So he said to the vinedresser, See here! For these three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree and I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue also to use up the ground [to deplete the soil, intercept the sun, and take up room]?
And he said to the vine-keeper, ‘Behold— it is three years from which time I am coming seeking fruit on this fig tree, and I am not finding it. Therefore, cut it down! Why is it even using-up the soil?’
He had a servant who took care of his garden. So he said to his servant, ‘I have been looking for fruit on this tree for three years, but I never find any. Cut it down! Why should it waste the ground?’
Then he gave them this parable: “Once upon a time a man had a fig-tree growing in his garden, and when he came to look for the figs, he found none at all. So he said to his gardener, ‘Look, I have come expecting fruit on this fig-tree for three years running and never found any. Better cut it down. Why should it use up valuable space?’ And the gardener replied, ‘Master, don’t touch it this year till I have had a chance to dig round it and give it a bit of manure. Then, if it bears after that, it will be all right. But if it doesn’t, then you can cut it down.’”
Then he told them a story: “A man had an apple tree planted in his front yard. He came to it expecting to find apples, but there weren’t any. He said to his gardener, ‘What’s going on here? For three years now I’ve come to this tree expecting apples and not one apple have I found. Chop it down! Why waste good ground with it any longer?’
So he said to the worker who tended the vineyard, ‘For three years now, I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree, and each time I inspect it I find none. Cut it down! Why should it continue to deplete the soil?’
So he went to the man who took care of the vineyard. He said, ‘For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig tree. But I haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?’
So he said to the keeper of the kerem, Hinei shalosh shanim (three years) I come seeking pri on this etz te’enah (fig tree) and I do not find any. Therefore, cut it down! Why is it even using up the adamah (ground)?
He says to the vineyard keeper, “Look at this tree. For three years, I’ve come hoping to find some fresh figs, but what do I find? Nothing. So just go ahead and cut it down. Why waste the space with a fruitless tree?”