John 4:35
Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.
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(35) Say not ye, There are yet four months.—The emphasis in this verse should be laid upon “ye.” It follows immediately out of the contrast between the natural and spiritual food. Every outer fact is the sign of an inner truth. They here, as the woman in John 4:11, as the teacher of Israel (John 3:4), as the Jews (John 2:20), speak in the language of the outer facts only. He speaks of the spiritual realities. Looking on the fields of springing corn, they would say that in four months there would be harvest. He sees signs of life springing up from seed sown in receptive hearts; and eyes lifted up and directed to the wide fields of the world’s nations would see that the fulness of time was come, and that the fields were even now white to harvest. The Samaritans coming to Him are as the firstfruits, the earnest of the abundant sheaves which shall follow.

Four months.—This gives us probably a note on time. There is no evidence that it was a proverbial saying, and the form of the sentence is against the supposition. The legal beginning of harvest was fixed (Leviticus 23:10; Deuteronomy 16:9) for the 16th of Nisan (April). This would give us in that year, which was a Jewish leap-year, with a month added (Wieseler’s Synopsis, Eng. Trans., p. 187), some time about the middle of the month Tebeth (January) as the date of this conversation. (Comp. John 5:1.) For the idea of the harvest, comp. Matthew 9:36-38, and the parable of the Sower, Matthew 13:3 et seq.

John 4:35-36. Say not ye, There are yet four months, &c. — Dr. Whitby, Grotius, and many others, understand this, as if our Lord had said, It is a proverbial expression for the encouragement of husbandmen, that there are but four months between seed-time and harvest. “But I cannot acquiesce,” says Dr. Doddridge, “in this interpretation, 1st, Because none of the learned writers referred to above, nor Dr. Lightfoot, who is large on this text, could produce any such proverb. 2d, Because, indeed, there could be no foundation for it, since the distance between seed-time and harvest must differ according to the different kinds of grain in question. And, 3d, Because if there had been such a proverb, it would have been improper to apply it here, since our Lord was not speaking of the period of time between the prophets’ sowing, and the apostles’ reaping; (to which four months has no analogy;) but only means to tell them, that though they reckoned yet four months to the earthly harvest, the spiritual harvest was now ripe. So that I choose, as Sir Isaac Newton does, to take the words in their plainest sense, as an intimation that there were then four months to the beginning of harvest. And I take this passage to be of great importance for settling the chronology of Christ’s ministry.” Lift up your eyes, even now, and look on the fields round about you, for they are white already to harvest — Laden with a plentiful crop of ripe corn. He alluded to the disposition of the people in general to receive the gospel, and more particularly to the multitude of the Samaritans, who, struck with the report of the woman, were coming in such numbers as covered the ground, to inquire after him as the Messiah, and to hear his doctrine; and unto whom he pointed and directed his disciples to look, as being within their view. And, as they laboured together with him in this spiritual harvest, to encourage them, he puts them in mind of the reward, adding, And he that reapeth — The harvest of which I now speak; he that by labouring in the word and doctrine converts sinners, and turns them to God; receiveth wages — Infinitely more valuable than men can give; and gathereth fruit unto life eternal — Both saves himself and those that hear him, 1 Timothy 4:16. Christ compares the case of a faithful Christian minister to that of a considerate reaper, who is supported in his fatigue, not only by a regard to his own wages, but to the advantage which the public receives by the harvest he gathers in. This the original expression, συναγει καρπον εις ζωην αιωνιον, seems plainly to import, and so is parallel to James 5:20, He that converteth a sinner shall save a soul from death, &c., and suggests a most forcible consideration to diligence and zeal. If the spiritual reaper save his own soul, even that is fruit abounding to his account, fruit gathered to life eternal. And if, over and above this, he be instrumental in saving the souls of others too, there also is fruit gathered, good fruit, the fruit that Christ seeks for, Romans 1:13. This is the comfort of faithful ministers, that their work has a tendency to, and is instrumental of, the eternal salvation of precious souls.

4:27-42 The disciples wondered that Christ talked thus with a Samaritan. Yet they knew it was for some good reason, and for some good end. Thus when particular difficulties occur in the word and providence of God, it is good to satisfy ourselves that all is well that Jesus Christ says and does. Two things affected the woman. The extent of his knowledge. Christ knows all the thoughts, words, and actions, of all the children of men. And the power of his word. He told her secret sins with power. She fastened upon that part of Christ's discourse, many would think she would have been most shy of repeating; but the knowledge of Christ, into which we are led by conviction of sin, is most likely to be sound and saving. They came to him: those who would know Christ, must meet him where he records his name. Our Master has left us an example, that we may learn to do the will of God as he did; with diligence, as those that make a business of it; with delight and pleasure in it. Christ compares his work to harvest-work. The harvest is appointed and looked for before it comes; so was the gospel. Harvest-time is busy time; all must be then at work. Harvest-time is a short time, and harvest-work must be done then, or not at all; so the time of the gospel is a season, which if once past, cannot be recalled. God sometimes uses very weak and unlikely instruments for beginning and carrying on a good work. Our Saviour, by teaching one poor woman, spread knowledge to a whole town. Blessed are those who are not offended at Christ. Those taught of God, are truly desirous to learn more. It adds much to the praise of our love to Christ and his word, if it conquers prejudices. Their faith grew. In the matter of it: they believed him to be the Saviour, not only of the Jews but of the world. In the certainty of it: we know that this is indeed the Christ. And in the ground of it, for we have heard him ourselves.Say not ye - This seems to have been a proverb. Ye say - that is, men say.

Four months and ... - The common time from sowing the seed to the harvest, in Judea, was about "four months." The meaning of this passage may be thus expressed: "The husbandman, when he sows his seed, is compelled to wait a considerable period before it produces a crop. He is encouraged in sowing it; he expects fruit; his labor is lightened by that expectation; but it is not "immediate" - it is remote. But it is not so with my preaching. The seed has already sprung up. Scarce was it sown before it produced an abundant harvest. The gospel was just preached to a woman, and see how many of the Samaritans come to hear it also. There is therefore more encouragement to labor in this field than the farmer has to sow his grain."

Lift up your eyes - See the Samaritans coming to hear the gospel.

They are white - Grain, when ripe, turns from a green to a yellow or light color, indicating that it is time to reap it. So here were indications that the gospel was effectual, and that the harvest was to be gathered in. Hence, we may learn:

1. that there is as much encouragement to attempt to save souls as the farmer has to raise a crop.

2. that the gospel is fitted to make an immediate impression on the minds of men. We are to expect that it will. We are not to wait to some future period, as if we could not expect immediate results. This wicked and ignorant people - little likely, apparently, to be affected - turned to God, heard the voice of the Saviour, and came in multitudes to him.

3. We are to expect revivals of religion. Here was one instance of it under the Saviour's own preaching. Multitudes were excited, moved, and came to learn the way of life.

4. We know not how much good may be done by conversation with even a single individual. This conversation with a woman resulted in a deep interest felt throughout the city, and in the conversion of many of them to God. So, a single individual may often be the means, in the hand of God, of leading many to the cross of Jesus.

5. What evils may follow from neglecting to do our duty! How easily might Jesus have alleged, if he had been like many of his professed disciples, that he was weary, that he was hungry, that it was esteemed improper to converse with a woman alone, that she was an abandoned character, and there could be little hope of doing her good! How many consciences of ministers and Christians would have been satisfied with reasoning like this? Yet Jesus, in spite of his fatigue and thirst, and all the difficulties of the case, seriously set about seeking the conversion of this woman. And behold what a glorious result! The city was moved, and a great harvest was found ready to be gathered in! "Let us not be weary in well-doing, for in due season we shall reap if we faint not."

35. yet four months, and then harvest—that is, "In current speech, ye say thus at this season; but lift up your eyes and look upon those fields in the light of another husbandry, for lo! in that sense, they are even now white to harvest, ready for the sickle." The simple beauty of this language is only surpassed by the glow of holy emotion in the Redeemer's own soul which it expresses. It refers to the ripeness of these Sycharites for accession to Him, and the joy of this great Lord of the reapers over the anticipated ingathering. Oh, could we but so, "lift up our eyes and look" upon many fields abroad and at home, which to dull sense appear unpromising, as He beheld those of Samaria, what movements, as yet scarce in embryo, and accessions to Christ, as yet seemingly far distant, might we not discern as quite near at hand, and thus, amidst difficulties and discouragements too much for nature to sustain, be cheered—as our Lord Himself was in circumstances far more overwhelming—with "songs in the night!" There was in those countries but four months’ space betwixt seed time and harvest; yet they fed themselves (as soon as they had sown) with the expectation of it. My harvest, saith our Saviour, is the gaining of souls for my Father: look yonder what a troop of the citizens of Sichem are coming to me, upon my revelation of myself to the woman of Samaria; I have but just sown my seed, and the fields are white to this spiritual harvest, Matthew 9:37. In the judgement of the, best interpreters, our Saviour in this verse useth a comparison, and passeth from his similitude used in the former part of the verse, fetched from a worldly harvest, to discourse of that spiritual harvest, which he by and by reaped of the citizens of Sichem coming to him; it is of that he saith, that the fields were already white, by which (as will appear from the following verses) he quickeneth his disciples to put in their sickles. Some critical authors, understanding both the former and latter part of the text of a worldly harvest, have used their wits to determine how the fields should be

white to harvest four months before it came; but the most and best interpreters interpret the latter part of a spiritual harvest, and that will be also justified by what followeth.

Say not ye, there are yet four months,.... Our Lord had been in Jerusalem and Judea, about eight months from the last passover, and there remained four more to the next passover:

and then cometh harvest? barley harvest, which began at that time. Now as the passover was in the middle of the month Nisan, which was about the latter end of our March; reckoning four months back from thence shows, that it was about the latter end of our November, or beginning of December, that Christ was in Samaria, and at Jacob's well. Some think, that this does not refer to the then present time, as if there were so many months from thence to the next harvest, but to a common way of speaking, that there were four months from seed time to harvest; during which time there was a comfortable hope, and longing expectation of it: but this will, by no means, agree either with the wheat or barley harvest. The wheat was sown before this time, and the barley a good while after.

"Half Tisri, Marcheshvan, and half Cisleu, were, seed time (w)''

The earliest they sowed their wheat was in Tisri, which answers to our September and October; i.e. to half one, and half the other. The month of Marcheshvan, which answers to October and November, was the principal month for sowing it (x): hence that paraphrase on Ecclesiastes 11:2,

"give a good part of thy seed to thy field in Tisri, and do not refrain from sowing even in Cisleu.''

As for the barley, that was sown in the months of Shebet and Adar, and usually in the latter (y); the former of which answers to January and February, and the latter to February and March. And we read (z) of their sowing seventy days before the passover, which was within six weeks of the beginning of barley harvest.

Behold, I say unto you, lift up your eyes, and look on the fields: pointing to the lands which lay near the city of Sychar:

for they are white already to harvest; alluding to the corn fields, which, when ripe, and near harvest, look white: hence we read (a) of , "the white field": which the Jews say is a field sown with wheat or barley, and so called to distinguish it from a field planted with trees; though it may be rather, that it is so called from its white look when ripe. So the three Targums paraphrase Genesis 49:12,

"his hills (his valleys, or fields, as Onkelos) "are white" with corn, and flocks of sheep.''

Christ here speaks not literally; for the fields could not be white at such a distance from harvest; but spiritually, of a harvest of souls; and has regard to the large number of Samaritans that were just now coming out of the city, and were within sight, and covered the adjacent fields: and these he calls upon his disciples to lift up their eyes and behold; and suggests to them, that it was not a time for eating and drinking, but for working, since here was such a number of souls to be gathered in: and thus as from corporeal food he proceeded to treat of spiritual food; so from a literal harvest he goes on to speak of a spiritual one, and encourages his disciples to labour in it, by the following arguments.

(w) T. Bab. Bava Metzia, fol. 106. 2.((x) Gloss in T. Bab. Roshhashana, fol. 16. 1.((y) Gloss in Bava Metzia & in Roshhashana ib. (z) Misn. Menachot, c. 8. sect. 2.((a) Misn. Sheviith, c. 2. sect. 1. & Moed Katon, c. 1. sect. 4.

{5} Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

(5) When the spiritual corn is ripe, we must not linger, for so the children of this world would condemn us.

John 4:35. The approaching townspeople now showed how greatly already the ἵνα ποιῶ was in process of accomplishment. They were coming through the corn-field, now tinged with green; and thus they make the fields, which for four months would not yield the harvest, in a higher sense already white harvest-fields. Jesus directs the attention of His disciples to this; and with the beautiful picture thus presented in nature, He connects further appropriate instructions, onwards to John 4:38.

οὐχ ὑμεῖς λέγετε] that is, at the present season of the year (ἔπι). The ὑμεῖς stands contrasted with what Jesus was about to say, though the antithesis is not expressed in what follows by ἐγώ, because the antithesis of the time stands in the foreground.[194] The supposition that the disciples had, during their walk, made an observation of this kind to each other (and this in a theological sense with reference to hoping and waiting), as Hengstenberg suggests, is neither hinted at, nor is in harmony with the Praesens λέγετε.

ὅτι ἔτιἔρχεται] Harvest began in the middle of Nisan (Lightfoot, v. 101), i.e. in April. Consequently the words must have been spoken in December, when Jesus, as the seed-time fell in Marchesvan (the beginning of November), might be surrounded by sown fields already showing tints of green, the harvest of which, however, could not be expected for four months to come. We render therefore: there are still four months (to wait, until) the harvest comes. As to the paratactic expression with καὶ instead of a particle of time, see Stallbaum, ad Plat. Symp. p. 220 C; Ellendt, Lex. Soph. I. 881. Concerning the bearing of the passage upon the chronology, see Wieseler, Synopse, p. 214 ff. The taking of the words as proverbial (Lightfoot, Grotius, Tittmann, etc., even Lücke, Tholuck, de Wette, Krafft, Chronol. p. 73), as if the saying were a general one: “from seed-time to harvest is four months” (seed-time would thus be made to extend into December; comp. Bava Mezia, f. 106, 2), is forbidden, not only by the fact that such a proverb occurs nowhere else, but by the fact that seed-time is not here mentioned, so that ἔτι (comp. the following ἬΔΗ) does not refer to a point of time to be understood, but to the time then present, and by the fact, likewise, that the emphasized ὙΜΕῖς would be inexplicable and strange in an ordinary proverb (comp. rather Matthew 16:2).[195] It is worth while to notice how long Jesus had been in Judaea (since April).

τετράμηνος] sc. χρόνος; see Lobeck, ad Phryn. p. 549.

τὰς χώρας] regiones. They had just been sown, and the young seed was now springing up, and yet in another sense they were white for being reaped; for, by the spectacle of the townspeople who were now coming out to Christ across these fields, it appeared in concrete manifestation before the eyes of the disciples (hence ἐπάρατε τοὺς ὀφθαλμούς, κ.τ.λ.), that now for men the time of conversion (of ripeness) was come in the near establishment of the Messiah’s kingdom, into which, like the harvest produce, they might be gathered (comp. Matthew 3:12). Jesus, therefore, here gives a prophetic view, not only of the near conversion of the Samaritans (Acts 8:5 ff.); but, rising above the concrete fact now before them, consequently from the people of Sychar who were flocking through the fields of springing green, His prophetic eye takes in all mankind, whose conversion, begun by Him, would be fully accomplished by His disciples. See especially John 4:38. Godet wrongly denies this wider prophetic reference, and confines the words to the immediate occurrence, as an improvised harvest feast. Such an explanation does not suffice for what follows, John 4:36-38, which was suggested, indeed, by the phenomenon before them, but embraces the whole range of service on the part of Christ’s disciples in their relation to their Lord. If we do not allow this wider reference, John 4:38 especially will be of very strange import.

ὅτι] not for, but according to common attraction (Winer, p. 581 [E. T. p. 781 f.]), that they are, etc.

ἤδη] even now, at this moment, and not after four months; put at the end for emphasis (Stallbaum, ad Plat. Phaedr. p. 256 E; ad Menex. p. 235 A). Comp. 1 John 4:3; Kühner, ad Xen. Anab. i. 8. 16. Not, therefore, to be joined with what follows (A. C.* D. E. L. א. Codd. It. al., Schulz, Tisch., Ewald, Ebrard, Godet), which would make the correlation with ἜΤΙ inappropriate. For the rest, comp. Ovid, Fast. v. 357: “maturis albescit messis aristis.”

[194] The versatility of thought often in Greek changes the things contrasted as the sentence proceeds. See Dissen, ad Dem. de cor. 163; Schaef. ad Timocr. p. 763, 13.

[195] This also is in answer to Hilgenfeld, who takes ἔτι with reference to the present, and not the future, and interprets it: four months are not yet gone, and yet the harvest is already here. This strange rendering derives no support whatever from John 11:39.

John 4:35. οὐχ ὑμεῖς λέγετε, etc. These words may either mean “Are you not saying?” or “Do you not say?” that is, they may either refer to an expression just used by the disciples, or to a common proverb. If the former, then the disciples had probably been speaking of the dearness of the provisions they had bought, and congratulating themselves that harvest would lower them. Or sitting by the well and looking round, some of them may have casually remarked that they were four months from harvest. In this case the time of year would be determined. Harvest beginning in April, it would now be December. But the phrase οὐχ ὑμεῖς λέγετε is not the natural introduction to a reference to some present remark of the disciples; whereas it is the natural introduction to the citation of a proverb (Matthew 16:2). That it is a proverb is also favoured by the metrical form ἔτι τετράμηνόν ἐστι καὶ ὁ θερισμὸς ἔρχεται. No trace of such a proverb has been found, but that some such saying should be current was inevitable, the waiting of the husbandman being typical of so much of human life. (Wetstein quotes from Ovid (Heroid., xvii. 263), “adhuc tua messis in herba est,” and many other parallels.) If this was a proverbial expression to give encouragement to the sower, we cannot infer from its use here that the time was December. Our Lord quotes it for the sake of the contrast between the ordinary relation of harvest to seed-time, and that which they can recognise by lifting their eyes.—ἐπάρατε τοὺς ὀφθαλμοὺς ὑμῶν.… Your harvest is already here. What the disciples see when they lift their eyes from their food is the crowd of Samaritans ripe for the kingdom and now approaching them. In Samaria a long time might have been expected to elapse between sowing and reaping; but no!—λευκαί εἰσι … the fields are already ripe for cutting. [λευκαί Wetstein illustrates from Ovid, “maturis albescit messis aristis”.]

35. Say not ye] The pronoun is again emphatic.

There are yet four months, &c.] This cannot be a proverb. No such proverb is known; and a proverb on the subject would have to be differently shaped; e.g. ‘From seedtime to harvest is four months,’ or something of the kind. So that we may regard this saying as a mark of time. Harvest began in the middle of Nisan or April. Four months from that would place this event in the middle of December: or, if (as some suppose) this was a year in which an extra month was inserted, in the middle of January.

are white already to harvest] In the green blades just shewing through the soil the faith of the sower sees the white ears that will soon be there. So also in the flocking of these ignorant Samaritans to Him for instruction Christ sees the abundant harvest of souls that is to follow. ‘Already’ is the last word in the Greek sentence; and from very ancient times there has been a doubt whether it belongs to this sentence or the next. Some of the best MSS. give ‘already’ to the next sentence; ‘already he that reapeth receiveth wages.’ But MS. authority in punctuation is not of much weight. The received punctuation is perhaps better; ‘already’ at the end of John 4:35 being in emphatic contrast to ‘yet’ at the beginning of it.

John 4:35. Τετράμηνος, four months) Very few copies have τετράμηνον.[85] Τετράμηνος is used in the common gender, as δίμηνος, ἓκμηνος, ἑξάμηνος; see Scapula on μήν. Also Glassius in this passage so reads. Μετὰ τὴν τετραήμερον, Arist. 3 polit. ii., p. 214.—ἔτι τετράμηνός ἐστι, καὶ ὁ θερισμὸς ἔρχεται, as yet there are four months, and the harvest cometh) καὶ, and, is equivalent to until: as ch. John 7:33, “Yet a little while I am with you, and I go unto Him that sent Me;” John 14:19, “Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more;” Genesis 40:13, ἔτι τρεῖς ἡμέραι, καὶ μνησθήσεται Φαραώ, etc.; Jonah 3:4 “Yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” These are the four months, Nisan in its latter part, the whole of Ijar, the whole of Sivan, and Thammuz in its earlier part. [Coresponding to our April, May, June, and July.—V. g.] The wheat harvest, which is called actually the harvest, differs from the barley harvest. The beginning of the one was about the time of Passover: that of the other was considerably subsequent; Exodus 9:25; Exodus 9:31-32, “The barley was smitten, for the barley was in the ear; but the wheat and the rye were not smitten; for they were not grown up;” to wit, in Palestine, about the time of Pentecost, Exodus 34:22, “Thou shalt observe the feast of weeks, of the first fruits of wheat-harvest.” Moreover, the harvest was later in Galilee than in Judea. And so the feast ordained by Jeroboam was later [than that in Judea], 1 Kings 12:32, “Jeroboam ordained a feast in the eighth month, on the fifteenth day of the month, like unto the feast that is in Judah;” comp. Leviticus 23:34, “The fifteenth day of the seventh month shall be the feast of tabernacles.” And they were generally Galileans, to whom the words were addressed, Do ye not say! Finally, in that year in which these words were spoken, the first day of Thammuz was the 13th of June, which was very speedily [early], for on the following year, the 6th day of June had Pentecost itself in fine [i.e. Pentecost was not till the 6th of June], the time when wheat harvest commences.[86] In fact, therefore, the wheat harvest of the Galileans, in the fourth month after this discourse, began quickly enough [to meet the requirements of the case] in the month Thammuz. Read in addition, Harmon. Evang. § 27.[87])—λέγω ὑμῖν, I say to you) This formula indicates in this passage, that His speech is figurative. The antithesis to the words here is, ὑμεῖς λέγετε, ye say, who look more to external things. So John 4:32, “I have meat to eat that ye know not of.”—τὰς χώρας, the regions [fields]) The Samaritans are described as ripe for believing, John 4:39, “Many of the Samaritans believed on Him, for the saying of the woman,” etc., who were at the time being seen on the plain [sc. coming towards Him]; John 4:30, “Then they went out of the city, and came unto Him.” The natural, though in progress, is at a greater distance than the Gospel harvest.

[85] The reading of Rec. Text. But τετράμηνος ABCD Orig.—E. and T.

[86] What Beng. wishes to prove is, that Thammuz, this year, was the month of the Galilean harvest; for the first of Thammuz this year was the 13th of June, which was very soon for Thammuz commencing, inasmuch as, on the following year, even Pentecost itself (seven weeks after Passover, or the 15th of Nisan; i.e. early in Sivan) did not occur till 6th of June: so that Pentecost (early in Sivan) which was the harvest-time, being the 6th of June, Thammuz would be considerably later. But in the year when our Lord speaks, Thammuz comes soon enough for the late harvest of Galilee to have occurred in it.—E. and T.

[87] Whoever desires a further vindication of this view, may be referred to my Beleuchtung der Erinnerungen, etc., § 29, p. 111, etc., and especially p. 116, etc., where there is brought forward from Harm. Ev., Ed. ii., that more recent conjecture of the departed Author, by which he believed, there was intimated in the speech of the Saviour rather that harvest (the barley harvest) which claimed the month Nisan to itself, than that which claimed Thammuz. In which case this is the sense of the words: You disciples, with the rest of men, when sowing time is past, are wont to say, Still there are four months, and harvest cometh: but truly the spiritual harvest, however long delayed, even immediately succeeds the sowing time.—E. B.

Verse 35. - Say not ye - has not your talk with one another been, as you have passed through the springing corn, There are yet four months, and then cometh the harvest? This cannot be a proverbial expression for the time which elapses between sowing and harvest, as some (Lucke and Tholuck) have supposed, because, firstly, there is no mention of sowing at all; and secondly, because six months was the customary period between seed time and ingathering; and also because the "say not ye?" would then be inappropriate. I cannot doubt that it was a chronological hint that the time at which Jesus spake was four months from either the barley or wheat harvest. These harvests generally occurred between the middle of March and the middle of April. The time must, therefore, have been either the middle of November or of December. Tristram (Westcott) says the (wheat?) harvest began about the middle of April and lasted till the end of May. This would bring the time forward another month. This makes our Lord to have spent some eight months since the Passover, either in Jerusalem or in the Judaean land, on his earliest mission, which as yet had brought no obvious results. Men had come to his baptism, but had not appreciated or accepted his claims. The faith already awakened had been of the evanescent character, based on "signs," outward not inward, a "milk faith," to which he did not entrust himself (ch, 2:240. Behold, I say to you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; they are whitening unto harvest. Our Lord now uses another metaphor - he bids the disciples glance across these rich cornfields, to observe the obvious effect already produced by the sowing of good seed in Samaritan soil. The people are flocking towards him. The harvest of souls is ripening, and it is great. You must wait four months before this springing corn will need the sickle. But I say unto you, The time is come. The kingdom is come. The reaper must prepare for instant service. Again, we have a note of personal identity between the Jesus of the Fourth Gospel and the Author of the parables of the sower and the harvest. The very rapidity with which he passes from the symbolism of water to the symbolism of food, and then to that of seed time and harvest, reminds us of One who "without a parable spake not." The words so far have universal application in every age. The harvest has always been ripening. The word λευκός is used in this place only for the aspect of ripening corn. It has elsewhere the meaning of glittering, translucent whiteness, and perhaps it is used here for "dead ripe." The golden grain in late summer becomes white, and this intensifies the force of the image. It seems to say, "These fields will be sacrificed, these fruits will be wasted, these souls will be lost, unless they are reaped and brought into the heavenly garner." John 4:35Say not ye

In what follows, Jesus is contrasting the natural harvest-time with the spiritual, which was immediately to take place in the ingathering of the Samaritans. Ye is emphatic, marking what the disciples expect according to the order of nature. As you look on these green fields between Ebal and Gerizim, ye say, it is yet four months to harvest.

There are four months (τετράμηνον ἐστιν)

Properly, it is a space of four months. Only here in the New Testament.

Harvest (θερισμὸς)

See on Luke 10:2.

White (λευκαί)

See on Luke 9:29.

Already unto harvest

Spiritual harvest. The crowd of Samaritans now pouring out toward the well was to Jesus as a ripe harvest-field, prefiguring the larger harvest of mankind which would be reaped by His disciples. By the best texts the already is joined with the next verse, and the καὶ, and, at the beginning of that verse is omitted: Already he that reapeth receiveth, etc.

Wages (μισθὸν)

See on 2 Peter 2:13.

Unto life eternal

This is explained either, which shall not perish but endure unto eternal life, or into life eternal, as into a granary. Compare John 4:14.


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