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Bible Encyclopedias

Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature

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(properly מוֹוֹ , mots; ἄχυρον ), the refuse of winnowed grain, separated by the breeze, and consisting of hushand broken straw. It was the custom in the East to burn the chaff after winnowing. There was danger lest, after they had been separated, the chaff should be blown again among the wheat by the changing of the wind, and to prevent this they put fire to it at the windward side, which crept on and continued to burn till it had consumed all the chaff (Psalms 83:13; Isaiah 5:4; Matthew 3:12). (See AGRICULTURE).

The word rendered "chaff" in Isaiah 5:24; Isaiah 33:11, is חֲשִׁשׁ (chashash´), and means rather dried grass or hay. In Jeremiah 23:28, it is (תֶּבֶן ), elsewhere "straw." In Exodus 5:12, we read of קִשׁ לִתֶּבֶן, stubble for straw; so that it is not the same as stubble. It means straw cut into small portions, in which state it was mixed with the mud of which bricks were made to give it consistency. (See STRAW). In 1 Kings 4:28, mention is made of a mixed provender for horses and camels of barley and תֶּבֶן, such as the Arabs call tibn to this day. In Daniel 2:35, the term is the Chaldee עוּר(ur). (See THRESHING).

Chaff in the Scriptures is a frequent emblem of abortive wickedness (Psalms 1:4; Matthew 3:12, etc.). False doctrines are. called chaff; they are unproductive, and cannot abide the trial of the word and Spirit of God (Jeremiah 23:28). (See BAPTISM OF FIRE). The carrying away of chaff by the wind is an ordinary scriptural image of the destruction of the wicked, and of their powerlessness to resist God's judgments (Isaiah 17:13; Hosea 13:3; Zephaniah 2:2).

Bibliography Information
McClintock, John. Strong, James. Entry for 'Chaff'. Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological and Ecclesiastical Literature. https://www.studylight.org/​encyclopedias/​eng/​tce/​c/chaff.html. Harper & Brothers. New York. 1870.
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