634. Winnowing Grain

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Matthew 3:1212Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire. (Matthew 3:12). Whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.
See also Luke 52:17.
The grain in the East is threshed in the open air (see note on Gen. 50:1010And they came to the threshingfloor of Atad, which is beyond Jordan, and there they mourned with a great and very sore lamentation: and he made a mourning for his father seven days. (Genesis 50:10), #90) by being trampled under the feet of oxen or horses (see note on Deut. 25:44Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn. (Deuteronomy 25:4)) or by means of instruments, as described in the note on Isaiah 28:27-2827For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. 28Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. (Isaiah 28:27‑28) (#508). By these processes the straw becomes very much broken; and, to separate the grain from the hulls and straw the mingled mass is thrown against the wind by means of a wooden shovel, or else a wooden fork, having sometimes two prongs and sometimes three, and a handle three or four feet long. This is the “fan” alluded to in a number of Scripture passages. It is usually employed in the evening. See note on Ruth 3:22And now is not Boaz of our kindred, with whose maidens thou wast? Behold, he winnoweth barley to night in the threshingfloor. (Ruth 3:2) (#243). The wind carries the chaff away, while the grain falls to the ground. The grain is sometimes sifted after the winnowing. See note on Amos 9:99For, lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth. (Amos 9:9) (#609). The chaff is burned and the grain is stored, either in subterranean granaries (see note on Jeremiah 41:88But ten men were found among them that said unto Ishmael, Slay us not: for we have treasures in the field, of wheat, and of barley, and of oil, and of honey. So he forbare, and slew them not among their brethren. (Jeremiah 41:8), #551) or in barns. See note on Genesis 41:4848And he gathered up all the food of the seven years, which were in the land of Egypt, and laid up the food in the cities: the food of the field, which was round about every city, laid he up in the same. (Genesis 41:48) (#80).
The fan is referred to in Isaiah 30:2424The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan. (Isaiah 30:24), where it is mentioned in connection with the “shovel.” The precise difference between the two instruments there indicated is not now known. See also Jeremiah 4:11; 15:7; 51:211At that time shall it be said to this people and to Jerusalem, A dry wind of the high places in the wilderness toward the daughter of my people, not to fan, nor to cleanse, (Jeremiah 4:11)
7And I will fan them with a fan in the gates of the land; I will bereave them of children, I will destroy my people, since they return not from their ways. (Jeremiah 15:7)
2And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about. (Jeremiah 51:2)
. The scattering of the chaff by the wind after fanning is frequently alluded to figuratively. See Job 21:1818They are as stubble before the wind, and as chaff that the storm carrieth away. (Job 21:18); Psalm 1:44The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away. (Psalm 1:4); Isaiah 29:55Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. (Isaiah 29:5);. 41:16; Daniel 2:3535Then was the iron, the clay, the brass, the silver, and the gold, broken to pieces together, and became like the chaff of the summer threshingfloors; and the wind carried them away, that no place was found for them: and the stone that smote the image became a great mountain, and filled the whole earth. (Daniel 2:35); Hosea 13:33Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. (Hosea 13:3).