Isaiah 28:28
Bread 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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Bread corn is bruised.—Better, as a question, Is bread corn crushed to pieces? As the poor and meek of the earth were as the fennel and the cummin, so Israel, in its national greatness, was as the “bread corn” of the wheat and barley. For this a severer chastisement, a more thorough threshing, was needed; but the end of threshing is the preservation, not the destruction, of the true grain. It is for a time, not for ever. It separates the worthless from the precious. The wheels stop when they have done their work.

28:23-29 The husbandman applies to his calling with pains and prudence, in all the works of it according to their nature. Thus the Lord, who has given men this wisdom, is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in his working. As the occasion requires, he threatens, corrects, spares, shows mercy, or executes vengeance. Afflictions are God's threshing instruments, to loosen us from the world, to part between us and our chaff, and to prepare us for use. God will proportion them to our strength; they shall be no heavier than there is need. When his end is answered, the trials and sufferings of his people shall cease; his wheat shall be gathered into the garner, but the chaff shall be burned with unquenchable fire.Bread corn - Hebrew, לחם lechem - 'Bread.' But the word evidently denotes the material from which bread is made. The word is used in the same sense in Isaiah 30:23.

Is bruised - That is, is more severely bruised than the dill and the cummin; it is pressed and crushed by passing over it the sledge, or the wain with serrated wheels. The word דקק dâqaq means often to break in pieces; to make small or fine. It is, however, applied to threshing, as consisting in beating, or crushing (Isaiah 41:15 : 'Thou threshest the mountains, and beatest them small' - ותדק vetâdoq.

Because he will not ever be threshing it - The word rendered 'because' (כי kı̂y) evidently here means "although" or "but"; and the sense is, that he will not always continue to thresh it; this is not his only business. It is only a part of his method by which he obtains grain for his bread. It would be needless and injurious to be always engaged in rolling the stone or the sledge over the grain. So God takes various methods with his people. He does not always pursue the same course. He sometimes smites and punishes them, as the farmer beats his grain. But he does not always do it. He is not engaged in this method alone; nor does he pursue this constantly. It would crush and destroy them. "He, therefore, smites them just enough to secure, in the best manner, and to the fullest extent, their obedience; just as the farmer bruises his sheaves enough to separate all the grain from the chaff." When this is done, he pursues other methods. Hence the various severe and heavy trials with which the people of God are afflicted.

Nor bruise it with his horsemen - Lowth renders this, 'With the hoofs of his cattle;' proposing to read פרסין instead of פרשׁיו pârâshâyv by a change of a single Hebrew letter ס (s), instead of the Hebrew letter שׁ (sh). So the Syriac and the Vulgate; and so Symmachus and Theodotion. But the word פרשׁ pârâsh may denote not only a "horsesman," but the "horse" itself on which one rides (see Bochart, Hieroz. i. 2, 6. p. 98. Compare the note at Habakkuk 1:8; 2 Samuel 1:6; Isaiah 21:7, Isaiah 21:9). That horses were used in treading out grain there can be no doubt. They are extensively used in this country; and though in Palestine it is probable that oxen were chiefly employed Deuteronomy 25:4 in the early times, yet there is no improbability in supposing that in the times subsequent to Solomon, when horses abounded, they were preferred. Their more rapid motion, and perhaps the hardness of their hoofs, makes them more valuable for this service (see Michaelis' "Commentary on the Laws of Moses," vol. ii. App. pp. 430-514, Lond. Ed. 1814). There are here, therefore, four modes of threshing mentioned, all of which are common still in the East.

1. The sledge with rollers, on which were pieces of iron, or stone, and which was dragged over the grain.

2. The cart or wain, with serrated wheels, and which was also drawn over the grain.

3. The flail, or the stick.

4. The use of cattle and horses.

28. Bread corn—corn of which bread is made.

bruised—threshed with the corn-drag (as contrasted with dill and cummin, "beaten with the staff"), or, "trodden out" by the hoofs of cattle driven over it on the threshing-floor [G. V. Smith], (De 25:4; Mic 4:13).

because—rather, "but" [Horsley]; though the corn is threshed with the heavy instrument, yet he will not always be thus threshing it.

break it—"drive over it (continually) the wheel" [Maurer].

cart—threshing-drag.

horsemen—rather, "horses"; used to tread out corn.

Bread corn is bruised with a threshing instrument, by comparing this with the foregoing verse and the following words.

Because; or rather, but, or nevertheless, as the word is frequently used. The sense is, The husbandman doth indeed thresh the bread corn, but he doth it with moderation, and only for a time, not for ever.

Nor break it; understand, for ever, out of the foregoing clause, as is usual in Scripture.

With his horsemen; which governed the horse or horses that drew the threshing instrument. Or, with horses; for it is evident, and hath been observed before, that this Hebrew word signifies horses as well as horsemen. And this was another way of threshing out the corn, by driving horses, or other cattle, over the sheaves to tread it out; of which see Deu 25:4 Micah 4:13. Bread corn is bruised,.... The corn which bread is made of is bruised and ground in a mill:

because he will not always be threshing it; for there is another way of bringing it to flour, that so it may be made bread, namely, by grinding it in a mill; and therefore the husbandman uses his discretion in threshing it; he will not thresh it too much, nor too long, no more than what is necessary to get out the grain, but will take care that he does not bruise and break it; as follows:

nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen; though he makes use of the above threshing instrument, drawn upon wheels by horses, or oxen, for the threshing out of wheat, barley, or rye, corn of which bread is made; yet he takes care that it is not crushed and spoiled by the wheels of the cart, or the feet of the horses, or oxen, going too often over it; by all which may be signified the tender regard of God in afflicting his own people; he will not always be chiding, striving, and contending with them, or be always angry, and ever afflicting, and, when he does afflict, it is in a tender and careful manner, Psalm 103:9.

Bread 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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. Transl. Is bread (corn) crushed? Nay, he does not keep threshing it perpetually, &c. If the text be right, the sentence continues “and rolling his wagon-wheels and horses over it, &c.” But the mention of “horses” as employed in agriculture is suspicious, and a better sense is gained if, with Duhm, we slightly change the text of that word and translate thus: But when he has rolled his wagon-wheel (over it), he scatters it (i.e. “tosses it up to the wind,”—the same word in Ezekiel 17:21) without having crushed it.Verse 28. - Bread corn is braised; literally, bread; but no doubt the corn, from which bread is made, is meant. Most critics regard the clause as interrogative, "Is bread corn bruised?" - and the answer as given in the negative by the rest of the sentence, "No; he will not continue always threshing it, nor crunch it with his cart-wheel and his horses - he will not bruise it." Even where the rougher modes of threshing are employed, there is moderation in their employment. Care is taken not to injure the grain. Here the main bearing of the whole parable appears. The afflictions which God sends upon his people are adapted to their strength and to their needs. In no case are they such as to crush and injure. Only such violence is used as is required to detach the good seed from the husks. Where the process is most severe, still the "bread-corn" is not "bruised." But the possibility of repentance was still open to them, and at least a modification of what had been threatened was attainable. "And now drive ye not mockeries, lest your fetters be strengthened; for I have heard from the Lord, Jehovah of hosts, a judgment of destruction, and an irrevocable one, upon the whole earth." It is assumed that they are already in fetters, namely, the fetters of Asshur (Nahum 1:13). Out of these fetters they wanted to escape by a breach of faith, and with the help of Egypt without Jehovah, and consequently they mocked at the warnings of the prophet. He therefore appeals to them at any rate to stop their mocking, lest they should fall out of the bondage in which they now ere, into one that would bind them still more closely, and lest the judgment should become even more severe than it would otherwise be. For it was coming without fail. It might be modified, and with thorough repentance they might even escape; but that it would come, and that upon the whole earth, had been revealed to the prophet by Jehovah of hosts. This was the shemū‛âh which the prophet had heard from Jehovah, and which he gave them to hear and understand, though hitherto he had only been scoffed at by their wine-bibbing tongues.
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