He gives snow like wool: he scatters the hoarfrost like ashes.…
: — This comparison expressly indicates one of the most important purposes which the snow serves in the economy of nature. It covers the earth like a blanket during that period of winter sleep which is necessary to recruit its exhausted energies, and prepare it for fresh efforts in the spring; and being, like wool, a bad conductor, it conserves the latent heat of the soil, and protects the dormant life of plant and animal hid under it from the frosty rigour of the outside air. Winter-sown wheat, when defended by this covering, whoso under-surface seldom falls much below 32° Fahr., can thrive, even though the temperature of the air above may be many degrees below the freezing point. Some districts, enjoying an equable climate, seldom require this protection; but in northern climates, where the winter is severe and prolonged, its beneficial effects are most marked. The scanty vegetation which blooms with such sudden and marvellous loveliness in the height of summer in the Arctic regions and on mountain summits would perish utterly were it not for the protection of the snow that lies on it for three-quarters of the year. But it is not only to Alpine plants and hibernating, animals that God gives snow like wool. The Esquimaux take advantage of its curious protective property, and ingeniously build their winter huts of blocks of hardened snow; thus, strangely enough, by a homoepathic law, protecting themselves against cold by the effects of cold. The Arctic navigator has been indebted to walls of snow banked up around his ship for the comparative comfort of his winter quarters, when the temperature without has fallen so low that even chloric ether became solid. And many a precious life has been saved by the timely shelter which the snowstorm itself has provided against its own violence. But while snow thus warms in cold regions, it also cools in warm regions. It sends down from the white summits of equatorial mountains its cool breath to revive and brace the drooping life of lands sweltering under a tropic sun; and from its inexhaustible reservoirs it feeds perennial rivers that water the plains when all the wells and streams are white and silent in the baking heat. Without the perpetual snow of mountainous regions the earth would be reduced to a lifeless desert. God giveth snow like wool, and chill and blighting as is the touch of snow, it has protective influences which guard against greater evils.
(H. Macmillan, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.