Psalm 147:17
He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(17) Morsels.—Or, crumbs. (Genesis 18:5; Judges 19:5.) Doubtless the allusion is to hail.

147:12-20 The church, like Jerusalem of old, built up and preserved by the wisdom, power, and goodness of God, is exhorted to praise him for all the benefits and blessings vouchsafed to her; and these are represented by his favours in the course of nature. The thawing word may represent the gospel of Christ, and the thawing wind the Spirit of Christ; for the Spirit is compared to the wind, Joh 3:8. Converting grace softens the heart that was hard frozen, and melts it into tears of repentance, and makes good reflections to flow, which before were chilled and stopped up. The change which the thaw makes is very evident, yet how it is done no one can say. Such is the change wrought in the conversion of a soul, when God's word and Spirit are sent to melt it and restore it to itself.He casteth forth his ice like morsels - The word rendered morsels means properly a bit, a crumb, as of bread, Genesis 18:5; Judges 19:5. The allusion here would seem to be to hail, which God sends upon the earth as easily as one scatters crumbs of bread from the hand.

Who can stand before his cold? - Or, hail. The word is the same, except in pointing, as the preceding word rendered ice. The idea is that no one can stand before the peltings of the hail, when God sends it forth, or scatters it upon the earth.

17. morsels—used as to food (Ge 18:5), perhaps here denotes hail. His ice; either,

1. Pieces of ice, which God may be said to

cast forth, or to cast down, because he sendeth it, and ofttimes suddenly; or,

2. Great hailstones, which are of an icy nature and substance, and which are very properly

cast forth or cast down out of the clouds, and that like morsels or fragments, the particles being congealed in them.

His cold; the cold which he sometimes sends into the air is so sharp, that it would be intolerable, if men did not defend themselves from it by houses, clothes, fire, &c.

He casteth forth his ice like morsels,.... Divided like morsels, as the Targum; cut into pieces, like morsels of bread. This seems to have respect to hail stones, which sometimes fall like pieces of ice, and are very prejudicial to the fruits of the earth: this was one of the ten plagues of Egypt; and whereby also many of the Canaanites were destroyed in the times of Joshua, Exodus 9:23; and there is an exceeding great storm of hail yet to come, very dreadful; see Revelation 16:21. This is expressive of the wrath, vengeance, and judgments of God upon men, by which he is known in various perfections of his nature; as his power, justice, and holiness, for which he is celebrated, Isaiah 30:30;

who can stand before his cold? which he has purposed and promised shall be; for he has said, that "cold and heat shall not cease, as long as the earth remains"; and which he appoints and orders to be, for "by the breath of God frost is given", Genesis 8:22; and this is sometimes and in some places so very vehement, that it is intolerable; men are obliged to keep within doors, to make them fires, and put on more clothes; and the "hands" of every man are sealed up from business; even "the beasts go into their dens, and remain in their places", or get what shelter they can; see Job 37:7. And if there is no standing before his cold, who can stand before the heat of his anger, or his furious wrath and indignation, when it is poured out like fire? see Psalm 76:7.

He casteth forth his ice like morsels: who can stand before his cold?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
17. his ice like morsels] Hail, like fragments or crumbs of bread.

Verse 17. - He casteth forth his ice like morsels; or, "like crumbs;" i.e. in profusion, as men feed birds. The "ice" intended would seem to be that of hailstones. Who can stand before his cold? Though the thermometer rarely shows more than six or seven degrees of frost in Palestine, yet the Oriental is as much chilled by such a temperature as the Englishman by one twenty degrees lower. He shivers in his light attire, and is very reluctant to leave the shelter of his house or tent. Psalm 147:17In the lxx this strophe is a Psalm (Lauda Jerusalem) of itself. The call goes forth to the church again on the soil of the land of promise assembled round about Jerusalem. The holy city has again risen out of its ruins; it now once more has gates which can stand open in the broad daylight, and can be closed and bolted when the darkness comes on for the security of the municipality that is only just growing into power (Nehemiah 7:1-4). The blessing of God again rests upon the children of the sacred metropolis. Its territory, which has experienced all the sufferings of war, and formerly resounded with the tumult of arms and cries of woe and destruction, God has now, from being an arena of conflict, made into peace (the accusative of the effect, and therefore different from Isaiah 60:17); and since the land can now again be cultivated in peace, the ancient promise (Psalm 81:17) is fulfilled, that God would feed His people, if they would only obey Him, with the fat of wheat. The God of Israel is the almighty Governor of nature. It is He who sends His fiat (אמרתו after the manner of the ויּאמר of the history of creation, cf. Psalm 33:9) earthwards (ארץ, the accusative of the direction). The word is His messenger (vid., on Psalm 107:20), עד־מהרה, i.e., it runs as swiftly as possible, viz., in order to execute the errand on which it is sent. He it is who sends down snow-flakes like flocks of wool, so that the fields are covered with snow as with a white-woollen warming covering.

(Note: Bochart in his Hierozoicon on this passage compares an observation of Eustathius on Dionysius Periegetes: τὴν χιόνα ἐριῶδες ὕδωρ ἀστείως οἱ παλαιοὶ ἐκάλουν.)

He scatters hoar-frost (כּפור from כּפר, to cover over with the fine frozen dew or mist as though they were powdered with ashes that the wind had blown about. Another time He casts His ice

(Note: lxx (Italic, Vulgate) κρύσταλλον, i.e., ice, from the root κρυ, to freeze, to congeal (Jerome glaciem). Quid est crystallum? asks Augustine, and replies: Nix est glacie durata per multos annos ita ut a sole vel igne acile dissolvi non possit.)

(קרחו from קרח; or according to another reading, קרחו from קרח) down like morsels, fragments, כפתּים, viz., as hail-stones, or as sleet. The question: before His cold - who can stand? is formed as in Nahum 1:6, cf. Psalm 130:3. It further comes to pass that God sends forth His word and causes them (snow, hoar-frost, and ice) to melt away: He makes His thawing wind blow, waters flow; i.e., as soon as the one comes about, the other also takes place forthwith. This God now, who rules all things by His word and moulds all things according to His will, is the God of the revelation pertaining to the history of salvation, which is come to Israel, and as the bearer of which Israel takes the place of honour among the nations, Deuteronomy 4:7., 32-34. Since the poet says מגּיד and not הגּיד, he is thinking not only of the Tra, but also of prophecy as the continuous self-attestation of God, the Lawgiver. The Ker דּבריו, occasioned by the plurals of the parallel member of the verse, gives an unlimited indistinct idea. We must keep to דברו, with the lxx, Aquila, Theodotion, the Quinta, Sexta, and Jerome. The word, which is the medium of God's cosmical rule, is gone forth as a word of salvation to Israel, and, unfolding itself in statutes and judgments, has raised Israel to a legal state founded upon a positive divine law or judgment such as no Gentile nation possesses. The Hallelujah does not exult over the fact that these other nations are not acquainted with any such positive divine law, but (cf. Deuteronomy 4:7., Baruch 4:4) over the fact that Israel is put into possession of such a law. It is frequently attested elsewhere that this possession of Israel is only meant to be a means of making salvation a common property of the world at large.

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