Before the decree bring forth, [before] the day pass as the
Which was like a woman big with child, ready to be delivered. The decree of God concerning the people of the Jews was pregnant with wrath and ruin for their sins, and just ripe for execution; and therefore, before it was actually executed, they are exhorted as above; not that the decree of God which was gone forth could be frustrated and made void by anything done by them; only that, when it was put into execution, such as repented of their sins might be saved from the general calamity; which they are called upon to do before the day come appointed by the Lord for the execution of this decree; which lingered not, and was not delayed, but slid on as swiftly as chaff before the driving wind. There is some difficulty in the rendering and sense of these words; some thus, "before the day, which passes as chaff, brings forth the decree" F5; that is, before the time, which moves swiftly, brings on the execution of the decree, or of the thing decreed in it, it is big with: others, "before the decree brings forth the day that passeth as chaff" F6; or in which the chaff shall be separated from the wheat, pass away, be dispersed here and there; that is, before they were scattered about by it as chaff: and to this sense the Septuagint and Arabic versions, "before ye are as a flower"; or, as the Syriac, "as chaff that passeth away"; and so the Targum more fully,
``before the decree of the house of judgment come out upon you, and ye be like chaff which the wind blows away, and like a shadow which passes from before the day.'' See ( Psalms 1:4 ) .Before the fierce anger of the Lord come upon you, before the day
of the Lord's anger come upon you;
these phrases explain the former, and show what the decree was big with, and ready to bring forth, even the judgments of God, in wrath and fierce anger; and what the day is, said to pass as the chaff; the day of God's vengeance fixed by him, which should come upon them, and scatter them like chaff among the nations of the world: or rather the words may be rendered thus, as by Gussetius F7, "whilst as yet the decree hath not brought forth, the day passeth away like chaff"; being neglected and spent in an useless and unprofitable manner; for which they are reproved; and therefore are exhorted to be wiser for the future, and redeem precious time; and, before the Lord's anger comes upon them, do what is before exhorted to, and particularly what follows:
F5 (tdl Mrjb) "antequam dies, quae transit ut palea, pariat decretum", Drusius; so Ben Melech.
F6 "Priusquam decretum Dei pariat deim veluti glumae transeuntis", Grotius.
F7 Ebr. Comment. p. 305.