Jacob 5:46 - 5:50
Jacob 5:46 And now, behold, notwithstanding all the care which we have taken of my vineyard, the trees thereof have become corrupted, that they bring forth no good fruit; and these I had hoped to preserve, to have laid up fruit thereof against the season, unto mine own self. But, behold, they have become like unto the wild olive tree, and they are of no worth but to be hewn down and cast into the fire; and it grieveth me that I should lose them.In spite of all the efforts of the master and his servant to keep the trees healthy, they have all have all become corrupted and produce uneatable fruit. The master had had good fruit from this particular tree at one time and had grafted branches that were producing good fruit at first, but now these original branches were no better than the wild branches. All the trees in the vineyard are good only for firewood now.
Jacob 5:47 But what could I have done more in my vineyard? Have I slackened mine hand, that I have not nourished it? Nay, I have nourished it, and I have digged about it, and I have pruned it, and I have dunged it; and I have stretched forth mine hand almost all the day long, and the end draweth nigh. And it grieveth me that I should hew down all the trees of my vineyard, and cast them into the fire that they should be burned. Who is it that has corrupted my vineyard?
So in a moment of reflection the master asks what could he had done to keep this deterioration of his vineyard from happening. He had done all that he knew should be done to try to keep the trees healthy and well nourished. His assessment is that the trees are worthless. But now he is wondering who was it that corrupted the vineyard.
[The master is now wondering if the corruption of the trees was the result of some outside influence. The trees may have been ok if it not had been for someone or thing coming into the vineyard to mess things up, in other words, the trees were corrupted by some other influence and not by any neglect on their part.]
Jacob 5:48 And it came to pass that the servant said unto his master: Is it not the loftiness of thy vineyard—have not the branches thereof overcome the roots which are good? And because the branches have overcome the roots thereof, behold they grew faster than the strength of the roots, taking strength unto themselves. Behold, I say, is not this the cause that the trees of thy vineyard have become corrupted?
The servant gives his opinion as to what caused the corruption. It was the pride of the branches in that they were drawing more from the roots then the roots were capable of giving in the way of nourishment. The branches thought they deserved more than what was good for them and they started producing fruit that was not based on the nourishment of the roots but from some other source. [The gospel is simple but sometimes folks think it should be harder in it admonishments. So wanting it to be more complicated, they go looking for other ways to do good but there is only one way. It is like the Jews who were accused to looking beyond the mark which means they could not live by a couple of simple admonishments of loving God and their neighbor. They wanted a long list of laws and people to interpreter the laws for them. In that way they could say they were living the law but in their hearts they could have any attitude they wanted. The laws do not regulate attitudes only visible behavior which can be seen by all and praised by all even if the person really in his heart hated everyone around him.]
Jacob 5:49 And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant: Let us go to and hew down the trees of the vineyard and cast them into the fire, that they shall not cumber the ground of my vineyard, for I have done all. What could I have done more for my vineyard?
Apparently the master of the vineyard has made up his mind and decided to destroy the vineyard with fire. He again wonders what he could have more than what he had done in the past for the health of the trees.
Jacob 5:50 But, behold, the servant said unto the Lord of the vineyard: Spare it a little longer.
The servant says that he wants to spare the destruction of the vineyard a little longer if possible. [Does this indicate that the servant has a little more compassion than the master? Or did the master bate his servant with this pronouncement in order to get him to ask for more time or to see if he would? I’m thinking that the master would need the full commitment of the servant to try one more time. If the servant was not agreeable to this last effort or only paid lip service to the master’s intent, then it would have not had a chance of success. So again, this dialogue was planned to get the servant to back the master’s plan. I think it was getting the servant to make it his own idea. Since a person will only do what he wants to do, the Lord of the vineyard had to get the servant think it was his own idea. Owning the idea or plan is powerful motivation to work towards some particular end.]