And he began to speak to them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and dig a place for the winefat…
The Macedonian king, Alexander the Great, who, as in one triumphal march, conquered the world, observed a very singular custom in his method of carrying on war. Whenever he encamped with his army before a fortified city and laid siege to it, he caused to be set up a great lantern, which was kept lighted by day and night. This was a signal to the besieged, and what it meant was that as long as the lamp burned they had time to save themselves by surrender, but that when once the light should be extinguished, the city, and all that were in it, would be irrevocably given over to destruction. And the conqueror kept his word with terrible consistency. When the light was put out, and the city was not given up, all hope of mercy was over. The Macedonians stormed the place, and if it was taken all were cut to pieces who were capable of bearing arms, and there was no quarter or forgiveness possible. Now, it is the good pleasure of our God to have compassion and to show mercy. But a city or a people can arrive at such a pitch of moral corruption that the moral order of the world can only be saved by its destruction. It was so with the whole race of men at the time of the flood, with Sodom and Gomorrah at a later period, and with the Jewish people in our Saviour's time. But before the impending stroke of judgment fell, God always, so to speak, set up the lamp of grace, which was not only a signal of mercy, but also a light to show men that they were in the way of death, and a power to turn them from it.
Parallel VersesKJV: And he began to speak unto them by parables. A certain man planted a vineyard, and set an hedge about it, and digged a place for the winefat, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country.