The process by which threshed grain is separated from chaff, the extraneous, nonedible stalks and husks (Ruth 3:2
). In ancient Palestine, the threshed grain and chaff was mounded on a flat open surface, or piled on a cloth, a wide but shallow basket, or a sieve. It was then raked or thrown into the air, where the brisk afternoon wind removed the lighter chaff (Ps 1:4
). The heavier grain dropped back to the ground and was gathered. The threshed and winnowed grain was then ready for use or storage in granaries. John the Baptist used the process of winnowing as a metaphor for divine judgment (Matt 3:12
; Luke 3:17
; Jer 15:7
2Now here is our kinsman Boaz, with whose young women you have been working. See, he is winnowing barley tonight at the threshing floor.
4The wicked are not so,
but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
12His winnowing fork is in his hand, and he will clear his threshing floor and will gather his wheat into the granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquencha ... View more
17His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor and to gather the wheat into his granary; but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire.”
7I have winnowed them with a winnowing fork
in the gates of the land;
I have bereaved them, I have destroyed my people;
they did not turn from their ways.