He giveth snow like wool
For colour as white as wool; so the Targum and Kimchi: and for the manner of its falling, lightly and gently as a lock of wool; which for its thinness and fineness it also resembles. Hence the ancients used to call snow (eriwdev udwr) , "woolly water" F20; and Martial F21 gives it the name of "densum veilus aquarum", "a thick fleece of waters": so another poet F23 calls clouds flying fleeces of wool, to which they sometimes seem like; Pliny F24 calls it the from of the celestial waters. And it is like wool for its usefulness to the earth; for as wool covers the sheep, and clothes made of it cover men, and keep them warm; so snow filling upon the earth covers it and keeps it warm, and secures the wheat and other fruits of the earth from the injuries of the cold: and this lies among the treasures of the Lord, and he brings it out from thence, and commands it to be on the earth; and it is an useful gift of his providence, for which his name is to be praised; see ( Job 37:6 ) ( 38:22 ) . The Jews have a saying, as Arama observes, that one day of snow is better than five of rain. In the third year of Valens and Valentinianus, with the Atrebates (a people in the Netherlands), real wool fell from the clouds, mixed with rain F25. Several blessings of grace are signified by this figure; as pardon of sin, the justifying righteousness of Christ, and the efficacy of the word of God, ( Psalms 51:7 ) ( Isaiah 1:18 ) ( Isaiah 55:10 Isaiah 55:11 ) ( Lamentations 4:7 ) ;
he scattereth the hoar frost like ashes;
which is the dew congealed by the intense cold of the air in the night season F26: this for its colour looks like ashes, and for its infinite number of particles may be compared to them; which are spread here and there, and everywhere; over gardens, fields, lands, herbs, plants, and trees, as if they were strewed with ashes. And to hot ashes it may be compared, because of its burning nature, shrivelling up leaves, herbs, and plants, as if burnt; hence called "pruina" in the Latin tongue F1. The manna is compared to this for its smallness, ( Exodus 16:14 ) ; which was typical of Christ, the hidden manna, and of the ministry of the Gospel; little, mean, and contemptible, in the eyes of carnal men; torturing and tormenting to them, as the fire that came out of the mouths of the witnesses; and is the savour of death unto death to some, while it ii the savour of life unto life to others.
F20 Eustathius in Dionys. Perieget. p. 91.
F21 Epigram. l. 4. Ep. 3.
F23 Aristoph. Nubes, p. 146.
F24 Nat. Hist. l. 17. c. 2.
F25 Orosii Hist. l. 7. c. 32. p. 131.
F26 lsidor. Origin. l. 13. c. 10.
F1 "Frigora nec tantum cana concreta pruina", Virgil. Georgic. l. 2. v. 376.