Jeremiah 8:20
The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.
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(20) The harvest is past . . .—The question of Jehovah, admitting of no answer but a confession of guilt, is met by another cry of despair from the sufferers of the future. They are as men in a year of famine—“The harvest is past,” and there has been no crop for men to reap.

Summer.—In Isaiah 16:9; Jeremiah 40:10, and elsewhere, the word is rendered by “summer fruits.” “The summer” (better, the fruit-gathering) is ended, and yet they are not saved from misery and death. All has failed alike. The whole formula had probably become proverbial for extremest misery. It is well to remember that the barley-harvest coincided with the Passover, the wheat-harvest with Pentecost, the fruit-gathering with the autumn Feast of Tabernacles.

Jeremiah 8:20. The harvest is past, &c. — Here the prophet speaks again in the name of the people, or, rather, represents the people besieged in Jerusalem complaining on account of the length of the siege. Their false prophets had amused them with vain hopes of deliverance, and they had expected the Egyptians to come to their relief; but now the harvest and the summer were past, and yet there was no appearance of succour or deliverance coming to them. Jerusalem began to be besieged in the winter of the year, but was not taken till the end of the summer of the following year.8:14-22 At length they begin to see the hand of God lifted up. And when God appears against us, every thing that is against us appears formidable. As salvation only can be found in the Lord, so the present moment should be seized. Is there no medicine proper for a sick and dying kingdom? Is there no skilful, faithful hand to apply the medicine? Yes, God is able to help and to heal them. If sinners die of their wounds, their blood is upon their own heads. The blood of Christ is balm in Gilead, his Spirit is the Physician there, all-sufficient; so that the people may be healed, but will not. Thus men die unpardoned and unchanged, for they will not come to Christ to be saved.The summer - Rather, the fruit-gathering, which follows the grain-harvest. The grain has failed; the fruit-gathering has also proved unproductive; so despair seized the people when they saw opportunities for their deliverance again and again pass by, until God seemed utterly to have forgotten them. 20. Proverbial. Meaning: One season of hope after another has passed, but the looked-for deliverance never came, and now all hope is gone. The harvest is past, and the winter no time for war; the people’s continued complaint, not unlike that Jeremiah 8:15. The year is gone, and we are still frustrated in our expectations, the time that we expected help from Egypt, Isaiah 30:2,3,5.

We are not saved, viz. by the Egyptians, or any other confederates. The harvest is past,.... Which was in the month of Ijar, as Jarchi observes, and answers to part of April and May:

the summer is ended; which was in the month Tammuz, and answers to part of June and July:

and we are not saved; delivered from the siege of the Chaldeans; and harvest and summer being over, there were no hopes of the Egyptians coming to their relief; seeing winter was approaching; and it may be observed, that it was in the month of Ab, which answers to part of July and August, that the city and temple were burnt. These are the words of the people of the Jews, despairing of help and salvation. So the Targum,

"the congregation of Israel said, the time is passed, the end is up, and we are not redeemed.''

The {p} harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.

(p) The people wonder that they have for so long a time looked for comfort in vain.

20. The harvest lasted from April to June; later came “the summer,” better (mg.), ingathering of summer fruits. As when the harvest was bad, there remained yet hopes from the yield of grapes, figs, olives, etc., and till these hopes had failed to be realised, men did not despair; so the people had lost one chance after another, and were now without any hope. It is probably a proverbial saying applied by the prophet.Verse 20. - The harvest is past, etc. For "summer," read fruit-gathering (the vintage began in September). The people again becomes the speaker. The form of the speech reminds one of a proverb. When the harvest was over and the fruit-gathering ended, the husbandmen looked for a quiet time of refreshment. Judah had had its "harvest-time" and then its "fruit-gathering;" its needs had been gradually, increasing, and, on the analogy of previous deliverances (comp. Isaiah 18:4; Isaiah 33:10), it might have been expected that God would have interposed, his help being only delayed in order to be the more signally supernatural. But we are not saved (or rather, delivered). The horrors of the approaching visitation. - Jeremiah 8:14. "Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us go into the defenced cities, and perish there; for Jahveh our God hath decreed our ruin, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against Jahveh. Jeremiah 8:15. We looked for safety, and there is no good; for a time of healing, and behold terrors. Jeremiah 8:16. From Dan is heard the snorting of his horses; at the loud neighing of his steeds the whole earth trembles: they come, and devour the land and its fulness, the city and those that dwell therein. Jeremiah 8:17. For, behold, I send among you serpents, vipers, of which there is no charming, which shall sting you, saith Jahve. Jeremiah 8:18. Oh my comfort in sorrow, in me my heart grows too sock. Jeremiah 8:19. Behold, loud sounds the cry of the daughter from out of a far country: 'Is Jahveh not in Zion, nor her King in her?' Why provoked they me with their images, with vanities of a foreign land? Jeremiah 8:20. Past is the harvest, ended is the fruit-gathering, and we are not saved. Jeremiah 8:21. For the breaking of the daughter of my people am I broken, am in mourning; horror hath taken hold on me. Jeremiah 8:22. Is there no balm in Gilead, or no physician there? why then is no plaister laid upon the daughter of my people? V. 23. Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears! then would I weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people."

In spirit the prophet sees the enemy forcing his way into the country, and the inhabitants fleeing into the fortified cities. This he represents to his hearers with graphic and dramatic effect. In Jeremiah 8:14 the citizens of Judah are made to speak, calling on one another to flee and give up hope of being saved. "Why do we sit still?" i.e., remain calmly where we are? We will withdraw into the strong cities (cf. Jeremiah 4:5), and perish there by famine and disease (נדּמה for נדּמּה, imperf. Niph., from דּמם: cf. Gesen. 67, 5, Rem. 11; in Niph. be destroyed, perish). The fortresses cannot save them from ruin, since they will be besieged and taken by the enemy. For our sin against Him, God has decreed our ruin. The Hiph. from דמם, prop. put to silence, bring to ruin, here with the force of a decree. מי ראשׁ, bitter waters; ראשׁ or רושׁ, Deuteronomy 32:32, is a plant with a very bitter taste, and so, since bitterness and poison were to the Jews closely connected, a poisonous plant; see on Deuteronomy 29:17. So they call the bitter suffering from the ruin at hand which they must undergo. Cf. the similar figure of the cup of the anger of Jahveh, Jeremiah 25:15.

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