable of the barren fig tree is only found in the Luke's gospel.  On the surface it is a rather simple looking parable, yet the interpretation of this parable is by no means simple.  Hendriksen has even stated that "the attempt to discover a symbolic meaning for each or for most of the items mentioned in the parable leads to confusion." [1]   This analysis will attempt to disassemble the parable and examine its major components while reviewing various interpretations provided by scholars.

The outline of our study will be:

            The textual context

            The historical context

            The fig tree in the vineyard

            The owner of the fig tree

            The dresser of the fig tree

            The three years seeking fruit

            The fruit sought for

            The cutting down of the cumbering tree

            The extra (fourth) year

            The special cultivation

            A looking back -- what did happen to the fig tree

 

 

THE TEXTUAL CONTEXT

The textual context of this parable starts back in the previous chapter.  Jesus was rebuking the crowd for being ignorant of the era that was upon them.  They could discern the future physical climate (weather) based upon their observations but not the present spiritual climate (12:54-57).

 

He also discussed themes of judgement and seeking the kingdom of God (12:20,21,31-53,58,59).  This prompted his listeners to propose that they were not in any danger of judgement, after all they were not sinners like the Galilaeans whose blood Pilate mingled with their sacrifices.  Jesus had to correct that spiritually arrogant (and very prevalent) notion by providing them with the proper view of that incident.  George Buttrick states:

            All affliction is not due to wrongdoing, but all wrongdoing brings affliction: "Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish."  The very self-complacence which prompted His informants to detail a calamity visited on others would bring a similar calamity upon them. [2]

 

Similarly, Marshall comments:

 

            The report of a tragedy in Jerusalem, thought by Jesus' hearers to be due to the especial sinfulness of those who had suffered in it, leads him to affirm that all of his hearers are equally in danger of divine judgement and to quote a further example from which the same point is repeated.  This leads up to a parable indicating that, if Israel does not take the chance of repentance afforded to it by God's patience, the day of reckoning will duly arrive. [3]

 

Twice Jesus states: "Nay: but, except you repent, you shall all likewise perish" (Luke 13:3,5).  Luke follows this parable with further examples of Israel's lack of spiritual understanding that would lead to repentance.  Note: The healing of the crippled woman (vs. 11-17); The parable of the Mustard Seed, and of Leaven (vs. 18-23); Entering in via the "Strait Gate" where many will try to enter but will fail, resulting in their absence from the Kingdom (vs. 19-30); Jesus' rebuke of Herod (vs. 31-33); and finally His Lament over Jerusalem:

            O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!  Behold, your house is left unto you desolate: and verily I say unto you, Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord.  (Luke 13:34,35)

 

 

THE HISTORICAL CONTEXT

 

The historical context, or the time element of the utterance of this parable is in the last months of the life of Christ. [4]   At this time parables had become time a common method of communication by Jesus.  Because, as he stated to his disciples:

            It is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.  Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. (Matt. 13:11-13)

 

Parables were Jesus' "weapons of warfare" against His detractors.  They were an effective means of communication in an hostile environment, and now, at the end of His ministry the air was thick with hostility.

 

Furthermore, we should be reminded of an even larger context: the coming/arrival of Jesus as Israel's Messiah.  Israel was the focus during the arriving messianic age.  From the beginning of John's baptism repentance was preached to Israel (Mark 1:4).  Jesus also preached to Israel that the Kingdom of God was at hand (Mark 1:14), thus this parable of the barren fig tree (as well as others) is, as Dean Burgon points out, "at once a Prophecy and a Parable." [5]   It depicts what the national Israel can expect if they do not repent.

 

THE FIG TREE IN THE VINEYARD

            He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. (Luke 13:6)

 

Israel is universally understood to be the fig tree.  The fig tree is mentioned in 32 verses of the Bible (KJV) with the bulk referring to Israel (See Joel 1:7,12; 2:22; etc.).  Jesus uses the fig tree in several other illustrations (Matt. 21:19,20; 24:32; Mark 11:13,20,21).

 

The fact that it is planted in the vineyard is not strange, often the people of Palestine had trees within their vineyards. [6]   The fact that is said to be "planted" indicates as Goebel says: "that it was not a tree which the owner met with by chance, but one specially planted and reared." [7]   So Israel was specially planted by God to bear fruit by being a Kingdom of Priests in bringing the nations to Him (Ex. 19:6; Matt. 28:19,20; Zech. 8:21-23).

 

THE OWNER OF THE FIG TREE and THE DRESSER OF THE VINEYARD

            He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none.  Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard... (Luke 13:6,7a)

           

If Israel is understood to be the fig tree, then it is sure that the owner of the fig tree is God the Father.  The duties of the Dresser of the vineyard were to carry out the wishes of the owner.  The Dresser would be responsible for the planting, watering, cultivating, and harvesting the owner's crops.  The Dresser's identity, like the Fig Tree and the Owner, is universally understood to be Jesus.

 

THE THREE YEARS SEEKING FRUIT

            Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none... (Luke 13:7a)

 

This is where interpreters and commentators differ.  There seem to be three main ways of understanding the three years. [8]   I identify them as: Definite, Indefinite, and Modified Definite.  Representing the Definite view we hear from Stier:

            We see no reason to deny the reference discerned by Bengel and others to the three years' teaching of Christ, the third year of which was now lapsing--and hence we find it said "coming" and not "has come".  That the intercession only required this one year to be waited for, while Israel had forty years of suspended judgment, does not affect the matter in the least, for the longsuffering here exhibited in its threatening limitation can now, as ever, surpass its own limits. [9]

 

Also, Olshausen:

 

            If we interpret the period of time mentioned of the era of Jesus' public ministry, then the following, "this year," must be taken in a more general sense, namely, as denoting the period between Christ's ascension and the destruction of Jerusalem. [10]

 

Thus the Definite view seeks to keep the three years as normal, literal years in reference to the three year ministry of Jesus.  Yet these commentators do allow the last year to span more than a year.  Perhaps because of this inconsistency the Indefinite view arose.  Trench comments:

            Olshausen finds allusion to the three years of the Lord's open ministry upon earth; but Grotius has already observed against this, and with reason, that if the three years are chronological the one year more, presently granted the tree, should be chronological also; whereas not one, but forty years of grace were allowed to the Jews, before the Romans came and took away their name and place. [11]

 

And also Plummer:

 

            The three years of Christ's ministry cannot well be meant.  The tree had been fruitless long before He began to preach, and it was not cut down until forty years after He ceased to do so. [12]

 

Thus, commentators like Goebel see the years as being parallel with the moral development of a nation, i.e. three years for the tree would be three centuries or millenniums for the nation of Israel. [13]   With the same idea Dods writes:

            As three years make up the full time which it is reasonable to spend upon the cultivation of an apparently barren tree, so there is a fullness of time in the history of a nation during which it receives its opportunities.  This time had now expired with the Jews, and the forty years that were yet given them, in answer to the "Father forgive them,"  which our Lord breathed from the cross, were the tree's ultimate year of probation which was to decide its fate. [14]

 

There are some who are even more indefinite.  Blomberg states:

 

            The three-to-one year ratio may highlight the farmer's patience with the tree in the past and his unwillingness to tolerate fruitlessness much longer, but beyond that the numbers seem to signify little. [15]

 

Other commentators state their Indefinite view with words like; "Three is simply a round number," [16] and "It is not feasible to try to allegorize the details of the parable--the three years." [17]

 

The Modified Definite view, primarily put forth by Zahn and Van Oosterzee, attempts to keep the years as normal years and seeks to avoid the inconsistency (three literal, one indefinite) of the Definite view.  They do this by starting the three years not with the ministry of Jesus but with the ministry of John the Baptist.  This means that they understand the three years in the parable as completed at the utterance of the parable and the remaining year now starting and ending with the rejection of Christ at the cross. [18]

 

I see strengths in all three views but I also see weaknesses.  The Definite view inconsistently treats the extra year.  The Indefinite view fails to acknowledge that there could be a connection with the life of Christ and even the hint of a possible connection is called "precarious." [19]   As I will present later, the Indefinite view also fails to examine Luke's usage of the greek word ETOS (year).  The Modified Definite attempts to keep the years as literal yet the culmination point of the extra year with the crucifixion doesn't fit with the judgement theme presented by Jesus in the parable.  We see that after the cross Israel still is in a place of national privilege (Acts 1, 2).  In addition, there is the problem of the historical context since this parable is given in the last few months of Christ's life.

 

THE FRUIT SOUGHT FOR -- ITS TYPE

            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?  (Luke 13:7)

 

Speaking in general terms, Trench presents a broad picture of the fruit that the Father sought:

            There is a wonderful fitness in the simple image running through all Scripture, which compares men to trees, and their work to fruit, --the fruit of a tree, just as the works of a man, being the organic utterance and outcoming of the inner life of each, not something arbitrarily attached of fastened on from without (Ps. 1:3; Jer. 17:8; John 15:2,4,5; Rom. 7:4). [20]

 

In a more specific sense Israel was to be the "priestly nation" for God, presenting the nations to Him.  This is seen in Israel's call out of Egypt:

            And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles' wings, and brought you unto myself.  Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.  (Ex. 19:3-6)

 

And as Zechariah prophesied:

 

            Thus saith the LORD of hosts; It shall yet come to pass, that there shall come people, and the inhabitants of many cities:  And the inhabitants of one city shall go to another, saying, Let us go speedily to pray before the LORD, and to seek the LORD of hosts: I will go also.  Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD.  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.  (Zech. 8:20-23)

 

God, through the ministry of John the Baptist and Jesus, was calling the people of Israel to prepare for this "priestly ministry."  The message was to repent and be baptized for the Kingdom of Heaven (God) was at hand (Matt. 3:2,17; etc.).  And while there were multitudes that turned out to be baptized, their faith was weak and the leaders refused to yield to John's ministry (Luke 7:24-30).  Had they responded to that message they would have been displaying "fruit:"

            But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?  Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:  And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:  Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.  (Matt. 3:7-12)

 

Those who did respond, and the twelve Apostles were told:

 

            Herein is my Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples...Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you. (John 15:8,16)

 

The type of this fruit is given further meaning by the so-called "Great Commission."  We read:

            Then the eleven disciples went away into Galilee, into a mountain where Jesus had appointed them.  And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted.  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.  (Matt. 28:16-20)

 

 

The fruit that God the Father was looking for was the fruit of repentance and good works (displayed minimally in the outward sign of baptism); and the resultant bringing of people, in particular the nations, to the Lord.

 

THE CUTTING DOWN OF THE CUMBERING TREE

            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?  (Luke 13:7)

 

If Israel is the fig tree, as is easily (and universally) acknowledged, then the cutting down of the tree would have intense prophetic significance.  The historical context is the coming of Israel's prophesied messiah and the potential setting up of His Kingdom.  If Israel is cut down (John had initially warned them of  this fact -- Matt. 3:9-11), then the historical context will change.

 

Throughout Israel's history she was warned time and time again of a potential cutting down.  As far back as Exodus 32 where God threatened to "consume" them and make a great nation out of Moses, and later in the prophets, the potential is found.  The entire book of Hosea revolves around the theme of "Lo-Ammi" of Israel being "not my people."  But now with this prophetic parable Israel's "cutting down" is straightforwardly presented in very discernible terms.

 

The parable mentions the fact that from God's viewpoint the tree is "cumbering" or exhausting the nutrients of the ground.  Israel, yet again flirting with judgement, was distracting or taking away from God's ground.  Her lack of response to the message of the Messiah was hindering her usefulness to God.

 

THE EXTRA YEAR

            And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it.  (Luke 13:8)

 

If there is one part of the parable that is critical to any interpretation, it is this extra year.  Those who take the three years as definite, literal years become inconsistent with this last year.  Those who take the years indefinitely find their reasons here.  The Modified Definite view attempts to handle all four years as definite years but fails in the reckoning of the historical (time) context.  If we are to take the parable in its grammatical-historical and contextual setting then we have to deal with this extra (fourth) year.

 

As briefly alluded to earlier, Luke's usage of ETOS, year, provides us with some further data to process.  Luke uses ETOS more than the rest of the writers of the Gospels.  Notice the following table (including Acts):

                        Writer Occurrences           

                        Matthew         1

                        Mark               2

                        Luke              15

                        John                3

                        Acts               11

 

If we examine Luke's usage of ETOS it will be seen that he never uses it in an indefinite way when he combines ordinal modifiers (1,2,3, etc.).  In fact in the same chapter as this parable Luke records the healing of a woman who had been infirm for 18 (definite) years.  When Luke does use ETOS in an indefinite way it is always prefaced by indefinite modifiers; "these many years" (12:19; 15:29).  ETOS is also used with an ordinal in an approximate, plus or minus, sense; "about thirty years old" (3:23).  In this case we still cannot say that "about thirty" is to be understood in an indefinite, wide-open sense.  Thus, as we approach this parable we must allow Luke's grammatical usage of ETOS to have its full significance. [21]

 

Though Zahn understood the years of the parable in a Modified Definite view, he did attempt to wrestle with the simple, naturally understood usage of ETOS, years.  Zahn betrays the tendency of his day (c.1900) to depreciate such a view:

            Even at the risk of being charged with old-fashioned exegesis, the present writer is bound to maintain that, according to Luke 13:6-9,  Jesus, at a time...looked back over a period of three years... [22]

 

I too, at the risk of being charged with old-fashioned exegesis, maintain that we are to understand these years, even this extra year, as being normal, natural years.  This being the case, the hearers of this prophetic parable could count on one more year after the end of Jesus' ministry for special cultivation.  Then, after a year of suspended judgement, if fruit is not found, the axe would be completely laid to the tree.

 

THE SPECIAL CULTIVATION

            And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: and if it bear fruit, well... (Luke 13:8,9b)

 

The dresser of the vineyard intercedes on behalf of the fig tree and pleads for an extra year of special cultivation.  Jesus' hears were people familiar with the effects of proper cultivation.  Perhaps a loosening of the surrounding soil and some special fertilization of the tree would give it what it needs to produce fruit.

 

If we allow the extra year to take place after the crucifixion, it does not seem unreasonable then to apply the coming of the Spirit on the day of Pentecost as part of this loosening of the soil of Israel's heart.  This is especially warranted as the "Comforter" passages are considered.  The Spirit would convict of "sin, righteousness, and judgement" (John 16:8; etc.).  Nor is it impossible that the miracles, wonders, and signs that are found in the early chapters of Acts are the fertilization of Israel's faith.  Jesus did say that they would do many more "mighty signs" which would validate the Apostles message to national Israel.  If we do understand the last year as being one year from the crucifixion, these would be in fulfillment of this prophetic parable.

 

A LOOKING BACK -- WHAT DID HAPPEN TO THE FIG TREE

Most commentators look back over the history of Israel and see the destruction of Jerusalem as being the key element in her being "cut down."  While the historical significance of this event is great, the parable calls for only one extra year of postponed judgement.  Are we warranted in stretching the one year into forty?  I don't think so.  Luke's usage of ETOS forbids grammatical-historical exegesis from doing this.  What then do we find if we go out a year from the crucifixion?

 

It is difficult, chronologically speaking, to pin down dates for the events found in the book of Acts.  However we do know that if Jesus did mean that the extra year would take place after the crucifixion then we should find something that would be of major significance happening to national Israel in early to mid-Acts.  Paying close attention to the narrative (and remembering that Acts is a historical and not a theological document) an event does surface that is found no where else in the New Testament: The STANDING of Jesus at the right hand of the Father at the martyrdom of Stephen.

 

Often overlooked as we read the narrative, the killing of Stephen by national Israel is a turning point in the book of Acts.  Notice the text picking up after Stephen's Spirit inspired sermon:

            When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth. But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God,  And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.  Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name was Saul.  (Acts 7:54-58)

 

The theology of the New Testament is that Jesus is seated at the right of the Father (Eph. 1:20; Heb. 1:3; 10:12).  However in the stoning of Stephen, Jesus is standing.  Most of the time commentators have viewed Jesus' posture as that of welcoming Stephen to glory.  No doubt this is happening, yet there is more than that.  Jesus is the Dresser of the fig tree, and national Israel is the tree.  He is now carrying out the fulfillment of the parable.  Israel had been given a special cultivation as recorded in Acts 1-7.  Now they are judged by Jesus and cut down from their privileged position (Paul uses the phrase "set-aside."  See Romans 11).  It is to be observed that in the OT Jehovah is said to stand when He judges people (Isa. 3:13; Ps. 82; 7:6; 76:9; Lam. 2:4).

 

Hunter states:

            This is a very significant event.  Stephen under the power and direction of the Holy Spirit, reviews the entire history of Israel in his sermon.  He addresses the Sanhedrin, the highest judicial and ecclesiastical body of Judaism, and the High Priest (Acts 6:12-7:1).  They sat in one of the courts of the Temple, "this Holy place" (Acts 6:13).  This, then, is an official act recorded in the sacred Scriptures for us to read and to study and to understand.  This is the date of the "this year also."  This is where and when and what happened to "cut it -- the nation of Israel -- down." [23]

 

 

It is no coincidence then that in the chapters after the stoning of Stephen we see Saul saved (Acts 9) and given the ministry to the Gentiles (Acts 13).  It is through Paul (Saul) that we see that there is no difference between the Jew and the Gentile (Eph. 2,3; etc.).

 

CONCLUSION

This parable of the Barren Fig Tree is one that could be classified as a dispensational or prophetic parable.  The textual and historical context place it in a time of great conflict in the nation of Israel.  Israel was warned that unless they would repent they would be cut down from their privileged position.

 

The owner of the fig tree is God the Father who orders the tree to be cut down.  The dresser of the fig tree is Jesus who asks for one more year for the tree.  This extra year would allow special cultivation to take place with the hope that Israel would respond. 

 

We look at the historical account furnished us in the book of Acts and we see that one year later national Israel had not responded to Jesus' cultivation and thus are cut down as a favored nation.  The church, the Body of Christ, with Jew and Gentile being equal is then brought into focus.


APPENDEX - The occurrences of ETOS, year, in the Gospel of Luke

Luke 2:36,37

And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity; And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

 

Luke 2:41,42

Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover.  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

 

Luke 3:1

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysaniasthe tetrarch of Abilene,

 

Luke 3:23

And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,

 

Luke 4:25

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;

 

Luke 8:42

For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.  And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,

 

Luke 12:19

And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry.

 

Luke 13:7,8

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

 

Luke 13:11

And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

 

Luke 13:16

And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the sabbath day?

 

Luke 15:29

And he answering said to his father, Lo, these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment: and yet thou never gavest me a kid, that I might make merry with my friends.


 

SELECT BIBLIOGRAPHY

 

Arnot, William, The Parables of our Lord (London:  T. Nelson and Sons, 1876)

 

Blomberg, Craig  L., Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990)

 

Brown, David, Critical and Experimental Commentary (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967)

 

Burgon, Dean, A Plain Commentary on the Four Holy Gospels (Philadelphia:  Richard McCauley, 1868)

 

Burns, Jabez, Sketches of Sermons on the Parables and Miracles of Christ (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1954)

 

Buttrick, George A., The Parables of Jesus (London:  Hodder & Stoughton, 1929)

 

Dods, Marcus, Parables of our Lord (Whittaker, N.D.)

 

Edersheim, Alfred, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1953)

 

Findlay, J. Alexander, The Gospel According to Luke (London:  Student Christian Movement Press, 1937)

 

Godet, F., The Gospel of St. Luke (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1875)

 

Goebel, Siegfried, The Parables of Jesus (Edinburgh:  T. & T. Clark, 1894)

 

Habershon, Ada, The Study of the Parables (London:  James Nisbet & Co., Ltd., 1910)

 

Hendriksen, William, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1978)

 

Hunter, Finley, Dispensational Answers (Grand Rapids: Bible Doctrines to Live By, N.D.)

 

Jeremias, Joachim, The Parables of Jesus (Charles Sribner's Sons, 1963)

 

Kelly, William, An Exposition of the Gospel of Luke (Denver:  Wilson Foundation, 1971)

 

Kendrick, A.C., Biblical Commentary on the New Testament (New York:  Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1858)

 

Lange, John Peter, Commentary of the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids:  Zondervan, 1971)

 

Marshall, I. Howard, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978)

 

Meyer, Heinrich August, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark and Luke (New York:  Funk and Wagnalls, 1884)

 

Olshausen, Hermann, Biblical Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1858)

 

Plummer, Alfred, The International Critical Commentary (London:  T. & T. Clark, 1913)

 

Pope, William B., The Words of the Lord Jesus (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1863)

 

Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1930)

 

Secrett, A. G., A Combined Analysis of The Four Gospels (London: Thynne & Jarvis, LTD., 1927)

 

Stein, Robert H., An Introduction to the Parables of Jesus (Philadelphia: The Westminster Press, 1981)

 

Stier, Rudolf, The Words of the Lord Jesus (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1863)

 

Summers, Ray, Commentary on Luke (Waco:  Word Books, 1972)

 

Trench, Richard C., Notes on the Parables (Old Tappan:  Flemming H. Revell, 1953)

 

Wordsworth, Chr., The New Testament  (London:  Rivingtons, Waterloo Place, 1864)

 

Zahn, Theodor, Introduction to the New Testament  (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, reprint 1977)



     [1] Hendriksen, William, New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids:  Baker Book House, 1978) Gospel of Luke p. 696.

     [2] Buttrick, George A., The Parables of Jesus (London:  Hodder & Stoughton, 1929), p. 107.

     [3] Marshall, I. Howard, The Gospel of Luke (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1978), p. 552.

     [4] This is subject to further investigation.  For a presentation of dating this and the surrounding textual context in the last months of Jesus' life, see A. G. Secrett, A combined Analysis of the Four Gospels.

     [5] Burgon, Dean, A Plain Commentary on the Four Holy Gospels (Philadelphia:  Richard McCauley, 1868), Vol 2, p. 516.

     [6] See Hendriksen, Marshall, and Edersheim in location.

     [7] Goebel, Siegfried, The Parables of Jesus (Edinburgh:  T. & T. Clark, 1894), p. 160.

     [8] Because of the relationship of the three and subsequent one year of this parable I will include discussion here on both times.  However I will come back to look at the one year again, in detail, in a later point.

     [9] Stier, Rudolf, The Words of the Lord Jesus (Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1863), Vol. 4, pp. 43,44.

     [10] Olshausen, Hermann, Biblical Commentary on the New Testament (New York: Sheldon, Blakeman & Co., 1858), Vol. 2, p. 33.

     [11] Trench, Richard C., Notes on the Parables (Old Tappan:  Flemming H. Revell, 1953), p. 354.  Also Goebel (loc. cit. p. 165.) argues similarly.

     [12] Plummer, Alfred, The International Critical Commentary (London: T. & T. Clark, 1913), p. 340.

     [13] Loc. cit. p. 166.

     [14] Dods, Marcus, Parables of our Lord (Whittaker, N.D.).  So also Godet, F., The Gospel of St. Luke (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1875), Vol. 2, pp. 118,119; Robertson, A.T., Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville:  Broadman Press, 1930), Vol. 2, p. 186; and Meyer, Heinrich August, Critical and Exegetical Handbook to the Gospels of Mark and Luke (New York:  Funk and Wagnalls, 1884), p. 429.

     [15] Blomberg, Craig  L., Interpreting the Parables (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1990), p. 269.

     [16] Marshall, loc. cit. p. 555.

     [17] Summers, Ray, Commentary on Luke (Waco:  Word Books, 1972), p. 167.

     [18] Zahn, Theodor, Introduction to the New Testament  (Minneapolis: Klock & Klock, reprint 1977), Vol. 3, pp. 169, 172, 173.  Van Oosterzee in: Lange, John Peter, Commentary of the Holy Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), Vol. 8, p. 212.

     [19] Brown, David, Critical and Experimental Commentary (Grand Rapids:  Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1967), Vol. 5, p. 279.

     [20] Loc. cit. p. 353.

     [21] I have provided a complete listing of all the occurrences of ETOS in Luke's gospel in an appendix.

     [22] Loc. cit. Vol 2, p. 169.

     [23] Hunter, Finley, Dispensational Answers (Grand Rapids: Bible Doctrines to Live By, N.D.), p. 16,17.