|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
28:23-29 The husbandman applies to his calling with pains and prudence, in all the works of it according to their nature. Thus the Lord, who has given men this wisdom, is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in his working. As the occasion requires, he threatens, corrects, spares, shows mercy, or executes vengeance. Afflictions are God's threshing instruments, to loosen us from the world, to part between us and our chaff, and to prepare us for use. God will proportion them to our strength; they shall be no heavier than there is need. When his end is answered, the trials and sufferings of his people shall cease; his wheat shall be gathered into the garner, but the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable fire.
Verse 24. - Doth the plowman plow all day? The Church of God, go often called a vineyard, is here compared to an arable field, and the processes by which God educates and disciplines his Church are compared to those employed by man in the cultivation of such a piece of ground, and the obtaining of a harvest, from it. First of all, the ground must be ploughed, the face of the earth "opened" and the "clods broken." This, however, does not go on forever; it is for an object - that the seed may be sown; and, as soon as the ground is fit for the sowing to take place, the preparation of the soil ceases. Doth he open and break, etc.? Harrowing succeeds to ploughing in the natural order of things, the object of the harrowing being to break and pulverize the clods.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Doth the ploughman plough all day to sow?.... Or, "every day"; he ploughs in order to sow; by ploughing he prepares the ground for sowing, that is his end in ploughing; and he may plough a whole day together when he is at it, but he does not plough every day in the year; he has other work to do besides ploughing, as is later mentioned; such as breaking of clods, sowing seed, and threshing the grain after it is ripe, and reaped, and gathered. The prophet signifies that the Lord, like a ploughman, had different sorts of work; he was not always doing one and the same thing; and particularly, that he would not be always admonishing and threatening men, and making preparation for his judgments, but in a little time he would execute them, signified by after metaphors:
doth he open and break the clods of his ground? he does, with a mallet or iron bar, or with the harrow; whereby the ground is made even, and so more fit for sowing. The Targum interprets the whole in a mystical sense, of the instructions of the prophets, thus,
"at all times the prophets prophesy to teach, if perhaps the ears of sinners may be opened to receive instruction;''
and it may be applied to the work of the Spirit of God upon men's hearts, by the ministry of the word: the heart of man is like the "fallow ground", hard and obdurate, barren and unfruitful; the ministry of the word is the "plough", and ministers are the "ploughmen"; but it is the Spirit of God that makes their ministrations useful, for the conviction of the mind, the pricking of the heart, and breaking it in pieces; see Jeremiah 4:3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. all day—emphatic; he is not always ploughing: he also "sows," and that, too, in accordance with sure rules (Isa 28:25).
doth he open—supply "always." Is he always harrowing?
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