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…
The remarkably broad statement implied in this bold figure of speech must strike a European as somewhat extraordinary; and yet there is more of literal truth in it than one would at first thought be disposed to imagine. The fact is, in Western Asia trees, as trees, are but little valued. The fruit-trees are preserved and nourished with great care; but nearly all other trees are cut down for fuel, mineral fuel being exceedingly scarce. An exception is made in favour of poplars. These are permitted to grow to their full height for the sake of the long beams they supply.
(Biblical Things, &c.)
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.