Deuteronomy 11:14
That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, the first rain and the latter rain, that you may gather in your corn, and your wine, and your oil.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(14) The first rain (after sowing), the latter rain (just before harvest). In the ninth month and the first month respectively. (See Ezra 10:9; Ezra 10:13, and Joel 2:23.)

That thou mayest gather in.—Literally, and thou shalt gather in. Rashi reminds us that this may mean “thou, and not thine enemies.” They that have gathered it shall eat it” (Isaiah 62:8-9).

Deuteronomy 11:14-15. I will give you — Moses here personates God; or, rather, God speaks by him. The rain of your land — Which is proper to your land, and not common to Egypt, where there is little rain. The first rain and the latter rain — In Judea and the neighbouring countries there is seldom any rain, save at two seasons, about the autumnal and vernal equinox, called the former and latter rain. The first fell about the time of sowing their seed, and served to prepare the ground, and make the grain take root in the earth; and the other when the corn was well grown, toward earing-time, to make the ears full and plump for harvest. I will send grass in thy fields — So godliness has here the promise of the life which now is. But the favour of God puts gladness into the heart more than the increase of corn, wine, and oil.11:8-17 Moses sets before them, for the future, life and death, the blessing and the curse, according as they did or did not keep God's commandment. Sin tends to shorten the days of all men, and to shorten the days of a people's prosperity. God will bless them with an abundance of all good things, if they would love him and serve him. Godliness has the promise of the life that now is; but the favour of God shall put gladness into the heart, more than the increase of corn, and wine, and oil. Revolt from God to idols would certainly be their ruin. Take heed that your hearts be not deceived. All who forsake God to set their affection upon any creature, will find themselves wretchedly deceived, to their own destruction; and this will make it worse, that it was for want of taking heed.The first rain and the latter rain - The former is the proper term for the autumn rain, falling about the time of sowing, and which may be named "the former," as occurring in the early part of the Hebrew civil year, namely, in October and November. The other word is applied to the spring rain, which falls in March and April, because it fits the earth for the ingathering of harvest. Between these two wet periods, and except them, there was little or no rain in Canaan. 14. the first rain and the latter rain—The early rain commenced in autumn, that is, chiefly during the months of September and October, while the latter rain fell in the spring of the year, that is, during the months of March and April. It is true that occasional showers fell all the winter; but, at the autumnal and vernal seasons, they were more frequent, copious, and important; for the early rain was necessary, after a hot and protracted summer, to prepare the soil for receiving the seed; and the latter rain, which shortly preceded the harvest, was of the greatest use in invigorating the languishing powers of vegetation (Jer 5:24; Joe 2:23; Am 4:7; Jas 5:7). The rain of your land, i.e. which is needful and sufficient for your land; or which is proper to your land, not common to Egypt, where, as all authors agree, there is little or no rain.

The first rain and the latter rain; the first fell in seed time, to make the corn spring, the other a little before harvest, to ripen it. See Jeremiah 5:24 Joel 2:23 Amos 4:7 Jam 5:7. That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season,.... Such a quantity of it as the land required, a sufficiency of it to make it fruitful, and that in proper time:

the first rain and the latter rain; the former rain in Marchesvan, the latter rain in Nisan, as the Targum of Jonathan; the first fell about our October, which was at or quickly after seedtime, to water the seed that it might take root, and grow and spring up; and the latter fell about March, a little before harvest, to ripen the corn, and swell and plump the ears of it, and make them yield more and better; See Gill on Joel 2:23,

that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil; which were the principal things the land afforded for the sustenance of men; bread corn, the stay and staff of human life, and which strengthens man's heart, and makes him fit for labour; wine, which is his drink, and makes the heart of man glad and cheerful; and oil, which in these countries was used instead of butter, and was fattening, and made the face to shine, Psalm 104:15. The ingathering of these fruits were at different times; the barley harvest first, the wheat harvest next, and after that the vintage, and the gathering of the olives; and by means of rain in due season they were favoured with each of these.

That I will give you the rain of your land in his due season, {e} the first rain and the latter rain, that thou mayest gather in thy corn, and thy wine, and thine oil.

(e) In the seed time, and toward harvest.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
14. that I will give the rain of your land] The Heb. text is evidently due to the same hand which inserted Deuteronomy 11:13, for it immediately follows that verse, and as evidently the original reading is that of Sam., LXX and Vulg. that he will give the rain to thy land, which connects with Deuteronomy 11:12.

in its season, etc.] The agricultural year in Palestine consisted of two seasons, a rainy and a dry. ‘Towards the end of October heavy rains begin to fall, at intervals, for a day or several days at a time. These are what the English Bible calls the early or former rain, Heb. yôreh, the pourer. It opens the agricultural year; the soil, hardened and cracked by the long summer, rainless since May, is loosened, and the farmer begins ploughing. Till the end of November the average rainfall is not large, but it increases through December, January and February, begins to abate in March, and is practically over by the end of April. The latter rains, Heb. malḳosh, from a root meaning to be late, are the heavy showers of March and April. Coming as they do when the grain is ripening, and being the last before the long summer drought, they are of far more importance to the country than all the rains of the winter months, and that is why these are so frequently passed over in Scripture, and emphasis is laid only on the early and latter rains1[129]’ (HGHL, pp. 63, 64). The annual rainfall is considerable: at Jerusalem it averages over 25 inches, about the same as the annual rainfall in London. Whether it was more copious in ancient times is a question much debated. For this and other details see the present writer’s Jerusalem, i. 19, 77 f. The growth of the vine and olive depend, like the ripening of the corn, essentially on the latter rain; and the olive requires the rainless summer for the ripening of its berries (op. cit. 300).

[129] This has given people the idea that there are only two periods of rain in the Syrian year, at the vernal and the autumnal equinoxes; but the whole of the winter is the rainy season, as indeed we are told in the parallel lines of the Song of Songs: Lo the winter is past, the rain is over and gone (Deuteronomy 2:11).Verse 14. - The first rain; the rain which falls from the middle of October to the end of December, which prepares the soil for the seed, and keeps it moist after the seed is sown. The latter rain; that which falls in March and April, about the time when the grain is ripening for harvest; during the time of harvest no rain falls in Palestine. But if they allowed themselves to be deceived and misled, so as to apostatize from the Lord and serve other gods and worship them, the Divine displeasure would be shown in the withholding from them of the blessing, so that they should miserably perish. And this knowledge was to impel them to keep the law, that they might be strong, i.e., spiritually strong (Deuteronomy 1:38), and not only go into the promised land, but also live long therein (cf. Deuteronomy 4:26; Deuteronomy 6:3). - In Deuteronomy 11:10-12 Moses adduces a fresh motive for his admonition to keep the law with fidelity, founded upon the peculiar nature of the land. Canaan was a land the fertility of which was not dependent, like that of Egypt, upon its being watered by the hand of man, but was kept up by the rain of heaven which was sent down by God the Lord, so that it depended entirely upon the Lord how long its inhabitants should live therein. Egypt is described by Moses as a land which Israel sowed with seed, and watered with its foot like a garden of herbs. In Egypt there is hardly any rain at all (cf. Herod. ii. 4, Diod. Sic. i. 41, and other evidence in Hengstenberg's Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 217ff.). The watering of the land, which produces its fertility, is dependent upon the annual overflowing of the Nile, and, as this only lasts for about 100 days, upon the way in which this is made available for the whole year, namely, by the construction of canals and ponds throughout the land, to which the water is conducted from the Nile by forcing machines, or by actually carrying it in vessels up to the fields and plantations.

(Note: Upon the ancient monuments we find not only the draw-well with the long rope, which is now called Shaduf, depicted in various ways (see Wilkinson, i. p. 35, ii. 4); but at Beni-Hassan there is a representation of two men carrying a water-vessel upon a pole on their shoulders, which they fill from a draw-well or pond, and then carry to the field (cf. Hengstenberg, Egypt and the Books of Moses, pp. 220-1).)

The expression, "with thy foot," probably refers to the large pumping wheels still in use there, which are worked by the feet, and over which a long endless rope passes with pails attached, for drawing up the water (cf. Niebuhr, Reise, i. 149), the identity of which with the ἕλιξ described by Philo as ὑδρηλὸν ὄργανον (de confus. ling. i. 410) cannot possibly be called in question; provided, that is to say, we do not confound this ἕλιξ with the Archimedean water-screw mentioned by Diod. Sic. i. 34, and described more minutely at v. 37, the construction of which was entirely different (see my Archaeology, ii. pp. 111-2). - The Egyptians, as genuine heathen, were so thoroughly conscious of this peculiar characteristic of their land, which made its fertility far more dependent upon the labour of human hands than upon the rain of heaven or divine providence, that Herodotus (ii. 13) represents them as saying, "The Greeks, with their dependence upon the gods, might be disappointed in their brightest hopes and suffer dreadfully from famine." The land of Canaan yielded no support to such godless self-exaltation, for it was "a land of mountains and valleys, and drank water of the rain of heaven" (ל before מטר, to denote the external cause; see Ewald, 217, d.); i.e., it received its watering, the main condition of all fertility, from the rain, by the way of the rain, and therefore through the providential care of God.

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