And now also the ax is laid to the root of the trees: every tree therefore which brings not forth good fruit is hewn down…
This is judgment — destruction. The axe is not for planting, or pruning, or dressing, or propping, or protecting, but for cutting down. The axe against Israel was the Roman host, and many such axes has God wielded, age after age. Every judgment is an axe: pestilence is God's axe; famine God's axe; adversity God's axe. There is a great difference between the axe and the pruning-knife. Yet some of God's judgments are both in one — an axe to the ungodly, a pruning-knife to the saint. It is God's axe, not man's; its edge is sharp; it is heavy; it will do its work well.
(H. Bonar, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.