LECTURE ONE HUNDRED AND NINETIETH
33. For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, The daughter of Babylon is like a threshing floor: it is time to thresh her: yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
33. Quoniam sic dicit Jehova exercituum, Deus Israel, filia Babylonis tanquam area, tempus calcandae ejus; adhuc paulisper, et veniet messis ei.
BY this similitude the Prophet confirms what he had before said, even that God would be the avenger of his Church, and would justly punish the Babylonians, but at the suitable time, which is usually called in Scripture the time of visitation, He then compares Babylon to a
He then says that Babylon would be like a threshing-foor, and how? because it had been as a place closed up and wholly quiet; for God had spared the Chaldeans, and, as we shall hereafter see, they had been so inebriated with pleasures that they feared no danger.
And then immediately he explains himself, -- it is
We learn from this and other passages that treading or threshing was in use among the Jews and other eastern nations only during harvest. In other places, corn is often kept in the ears for five and six years. Some thresh the corn after six, or eight, or nine months, as it suits their convenience. But there are many countries where the corn is immediately threshed; it is not stored up, but is immediately conveyed to the threshing-floor, and there it is trodden by oxen or threshed with flails. As then it was usual immediately to tread the corn, hence God declares that the time of harvest would come when Babylon would be trodden, as the threshing-floor is trodden after harvest.1
We must observe that a
"Yet a little while, and I will shake the heaven and the earth." (Haggai 2:7)
But this was not fulfilled till many years after. But we must remember what is in Habakkuk, --
"If the vision delays, wait for it, for it will come
and will not be slow." (Habakkuk 2:5)
He says that prophecies delay, that is, according to the judgment of men, who make too much haste, and are even carried away headlong by their own desires. But God performs his work with sufficient celerity, provided we allow him to arrange the times according to his own will, as it is just and right for us to do. Whenever, then, the ungodly enjoy ease and securely indulge themselves, let this fact come to our own minds, that the threshing-floor is not always trodden, but that the time of harvest will come whenever it pleases God. This is the use we ought to make of what is here said. It follows, --
1 By identifying the time of threshing and the time of harvest, it is that we can see the meaning of this verse. Mention is first made of threshing or treading -- the punishment prepared for Babylon; then it is said that what led to that -- the harvest, would shortly come. The verb "come" is to be understood in the third line, it being given only in the last, --
33. For thus saith Jehovah of hosts, the God of Israel, -- Babylon shall be like a threshing-floor; Come shall the time of threshing her; Yet a little while, and come to her shall the time of harvest.
The order as to the threshing and harvest is similar to what is often found in the prophets, -- the last thing, being the main thing, is mentioned first, and then what precedes or leads to it. -- Ed.
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