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Hastings' Dictionary of the New Testament [1]

Husbandman ( γεωργός).—Jesus knew well the life of the fields. His keen eye for illustrations fell readily on the most fundamental of occupations; one universal since the primeval days when simple patriarchs began to be husbandmen, and princes digged at the up-springing well (‘which the nobles of the people delved, with the scepter and with their staves,’  Numbers 21:18 Revised Version NT 1881, OT 1885). Agriculture, in Israel’s best days, had been the chief employment, and still from out the scattered villages men were to be seen at work upon the croft like patches. As sure token of happy and successful labours, the plain was verdant with the growing grain, the vines hung graceful from the terraced slope. The human mind never fails to be arrested in religious mood by the mystic forces of nature; and in the case of the Jews there was this added discipline, that Scripture, read statedly in their hearing, teemed with references to the tilling of the soil. Ready to the lips of Jesus, therefore, was an allusive speech which should prove powerful in appeal to educated and uneducated alike. The way into the popular sentiment was clear for Him. People were at least grounded in the elements of literary thought. On the principles and growth of the great Kingdom He could discourse profitably under the familiar images of seed-time and harvest, tree or plant culture in their gardens, or the on goings in their season of the workers in the vineyard on the hill.

What probably commended this line of teaching to Jesus, however, was the fact that husbandry suggests, in singular fashion, the co-ordination of man’s activity with God’s. Without, on the one hand, what is graciously supplied to us—soil and seed, rain and sunshine—man’s labour could be of no avail; yet, on the other hand, without that labour well directed, mankind would perish. The lesson is writ large in cultivated fields that faith and hope, zeal and patience, have a reward assured which comes immediate from the hand of God. Further, this rural imagery of Jesus met the fact that the minds hearing Him were not all equally ready to see the truth in His light. For such persons, pictures from the outer and familiar realm stored up material for self-culture in the future. And nothing better certifies the supreme instinct of the Master than this, that the thousand revelations of the natural science of to-day illustrate only the more those spiritual principles and universal laws of the unseen which He was wont to enforce by reference to phenomena around Him as He spoke.

The slighter glances recorded of Jesus in this realm are fairly numerous. Compare the references to plants and trees ( Matthew 7:16-20;  Matthew 12:33,  Luke 6:43-45), the putting of the hand to the plough ( Luke 9:62), the application of salt to the land ( Matthew 5:13,  Luke 14:35), the ox fallen into the pit ( Luke 14:5), the action of the airs of heaven ( Luke 12:55,  John 3:8), the glowing or beelouded sky ( Matthew 16:2-3,  Luke 12:54), the buyer gone to survey his piece of ground ( Luke 14:18), or busy testing his new teams ( Luke 14:19), the deeply-suggestive corn of wheat ( John 12:24), the sifting of the same ( Luke 22:31), the tenant counting up his measures ( Luke 16:7), labourers needed for the plenteous harvest ( Matthew 9:37-38,  Luke 10:2), the growing whiteness of the crops ( John 4:35), the fated twain of field workers ( Matthew 24:40,  Luke 17:36), and the beautiful picture of the fig-tree at the approach of summer putting forth leaves upon its tender branch ( Matthew 24:32,  Luke 21:29).

But chiefly in the exquisite parables do we see that power of observation in the material world which makes Jesus so engaging as a child of nature, who lived much, and lived free, in the open air of Palestine. As we move with Him by the highways and the hedges, we descry in one field the servant ploughing or feeding cattle ( Luke 17:7), in another the well-remembered spot where gleams of joy lit up the rustic’s eyes who happed upon hid treasure ( Matthew 13:44). Here we have the corn-lands green with the sprouting of the tiny blade ( Mark 4:26-29), tangled betimes with the tares ( Matthew 13:25); there the rocky and the thorn-choked patches ( Mark 4:5-7); and over all the hovering birds ( Mark 4:4), ready to devour the precious seed. We see the labourers standing in the market-place for hire ( Matthew 20:3), the prosperous farmer critical about his barns ( Luke 12:18), the shepherd searching the grassy plateau for his sheep ( Matthew 18:12). Men are working in the clumps of vines ( Matthew 21:28), from which the wine-press peeps ( Mark 12:1), and where the watch-tower stands upon its bolder coign ( Mark 12:1). See the garden where the tall mustard grows ( Luke 13:19), and yonder the forlorn fig-tree ( Luke 13:6) threatened with the axe. The whole world of nature, the varied scenes of toil, are laid amply under contribution, made the emblems and the witness of the highest things of the Spirit. (See art. Vine (Allegory of) for discourse upon the Vine and the Branches,  John 15:1-8, where the Father is the Husbandman; cf. also art. Agriculture).

One parable must be specially noted—the story of the Wicked Husbandmen ( Matthew 21:33-43,  Mark 12:1-9,  Luke 20:9 ff.), which is an incisive review of God’s relations with His people. Endless pains had been taken ( Mark 12:1) with the vineyard of the Kingdom, yet when messenger after messenger came seeking fruit in the Divine name, they had been sent empty away, and contumeliously treated—one beaten, another wounded, a third killed ( Mark 12:2-5). Nowhere does Jesus put Himself more clearly in line with the prophets. As the gloomy night is gathering fast around His own head, He feels full affinity of fate with them. In the passage He carries, indeed, the history of Israel’s shameful conduct not only to the days of the Baptist, but even a little beyond the moment of utterance. We have insight into the marvellous composure of the heart of Jesus as He pictures His own case in the person of the one son, well beloved, who was cast out, bruised and bleeding, his body soon to be cold in death upon the highway ( Mark 12:8). Thus, in tragic fashion, He broadens the charge against His opponents, with their complacent jealousy ( Mark 12:7), by proving their conduct to be of a piece with Israel’s cruel treatment of speakers for God in the past. The note of severity and moral indignation is unmistakable, but it is blended with one of wistful sadness. Not that His own approaching death troubles Him; He fears not as He enters into the cloud, and is ready to give His life as covenant blood for the setting up of the Kingdom. But His countrymen’s wayward folly, and the terrible crisis at hand for the Jewish State, weigh heavy on His spirit. Their doom, He concludes, is written with God’s own finger on the wall, for those who had the eyes to see: ‘He will come, and destroy the husbandmen, and will give the vineyard unto others’ ( Mark 12:9).

George Murray.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of NT Words [2]

1: Γεωργός (Strong'S #1092 — Noun Masculine — georgos — gheh-ore-gos' )

from ge, "land, ground," and ergo (or erdo), "to do" (Eng., "George"), denotes (a) "a husbandman," a tiller of the ground,  2—Timothy 2:6;  James 5:7; (b) "a vine-dresser,"  Matthew 21:33-35,38,40,41;  Mark 12:1,2,7,9;  Luke 20:9,10,14,16;  John 15:1 , where Christ speaks of the Father as the "Husbandman," Himself as the Vine, His disciples as the branches, the object being to bear much fruit, life in Christ producing the fruit of the Spirit, i.e., character and ways in conformity to Christ.

Morrish Bible Dictionary [3]

A title given to Jehovah in His relationship with Israel. He had planted Israel as a vine on the earth, and He looked for fruit; but, alas, it produced only wild grapes.  Isaiah 5:1-7 . He then planted the true Vine on the earth which in every way gave much fruit.  John 15:1 . In another metaphor, Jehovah let out a vineyard to Israel, and prepared it for fruit-bearing; but when He sent for the fruit, His servants were ill-treated and killed. Last of all He sent His Son, but Him they killed also. God has destroyed those husbandmen, and has let out His vineyard unto the Gentiles:  Matthew 21:33-41 : cf.  Romans 11:21 .

Holman Bible Dictionary [4]

 Isaiah 61:5 2 Chronicles 26:10 Jeremiah 14:4 Jeremiah 31:24 Jeremiah 51:23 Amos 5:16 Genesis 9:20 Joel 1:11FarmerAgriculture

King James Dictionary [5]

HUS'BANDMAN, n. A farmer a cultivator or tiller of the ground one who labors in tillage. In America, where men generally own the land on which they labor,the proprietor of a farm is also a laborer or husbandman but the word includes the lessee and the owner.

1. The master of a family. Not in use in America.

Easton's Bible Dictionary [6]

 Genesis 9:20 26:12,14 37:7Agriculture

Webster's Dictionary [7]

(1): ( n.) A farmer; a cultivator or tiller of the ground.

(2): ( n.) The master of a family.

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature [8]

(properly אַישׁ אֲדָמָה , Man Of The Ground; Γεωργός ), one whose profession and labor is to cultivate the ground. It is among the most ancient and honorable occupations ( Genesis 9:20;  Genesis 26:12;  Genesis 26:14;  Genesis 37:7; Job 1, 2,  Isaiah 28:24-28;  John 15:1). All the Hebrews who were not consecrated to religious offices were agriculturists. Husbandmen at work are depicted on the ancient monuments of Egypt. It was remarked by the members of the French Commission that there is a great similarity between the joyless looks of the husbandmen on the monuments and the somber countenances of the modern fellahs, whose toil is so miserably remunerated. In reference to the husbandmen of Syria, Dr. Bowring says, "The laboring classes, if left to themselves, and allowed unmolested to turn to the best account the natural fertility and richness of the country, would be in a highly favorable condition. But this cannot be considered as the case when their services may be and are called for as often as the government require them, and for which they are always inadequately paid; they are likewise frequently sent from one part of the country to another wholly without their consent. The fellah, or peasant, earns little more than a bare subsistence. In Syria a great proportion of the labor is done by females, and they are constantly seen carrying heavy burdens, and, as in Egypt, a large portion of their time is employed in fetching water from the wells for domestic use. They bring home the timber and brushwood from the forests, and assist much in the cultivation of the fields." Bastow. (See Hireling).

God is compared to a husbandman ( John 15:1; Corinthians 3:9); and the simile of land carefully cultivated, or of a vineyard carefully dressed, is often used in the sacred writings. The art of husbandry is from God, says the prophet Isaiah (28:24-28), and the various operations of it are each in their season. The sowing of seed, the waiting for harvest, the ingathering when ready, the storing up in granaries, and the use of the products of the earth, afford many points of comparison, of apt figures, and similitudes in Scripture. (See Husbandry).