3. Therefore they shall be as the morning cloud, and as the early dew that passeth away, as the chaff that is driven with the whirlwind out of the floor, and as the smoke out of the chimney.
3. Propterea erunt quasi nubes matutina, quasi ros mane exoriens, transiens quasi palea quae ex area projicitur, et quasi fumus e fumario, (Nam 'rvh accipitur hoc sensu: significat quidem fenestram, sed est vaporarium camini.)
The Prophet employs here four similitudes to show the condition of Israel. How much soever they flourished for a time, and might be deemed happy, their state would yet be fading and evanescent. They shall be, he says, as the morning cloud: though they be loftily proud, the Lord will yet shake off from them whatever power they may have. Secondly, they shall be as the dew that rises up in the morning -- having nothing substantial in them. Thirdly they shall be as the chaff which from the floor is driven by a whirlwind And, lastly they shall be, he says, as the smoke; for as the smoke produces thick darkness, and, after having gone out of the chimney, disperses and disappears, so these proud people, how much soever they may have praised themselves, would not continue in a permanent condition.
We hence conclude, that the Israelites were not so much like the dead, but that yet they had some power remaining in them: for God would have otherwise threatened to no purpose, that they should be made like a cloud, and the dew, and the chaff, and the smoke: but they had been already in a great measure consumed. And God denounces on them here utter destruction, that they might not think that they had already suffered the last punishment, and that they might not suppose that they could gather new strength: for proud men entertain vain confidence, through which they remove to a distance the judgement of God. Lest, then, they should delude themselves with such allurements, the Prophet here declares that their condition would be fading, such as would soon come to ruin. It follows --