The Olive Tree Allegory

Additional Decay

Jacob 5:29

After a long period of time, the master and servant return to the vineyard.

And it came to pass that a long time had passed away, and the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant:

“Come, let us go down into the vineyard, that we may labor again in the vineyard. For behold, the time draweth near, and the end soon cometh; wherefore, I must lay up fruit against the season, unto mine own self.”

Jacob 5:30

They notice that the tree with wild branches grafted into it has produced much fruit.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard and the servant went down into the vineyard; and they came to the tree whose natural branches had been broken off, and the wild branches had been grafted in; and behold all sorts of fruit did cumber the tree.

Jacob 5:31–32

The master tastes the fruit, and declares that it tastes bad.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard did taste of the fruit, every sort according to its number. And the Lord of the vineyard said:

“Behold, this long time have we nourished this tree, and I have laid up unto myself against the season much fruit. But behold, this time it hath brought forth much fruit, and there is none of it which is good. And behold, there are all kinds of bad fruit; and it profiteth me nothing, notwithstanding all our labor; and now it grieveth me that I should lose this tree.”

Jacob 5:33

The master wonders what he can do to make it produce good fruit.

And the Lord of the vineyard said unto the servant:

“What shall we do unto the tree, that I may preserve again good fruit thereof unto mine own self?”

Jacob 5:34

The servant points out that the wild branches helped the roots.

And the servant said unto his master:

“Behold, because thou didst graft in the branches of the wild olive–tree they have nourished the roots, that they are alive and they have not perished; wherefore thou beholdest that they are yet good.”

Jacob 5:35–37

The master says that good roots aren’t worth anything if they don’t ultimately produce good fruit.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant:

“The tree profiteth me nothing, and the roots thereof profit me nothing so long as it shall bring forth evil fruit. Nevertheless, I know that the roots are good, and for mine own purpose I have preserved them; and because of their much strength they have hitherto brought forth, from the wild branches, good fruit.

But behold, the wild branches have grown and have overrun the roots thereof; and because that the wild branches have overcome the roots thereof it hath brought forth much evil fruit; and because that it hath brought forth so much evil fruit thou beholdest that it beginneth to perish; and it will soon become ripened, that it may be cast into the fire, except we should do something for it to preserve it.”

Jacob 5:38

The master suggests going to other parts of the vineyard to sample the fruit.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard said unto his servant:

“Let us go down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard, and behold if the natural branches have also brought forth evil fruit.”

Jacob 5:39–40

They find that the entire vineyard is corrupt and is producing foul–tasting fruit.

And it came to pass that they went down into the nethermost parts of the vineyard. And it came to pass that they beheld that the fruit of the natural branches had become corrupt also; yea, the first and the second and also the last; and they had all become corrupt. And the wild fruit of the last had overcome that part of the tree which brought forth good fruit, even that the branch had withered away and died.

Jacob 5:41–47

The master, weeping bitterly, wonders what more he could have done for his vineyard, and laments the corruption.

And it came to pass that the Lord of the vineyard wept, and said unto the servant:

“What could I have done more for my vineyard? Behold, I knew that all the fruit of the vineyard, save it were these, had become corrupted. And now these which have once brought forth good fruit have also become corrupted; and now all the trees of my vineyard are good for nothing save it be to be hewn down and cast into the fire. And behold this last, whose branch hath withered away, I did plant in a good spot of ground; yea, even that which was choice unto me above all other parts of the land of my vineyard.

“And thou beheldest that I also cut down that which cumbered this spot of ground, that I might plant this tree in the stead thereof. And thou beheldest that a part thereof brought forth good fruit, and a part thereof brought forth wild fruit; and because I plucked not the branches thereof and cast them into the fire, behold, they have overcome the good branch that it hath withered away.

“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.

“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?”

Jacob 5:48

The servant hypothesizes that the cause of the corruption is the imbalance between the roots and the branches.

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?”