Farming in the Bible: Chaff

A Note from the Farm

There are so many farming metaphors and examples in the Bible. I love that my life gives me a little insight into many of these. I can’t resist sharing.

In the fall we combine corn. As we unload, little red mounds spring up around the grain bins and augers.

When I first started working for Dad, I hadn’t stopped to realize what these growing piles were. It wasn’t until we had to clean them up that I really paid much attention. The tiny red casings are lighter than a feather and do not herd well. Sweeping or shoveling them feels pointless as the wind grabs them and they go flying, like light fluffy snow that won’t pack. There’s no packing with this stuff. It’s a huge pain. It’s worthless and



See that red stuff especially toward the edges of the pile of corn? That’s chaff.

Red stuff on the ground toward bottom of photo: Chaff.


The piles gather around the base of the bin and really anything that is standing still. 

This is chaff. It’s the casing that holds the seed to the cob. When the corn cobs run through the combine lots of it comes with the corn and then blows around in the breeze when the corn is being moved. It’s also known as red-dog or bees-wings. You know how farmers are. They come up with all kinds of names for things. 



Psalm 1

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked,

Nor stand in the path of sinners,

Nor sit in the seat of scoffers!

But his delight is in the law of the Lord,

And in His law he meditates day and night.

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water,

Which yields its fruit in its season

And its leaf does not wither;

And in whatever he does, he prospers.


The wicked are not so,

But they are like chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment,

Nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous.

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous,

But the way of the wicked will perish.


Right off the bat in Psalms we get this reference to chaff. The wicked are like chaff. The wind drives them away. They cannot stand. The unrighteous will perish. 

God is not messing around. Chaff is about as useless and weak as you can get. Contrast this with the man who meditates on the law day and night. This man is like “a tree firmly planted near streams of water.” Could there be more of an opposite? The chaff of corn is the casing of each piece of grain. Even the cob has more significance and weight. He who delights in the Lord, though, is the furthest thing from a seed casing. He is like a grown tree with roots that go deep; with branches that produce fruit; with leaves that do not even wither! 

Lord, plant me near you and your life-giving stream. Send my roots deep, firmly planted in your Word and promises. Hold tight to me so I do not stray from your truth. 

I don’t want to be the chaff. 

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