Jeremiah 5:24
Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
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(24) The Lord our God, that giveth rain . . .—In the climate of Palestine, as it is now, there are not two distinct rainy seasons. The whole period from October to March has that character. The “early” rains are those that come in autumn, the latter those which close the season in spring. The former argument in what we may call the prophet’s natural theology had been drawn from the presence of law in the midst of what seemed the lawless elements of nature. Now he urges that drawn from regularity of succession. Compare Genesis 8:22; Psalm 148:8; Acts 14:17.

Rain, both the former and the latter.—Again a Deuteronomic phrase (Deuteronomy 11:14). Compare also James 5:7; Proverbs 16:15.

The appointed weeks of the harvest.—Literally, the weeks, the statutes, or ordinances, of the harvest, the seven weeks included between the beginning of the barley harvest at the Passover and the completion of the wheat harvest at Pentecost.

5:19-31 Unhumbled hearts are ready to charge God with being unjust in their afflictions. But they may read their sin in their punishment. If men will inquire wherefore the Lord doeth hard things unto them, let them think of their sins. The restless waves obeyed the Divine decree, that they should not pass the sandy shores, which were as much a restraint as lofty mountains; but they burst all restraints of God's law, and were wholly gone into wickedness. Neither did they consider their interest. While the Lord, year after year, reserves to us the appointed weeks of harvest, men live on his bounty; yet they transgress against him. Sin deprives us of God's blessings; it makes the heaven as brass, and the earth as iron. Certainly the things of this world are not the best things; and we are not to think, that, because evil men prosper, God allows their practices. Though sentence against evil works is not executed speedily, it will be executed. Shall I not visit for these things? This speaks the certainty and the necessity of God's judgments. Let those who walk in bad ways consider that an end will come, and there will be bitterness in the latter end.As God's Providence addresses itself chiefly to the thoughtful, Jeremiah says in their heart. By the intelligent study of God's dealings men perceive that they are not merely acts of power but also of love.

The appointed weeks - literally, He guardeth, maintaineth, for us the weeks which are the statutes or settled laws "of the harvest." These were the seven weeks from the Passover to Pentecost, and were as important for the ingathering of the crops as the rainy seasons for their nourishment.

24. rain … former … latter—The "former" falls from the middle of October to the beginning of December. The "latter," or spring rain in Palestine, falls before harvest in March and April, and is essential for ripening the crops (De 11:14; Joe 2:23).

weeks of … harvest—the seven weeks between passover and pentecost, beginning on the sixteenth of Nisan (De 16:9). By God's special providence no rain fell in Palestine during the harvest weeks, so that harvest work went on without interruption (see Ge 8:22).

Neither say they in their heart; they are so careless that they never trouble themselves about it; or so obdurate and stiff that they never lay it to heart, or consider that it is God that disposeth of all fixings according to his own pleasure, both in the earth and in the great deep.

Fear; or, serve and obey; all service to God being both performed in it, and proceeding from it.

That giveth rain, without which nothing could subsist. By this the true God is distinguished from all false idol gods, Jeremiah 14:22; and in this appears not only his power in decreeing, Job 28:26, and preparing it, Psalm 147:8 his sovereignty in withholding it, Amos 4:7; but his general goodness in bestowing it, Deu 28:12 Matthew 5:45, and his special providence in the seasonable disposal of it, according as there is need, and which he gives as a witness of it, Acts 14:17. As in the former instance God sets forth his people’s insensibleness of the works of his greatness and power in so easily taming such an unruly element; so here he doth also further manifest the same by instances of his providence and goodness, implying, that so stupid, resolute, and obstinate they are grown, that they are neither afraid of him for his greatness, which possibly may be understood by the former fear, nor fear him for his goodness, which possibly may be the sense of the word in this latter place.

The former and the latter; he means not the former and latter part of the year, but according to their seasons of sowing and reaping; the former to prepare the ground for sowing, and the latter to prepare the corn for plumping and ripening: see Jeremiah 3:3.

He reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest; he gives seasonable harvests according to his appointment: the sum is, God would let them know by this what an impudent and foolish, as well as wicked thing it is for them to set themselves against that God that keeps the whole order of nature at his own disposal, which he can govern and order as he sees men behave themselves towards him.

Neither say in their heart,.... It came not into their mind, they never once thought of it, namely, of what follows,

let us now fear the Lord our God; they were not influenced and engaged to the fear of God, neither by his power in the preceding instance, nor by his goodness in the following one:

that giveth rain; in common, all the year round, at proper times, for the use of men and beasts. This is a pure gift of God, and an instance of his goodness, and is peculiar to him, what none of the gods of the Gentiles could give, Jeremiah 14:22,

both the former and the later, in his season; there were two particular seasons in the year in which the land of Israel had rain; the one was in the month Marchesvan, answering to part of October and part of November, and this was the former rain, after the seed was sown in the earth; and the other was in the month of Nisan, answering to part of March and part of April, just before the time of harvest, and this was the latter rain:

he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest; which was reckoned by weeks, because of the seven weeks between the passover and pentecost: the barley harvest began at the former, and the wheat harvest at the latter, called the feast of weeks, Exodus 34:22 and these were appointed of God, the harvest itself, Genesis 8:22 and the weeks in which it was gathered in, Leviticus 23:15, and these appointments and promises the Lord carefully observed, and faithfully kept.

Neither say they in their heart, Let us now fear the LORD our God, that giveth rain, both the former and the latter, in his season: he reserveth unto us the appointed weeks of the harvest.
24. God’s grace as shewn in nature illustrated. As the people refused to fear Him in consideration of His power (Jeremiah 5:22), so neither does His bounty prevail with them.

rain, both the former and the latter] Cp. Jeremiah 3:3. The former (= early) rain was between October and December, the latter fell in March and April.

Verse 24. - That giveth rain, etc. The second appeal is to the regularity of the rains. Dr. Robinson remarks that there are not at the present day in Palestine "any particular periods of rain, or succession of showers, which might be regarded as distinct rainy seasons," and that...unless there has been some change m the climate of Palestine, the former and the latter rains seem to correspond to "the first showers of autumn, which revived the parched and thirsty earth and prepared it for the seed, and the later showers of spring, which continued to refresh and forward both the ripening crops and the vernal products of the fields" ('Biblical Researches,' 3:98). He reserveth unto us, etc.; literally, he keepeth for us the weeks - the statutes of harvest; i.e. the weeks which are the appointed conditions of harvest. The prophet means the seven weeks which elapsed from the second day of the Passover to the "Feast of Harvest," or "Feast of Weeks" (Pentecost) (Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:9, 10). Jeremiah 5:24But this people has a stubborn and rebellious heart; it bows not beneath the almighty hand of God. "Stubborn and rebellious," joined as in Deuteronomy 21:18, Deuteronomy 21:20. Hence the following סרוּ is not to be taken from סרר: they defy (Hitz.), but from סוּר: they turn away and go off, and consider not that they owe their daily bread to the Lord. Neither does God's power move the obdurate people to the fear of Him, nor do the proofs of His love make any impression. They do not consider that God gives them the rain which lends the land its fruitfulness, so that at the fixed time they may gather in the harvest. The ו cop. before יורה is rejected by the Masoretes in the Keri as out of place, since גּשׁם is not any special rain, co-ordinate to the early and late rain (Hitz.), or because they had Deuteronomy 11:14; Joel 2:23 before them. But in this they failed to notice that the ו before יורה and that before מלקושׁ are correlative, having the force of et - et. שׁבעת is stat. constr. from שׁבעת, weeks, and to it חקּות is co-ordinated in place of an adjective, so that קציר is dependent on two co-ordinate stat. constr., as in Jeremiah 46:9, Jeremiah 46:11; Zephaniah 2:6. But the sense is not, the weeks, the statutes, of the harvest, i.e., the fixed and regulated phenomena which regulate the harvest (Graf), but, appointed weeks of harvest. The seven weeks between the second day of the passover and the feast of harvest, or of weeks, Exodus 23:16; Exodus 34:22; Deuteronomy 16:9., are what is here meant. We must reject the rendering, "oath as to the harvest-time" (L. de Dieu, J. D. Mich., and Ew.), since Scripture knows nothing of oaths taken by God as to the time of harvest; in Genesis 8:22 there is no word of an oath.
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