Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough…
The prophet is here predicting a season of national calamity. He represents the condition of the people under the figure of an autumnal scene. Armed hosts from the north have invaded the country like a sharp wind. The substance of its inhabitants has been carried away before their rapacity, "as when the harvest man gathereth the corn, and reapeth the ears with his arm." With this difference, however, that it has been destroyed by the violence of strangers, instead of being garnered for the use of those who had tilled the soil; and the sickle is the sword. The population is thinned, like the trees in the waning part of the year. Only that the wrath of man, unlike the severity of nature, has no benevolent purpose in it. The comforts and blessings of life are shaken down as faded leaves. Only it is without any sign from experience, that they shall be replaced by a new spring. A desolated prospect rises before his sight. "Two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough; four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof." The Word of the Lord was a "burden" in those days, and he felt its weight upon his own heart as he held it over the heads of his people. He comforted himself at least with the thought that the visitation itself, if not his warning, would bring them to a more faithful mind (vers. 7, 8). There lies in the text, apart from its historical reference, this general truth, — that circumstances of decline and destitution are suited to wean the heart from its vanities. In the day of adversity men "consider." And when time and fortune have made the enjoyments of the world fewer, and thrown a longer shadow and a paler tint upon those that remain, the soul naturally remembers its truer and more enduring portions.
1. With some the change relates to their worldly goods and the general prosperity of their affairs.
2. A second class of diminutions concerns the bodily ease and health.
3. The third instance of diminutions to which our attention is called, is found in the encroachments of age.
4. One more instance of destitution is when companions and friends drop off like the foliage of summer, and we are more and more frequently bereft.
(N. L. Frothingham.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Yet gleaning grapes shall be left in it, as the shaking of an olive tree, two or three berries in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outmost fruitful branches thereof, saith the LORD God of Israel.
WEB: Yet gleanings will be left there, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of a fruitful tree," says Yahweh, the God of Israel.