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THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO MATTHEW - Chapter 3 - Verse 12

Verse 12. His fan. It seems probable that this was some portable instrument, made light, so that it might be easily carried about. The fan is a well-known agricultural instrument which was used by the Jews, as it is at the present day, to separate grain from the chaff. The usual custom was to throw the grain in the air by means of a large shovel, and suffer the wind to drive the chaff away; but it is probable that the fan was often employed. See Barnes "Isa 30:24".

 

His floor. The threshing-floor was an open space, or area, in the field, usually on an elevated part of the land, Ge 1:10. It had no covering or walls. It was a space of ground thirty or forty paces in diameter, and made smooth by rolling it, or treading it hard. A high place was selected for rite purpose of keeping it dry, and for the convenience of winnowing the grain by the wind. The grain was usually trodden out by oxen. Sometimes it was beaten with flails, as with us; and sometimes with a sharp threshing instrument, made to roll over the grain, and to cut the straw at the same time, Isa 41:15. After being threshed it was winnowed. The grain was then separated from the dirt and coarse chaff by a sieve, and then still farther cleansed by a fan, an instrument to produce an artificial wind. This method is still practised in eastern nations.

Shall purge. Shall cleanse, or purify. Shall remove the chaff, etc.

The garner. The granary or place to deposit the wheat.

Unquenchable fire. Fire that shall not be extinguished, that will utterly consume it. By the floor, here, is represented the Jewish people. By the wheat, the righteous, or the people of God. By the chaff, the wicked. They are often represented as being driven away like chaff before the wind, Job 21:18; Ps 1:4; Isa 17:13; Ho 13:13.

They are also represented as chaff which the fire consumes, Isa 5:24. This image is often used to express judgments. Isa 41:15, "Thou shalt thresh the mountains, and beat them small, and shalt make the hills as chaff." By the unquenchable fire is meant the eternal suffering of the wicked in hell, 2 Th 1:8,9; Mr 9:48; Mt 25:41.

{w} "burn up the chaff" Ps 1:4; Mal 4:1; Mr 9:44

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