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 axe carried before the Roman consuls was always bound up in a bundle of rods. An old author tells us that "the rods were tied up with knotted cords, and that when an offender was condemned to be punished the executioner would untie the knots, one by one, and meanwhile the magistrate would look the culprit in the face, to observe any signs of repentance and watch his words, to see if he could find a motive for mercy; and thus justice went to its work deliberately and without passion." The axe was enclosed in rods to show that the extreme penalty was never inflicted till milder means had failed; first the rod, and the axe only as a terrible necessity.
(C. H. Spurgeon.)
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.