Ask you of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain…
The "latter rain" was that which fell in the spring, and which was instrumental in bringing the corn into the ear and filling it; so that if this rain failed, the husbandman would be disappointed of his harvest, notwithstanding all his previous industry, skill, and anxiety. He was indeed dependent also on the "former" rain, that which fell at the seeding time; but there would be a yet more bitter disappointment, for there would be the utter loss of much labour, the fruitless expenditure of much effort and hope, if the "latter rain" were withheld. And, consequently, there was even greater reason for his asking rain in "the time of the latter rain" than in that of "the former." If the "former rain" were withheld, he might make some other use of his capital and enterprise; but if "the latter," his disaster scarce admitted of repair. Take it metaphorically, and the "latter rain" is the grace needed for ripening the believer and fitting him for heaven. God may give "the latter rain," if the husbandman, conscious of his dependence on God for the harvest, continue meekly to supplicate the necessary showers; He may withhold the rain, if the husbandman, calculating on the ordinary course of His dealings, grow remiss in petitioning, and give up his fields to the presumed certainties of the season. There is no point in the life of a Christian at which he can do without the supply of God's grace; none at which he can expect the supply, if he be not cultivating the spirit and habit of prayer.
(H. Melvill, B. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ask ye of the LORD rain in the time of the latter rain; so the LORD shall make bright clouds, and give them showers of rain, to every one grass in the field.