Woe is me!
&c.] Alas for me unhappy man that I am, to live in such an age, and among such a people, as I do! this the prophet says in his own name, or in the name of the church and people of God in his time; so Isaiah, who was contemporary with him, ( Isaiah 6:5 ) ; see also ( Psalms 120:5 Psalms 120:6 ) ; for I am as when they have gathered the summer fruits, as the grape
gleanings of the vintage;
when there are only an apple or a pear or two, or such sort of fruit, and such a quantity of it left on the top of the tree, or on the outermost branches of it, after the rest are gathered in; or a few single grapes here and there, after the vintage is over; signifying either that he was like Elijah left alone, or however that the number of good men were very few; or that there were very few gathered in by his ministry, converted, taught, and instructed by it; or those that had the name of good men were but very indifferent, and not like those who were in times past; but were as refuse fruit left on trees, and dropped from thence when rotten, and when gathered up were good for little, and like single grapes, small and withered, and of no value; see ( Isaiah 17:6 ) ; [there is] no cluster to eat;
no large number or society of good men to converse with, only here and there a single person; and none that have an abundance of grace and goodness in them, and a large experience of spiritual and divine things; few that attend the ministry of the word; they do not come in clusters, in crowds; and fewer still that receive any advantage by it; my soul desired the first ripe fruit;
the company and conversation of such good men as lived in former times; who had the firstfruits of the Spirit, and arrived to a maturity of grace, and a lively exercise of it; and who were, in the age of the prophet, as scarce and rare as first ripe fruits, and as desirable as such were to a thirsty traveller; see ( Hosea 9:10 ) . The Targum is,
``the prophet said, woe unto me, because I am as when good men fail, in a time in which merciful men perish from the earth; behold, as the summer fruits, as the gleanings after the vintage, there is no man in whom there are good works; my soul desires good men.''