|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
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.
Verse 27. - For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing-instrument. The Nigella sativa is too lender a plant to be subjected to the rude treatment of a threshing-instrument, or "threshing-sledge." Such instruments are of the coarsest and clumsiest character in the East, and quite inapplicable to plants of a delicate fabric. Karsten Niebuhr thus describes the Arabian and Syrian practices: "Quand le grain dolt etre battu, les Arabes de Yemen posent le bled par terre en deux tangles, epis center epis, apres quoi ils font trainer par-dessus une grosse pierre tiree par deux boeufs. La machine dent on se sert en Syrie consiste en quelques planches garnies par-dessous d'une quantite de pierres a fusil" ('Description de l'Arabie,' p. 140). Neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin. The allusion is to aim the coarse mode of threshing practiced in Palestine and elsewhere, by driving a cart with broad wheels over the grain. But the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod. Canon Tristram says, "While the cummin can easily be separated from its case by a slender rod, the harder pod of the Nigella requires to be beaten by a stout staff" ('Natural History of the Bible,' p. 445).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument,.... A wooden sledge, dray, or cart, drawn on wheels; the bottom of which was stuck with iron teeth, and the top filled with stones, to press it down with the weight thereof, and was drawn by horses, or oxen, to and fro, over the sheaves of corn, laid in proper order, whereby the grain was separated from the husk: See Gill on 1 Corinthians 9:9 but fitches, the grain of them being more easily separated, such an instrument was not used in threshing them:
neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; the cart wheel of the above instrument was not turned upon the cummin, that being also more easily threshed, or beaten out, and therefore another method was used with these, as follows:
but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod: in like manner as corn is with us threshed out with a flail; so the Lord proportions the chastisement, and corrections of his people to the grace and strength that he gives them; he afflicts them either more gently, or more severely, as they are able to bear it; with some he uses his staff and rod, and with others his threshing instrument and cart wheel; some being easier and others harder to be wrought upon by the afflictive dispensations of Providence; see 1 Corinthians 10:13 or this may point out the difference between the punishment of wicked men and the chastisement of the saints.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
27. The husbandman uses the same discretion in threshing. The dill ("fitches") and cummin, leguminous and tender grains, are beaten out, not as wheat, &c., with the heavy corn-drag ("threshing instrument"), but with "a staff"; heavy instruments would crush and injure the seed.
cart wheel—two iron wheels armed with iron teeth, like a saw, joined together by a wooden axle. The "corn-drag" was made of three or four wooden cylinders, armed with iron teeth or flint stones fixed underneath, and joined like a sledge. Both instruments cut the straw for fodder as well as separated the corn.
staff—used also where they had but a small quantity of corn; the flail (Ru 2:17).
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