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13

Put in the sickle,

for the harvest is ripe.

Go in, tread,

for the wine press is full.

The vats overflow,

for their wickedness is great.

 


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As God defers his judgments when miserable men groan under their burdens, the Prophet uses a form of speech, which represents God as not delaying, but, on the contrary, as hastening to judgment, though this be not perceived by carnal minds; for these two things well agree together — God waiting his opportunity as to the ungodly and suspending the punishment they deserve — and yet quickly accelerating their destruction; for he is said to defer with respect to men, because one day with us is like a hundred years; and he is said to hasten, because he knows the exact points of time. So he says in this place, Put forth the sickle, for the harvest has ripened. He uses metaphorical words, but he afterwards expresses without a figure what he means and says, that their wickedness had multiplied

But there are here two metaphors, the one taken from the harvest, and the other from the vintage. The Prophet calls those reapers who have been destined to execute his judgment; for God makes use as it were of the hired work of men, and employs their hands here and there as he wills. He afterwards adds another metaphor, taken from the vintage, Full, he says, are the presses and the vats overflow; and at last he expresses what they mean, — that their wickedness had multiplied, that is, that it was overflowing. God said to Abraham, that the wickedness of the Canaanites was not then completed; and long was the space which he mentioned for he said that after four hundred years he would take vengeance on the enemies of his people: that was a long time; and Abraham might have objected and said “Why should God rest for so long a time?” The answer was this, — that their wickedness was not as yet completed. But the Prophet says here, that their wickedness had multiplied; he therefore gives to God’s servants the hope of near vengeance, as when the harvest approaches and the vintage is nigh at hand; for then all have their minds refreshed with joy. Such is the Prophet’s design; to encourage the faithful in their hope and expectation of a near deliverance, he declares that the iniquities of their enemies had now reached their full measure, so that God was now ready to execute on them his vengeance. This is the purport of the whole. It follows —




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