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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(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].


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.
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." Isaiah 28:28Again, the labour of the husbandman is just as manifold after the reaping has been done. "For the black poppy is not threshed with a threshing sledge, nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin; but black poppy is knocked out with a stick, and cummin with a staff. Is bread corn crushed? No; he does not go on threshing it for ever, and drive the wheel of his cart and his horses over it: he does not crush it. This also, it goeth forth from Jehovah of hosts: He gives wonderful intelligence, high understanding." Ki (for) introduces another proof that the husbandman is instructed by God, from what he still further does. He does not use the threshing machine (chârūts, syn. mōrag, Ar. naureg, nōreg), or the threshing cart (agâlâh: see Winer's Real-Wrterbuch, art. Dreschen), which would entirely destroy the more tender kinds of fruit, but knocks them out with a staff (baculo excutit: see at Isaiah 27:12). The sentence lechem yūdâq is to be accentuated as an interrogative: Is bread corn crushed? Oh no, he does not crush it. This would be the case if he were to cause the wheel (i.e., the wheels, gilgal, constr. to galgal) of the threshing cart with the horses harnessed in front to rattle over it with all their might (hâmam, to set in noisy violent motion). Lechem, like the Greek sitos, is corn from which bread is made (Isaiah 30:23; Psalm 104:14). אדושׁ is metaplastic (as if from אדשׁ) for דושׁ (see Ewald, 312, b). Instead of וּפרשׁיו, the pointing ought to be וּפרשׁיו (from פרשׁ with kametz before the tone equals Arab. faras, as distinguished from פרשׁ with a fixed kametz, equivalent to farras, a rider): "his horses," here the threshing horses, which were preferred to asses and oxen.Even in this treatment of the fruit when reaped, there is an evidence of the wonderful intelligence (הפלא), as written הפלא) and exalted understanding (on תּוּשׁהיה, from ושׁי, see at Job 26:3) imparted by God. The expression is one of such grandeur, that we perceive at once that the prophet has in his mind the wisdom of God in a higher sphere. The wise, divinely inspired course adopted by the husbandman in the treatment of the field and fruit, is a type of the wise course adopted by the divine Teacher Himself in the treatment of His nation. Israel is Jehovah's field. The punishments and chastisements of Jehovah are the ploughshare and harrow, with which He forcibly breaks up, turns over, and furrows this field. But this does not last for ever. When the field has been thus loosened, smoothed, and rendered fertile once more, the painful process of ploughing is followed by a beneficent sowing and planting in a multiform and wisely ordered fulness of grace. Again, Israel is Jehovah's child of the threshing-floor (see Isaiah 21:10). He threshes it; but He does not thresh it only: He also knocks; and when He threshes, He does not continue threshing for ever, i.e., as Caspari has well explained it, "He does not punish all the members of the nation with the same severity; and those whom He punishes with greater severity than others He does not punish incessantly, but as soon as His end is attained, and the husks of sin are separated from those that have been punished, and the punishment ceases, and only the worst in the nation, who are nothing but husks, and the husks on the nation itself, are swept away by the punishments" (compare Isaiah 1:25; Isaiah 29:20-21). This is the solemn lesson and affectionate consolation hidden behind the veil of the parable. Jehovah punishes, but it is in order that He may be able to bless. He sifts, but He does not destroy. He does not thresh His own people, but He knocks them; and even when He threshes, they may console themselves in the face of the approaching period of judgment, that they are never crushed or injured.
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