Isaiah 30:24
The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground shall eat clean provender, which has been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan.
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(24) The oxen likewise and the young asses . . .—It is, perhaps, hardly necessary to remind the reader that the verb “ear” means “plough.”

Clean provender.—Literally, salted. The epithet describes what in modern phrase would be the favourite “mash” of the highest class of cattle-feeding, corn mixed with salt or alkaline herbs; and this was to be made, not, as commonly, of inferior barley and chopped straw, but of the finest winnowed grain. That this should be given not to oxen and horses only, but to the lowlier asses, made up the ne plus ultra of plenty.

30:19-26 God's people will soon arrive at the Zion above, and then they will weep no more for ever. Even now they would have more comfort, as well as holiness, if they were more constant in prayer. A famine of bread is not so great a judgment as a famine of the word of God. There are right-hand and left-hand errors; the tempter is busy courting us into by-paths. It is happy if, by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right when doubting, and prevented from going wrong. They shall be cured of their idolatry. To all true penitents sin becomes very hateful. This is shown daily in the conversion of souls, by the power of Divine grace, to the fear and love of God. Abundant means of grace, with the influences of the Holy Spirit, would be extended to places destitute of them. The effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.The young donkeys that ear the ground - Hebrew, 'Labouring,' or 'cultivating the ground,' that is, plowing it. The Old English word "ear" (from the Latin aro) meant to till, to cultivate. The word is now obselete, but this is the sense which it has in the Bible Genesis 45:6; Exodus 34:21; Deuteronomy 21:4; 1 Samuel 8:12.

Shall eat clean provender - Margin, 'Leavened,' or 'savory.' The word rendered 'provender' (בליל belı̂yl) is a verbal from בלל bâlal, "to mix, mingle, confuse;" and denotes provender that is made by "mixing" various substances, "maslin" or "farago," a mixture of barley, oats, vetches, and beans, which seem to have been sown together, and reaped at the same time Job 6:5; Job 24:6. The word rendered 'clean,' (חמיץ châmiyts) is not quite so plain in its signification. Kimchi explains it by נקי nâqiy, "pure, clean." Gesenius renders it 'salted,' and supposes that it refers to fodder that was mixed with salted hay. The Septuagint renders it, 'Provender mixed with winnowed barley.' But the real notion of the word is that which is "fermented," from חמיץ châmēts, "to be sour;" to be leavened. Lowth renders it, 'well fermented.' Noyes, 'well seasoned.' The idea seems to be that of a provender made of a mixture of various substances - as of grain, beans, vetches, herbs, hay, and probably salt, which, when mixed, "would" ferment, and which was regarded as nutritious and wholesome for cattle. A similar compound is used by the Arabs still (see Bochart, i. 2, 7; and Faber, and Harmer's "Observations," i.409).

Which hath been winnowed - That is, which is the pure grain, which is not fed to them as it is sometimes, before it is separated from the chaff. Grain shall be so abundant in that time of prosperity that even the cattle may be fed with grain prepared as it is usually for man.

With the shovel - The large shovel by which the grain in the chaff was thrown up in the wind that the grain might be separated from the chaff.

The fan - This word properly means that by which anything is "scattered" - a shovel by which the grain is thrown or tossed into the wind. 'Those who form their opinion of the latter article by an English fan, will entertain a very erroneous notion. That of the East is made of the fibrous part of the palmirah or cocoa-tree leaves, and measures about a yard each way.' (Roberts).

24. ear—that is, till. Asses were employed in tillage, as well as oxen (De 22:10).

clean—rather, salted provender [Gesenius]. The Arab proverb is, "Sweet provender is as bread to camels—salted provender as confectionery." The very cattle shall share the coming felicity. Or else, well-fermented maslin, that is, provender formed of a mixture of various substances: grain, beans, vetches, hay, and salt.

winnowed—not as it is usually given to cattle before it is separated from the chaff; the grain shall be so abundant that it shall be given winnowed.

shovel—by which the grain was thrown up in the wind to separate it from the chaff.

fan—an instrument for winnowing.

Clean provender; or, as learned Mr. Gataker renders it, threshed, which agrees well with the following clause, corn being first threshed, and then winnowed. The sense is, there should be such plenty of corn, that their very beasts, instead of straw, should eat corn; and that not in the ear, or with the straw, but the pure grain. The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground,.... Or till it; for though these might not be joined together in a yoke, yet they were made use of separately in ploughing land, Deuteronomy 22:10,

shall eat clean provender; the word for "provender" signifies a mixture, such as cattle eat, especially horses, as beans, oats, barley, and fitches, and of which there should be such plenty, that the cattle should eat of it; not of the chaff and husks of these, nor these in their husk and straw, but as cleansed from them, as follows:

which hath been winnowed with the shovel and with the fan: with the former of which the corn was raised up and shook, and with the latter fanned. Now this is expressive of great plenty, that cattle should feed on winnowed corn. The Septuagint indeed render it,

"they shall eat chaff mixed with winnowed barley;''

but if they were to eat chaff with it, there would be no need to winnow it. This may be mystically understood of apostles, and of apostolical men, as Jerom; and of all Gospel preachers, especially in the latter day, who labour in the word and doctrine, and feed upon the pure food of the Gospel themselves, and bring it to others; see 1 Corinthians 9:9, 1 Timothy 5:17.

The 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.
24. Comp. Paul’s “Doth God take care for oxen?” (1 Corinthians 9:9).

that ear] (the obsolete English word for “plough”), strictly till, R.V.

clean provender] salted fodder, i.e. the best fodder (Job 6:5) mixed with grains of salt. The devotion of cattle to salt in any form is well known. Gesenius quotes an Arabic proverb which says that “sweet fodder is the camel’s bread, salted fodder is his comfit.” The word for “fodder” (bělîl) is usually explained as “mixture” (farrago) of corn with beans, vetches, &c. According to Wetzstein (in Delitzsch’s Comm. on this verse) it means “ripe barley.” In Syriac it denotes “fresh corn.”

winnowed with the shovel and with the fan] i.e. prepared with the utmost care. The modern Arabic equivalent of the word rendered “fan” denotes a six-pronged fork (Wetzstein, in Delitzsch’s Isaiah , 2 nd ed.). As to the process see on ch. Isaiah 17:13.Verse 24. - The oxen likewise and the young asses that ear the ground; rather, theft till or cultivate the ground. The Hebrew word is generic, and does not apply to "eating" (i.e. ploughing) only. Shall eat clean provender. Delitzsch says that b'lil khamitz is "a mash, composed of oats, barley, and vetches, made more savory with salt and sour vegetables." Mr. Cheyne translates, "Shall eat mixed provender with salt." The general idea is clearly that they shall have for their ordinary food that superior kind of provender which, according to existing practices, was reserved for rare occasions. Winnowed with the shovel. Anciently, winnowing was chiefly effected by tossing the grain into the air with shovels in a draughty place (see Wilkinson,' Ancient Egyptians,' vol. 4. pp. 86, 89, 90). The fan was scarcely in use so early as Isaiah's time. He means by mizreh probably a second instrument for tossing the grain Delitzsch translates, "winnowing-fork." The prophet now proceeds with ולכן, to which we cannot give any other meaning than et propterea, which it has everywhere else. The thought of the prophet is the perpetually recurring one, that Israel would have to be reduced to a small remnant before Jehovah would cease from His wrath. "And therefore will Jehovah wait till He inclines towards you, and therefore will He withdraw Himself on high till He has mercy upon you; for Jehovah is a God of right, salvation to those who wait for Him." In other places lâkhēn (therefore) deduces the punishment from the sin; here it infers, from the nature of the punishment, the long continuance of the divine wrath. Chikkâh, to wait, connected as it is here with Lamed, has at least the idea, if not the actual signification, of delay (as in 2 Kings 9:3; compare Job 32:4). This helps to determine the sense of yârūm, which does not mean, He will show Himself exalted as a judge, that through judgment He may render it possible to have mercy upon you (which is too far-fetched a meaning); but, He will raise Himself up, so as to be far away (cf., Numbers 16:45, "Get you up from among this congregation;" and Psalm 10:5, mârōm equals "far above," as far as heaven, out of his sight), that thus (after having for a long time withdrawn His gracious presence; cf., Hosea 5:6) He may bestow His mercy upon you. A dark prospect, but only alarming to unbelievers. The salvation at the remotest end of the future belongs to believers even now. This is affirmed in the word 'ashrē (blessed), which recalls Psalm 2:12. The prophet uses châkhâh in a very significant double sense here, just as he did nuus a short time before. Jehovah is waiting for the time when He can show His favour once more, and blessed are they who meet His waiting with their own waiting.
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