Hosea 13:3
Therefore 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.
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(3) Early dew . . .—Better, dew that early passeth away, like chaff that flies in a whirlwind from the threshing-floor, and like smoke from the window (i.e., the lattice beneath the roof through which it vanished).

Hosea 13:3-5. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, &c. — All the comparisons in this verse are intended to express a quick destruction, or that they should soon come to nothing. Yet I am the Lord thy God, &c. — Notwithstanding thy recourse to idols, I am the Lord thy God, who delivered thee out of the bondage of Egypt. And thou shalt know — That is, thou oughtest to acknowledge; no god but me — For thou hast never yet proved, and thou never wilt prove by experience, the power and protection of any other. Those whom thou callest thy gods will be able to do nothing for thee; for there is no saviour besides me — No one who can deliver, or preserve thee from evil as I have done. I did know thee in the wilderness, &c. — That is, I acknowledged thee as my peculiar people, by my watchful care of thee. I was attentive to thee, protecting thee in all dangers, and supplying all thy wants.

13:1-8 While Ephraim kept up a holy fear of God, and worshipped Him in that fear, so long he was very considerable. When Ephraim forsook God, and followed idolatry, he sunk. Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves, in token of their adoration of them, affection for them, and obedience to them; but the Lord will not give his glory to another, and therefore all that worship images shall be confounded. No solid, lasting comfort, is to be expected any where but in God. God not only took care of the Israelites in the wilderness, he put them in possession of Canaan, a good land; but worldly prosperity, when it feeds men's pride, makes them forgetful of God. Therefore the Lord would meet them in just vengeance, as the most terrible beast that inhabited their forests. Abused goodness calls for greater severity.Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud - There is often a fair show of prosperity, out of God; but it is short-lived. "The third generation," says the pagan proverb, "never enjoys the ill-gotten gain." The highest prosperity of an ungodly state is often the next to its fall. Israel never so flourished, as under Jeroboam II. Bright and glistening with light is "the early dew;" in an hour it is gone, as if it had never been. Glowing and gilded by the sun is "the morning cloud;" while you admire its beauty, its hues have vanished. "The chaff" lay in one heap "on the floor" with the wheat. Its owner casts the mingled chaff and wheat against the strong wind; in a moment, it is "driven by the wind out of the floor." While every gram falls to the ground, the chaff, light, dry, worthless, unsubstantial, is hurried along, unresisting, the sport of the viewless wind, and itself is soon seen no more. The "smoke," one, seemingly solid, full, lofty, column, ascendeth, swelleth, welleth, vanisheth . In form, it is as solid, when about to be dispersed and seen no more, as when it first issued "out of the chimney." : "It is raised aloft, and by that very uplifting swells into a vast globe; but the larger that globe is, the emptier, for from that unsolid, unbased, inflated greatness it vanisheth in air, so that its very greatness injures it. For the more it is uplifted, extended, diffused on all sides into a larger compass, so much the poorer it becometh, and faileth, and disappeareth." Such was the prosperity of Ephraim, a mere show, to vanish forever. In the image of "the chaff," the prophet substitutes the "whirlwind" for the wind by which the Easterns used to winnow, in order to picture the violence with which they should be whirled away from their own land.

While these four emblems, in common, picture what is fleeting, two, the "early dew" and the "morning cloud," are emblems of what is in itself good, but passing ; the two others, the chaff and the smoke, are emblems of what is worthless. The dew and the cloud were temporary mercies on the part of God which should cease from them, "good in themselves, but to their evil, soon to pass away." If the dew have not, in its brief space, refreshed the vegetation, no trace of it is left. It gives way to the burning sun. If grace have not done its work in the soul, its day is gone. Such dew were the many prophets vouchsafed to Israel; such was Hosea himself, most brilliant, but soon to pass away. The chaff was the people itself, to be carried out of the Lord's land; the smoke, "its pride and its errors, whose disappearance was to leave the air pure for the household of God." : "So it is written; 'As the smoke is driven away, so shalt thou drive' them 'away; as wax melteth before the fire, so shall the ungodly perish before the presence of God' Psalm 68:2; and in Proverbs; 'As the whirlwind passeth' Proverbs 10:25, so is 'the wicked no' more; 'but the righteous is an everlasting foundation.' Who although they live and flourish, as to the life of the body; yet spiritually they die, yea, and are brought to nothing, for by sin man became a nothing. Virtue makes man upright and stable; vice, empty and unstable. Whence Isaiah says, 'the wicked are like the troubled sea, which cannot rest' Isaiah 57:20; and Job; 'If iniquity be in thy hand, put it far away; then shalt thou be steadfast.' Job 11:14-15."

3. they shall be as the morning cloud … dew—(Ho 6:4). As their "goodness" soon vanished like the morning cloud and dew, so they shall perish like them.

the floor—the threshing-floor, generally an open area, on a height, exposed to the winds.

chimney—generally in the East an orifice in the wall, at once admitting the light, and giving egress to the smoke.

Therefore; for these sins in multiplied idolatries and trusting to idols.

They, Ephraim, his king, his captains, his fortresses, and aids, shall be, in the day of the Assyrian invasion, suddenly, easily, totally, and finally dispersed, expressed here by four similes, every one very apt and full, clear and easy to be understood.

Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud,.... Which, however promising it is, soon disappears when the sun is risen; signifying that the idolatrous Israelites, king, priests, and people, should be no more; their kingdom would cease, all their riches and wealth would depart from them, and they and their children be carried captive into a strange land:

and as the early dew it passeth away; as soon as the heat of the sun is felt, when the earth is left dry; so these people, though they seemed to be in great prosperity, and to be very fruitful in children, and in substance, and promised themselves much more; yet in a little time their land would become desolate, and they stripped of all that was dear and valuable to them these metaphors are used in Hosea 6:4;

as the chaff that is driven with a whirlwind out of the floor; signifying that these idolatrous people were like chaff, fight and empty, useless and unprofitable, fit for nothing but burning; and that they would be driven out of their own land through the Assyrian, that should come like a whirlwind with great three and power, as easily and as quickly as chaff is drove out of a threshing floor of corn with a strong blast of wind; see Psalm 1:5;

and as the smoke out of the chimney; which rises up in a pillar, and is so on dissipated by the wind, or dissolved into air; and is no sooner seen but it disappears; see Psalm 68:2. All these similes show how easily, suddenly, and quickly, the destruction of this idolatrous nation would be brought about.

Therefore 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.
3. the early dew, &c.] Rather, the night-mist that early passeth away. See on Hosea 6:4.

as the chaff … the floor] A familiar figure, but here expressed with more fulness than usual. The point of it is partly in the elevated situation of ‘the floor’ (comp. 1 Samuel 19:22 Sept.; 2 Samuel 24:18; 2 Chronicles 3:1), partly in the suddenness of the whirlwinds in Palestine, which start up ‘as if by magic or spirit-influence’ (Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 154).

chimney] Rather, lattice.

Verse 3. - Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind cut of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney. The illative particle with which the verse begins has reference to the sins of Israel, so great and multiplied that punishment could not be long delayed. Their irrational and God-dishonoring conduct was bringing on them sure and swift destruction. The prophet employs four figures to exhibit their political extinction. Two of these, the morning cloud and early dew, or rather the dew early passing away, have already been employed by him to characterize the transient nature of Israel's goodness; here they denote the evanescent nature of their national existence. The other two are the chaff and the smoke; the former whirled away by the storm-wind from the threshing-floor, the latter dissipated and speedily vanishing as soon as it escapes from the chimney or lattice. Such shall be the utter extermination of Israel. The senselessness of their idolatry had been treated with derision in the preceding verse; the punishment of their sin is sternly denounced in this. Kimchi comments concisely and correctly thus: "Therefore they shall go to destruction, and shall be as the morning cloud, or as the dew speedily disappearing in the morning, width vanishes when the heat of the sun has touched it; so they shall go away speedily. So also shall they be as chaff - it is the fine particles of straw, which the wind whirls away from the threshing-floor; thus shall they be whirled away from their land. Or as a pillar of smoke which goes forth out of the lattice, which shall speedily disperse and cease." Instead of אֲרֻבָּה lattice, from ארב, to knit or twist, the Septuagint, according to Jerome, read אַרְבֶּה locusts, as may be inferred from their rendering ἀτμὶς ἀπὸ ἀκρίδων in the Complete-Man edition of the LXX., erroneously written in some copies δακρύων, that is, vapor from locusts or from tears. Hosea 13:3They prepare for themselves swift destruction in consequence. Hosea 13:3. "Therefore will they be like the morning cloud, and like the dew that passes early away, as chaff blows away from the threshing-floor, and as smoke out of the window." Lâkhēn, therefore, viz., because they would not let their irrational idolatry go, they would quickly perish. On the figures of the morning cloud and dew, see at Hosea 6:4. The figure of the chaff occurs more frequently (vid., Isaiah 17:13; Isaiah 41:15-16; Psalm 1:4; Psalm 35:5, etc.). יס'ער is used relatively: which is stormed away, i.e., blown away from the threshing-floor by a violent wind. The threshing-floors were situated upon eminences (compare my Bibl. Archol. ii. p. 114). "Smoke out of the window," i.e., smoke from the fire under a saucepan in the room, which passed out of the window-lattice, as the houses were without chimneys (see Psalm 68:3).
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