But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he puts in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)He putteth in the sickle.—From one point of view, here again, the harvest is the end of the world (Matthew 13:39), and the putting in the sickle is the coming of Christ to judge. (Comp. the use of the same image in Revelation 14:14-18.) From the other, the harvest is the end of each man’s life, and the sickle is in the hands of the Angel of Death.Matthew 13:31-33.
immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come—This charmingly points to the transition from the earthly to the heavenly condition of the Christian and the Church.
Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mr 4:30-32).
For the exposition of this portion, see on Mt 13:31, 32.See Poole on "Mr 4:26"
immediately he putteth the sickle; and cuts it down, and gathers it in;
because the harvest is come; at death or at the end of the world, which the harvest represents: when all the elect of God are called by grace, and grace in them is brought to its perfection, and they have brought forth all the fruit they were ordained to bear, they will then be all gathered in; either by Christ himself who comes into his garden, and gathers his lilies by death; or by the angels, the reapers, at the close of time, who will gather the elect from the four winds; or the ministers of the Gospel, who shall come again with joy, bringing their sheaves with them; being able to observe with pleasure a greater increase, and more fruit of their labours, than they knew of, or expected.But when the fruit is brought forth, immediately he putteth in the sickle, because the harvest is come.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Mark 4:29. παραδοῖ (παρυδόω), when the fruit yields itself, or permits (by being ripe). The latter sense (for which classical usage can be cited) is preferred by most recent commentators.29. when the fruit is brought forth] Literally, when the fruit yields itself; or offers itself, i. e. is ripe. The original word only occurs here in this sense. Comp. Virgil Geo. i. 287,
“Multa adeo gelidâ melius se nocte dedere.”
the sickle] The sickle is only mentioned here and in Revelation 14:14-15, “And I looked, and behold a white cloud, and upon the cloud one sat, like unto the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.” For the entire Parable comp. 1 Peter 1:23-25.Mark 4:29. Παραδῷ, shall have yielded) this also of its own accord [Mark 4:28]. Supply itself.—εὐθέως, immediately) As before he did not put in the sickle too soon, so now he does not put it in too late.—ἀποστέλλει, He sendeth) An abbreviated expression for, He sendeth, viz. men furnished with a sickle: for ἀποστέλλεσθαι is properly applied to a living person [agent].Verse 29. - But when the fruit is ripe (ὅταν δὲ παραδῷ ὁ καρπὸς). The verb here is active; it might be rendered delivereth up, or alloweth. It is a peculiar expression, though evidently meaning "when the fruit is ready." He putteth forth the sickle, because the harvest is come. As soon as Christ's work is completed, whether in the Church or in the individual, "immediately" the sickle is sent forth. As soon as a Christian is ready for heaven, God calls him away; and therefore we may infer that it is unwise, if not sinful, for a Christian, pressed it may be with sickness or trouble, to be eager in wishing to leave this world. "It is one thing to be willing to go when God pleases; it is another thing to speak as though we wished to hasten our departure." "When the fruit is ripe, immediately he putteth forth the sickle." If therefore, the sickle is not yet sent forth, it is because the fruit is not yet fully ripe. The afflictions of the faithful are God's means to ripen them for heaven. They are the dressing which the Lord of the vineyard employs to make the tree more fruitful, to make the Christian more fruitful in grace, and more ripe for glory.
This rendering cannot be correct, for the verb is active, not passive, meaning to deliver up. Hence it is usually explained, shall have delivered itself up to harvest; which is stilted and artificial. Rev. is ripe, is a free rendering from the margin of A.V. It is, perhaps, better to explain, as Meyer does, whose rendering is adopted by Rev. in margin: When the fruit shall have allowed, i.e., shall have admitted of being harvested. Xenophon and Herodotus use the word in the sense of permit or allow; and an exact parallel to this occurs in the historian Polybius (xxii., 24, 9): "When the season permitted (παραδιδούσης)."
Putteth in (ἀποστέλλει)
Lit., sendeth forth. So Rev. in margin. The rendering, putteth in, misses the figure. The verb is the same as that used of sending forth the apostles to reap the harvest of souls. See especially John 4:38 : "I sent (ἀπέστειλα) you to reap."
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