3. Therefore the showers have been withholden, and there hath been no latter rain; and thou hadst a whore's forehead, thou refusedst to be ashamed.
3. Et prohibitae sunt pluviae, et serotina non fuit; et frons mulieris meretricis fuit tibi, recusasti erubescere.
Jeremiah proceeds with his severe reproof, -- that the Jews were wholly given to wickedness, for they had altogether devoted themselves to superstitions, and also to unlawful alliances, and had in both instances despised God. He now shews how great and how strong was their obstinacy. Restrained, he says, have been the rains, there has not been the latter rain; yet the front of a harlot has been thine; as though he had said, that the Jews had not in any degree been subdued by punishment. It was a most atrocious wickedness to give no ear to pious warnings, when the prophets continually cried to them, and endeavored to restore them to the right way. That they thus hardened themselves against the addresses of the prophets, was a proof of the greatest impiety. But God tried also to restore them to himself by punishments, and those very heavy. He punished them with sterility; and the drought of which the Prophet speaks was no doubt so uncommon, that the Jews might perceive, had they a particle of a sound mind, that God was at war with them. It often happens that not a drop of rain fails from heaven; for we see that many summers are hot and dry: there is no doubt but that God then reminds us of our sins and exhorts us to repent. But as familiarity makes us to overlook God's judgments, he sometimes punishes us in a new and unusual manner. I doubt not then but that the Prophet, by saying, Restrained have been rains from them, refers to some extraordinary instance of God's vengeance, whereby the Jews might have perceived, except they were extremely besotted, that God was opposed to and displeased with them.
The import of what is said is, -- that the Jews had not only run here and there through a mad impulse, according to their own wills and inclinations, but that they had also been checked by evident judgments, since God had from heaven openly shewed himself to be the vindicator of his own glory, and as there had been so great a drought, that it appeared clear that the curse of the law had been fulfilled towards them,
|I will make heaven iron to you, and the earth brass.| (Leviticus 26:19)
As to the latter rain, we have said elsewhere that by this word is meant the rain which falls just before harvest; and it is called |latter| with reference to the harvest. For, as there is great heat in those eastern parts, they want rain before the harvest commences; the extreme heat of the sun would otherwise scorch up the grain. Hence, they especially look for the latter rain, which comes shortly before harvest -- time. The other rain, in September and October, is called, on account of the sowing -- time, a seasonable rain; for it soaks and moistens the seed, that it may strike roots and gather rigor and strength. The object is to shew, that God had from heaven given to the Jews manifest tokens of his displeasure, and yet without any benefit; for they had the front of a harlot, and felt no shame; that is, they were moved by no judgments of God, and could not bear to be corrected.