Biblical commentary the Old Testament/Volume III. Early Prophets/Job

Biblical commentary the Old Testament  (1872)  by Franz Delitzsch
Translation and Exposition of The book of Job.

The Book of Job Edit

Introduction Edit

1. The Problem of the Book of Job Edit

Why do afflictions upon afflictions befall the righteous man? This is the question, the answering of which is made the theme of the book of Job. Looking to the conclusion of the book, the answer stands: that afflictions are for the righteous man the way to a twofold blessedness. But in itself, this answer cannot satisfy; so much the less, as the twofold blessedness to which Job finally attains is just as earthly and of this world as that which he has lost by affliction. This answer is inadequate, since on the one hand such losses as those of beloved children cannot, as the loss of sheep and camels, really be made good by double the number of other children; on the other hand, it may be objected that many a righteous man deprived of his former prosperity dies in outward poverty. There are numerous deathbeds which protest against this answer. There are many pious sufferers to whom this present material issue of the book of Job could not yield any solace; whom, when in conflict at least, it might the rather bring into danger of despair. With reference to this conclusion, the book of Job is an insufficient theodicy, as in general the truth taught in the Old Testament, that the end, אהרית, of the righteous, as of the unrighteous, would reveal the hidden divine recompense, could afford no true consolation so long as this אהרית flowed on with death into the night of Hades, שׁאול, and had no prospect of eternal life.
But the issue of the history, regarded externally, is by no means the proper answer to the great question of the book. The principal thing is not that Job is doubly blessed, but that God acknowledges him as His servant, which He is able to do, after Job in all his afflictions has remained true to God. Therein lies the important truth, that there is a suffering of the righteous which is not a decree of wrath, into which the love of God has been changed, but a dispensation of that love itself. In fact, this truth is the heart of the book of Job. It has therefore been said - particularly by Hirzel, and recently by Renan - that it aims at destroying the old Mosaic doctrine of retribution. But this old Mosaic doctrine of retribution is a modern phantom. That all suffering is a divine retribution, the Mosaic Thora does not teach. Renan calls this doctrine la vielle conception patriarcale. But the patriarchal history, and especially the history of Joseph, gives decided proof against it. The distinction between the suffering of the righteous and the retributive justice of God, brought out in the book of Job, is nothing new. The history before the time of Israel, and the history of Israel even, exhibit it in facts; and the words of the law, as Deu 8:16, expressly show that there are sufferings which are the result of God's love; though the book of Job certainly presents this truth, which otherwise had but a scattered and presageful utterance, in a unique manner, and causes it to come forth before us from a calamitous and terrible conflict, as pure gold from a fierce furnace. It comes forth as the result of the controversy with the false doctrine of retribution advanced by the friends; a doctrine which is indeed not Mosaic, for the Mosaic Thora in the whole course of the history of revelation is nowhere impugned and corrected, but ever only augmented, and, consistently with its inherent character, rendered more complete.
To this question the book furnishes, as it appears to us, two answers: (1.) The afflictions of the righteous are a means of discipline and purification; they certainly arise from the sins of the righteous man, but still are not the workings of God's wrath, but of His love, which is directed to his purifying and advancement. Such is the view Elihu in the book of Job represents. The writer of the introductory portion of Proverbs has expressed this briefly but beautifully Pro 3:11; cf. Heb 12). Oehler, in order that one may perceive its distinction from the view of the three friends, rightly refers to the various theories of punishment. Discipline designed for improvement is properly no punishment, since punishment, according to its true idea, is only satisfaction rendered for the violation of moral order. In how far the speeches of Elihu succeed in conveying this view clear and distinct from the original standpoint of the friends, especially of Eliphaz, matters not to us here; at all events, it is in the mind of the poet as the characteristic of these speeches. (2.) The afflictions of the righteous man are means of proving and testing, which, like chastisements, come from the love of God. Their object is not, however, the purging away of sin which may still cling to the righteous man, but, on the contrary, the manifestation and testing of his righteousness. This is the point of view from which, apart from Elihu's speeches, the book of Job presents Job's afflictions. Only by this relation of things is the chagrin with which Job takes up the words of Eliphaz, and so begins the controversy, explained and justified or excused. And, indeed, if it should be even impossible for the Christian, especially with regard to his own sufferings, to draw the line between disciplinary and testing sufferings so clearly as it is drawn in the book of Job, there is also for the deeper and more acute New Testament perception of sin, a suffering of the righteous which exists without any causal connection with his sin, viz., confession by suffering, or martyrdom, which the righteous man undergoes, not for his own sake, but for the sake of God.
If we, then, keep in mind these two further answers which the book of Job gives us to the question, “Why through suffering to blessedness?” it is not to be denied that practically they are perfectly sufficient. If I know that God sends afflictions to me because, since sin and evil are come into the world, they are the indispensable means of purifying and testing me, and by both purifying and testing of perfecting me, - these are explanations with which I can and must console myself. But this is still not the final answer of the book of Job to its great question. And its unparalleled magnitude, its high significance in the historical development of revelation, its typical character already recognised in the Old Testament, consists just in its going beyond this answer, and giving us an answer which, going back to the extreme roots of evil, and being deduced from the most intimate connections of the individual life of man with the history and plan of the world in the most comprehensive sense, not only practically, but speculatively, satisfies.

2. The Chokma-Character of the Book Edit

But before we go so far into this final and highest answer as the province of the Introduction permits and requires, in order to assign to the reader the position necessary to be taken for understanding the book, we ask, How comes it that the book of Job presents such a universal and absolute solution of the problem, otherwise unheard of in the Old Testament Scriptures? The reason of it is in the peculiar mental tendency (Geistesrichtung) of the Israelitish race from which it proceeded. There was in Israel a bias of a universalistic, humanic, philosophical kind, which, starting from the fear or worship (religion) of Jehovah, was turned to the final causes of things, - the cosmical connections of the earthly, the common human foundations of the Israelitish, the invisible roots of the visible, the universal actual truth of the individual and national historical. The common character of the few works of his Chokma which have been preserved to us is the humanic standpoint, stripped of everything peculiarly Israelitish. In the whole book of Proverbs, which treats of the relations of human life in its most general aspects, the name of the covenant people, ישׁראל, does not once occur. In Ecclesiastes, which treats of the nothingness of all earthly things, and with greater right than the book of Job may be called the canticle of Inquiry,[1] even the covenant name of God, יהוה, does not occur. In the Son of Songs, the groundwork of the picture certainly, but not the picture itself, is Israelitish: it represents a common human primary relation, the love of man and woman; and that if not with allegorical, yet mystical meaning, similar to the Indian Gitagovinda, and also the third part of the Tamul Kural, translated by Graul.
So the book of Job treats a fundamental question of our common humanity; and the poet has studiously taken his hero not from Israelitish history, but from extra-Israelitish tradition. From beginning to end he is conscious of relating an extra-Israelitish history, - a history handed down among the Arab tribes to the east of Palestine, which has come to his ears; for none of the proper names contain even a trace of symbolically intended meaning; and romantic historical poems were moreover not common among the ancients. This extra-Israelitish history from the patriarchal period excited the purpose of his poem, because the thought therein presented lay also in his own mind. The Thora from Sinai and prophecy, the history and worship of Israel, are nowhere introduced; even indirect reference to them nowhere escape him. He throws himself with wonderful truthfulness, effect, and vividness, into the extra-Israelitish position. His own Israelitish standpoint he certainly does not disavow, as we see from his calling God יהוה everywhere in the prologue and epilogue; but the non-Israelitish character of his hero and of his locality he maintains with strict consistency. Only twice is יהוה found in the mouth of Job (Job 1:21, Job 12:9), which is not to be wondered at, since this name of God, as the names Morija and Jochebed show, is not absolutely post-Mosaic, and therefore may have been known among the Hebrew people beyond Israel. But with this exception, Job and his friends everywhere call God אלוהּ, which is more poetic, and for non-Israelitish speakers (vid., Pro 30:5) more appropriate than אלהים, which occurs only three times (Job 20:29; Job 32:2; Job 38:7); or they call Him שׁדּי, which is the proper name of God in the patriarchal time, as it appears everywhere in Genesis, where in the Elohistic portions the high and turning-points of the self-manifestation of God occur (Job 17:1, Job 35:11, cf. Exo 6:3), and when the patriarchs, at special seasons, pronounce the promise which they have received upon their children (Gen 28:3, Gen 48:3, Gen 49:25; cf. Gen 43:14). Even many of the designations of the divine attributes which have become fixed in the Thora, as אפּים ארך, חנּוּן, רחוּם, which one might well expect in the book of Job, are not found in it; nor טוב, often used of Jehovah in Psalms; nor generally the too (so to speak) dogmatic terminology of the Israelitish religion;[2] besides which also this characteristic, that only the oldest mode of heathen worship, star-worship (Job 31:26-28), is mentioned, without even the name of God (צבאות יהוה or צבאות אלהים) occurring, which designates God as Lord of the heavens, which the heathen deified. The writer has also intentionally avoided this name, which is the star of the time of the Israelitish kings; for he is never unmindful that his subject is an ante-and extra-Israelitish one.
Hengstenberg, in his Lecture on the Book of Job, 1856, goes so far as to maintain, that a character like Job cannot possibly have existed in the heathen world, and that revelation would have been unnecessary if heathendom could produce such characters for itself. The poet, however, without doubt, presupposes the opposite; and if he did not presuppose it, he should have refrained from using all his skill to produce the appearance of the opposite. That he has nevertheless done it, cannot mislead us: for, on the one hand, Job belongs to the patriarchal period, therefore the period before the giving of the law, - a period in which the early revelation was still at work, and the revelation of God, which had not remained unknown in the side branches of the patriarchal family. On the other hand, it is quite consistent with the standpoint of the Chokma, that it presupposes a preparatory self-manifestation of God even in the extra-Israelitish world; just as John's Gospel, which aims at proving in Christianity the absolute religion which shall satisfy every longing of all mankind, acknowledges τέκνα τοῦ Θεοῦ διεσκορπισμένα also beyond the people of God, Joh 11:52, without on this account finding the incarnation of the Logos, and the possibility of regeneration by it, to be superfluous.
This parallel between the book of Job and the Gospel by John is fully authorized; for the important disclosure which the prologue of John gives to us of the Logos, is already in being in the book of Job and the introduction to the book of Proverbs, especially ch. 8, without requiring the intervening element of the Alexandrine religious philosophy, which, however, after it is once there, may not be put aside or disavowed. The Alexandrine doctrine of the Logos is really the genuine more developed form, though with many imperfections, of that which is taught of the Chokma in the book of Job and in Proverbs. Both notions have a universalistic comprehensiveness, referring not only to Israel, but to mankind. The חכמה certainly took up its abode in Israel, as it itself proves in the book Σοφια Σειραχ, ch. 24; but there is also a share of it attainable by and allotted to all mankind. This is the view of the writer even beyond Israel fellowship is possible with the one living God, who has revealed himself in Israel; that He also there continually reveals himself, ordinarily in the conscience, and extraordinarily in dreams and visions; that there is also found there a longing and struggling after that redemption of which Israel has the clear words of promise. His wonderous book soars high above the Old Testament limit; it is the Melchizedek among the Old Testament books. The final and highest solution of the problem with which it grapples, has a quarry extending out even beyond the patriarchal history. The Wisdom of the book of Job originates, as we shall see, from paradise. For this turning also to the primeval histories of Genesis, which are earlier than the rise of the nations, and the investigation of the hieroglyphs in the prelude to the Thora, which are otherwise almost passed over in the Old Testament, belong to the peculiarities of the Chokma.

3. Position in the Canon Edit

As a work of the Chokma, the book of Job stands, with the three other works belonging to this class of the Israelitish literature, among the Hagiographa, which are called in Hebrew simply כתובים. Thus, by the side of תורה and נביאים, the third division of the canon is styled, in which are included all those writings belonging neither to the province of prophetic history nor prophetic declaration. Among the Hagiographa are writings even of a prophetic character, as Psalms and Daniel; but their writers were not properly נביאים. At present Lamentations stands among them; but this is not its original place, as also Ruth appears to have stood originally between Judges and Samuel. Both Lamentations and Ruth are placed among the Hagiographa, that there the five so-called מגלות or scrolls may stand together: Schir ha-Schirim the feast-book of the eight passover-day, Ruth that of the second Schabuoth-day, Kinoth that of the ninth of Ab, Koheleth that of the eight Succoth-day, Esther that of Purim. The book of Job, which is written neither in prophetico-historical style, nor in the style of prophetic preaching, but is a didactic poem, could stand nowhere else but in the third division of the canon. The position which it occupies is moreover a very shifting one. In the Alexandrine canon, Chronicles, Ezra, Nehemiah, Tobit, Judith, Esther, follow the four books of the Kings. The historical books therefore stand, from the earliest to the latest, side by side; then begins with Job, Psalms, Proverbs, a new row, opened with these three in stricter sense poetical books. Then Melito of Sardis, in the second century, places Chronicles with the books of the Kings, but arranges immediately after them the non-historical Hagiographa in the following order: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles, Job; here the Salomonic writings are joined to the Davidic Psalter, and the anonymous book of Job stands last. In our editions of the Bible, the Hagiographa division begins with Psalms, Proverbs, Job (the succession peculiar to MSS of the German class); in the Talmud (Bathra, 14b), with Ruth, Psalms, Job, Proverbs; in the Masora, and in MSS of the Spanish class, with Chronicles, Psalms, Job, Proverbs. All these modes of arrangement are well considered. The Masora connects with the אחרונים נביאים the homogeneous book, the Chronicles; the Talmud places the book of Ruth before the Psalter as an historical prologue, or as a connection between the prophetico-historical books and the Hagiographa.[3]
The practice in our editions is to put the Psalms as the first book of the division, which agrees with Luk 24:44, and with Philo, who places ὕμνους next to the prophetical books. Job stands only in the lxx at the head of the three so-called poetic books, perhaps as a work by its patriarchal contents referring back to the earliest times. Everywhere else the Psalter stands first among the three books. These three are commonly denoted by the vox memoralis מתספרי א; but this succession, Job, Proverbs, Psalms, is nowhere found. The Masora styles them after its own, and the Talmudic order אםספרי ת.

4. The System of Accentuation Edit

Manner of Writing in Verses, and Structure of the Strophe
The so-ciphered three books have, as is known, this in common, that they are (with the exception of the prologue and epilogue in the book of Job) punctuated according to a special system, which has been fully discussed in my Commentary on the Psalms, and in Baer's edition of the Psalter. This accent system, like the prosaic, is constructed on the fundamental law of dichotomy; but it is determined by better organization, more expressive and melodious utterance. Only the so-called prose accents, however, not the metrical or poetic (with the exception of a few detached fragments), have been preserved in transmission. Nevertheless, we are always still able to discern from these accents how the reading in the synagogue divided the thoughts collected into the form of Masoretic verses, into two chief divisions, and within these again into lesser divisions, and connected or separated the single words; while the musical rhythm accommodated itself as much as possible to the logical, so that the accentuation is on this account an important source for ascertaining the traditional exegesis, and contains an abundance of most valuable hints for the interpreter. Tradition, moreover, requires for the three books a verse-like short line stich-manner of writing; and פסוק, versus, meant originally, not the Masoretic verse, but the separate sentence, στίχος, denoted in the accent system by a great distinctive; as e.g., Job 3:3 :
Let the day perish wherein I was born,
And the night, which said, There is a man-child conceived, is a Masoretic verse divided into two parts by Athnach, and therefore, according to the old order, is to be written as two στίχοι.[4]

This also is important. In order to recognise the strophe-structure of Hebrew poems, one must attend to the στίχοι, in which the poetic thoughts follow one another in well-measured flow. Parallelism, which we must likewise acknowledge as the fundamental law of the rhythm of Hebrew poetry, forms the evolutions of thought not always of two members, but often - as e.g., Job 3:4, Job 3:5, Job 3:6, Job 3:9 - also of three. The poetic formation is not, however, confined to this, but even further combines (as is most unmistakeably manifest in the alphabetical psalms,[5] and as recently also Ewald inclines to acknowledge)[6] such distichs and tristichs into a greater whole, forming a complete circle of thought; in other words, into strophes of four, eight, or some higher number of lines, in themselves paragraphs, which, however, show themselves as strophes, inasmuch as they recur and change symmetrically.

Hupfeld has objected that these strophes, as an aggregate formed of a symmetrical number of stichs, are opposed to the nature of the rhythm = parallelism, which cannot stand on one leg, but needs two; but this objection is as invalid as if one should say, Because every soldier has two legs, therefore soldiers can only march singly, and not in a row and company. It may be seen, e.g., from Job 36:22-25, Job 36:26-29, Job 36:30-33, where the poet begins three times with הן, and three times the sentences so beginning are formed of eight lines. Shall we not say there are three eight-line strophes beginning with הן? Nevertheless, we are far from maintaining that the book of Job consists absolutely of speeches in the strophe and poetic form. It breaks up, however, into paragraphs, which not unfrequently become symmetrical strophes. That neither the symmetrical nor mixed strophe-schema is throughout with strict unexceptional regularity carried out, arises from the artistic freedom which the poet was obliged to maintain in order not to sacrifice the truth as well as the beauty of the dialogue. Our translation, arranged in paragraphs, and the schemata of the number of stichs in the paragraph placed above each speech, will show that the arrangement of the whole is, after all, far more strophic than its dramatic character allows, according to classic and modern poetic art.[7]
It is similar in Canticles, with the melodramatic character of which it better agrees. In both cases it is explained from the

Hebrew poesy being in its fundamental peculiarity lyric, and from the drama not having freed itself from the lyric element, and attained to complete independence. The book of Job is, moreover, not a drama grown to complete development. Prologue and epilogue are treated as history, and the separate speeches are introduce din the narrative style. In the latter respect (with the exception of Job 2:10), Canticles is more directly dramatic than the book of Job.[8]
The drama is here in reference to the strophic form in the garb of Canticles, and in respect of the narrative form in the garb of history or epopee. Also the book of Job cannot be regarded as drama, if we consider, with G. Baur,[9] dramatic and scenic to be inseparable ideas; for the Jews first became acquainted with the theatre from the Greeks and Romans.[10]
Nevertheless, it is questionable whether the drama everywhere presupposes the existence of the stage, as e.g., A. W. v. Schlegel, in his Lectures on Dramatic Art and Literature, maintains. Göthe, at least, more than once asserts, that “drama and a composition for the stage may be separate,” and admits a “dramatic plot and execution” in Canticles.[11]

5. The Dramatic Art of the Plot and Execution Edit

On the whole, we have as little hesitation as Hupfeld in calling the book of Job a drama; and it is characteristic of

the Israelitish Chokma, that by Canticles and the book of Job, its two generic manifestations, it has enriched the national poesy with this new form of poetic composition. The book of Job is, though not altogether, yet substantially, a drama, and one consisting of seven divisions: (1) ch. 1-3, the opening; (2) ch. 4-14, the first course of the controversy, or the beginning entanglement; (3) ch. 15-21, the second course of the controversy, or the increasing entanglement; (4) ch. 22-26, the third course of the controversy, or the increasing entanglement at its highest; (5) ch. 27-31, the transition from the entanglement (δέσις) to the unravelling (λύσις): Job's monologues; (6) ch. 38-42:6, the consciousness of the unravelling; (7) Job 42:7., the unravelling in outward reality. In this we have left Elihu'a speeches (ch. 32-37) out of consideration, because it is very questionable whether they are a part of the original form of the book, and not, on the contrary, the introduction of another poet. If we include them, the drama has eight divisions. The speeches of Elihu form an interlude in the transition from the δέσις to the λύσις. The book of Job is an audience-chamber, and one can readily suppose that a contemporary or later poet may have mixed himself up with the speakers. Whether, however, this is really the case, may remain here undecided. The prologue is narrative, but still partly in dialogue style, and so far not altogether undramatical. In form it corresponds most to the Euripidean, which also are a kind of epic introduction to the pieces, and it accomplishes what Sophocles in his prologues so thoroughly understands. At the very beginning he excites interest in the occurrences to be brought forward, and makes us acquainted with that which remains concealed from the actors. After the knot of the puzzle is tied in the prologue, it becomes more and more deeply entangled in the three courses of the controversy. In the monologues of Job it begins to be disentangled, and

in the sixth part the unravelling follows, well prepared for, and therefore not ἀπὸ μηχανῆς, and is perfected in the epilogue or Exodus: the servant of God, being so far as necessary cleared by penitence, is justified in opposition to his friends; and the victor, tried in accordance with the divine utterance, is crowned. It is therefore a continually progressing history. The remark of Herder,[12] “Here all is stationary in long conversations,” is superficial. It is from beginning to end a stream of the most active life, with external incident only in the opening and in the unravelling; what Shlegel says of Göthe's Iphigenie holds good of the middle of the book, that the ideas are worked into incidents, and brought, as it were, before the eye. Moreover, as in Göthe's Tasso, the deficiency of external action is compensated by the richness and precision with which the characters are drawn. Satan, Job's wife, the hero himself, the three friends, - everywhere diversified and minute description. The poet manifests, also, dramatic skill in other directions. He has laid out the controversy with a masterly hand, making the heart of the reader gradually averse to the friends, and in the same degree winning it towards Job. He makes the friends all through give utterance to the most glorious truths, which, however, in the application to the case before them, turn out to be untrue. And although the whole of the representation serves one great idea, it is still not represented by any of the persons brought forward, and is by no one expressly uttered. Every person is, as it were, the consonant letter to the word of this idea; it is throughout the whole book taken up with the realization of itself; at the end it first comes forth as the resulting product of the whole. Job himself is not less a tragic hero than the Oedipus of both Sophicles' tragedies.[13]
What is there an

inevitable fate, expressed by the oracle, is in the book of Job the decree of Jehovah, over whom is no controlling power, decreed in the assembly of angels. As a painful puzzle the lot of affliction comes down on Job. At the beginning he is the victor of an easy battle, until the friends' exhortations to repentance are added to suffering, which in itself is incomprehensible, and make it still harder to be understood. He is thereby involved in a hard conflict, in which at one time, full of arrogant self-confidence, he exalts himself heavenward; at another time, sinks to the ground in desponding sadness.
The God, however, against which he fights is but a phantom, which the temptation has presented to his saddened eye instead of the true God; and this phantom is in no way different from the inexorable fate of the Greek tragedy. As in that the hero seeks to maintain his inward freedom against the secret power which crushes him with an iron arm; so Job maintains his innocence against this God, which has devoted him to destruction as an offender. But in the midst of this terrific conflict with the God of the present, this creation of the temptation, Job's faith gropes after the God of the future, to whom he is ever driven nearer the more mercilessly the enemies pursue him. At length Jehovah really appears, but not at Job's impetuous summons. He appears first after Job has made a beginning of humble self-concession, in order to complete the work begun, by condescendingly going forth to meet him. Jehovah appears, and the fury vanishes. The dualism, which the Greek tragedy leaves unabolished, is here reconciled. Human freedom does not succumb; but it becomes

evident that not an absolute arbitrary power, but divine wisdom, whose inmost impulse is love, moulds human destiny.

6. Time of Composition Edit

That this masterpiece of religious reflection and systematic creative art - this, to use Luther's expression, lofty and grand book, in which, as the mountains round an Alpine valley, all the terribly sublime that nature and human history present is ranged one above another - belongs to no other than the Salomonic period, we might almost assume, even if it were not confirmed on all sides. The opinion that Moses wrote the book of Job before the giving of the law, is found in the Talmuds (jer. Sota V. 8; b. Bathra, 15a). This view has been recently revived by Ebrard (1858). But how improbable, all but impossible, that the poetical literature of Israel should have taken its rise with such a non plus ultra of reflective poetry, and that this poem should have had Moses the lawgiver for its author? ”Moses certainly is not the composer of the book of Job,” says Herder rightly,[14] “or Solon might have written the Iliad and the Eumenides of Aeschylus.” This opinion, which is also found in Origen, Jerome, Polychronius, and Julian of Halicarnassus, would surely never have suggested itself to any one, had not the studious avoidance in the book of all reference to the law, prophecy, history, religious worship, and even of the religious terminology of Israel, consequent on its design, produced the appearance of a pre-Sinaitic origin. But, first, this absence of such reference is, as we have already seen, the result of the genius and aim which belong to the book; secondly, the writer distinctly enough betrays his acquaintance with the Thora: for as the Chokma for the most part necessarily presupposes the revelation of God deposited in the Thora,

and is even at pains to show its universal and eternal ideas, and its imperishable nature full of meaning for all men, so a book like the book of Job could only have been written by an Israelitish author, only have sprung from the spiritual knowledge and experience rendered possible by the Thora.[15]
For as insight into the groping of the heathen world after divine truth is only possible in the light of Christianity, so also such a spiritually bold and accurate reproduction of an old patriarchal tradition was only possible in the light of the revelation of Jehovah: not to mention that the middle part of the book is written in the style of the book of Proverbs, the surrounding parts in evident imitation of the style of the primitive histories of the Pentateuch.
But as the supposition of a pre-Salomonic composition is proved invalid, so also are all the grounds on which it has been sought to prove a post-Salomonic. Ewald, whom Heiligstedt and Renan follow, is of opinion that it shows very unsettled and unfortunate times in the background, and from this and other indications was written under Manasseh; Hirzel, that the writer who is so well acquainted with Egypt, seems to have been carried into Egypt with King Jehoahaz; Stickel, that the book presupposes the invasion of the Asiatic conqueror as begun, but not yet so far advanced as the destruction of Jerusalem; Bleek, that it must belong to the post-Salomonic period, because it seems to refer to a previous

comprehensive diversified literature. But all this rests on invalid grounds, false observation, and deceptive conclusions. Indeed, the assumption that a book which sets forth such a fearful conflict in the depths of affliction must have sprung from a time of gloomy national distress, is untenable: it is sufficient to suppose that the writer himself has experienced the like, and experienced it at a time when all around him were living in great luxury, which must have greatly aggravated his trial. It would be preferable to suppose that the book of Job belongs to the time of the exile (Umbreit and others), and that Job, though not exactly a personification of Israel, is still לרשׂראל משׁל,[16] a pattern for the people of the exile (Bernstein); for this view, interesting indeed in itself, has the similarity of several passages of the second part of the book of Isaiah in its favour: comp. Isa 40:14 with Job 21:22; Isa 40:23 with Job 12:24; Isa 44:25 with Job 12:17, Job 12:20; Isa 44:24 with Job 9:8; Isa 49:4 with Job 15:35; Psa 7:15. These, however, only prove that the severely tried ecclesia pressa of the exiles might certainly recognise itself again in the example of Job, and make it seem far more probable that the book of Job is older than that period of Israel's suffering.
The literature of the Chokma began with Solomon. First in the time of Solomon, whose peculiar gift was worldly wisdom, a time which bears the character of peaceful contemplation resulting from the conflicts of belief of David's time,[17] the external and internal preliminary conditions for

it existed. The chief part of Proverbs and Canticles is by Solomon himself; the introductory passages (Prov 1-9) represent a later period of the Chokma, probably the time of Jehoshaphat; the book of Ecclesiastes, which is rightly assigned by H. G. Bernstein in his Questiones Kohelethanae to the time between Artaxerxes I Longimanus, and Darius Codomannus, and perhaps belongs to the time of Artaxerxes II Mnemon, represents the latest period. The book of Job is indicated as a work of the first of these three periods, by its classic, grand, and noble form. It bears throughout the stamp of that creative, beginning-period of the Chokma, - of that Salomonic age of knowledge and art, of deeper thought respecting revealed religion, and of intelligent, progressive culture of the traditional forms of art, - that unprecedented age, in which the literature corresponded to the summit of glorious magnificence to which the kingdom of the promise had then attained. The heart of Solomon (according to 1Ki 5:9., Hebrew version; 1Ki 4:29, English version) enclosed within itself a fulness of knowledge, “even as the sand that is on the seashore:” his wisdom was greater than the קרם בני, from whom the traditional matter of the book of Job is borrowed; greater than the wisdom of the מצרים, with whose country and natural marvels the author of the book of Job is intimately acquainted. The extensive knowledge of natural history and general science displayed in the book of Job, is the result of the wide circle of observation which Israel had reached. It was a time when the chasm between Israel and the nations was more than ever bridged over. The entire education of Israel at that time took a so to speak cosmopolitan direction. It was a time introductory to the extension of redemption, and the triumph of the religion of Israel, and the union of all nations in belief on the God of love.

7. Signs from the Doctrinal Contents Edit

That the book of Job belongs to this period and no other, is confirmed also by the relation of its doctrinal contents to the other canonical writings. If we compare the doctrine respecting Wisdom - her super-eminence, applicability to worldly matters, and co-operation in the creation of the world - in Prov 1-9, especially ch. 8, with Job 28, it is there manifestly more advanced, and further developed. If we compare the pointing to the judgment of God, Job 19:29, with the hint of a future general judgment, which shall decide and adjust all things, in Ecc 12:14, we see at once that what comes forward in the former passage only at first as an expression of personal belief, is in the latter already become a settled element of general religious consciousness.
And however we may interpret that brilliant passage of the book of Job, Job 19:25-27, - whether it be the beholding of God in the present bodily, future spiritual, or future glorified state, - it is by no means an echo of an already existing revelation of the resurrection of the dead, that acknowledgment of revelation which we see breaking forth and expanding throughout Isa 26:19, comp. Isa 25:8, and Ezek 37 comp. Hos 6:2, until Dan 12:2. The prevailing representations of the future in the book of Job are exactly the same as those in the Psalms of the time of David and Solomon, and in the Proverbs of Solomon. The writer speaks as one of the same age in which Heman sighed, Psa 88:11., “Wilt Thou show wonders to the dead? or shall the shades arise and praise Thee? Shall Thy loving-kindness be declared in the grave, Thy faithfulness in the abyss?” Besides, the greatest conceivable fulness of allusion to the book of Job, including Elihu's speeches, is found in Ps 88 and 89, whose authors, Heman and Ethan, the Ezrahites, are not the same as the

chief singers of David and of the same name, but the contemporaries of Solomon mentioned in 1Ki 5:11. These two psalms coincide with the book of Job, both in expressions with which remarkable representations are united, as קרושׁים of the celestial spirits, רפאים of the shades in Hades, אבדון of Hades itself, and also in expressions which do not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, as אמים and בּעתים; and the agreement is manifest, moreover, in the agreement of whole verses either in thought or in expression: comp. Psa 89:38 with Job 16:19; Psa 89:48 with Job 7:7; Psa 89:49 with Job 14:14; Psa 88:5 with Job 14:10; Psa 88:9 with Job 30:10; Psa 89:8 with Job 31:34. In all these passages, however, there is no such similarity as suggests a borrowing, but an agreement which, since it cannot possibly be accidental, may be most easily explained by supposing that the book of Job proceeds from just the same Chokma-fellowship to which, according to 1Ki 5:11, the two Ezrahites, the writers of Ps 88 and 89, belong.
One might go further, and conjecture that the same Heman who composed Ps 88, the gloomiest of all the Psalms, and written under circumstances of suffering similar to Job's, may be the author of the book of Job - for which many probable reasons might be advanced; by which also what G. Baur rightly assumes would be confirmed, that the writer of the book of Job has himself passed through the inward spiritual conflict which he describes, and accordingly gives a page from his own religious history. But we are satisfied with the admission, that the book of Job is the work of one of the wise men whose rendezvous was the court of Solomon. Gregory of Nazianzen and Luther have already admitted the origin of the book in Solomon's time; and among later critics, Rosenmüller, Hävernick, Vaihinger, Hahn, Schlottmann, Keil, and Hofmann (though in

his Weissagung und Erfüllung he expressed the opinion that it belongs to the Mosaic period), are agreed in this.[18]

8. Echoes in the Later Sacred Writings Edit

It may be readily supposed, that a book like this, which is occupied with a question of such vital import to every thinking and pious man, - which treats it in such a lively manner, riveting the attention, and bespeaking sympathy, - which, apart from its central subject, is so many-sided, so majestically beautiful in language, and so inexhaustible in imagery, - will have been one of the most generally read of the national books of Israel. Such is found to be the case; and also hereby its origin in the time of Solomon is confirmed: for at this very period it is to Ps 88-89 only that it stands in the mutual relation already mentioned. But the echoes appear as early as in the חכמים דברי, which are appended to the Salomonic משׁלי in the book of Proverbs: comp. the teaching from an example in the writer's own experience, Pro 24:30. with Job 5:3. The book of Job, however, next to the Proverbs of Solomon, was the favourite source of information for the author of the introductory proverbs (Prov 1-9). Here (apart from the doctrine of wisdom) we find whole passages similar to the book of Job: comp. Pro 3:11 with Job 5:17; Pro 8:25 with Job 15:7; Pro 3:15 with Job 28:18.
Then, in the prophets of the flourishing period of prophetic literature, which begins with Obadiah and Joel, we find distinct traces of familiarity with the book of Job. Amos describes the glory of God the Creator in words taken from it (Amo 4:13; Amo 5:8, after Job 9:8; cf. Job 10:22; Job 38:31).

Isaiah has introduced a whole verse of the book of Job, almost verbatim, into his prophecy against Egypt (Isa 19:5 = Job 14:11): in the same prophecy, Isa 19:13. refer to Job 12:24., so also Isa 35:3 to Job 4:4. These reminiscences of the book of Job are frequent in Isaiah (Isa 40-66). This book of solace for the exiles corresponds to the book of Job not only in words, which exclusively belong in common to the two (as גּזע and צאצאים), and in surprising similarity of expression (as Isa 53:9, comp. Job 16:17; Isa 60:6, comp. Job 22:11), but also in numerous passages of similar thought and form (comp. Isa 40:23 with Job 12:24); and in the description of the Servant of Jehovah, one is here and there involuntarily reminded of the book of Job (as Isa 50:6, comp. with Job 16:10). In Jeremiah, the short lyric passage, Jer 20:14-18, in which he curses the day of his birth, falls back on Job 3: the form in which the despondency of the prophet breaks forth is determined by the book of Job, with which he was familiar. It requires no proof that the same prophet follows the book of Job in many passages of Lamentations, and especially the first part of Lam 3: he makes use of confessions, complaints, and imagery from the affliction of Job, to represent the affliction of Israel.
By the end of the time of the kings, Job was a person generally known in Israel, a recognised saint: for Ezekiel, in the year 593-2 b.c. (Eze 14:14.), complains that the measure of Israel's sin is so great, that if Noah, Daniel, and Job were in the midst of Israel, though they might save themselves, they would not be able to hold back the arm of divine justice. The prophet mentions first Noah, a righteous man of the old world; then Daniel, a righteous man of contemporary Israel; and last of all Job, a righteous man beyond the line of the promise.[19]
He would not, however, have been able

to mention him, if he had not, by means of the written narrative, been a person well known among the people to whom the prophetical discourse was addressed. The literature of the Old Testament has no further reference to the question of the time of the composition of the book of Job; for, on a comparison of Ecc 5:14 with Job 1:21, it scarcely remains a question to which the priority belongs.

9. The Chief Critical Questions Edit

Whether, however, the whole book, as we now have it, comes from the time of Solomon, as the work of one poet, or of one chief poet,[20] is a question which can be better determined in the course of the exposition. More or less important doubts have been entertained whether some constituent parts of the whole belong to the original setting. By far the most important question of criticism respects the six chapters of Elihu's speeches (ch. 32-37), respecting which the suspicion entertained by the fathers, and first decidedly expressed by Stuhlmann (1804), that not only in form are they inferior to the artistic execution of the rest of the work, but also in contents are opposed to its original plan, is not yet set aside, and perhaps never will be altogether satisfactorily settled. Besides this, Kennicot also has suspected the speech of Job, Job 27:11-28:28, because there Job seems to yield to the friends' controverted doctrine of retribution. De Wette is more inclined here to suppose a want of connection on the

part of the writer than an interpolation. We shall have to prove whether this speech of Job really encroaches upon the province of the unravelling, or renders the transition more complete.
The whole description of Behemoth and Leviathan, Job 40:15-41:26, is regarded by Ewald as a later addition: De Wette extends this judgment only to Job 41:4-26: Eichhorn was satisfied at first with changing the order of Jehovah's speeches; but in the last edition of his Einleitung ascribed the passage about the two monsters to a later poet. The exposition will have to bring the form of expression of the supposed interpolation, and its relation to the purpose of the second speech of Jehovah, in comparison with the first, under consideration. But we need not defer our judgment of the prologue and epilogue. All the doubts raised by Stuhlmann, Bernstein, Knobel (diss. de carminis Iobi argumento, fine ac dispositione, and Studien u. Kritiken, 1842, ii.), and others, respecting both these essential parts, are put an end to by the consideration, that the middle part of the book, without them, is a torso without head and feet.

10. The Satan of the Prologue Edit

But the Satan in the prologue is a stumbling-block to many, which, if it does not lead them to doubt the authenticity of the prologue, still causes them to question whether the composition of the book belongs to the time of Solomon. For Satan is first definitely named, Zec 3:1-10, and 1Ch 21:1; consequently in writings of the period after the exile. On the other hand, שׁטן, Num 22:22, appellatively describes one who comes forward hostilely, or as a hindrance; and Psa 109:6 is at least open to question whether the prince of evil spirits may not be meant, which, according to Zec 3:1, seems to be intended. However, in Micaiah's vision, 1Ki 22:19-23,

where one might expect השׂטן, הרוח is used. It is even maintained in the present day, that the idea of Satan was first obtained by the Israelitish race from contact with the East-Asiatic nations, which began with Israel in the time of Menahem, with Judah in the time of Ahaz; the view of Diestel, that it is the copy of the Egyptian Set-Typhon, stands at present alone. When we consider that the redemptive work of Jesus Christ is regarded by Him and His apostles from one side as the overthrow of Satan, it were a miserable thing for the divine truth of Christianity that this Satan should be nothing more than a copy of the Persian Ahriman, and consequently a mere phantom. However, supposing there were some such connection, we should then have only two periods at which the book of Job could possibly have been composed, - the time after the exile, and the time of Solomon; for these are the only periods at which not only collision, but also an interchange of ideas, between Israel and the profane nations could have taken place. It is also just as possible for the conception of Satan to have taken possession of the Israelitish mind under Solomon as during the exile, especially as it is very questionable whether the religion of Cyrus, as found in the Zend books, may not have been far more influenced by Israel, than, contrariwise, have influenced Israel.
But the conception of Satan is indeed much older in its existence than the time of Solomon: the serpent of paradise must surely have appeared to the inquiring mind of Israel as the disguise of an evil spirit; and nothing further can be maintained, than that this evil spirit, which in the Mosaic worship of the great day of atonement is called עזאזל (called later זבוב בעל, a name borrowed from the god of Ekron), appears first in the later literature of Israel under the name השׂטן. If now, moreover, the Chokma of the Salomonic period was specially conversant with the pre-Israelitish histories

of Genesis, whence indeed even the chief thought of Canticles and the figure of חיים עץ, e.g., frequently occurring in Proverbs are drawn, it is difficulty to conceive why the evil spirit, that in its guise of a serpent aimed its malice against man, could not have been called השׂטן so early as the Salomonic period.
The wisdom of the author of the book of Job, we have said above, springs from paradise. Thence he obtains the highest and ultimate solution of his problem. It is now time to give expression to this. At present we need only do so in outline, since it is simply of use to place us from the commencement at the right standpoint for understanding the book of Job.

11. The Ultimate Solution of the Problem Edit

The nature of sin is two-sided. It consists in the creature's setting up himself in opposition to God, who is the essence of the personality of the creature. It consists also, on the other side, in the stirring up of the depth of the nature of the creature, whose essential consistence has its harmony in God; and by this stirring up, falls into a wild confusion. In other words, evil has a personal side and a natural side. And just so, also, is God's wrath which it excites, and which operates against it. For God's wrath is, on the one hand, the personal displeasure or aversion into which His love is changed, since the will of the creature and the will of God are in opposition; on the other hand, an excited condition of the contrary forces of the divine nature, or, as Scripture expresses it, the kindling of the fire of the divine glory, in which sense it is often said of wrath, that God sends it forth, that He pours it forth, and that man has to drink of it (Job 21:20, comp. Job 6:4).[21]
In reference to the creature, we call evil according to its personal side ἔχηθρα, and according to its natural side ἀταξία,

Both personal evil and natural evil have originated in the spirit world: first of all, in a spirit nearest to God, which as fallen is called השׂטן. It has sought its own selfish ends, and thereby deranged its nature, so that it has become in every respect the object of the divine wrath, and the material for the burning of the divine wrath: for the echthra and turba have the intention and the burning of the wrath of God in themselves as divine correlata; but Satan, after that he has become entirely possessed of these divine powers (Energien), is also their instrument. The spirit of light and love is altogether become the spirit of fire and wrath; the whole sphere of wrath is centred in him. After having given up his high position in the realm of light, he is become lord of the realm of wrath.
He has, from the commencement of his fall, the hell within himself, but is first cast into the lake of fire at the end of the present dispensation (Mat 25:41; Rev 20:10 : comp. Dan 7:11). In the meantime, he is being deprived of his power by the Son of man, who, in the midst of His own and His disciples' victories over the demons, beholds him fall as lightning from heaven (Luk 10:18), and by His death gives him his deathblow, - a final judgment, which, later on, becomes fully manifest in the continuous degradation of the vanquished (comp. Rev 12:9; Rev 20:3, Rev 20:10). Accordingly, when Satan, in the book of Job, still appears among the angles of God in heaven, and indeed as κατήγωρ, it is quite in accordance with the disclosures which the New Testament Scriptures give us respecting the invisible angelic side of the present dispensation.

Thus Job's suffering is a dispensation of love, but brought about by the wrath-spirit, and with every appearance of wrath. It is so with every trial and chastisement of the righteous. And it cannot be otherwise; for trial is designed to be for man a means of overcoming the evil that is external to him, and chastisement of overcoming the evil that is within him. There is a conflict between evil and good in the world, which can issue in victory to the good only so, that the good proves itself in distinction from the evil, withstands the assault of evil, and destroys the evil that exists bound up with itself: only so, that the good as far as it is still mixed with the evil is refined as by fire, and more and more freed from it.
This is the twofold point of view from which the suffering of Job is to be regarded. It was designed, first of all, that Job should prove himself in opposition to Satan, in order to overcome him; and since Job does not pass through the trial entirely without sinning, it has the effect at the same time of

purifying and perfecting him. In both respects, the history of Job is a passage from the history of God's own conflict with the evil one, which is the substance of the history of redemption, and ends in the triumph of the divine love. And Gaupp[23] well says: In the book of Job, Satan loses a cause which is intended only as prelude to the greatest of all causes, since judgment is gone forth over the world, and the prince of darkness has been cast forth. Accordingly the church has always recognised in the passion of Job a type of the passion of Jesus Christ. James (Jam 5:11) even compares the patience of Job and the issue of the Lord's sufferings. And according to this indication, it was the custom after the second century to read the book of Job in the churches during passion-week.[24]
The ultimate solution of the problem which this marvellous book sets forth, is then this: the suffering of the righteous, in its deepest cause, is the conflict of the seed of the woman with the seed of the serpent, which ends in the head of the serpent being trampled under foot; it is the type or copy of the suffering of Christ, the Holy God, who has himself borne our sins, and in the constancy of His reconciling love has withstood, even to the final overthrow, the assault of wrath and of the angel of wrath.
The real contents of the book of Job is the mystery of the Cross: the Cross on Golgotha is the solution of the enigma of every cross; and the book of Job is a prophecy of this ultimate solution.

12. The History of the Exposition Edit

Before proceeding to the exposition, we will take a brief review of the history of the exposition of the book. The promise of the Spirit to lead into all truth is continually receiving its fulfilment in the history of the church, and especially in the interpretation of Scripture. But nowhere is the progress of the church in accordance with this promise so manifest as in the exposition of the word, and particularly of the Old Testament. In the patristic and middle ages, light was thrown only on detached portions of the Old Testament; they lacked altogether, or had but an inadequate knowledge of, the Hebrew language. They regarded the Old Testament not as the forerunner, but allegory, of the New, and paid less attention to it in proportion as the spiritual perception of the church lost its apostolic purity and freshness. However, so far as inward spiritual feeling and experience could compensate for the almost entire absence of outward conditions, this period has produced and handed down many valuable explanations.
But at the time of the Reformation, the light of the day which had already dawned first spread in all its brightness over the Old Testament. The knowledge of Hebrew, until then the private possession of a few, became the public property of the church: all erroneous interventions which had hitherto separated the church both from Christ and from the living source of the word were put aside; and starting from the central truth of justification by faith and its results, a free but still not unrestricted investigation commenced. Still there was wanting to this period all perception of historical development, and consequently the ability to comprehend the Old Testament as preparing the way for the New by its gradual historical development of the plan of redemption. The exposition of Scripture, moreover,

soon fell again under the yoke of an enslaving tradition, of a scholastic systematizing, and of an unhistorical dogmatizing which mistook its peculiar aim; and this period of bondage, devoid of spirituality, was followed by a period of false freedom, that of rationalism, which cut asunder the mutual relation between the exposition of Scripture and the confession of the church, since it reduced the covenant contents of the church's confession to the most shallow notion of God and the most trivial moral rules, and regarded the Old Testament as historical indeed, but with carnal eyes, which were blind to the work of God that was preparing the way in the history of Israel for the New Testament redemption. The progress of exegesis seemed at that time to have been stayed; but the Head of the church, who reigns in the midst of His enemies, caused the exposition of His word to come forth again from the dead in a more glorious form. The bias towards the human side of Scripture has taught exegesis that Scripture is neither altogether a divine, nor altogether a human, but a divine-human book. The historical method of regarding it, and the advanced knowledge of language, have taught that the Old Testament presents a divine-human growth tending towards the God-man, a gradual development and declaration of the divine purpose of salvation, - a miraculous history moving inward towards that miracle of all miracles, Jesus Christ. Believing on Him, bearing the seal of His Spirit in himself, and partaking of the true liberty His Spirit imparts, the expositor of Scripture beholds in the Old Testament, with open face, now as never before, the glory of the Lord.
The truth of this sketch is confirmed by the history of the exposition of the book of Job. The Greek fathers, of whom twenty-two (including Ephrem) are quoted in the Catena,[25]

published by Patricius Junius, 1637, furnish little more than could be expected. If there by any Old Testament book whose comprehensive meaning is now first understood according to the external and internal conditions of its gradual advance to maturity, it is the book of Job. The Greek fathers were confined to the lxx, without being in a position to test that translation by the original text; and it is just the Greek translation of the book of Job which suffers most seriously from the flaws which in general affect the lxx. Whole verses are omitted, others are removed from their original places, and the omissions are filled up by apocryphal additions.[26]
Origen was well aware of this (Ep. ad Afric. 3f.), but he was not sufficiently acquainted with Hebrew to give a reliable collation of the lxx with the original text in his Tetrapla and Hexapla; and his additions (denoted by daggers), and the passages restored by him from other translators, especially Theodotion (by asterisks), deprive the Septuagint text of its original form, without, however, giving a correct impression of the original text. And since in the book of Job the meaning of the whole is dependent upon the meaning of the most isolated passage, the full meaning of the book was a perfect impossibility to the Greek fathers. They occupied themselves much with this mysterious book, but typical and allegorical could not make up what was wanting to the fathers, of grammatical and historical interpretation. The Italic, the next version to the lxx, was still more defective than this: Jerome calls the book of Job in this translation, Decurtatus et laceratus corrosusque. He revised it by the text of the Hexapla, and according to his own plan had to supply not less than about 700-800 versus (στίχοι). His own independent translation is far before its age; but he himself acknowledges its defectiveness, inasmuch as he relates,

in his praefatio in l. Iob, how it was accomplished. He engaged, non parvis numis, a Jewish teacher from Lydda, where there was at that time an university, but confesses that, after he had gone through the book of Job with him, he was no wiser than before: Cujus doctrina an aliquid profecerim nescio; hoc unum scio, non potuisse me interpretari nisi quod antea intellexeram. On this account he calls it, as though he would complain of the book itself, obliquus, figuratus, lubricus, and says it is like an eel - the more tightly one holds it, the faster it glides away. There were then three Latin versions of the book of Job, - the Italic, the Italic improved by Jerome, and the independent translation of Jerome, whose deviations, as Augustine complains, produced no little embarrassment. The Syrians were better off with their Peschito, which was made direct from the original text;[27] but the Scholia of Ephrem (pp. 1-19, t. ii. of the three Syriac tomi of his works) contain less that is useful than might be expected.[28]
The succeeding age produced nothing better.
Among the expositors of the book of Job we find some illustrious names: Gregory the Great, Beda Venerabilis (whose Commentary has been erroneously circulated as the still undiscovered Commentary of Jerome), Thomas Aquinas, Albertus Magnus,[29] and others; but no progress was made in the interpretation of the book, as the means were wanting. The principal work of the middle ages was Gregory the Great's Expositio in beatum Iob seu Moralium, ll. xxxv., a

gigantic work, which leaves scarcely a dogmatic-ethical theme untouched, though in its own proper sphere it furnishes nothing of importance, for Gregory explained so, ut super historiae fundamentum moralitatis construeret aedificium et anagoges imposuerit culmen praestantissimum[30] but the linguistic-historical foundation is insufficient, and the exposition, which gives evidence of significant character and talent, accordingly goes off almost constantly into digressions opposed to its object.
It was only towards the end of the middle ages, as the knowledge of the Hebrew language began, through Jewish converts, to come into the church, that a new era commenced. For what advance the Jewish exposition of the book of Job had hitherto made, beyond that of the church, it owed to the knowledge of Hebrew; although, in the absence of any conception of the task of the expositor, and especially the expositor of Scripture, it knew not how fittingly to turn it to account. Saadia's (born 890) Arabic translation of the book of Job, with explanations,[31] does not accomplish much more than that of Jerome, if we may in general say that it surpasses it. Salomo Isaaki of Troyes (Raschi, erroneously called Jarchi), whose Commentary on the Book of Job (rendered incomplete by his death, 1105) was completed by his grandson, Samuel b. Meïr (Raschbam, died about 1160),[32] contains a few attempts at grammatical historical exposition, but is in other respects entirely dependent on Midrash Haggada (which may be compared with the church system of allegorical interpretation), whose barren material is treasured up in the catena-like compilations, one of which to the collected books of the Old Testament

bears the name of Simeon ha-Darschan (שמעוני ילקוט); the other to the three poetical books, the name of Machir b. Todros (מכירי ילקוט). Abenezra the Spaniard, who wrote his Commentary on the Book of Job in Rome, 1175, delights in new bold ideas, and to enshroud himself in a mystifying nimbus. David Kimchi, who keeps best to the grammatical-historical course, has not expounded the book of Job; and a commentary on this book by his brother, Mose Kimchi, is not yet brought to light. The most important Jewish works on the book of Job are without doubt the Commentaries of Mose b. Nachman or Nahmanides (Ramban), born at Gerona 1194, and Levi b. Gerson, or Gersonides (Ralbag), born at Bagnols 1288. Both were talented thinkers; the former more of the Platonic, the latter of the Aristotelic type. Their Commentaries (taken up in the collective Rabbinical Commentaries), especially that of the latter, were widely circulated in the middle ages. They have both a philosophical bias.[33]
What is to be found in them that is serviceable on any point, may be pretty well determined from the compilation of Lyra. Nikolaus de Lyra, author of Postillae perpetuae in universa Biblia (completed 1330), possessed, for that age, an excellent knowledge of the original text, the necessity of which he acknowledged, and regarded the sensus literalis as basis of all other sensus. But, on the one hand, he was not independent of his Jewish predecessors; on the other, he was fettered by the servile unevangelical spirit of his age. The bursting of this fetter was the dawn of a new day for exegesis. Luther, Brentius, and other reformers, by the depth of their religious experience, their aversion to the capriciousness of the system of allegorical interpretation and freedom from tradition, were fitted to look into the very heart of the hook of Job ; and they also possessed sufficient acquaintance with the Hebrew to get an inkling of the carry-ing out of its chief idea, but no more than an inkling of it. " The book of Job," says Luther in his preface, "treats of the question whether misfortune from God befalls even the godly. Here Job is firm, and maintains that God afflicts even the godly without cause, for His praise alone, as Christ (John ix.) also shows from the man who was born blind." In these words the idea of the book is correctly indicated. But that he had only an approximate conception of the sepa-rate parts, he openly confesses. By the help of Melancthon and the Hebraist Aurogallus, he translated the book of Job, and says in his epistle on the translation, that they could sometimes scarcely finish three lines in four days. And while engaged upon the translation, he wrote to Spalatin, in his naive strong way, that Job seemed to bear his translation less patiently than the consolation of his friends, and would rather remain seated on his dunghill. Jerome Weller, a man who, from inward experience similar to that described in this book, was qualified above many to be its expositor, felt the same unsatisfactoriness. An expositor of Job, says he, must have lain on the same bed of sickness as Job, and have tasted in some measure the bitter experience of Job. Such an expositor was Weller, sorely tried in the school of affliction. But his exposition does not extend beyond the twelfth chapter ; and he is glad when at last, by God's grace, he has got through the twelve chapters, as through firm and hard rock; the remaining chapters he commends to another. The most comprehensive work of the formation period on the book of Job, is the Sermons (condones) of Calvin. The exegesis of the pre-rationalistic period advanced beyond these performances of the reformers only in proportion as philological learning extended, particularly Mercier and Cocceius in the
With the Commentary of Albert Schultens, a Dutchman (2 vols. 1737), a new epoch in the exposition begins. He was the first to bring the Semitic languages, and chiefly the Arabic, to bear on the translation of the book. And rightly so,[34] for the Arabic has retained more that is ancient than any other Semitic dialect; and Jerome, in his preface to Daniel, had before correctly remarked, Iob cum arabica lingua plurimam habet societatem. Reiske (Conjecturae in Iobum, 1779) and Schnurrer (Animadv. ad quaedam loca Iobi, 1781) followed later in the footsteps of Schultens; but in proportion as the Israelitish element was considered in its connection with the Oriental, the divine distinctiveness of the former was forgotten. Nevertheless, the book of Job had far less to suffer than the other biblical books from rationalism, with its frivolous moral judgments and distorted interpretations of Scripture: it reduced the idea of the book to tameness, and Satan, here with more apparent reason than elsewhere, was regarded as a mythical invention; but there were, however, no miracles and prophecies to be got rid of.
And as, for the first time since the apostolic period, attention was now given to the book as a poetical masterpiece, substantial advantage arose to the exposition itself from the translations and explanations of an Eckermann, Moldenhauer, Stuhlmann, and others. What a High-German rhymster of

the fourteenth century, made known by Hennig, and the Florentine national poet Juliano Dati at the beginning of the sixteenth century, accomplished in their poetical reproductions of the book of Job, is here incomparably surpassed. What might not the fathers have accomplished if they had only had at their disposal such a translation of the book of Job as e.g., that of Böckel, or of the pious Miss Elizabeth Smith, skilled in the Oriental languages (died, in her twenty-eighth year, 1805), or of a studious Swiss layman (Notes to the Hebrew Text of the Old Testament, together with a Translation of the Book of Job, Basel 1841)?
The way to the true and full perception of the divine in Scripture is through the human: hence rationalism - especially after Herder, whose human mode of perception improved and deepened - prepared the way for a new era in the church's exposition of the book of Job. The Commentaries of Samuel Lee (1837), Vaihinger (1842), Welte (1849), Hahn (1850), and Schlottmann (1851),[35] are the first-fruits of this new period, rendered possible by the earlier Commentaries of Umbreit (1824-32), Ewald (1836-51), and Hirzel (1839, second edition, edited by Olshausen, 1852), of whom the first[36] is characterized by enthusiasm for the poetical grandeur of the book, the second by vivid perception of the tragical, and the third by sound tact and good arrangement, - three qualifications which a young Scotch investigator, A. B. Davidson, strives, not unsuccessfully, to unite in his Commentary (vol. i. 1862).[37]
Besides these substantially

progressive works, there is the Commentary of Heiligstedt (1847), which is only a recapitulatory clavis after the style of Rosenmüller, but more condensed; and for what modern Jewish commentaries, as those of Blumenfeld, Arnheim (1836), and Löwenthal (1846), contain beyond the standpoint of the earlier פרושׁים and באורים, they are almost entirely indebted to their Christian predecessors. Also in the more condensed form of translations, with accompanying explanations, the understanding of the book of Job has been in many ways advanced. We may mention here the translations of Köster (1831), who first directed attention to the strophe-structure of Hebrew poetry, but who also, since he regarded the Masoretic verse as the constructive element of the strophe, has introduced an error which has not been removed even to the present day; Stickel (1842), who has, not untastefully, sought to imitate the form of this masterpiece, although his division of the Masoretic verse into strophe lines, according to the accents, like Hirzel's and Meier's in Canticles, is the opposite extreme to the mistake of Köster; Ebrard (1858), who translates in iambic pentameters, as Hosse had previously done;[38] and Renan, who solely determines his arrangement of the stichs by the Masoretic division of verses, and moreover haughtily displays his scornful opposition to Christianity in the prefatory Etude.[39]
Besides, apart from the general commentaries (Bibelwerke), among which that of Von Gerlach (Bd. iii. des A. T. 1849) may be mentioned as the most noted, and such popular practical expositions as Diedrich's (1858), many - some in the interest of poetry generally (as Spiess,

1852), others in the interest of biblical theology (as Haupt, 1847; Hosse, 1849; Hayd, 1859; Birkholz, 1859; and in Sweden, Lindgren, Upsala 1831) - have sought to render the reading of the book of Job easier and more profitable by means of a translation, with a short introduction and occasional explanations.
Even with all these works before us, though they are in part excellent and truly serviceable, it cannot be affirmed that the task of the exposition has been exhaustively performed, so that absolutely no plus ultra remains. To adjust the ideal meaning of the book according to its language, its bearing on the history of redemption, and its spiritual character, - and throughout to indicate the relation of the single parts to the idea which animates the whole is, and remains, a great task worthy of ever-new exertion. We will try to perform it, without presuming that we are able to answer all the claims on the expositor. The right expositor of the book of Job must before everything else bring to it a believing apprehension of the work of Christ, in order that he may be able to comprehend this book from its connection with the historical development of the plan of redemption, whose unity is the work of Christ. Further, he must be able to give himself up freely and cheerfully to the peculiar vein of this (together with Ecclesiastes) most bold of all Old Testament books, in order that he may gather from the very heart its deeply hidden idea. Not less must he possess historical perception, in order that he may be able to appreciate the relativeness with which, since the plan of salvation is actually and confessedly progressive, the development of the idea of the book is burdened, notwithstanding its absolute truth in itself. Then he must not only have a clear perception of the divinely true, but also of the beautiful in human art, in order to be able to appreciate the wonderful blending of the divine and human in the form as in the contents. Finally,

he must stand on the pinnacle of linguistic and antiquarian knowledge, in order to be able to follow the lofty flight of its language, and become families with the incomparably rich variety of its matter. This idea of an expositor of the book of Job we will keep in view, and seek, as near as possible, to attain within the limit assigned to this condensed exegetical handbook.


The Opening - Job 1:1 Edit

Job's Piety in the Midst of the Greatest Prosperity - Job 1:1-5
The book begins in prose style: as Jerome says, Prosa incipit, versu labitur, pedestri sermone finitur. Prologue and epilogue are accordingly excepted from the poetical accentuation, and are accented according to the usual system, as the first word shows; for אישׁ has, in correct editions, Tebir, a smaller distinctive, which does not belong to the poetical accentuation. The writer does not begin with ויהי, as the writers of the historico-prophetical books, who are conscious that they are relating a portion of the connection of the collective Israelitish history, e.g., 1Sa 1:1, אישׁ ויהי, but, as the writer of the book of Esther (Est 2:5) for similar reasons, with היה אישׁ, because he is beginning a detached extra-Israelitish history.

Chap. 1 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Job 1:1 1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.
The lxx translates, ἐν χώρᾳ τῇ Αὐσίτιδι; and adds at the close of the book, ἐπὶ τοῖς ὁρίοις τῆν Ἰδουμαίας καὶ Ἀραβίας, therefore north-east from Idumea, towards the Arabian desert. There, in the Arabian desert west from Babylon, under the Caucabenes, according to Ptolemy (v. 19, 2), the Αἰσῖται (Αἰσεῖται), i.e., the Uzzites, dwelt. This determination of the position of Uz is the most to be relied on. It tends indirectly to confirm this, that Οὖσος, in Jos. Ant. i. 6, 4, is described as founder of Trachonitis and Damascus; that the Jakut Hamawi and Moslem tradition generally (as recently Fries, Stud. u. Krit. 1854, ii.) mention the East Haran fertile tract of country north-west of Têmâ and Bûzân, el-Bethenije, the district of Damascus in which Job dwelt;[40] that the Syrian tradition also transfers the dwelling-place of Job to Hauran, where, in the district of Damascus, a monastery to his honour is called Dair Ejjub (vid., Volck, Calendarium Syriacum, p. 29). All these accounts agree that Uz is not to be sought in Idumaea proper (Gebâl). And the early historical genealogies (Gen 10:23; Gen 22:21; Gen 36:28) are not unfavourable to this, since they place Uz in relation to Seir-Edom on the one hand, and on the other to Aram: the perplexing double occurrence of such names as Têmâ and Dûma, both in Idumaea and East Hauran, perhaps just results from the mixing of the different tribes through migration. But at all events, though Uz did not lie in Gebâl, yet both from Lam 4:21, and on account of the reference in the book of Job itself to the Horites, a geographical connection between Idumaea and Ausitis is to be held; and from Jer 25:20 one is warranted in supposing, that עוץ, with which the Arabic name of Esau, ‛yṣ ('l-‛yṣ), perhaps not accidentally accords, was the collective name of the northern part of the Arabian desert, extending north-east from Idumaea towards Syria. Here, where the aborigines of Seir were driven back by the Aramaic immigrants, and to where in later times the territory of Edom extended, dwelt Job. His name is not symbolic with reference to the following history. It has been said, איּוב signifies one hostilely treated, by Satan namely.[41]
But the following reasons are against it: (1) that none of the other names which occur in the book are symbolically connected with the history; (2) that the form קטּול has never a properly passive signification, but either active, as יסּור, reprover (as parallel form with קטּל), or neuter, as ילּוד, born, שׁכּור, drunken, also occasionally infinitive (vid., Fürst, Concord. p. 1349 s.), so that it may be more correct, with Ewald, after the Arabic (אוּב, cognate with שׁוּב, perhaps also בּוא), to explain the “one going of himself.” Similar in sound are, יוב, the name of one of the sons of Issachar (Gen 46:13); the name of the Idumaean king, יובב, Gen 36:33 (which the lxx, Aristeas, Jul. Africanus,[42] combine with Job); and the name of the king of Mauritania, Juba, which in Greek is written Ἰόβας (Didymus Chalcenter. ed. Schmidt, p. 305): perhaps all these names belong to the root יב, to shout with joy. The lxx writes Ἰώβ with lenis; elsewhere the א at the beginning is rendered by asper, e.g., Αβραάμ, Ἡλίας. Luther writes Hiob; he has preferred the latter mode, that it may not be read Job with the consonantal Jod, when it should be Iob, as e.g., it is read by the English. It had been more correctly Ijob, but Luther wished to keep to the customary form of the name so far as he could; so we, by writing Iob with vowel I, do not wish to deviate too much from the mode of writing and pronunciation customary since Luther.[43]
The writer intentionally uses four synonyms together, in order to describe as strongly as possible Job's piety, the reality and purity of which is the fundamental assumption of the history. תּם, with the whole heart disposed towards God and what is good, and also well-disposed toward mankind; ישׁר, in thought and action without deviation conformed to that which is right; אלהים ירא, fearing God, and consequently being actuated by the fear of God, which is the beginning (i.e., principle) of wisdom; מרע סר, keeping aloof from evil, which is opposed to God. The first predicate recalls Gen 25:27, the fourth the proverbial Psalms (Psa 34:15; Psa 37:27) and Pro 14:16. This mingling of expressions from Genesis and Proverbs is characteristic. First now, after the history has been begun in praett., aorr. follow.

Verses 2-3 Edit

Job 1:2-3 2, 3 And there were born unto him seven sons and three daughters. His substance also was seven thousand sheep, and three thousand camels, and five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred she-asses, and servants in great number; so that this man was the greatest of all the men of the east.
It is a large, princely household. The numbers are large, but must not on that account be considered an invention. The four animals named include both kinds. With the doubled אלפי corresponds the also constructive מאות, the Tsere of which is never shortened, though in the singular one says מאת, from מאה. The aorists, especially of the verb היה (הוה), which, according to its root, signifies not so much esse as fieri, existere, are intended to place us at once in the midst of his prosperity. Ex iis, says Leo Africanus in reference to flocks, Arabes suas divitias ac possessiones aestimant. In fine, Job was without his equal among the קרם בני. So the tribes are called which extend from Arabia Deserta, lying to the east of Palestine, northwards to the countries on the Euphrates, and south over Arabia Petraea and Felix. The wisdom of these tribes, treasured up in proverbs, songs, and traditions, is mentioned in 1Ki 5:10, side by side with the wisdom of the Egyptians. The writer now takes a very characteristic feature from the life of Job, to show that, even in the height of prosperity, he preserved and manifested the piety affirmed of him.

Verses 4-5 Edit

Job 1:4-5 4, 5 And his sons went and feasted in the house of him whose day it was, and sent and called for their sisters to eat and drink with them. And it happened, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt-offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, I may be that my sons have sinned, and dismissed God from their hearts. Thus did Job continually.
The subordinate facts precede, Job 1:4, in perff.; the chief fact follows, Job 1:5, in fut. consec. The perff. describe, according to Ges. §126, 3, that which has happened repeatedly in the past, as e.g., Rth 4:7; the fut. consec. the customary act of Job, in conjunction with this occurrence. The consecutio temporum is exactly like 1Sa 1:3.
It is questionable whether אישׁ בּית is a distinct adverbial expression, in domu unuiscujusque, and יומו also distinct, die ejus (Hirz. and others); or whether the three words are only one adverbial expression, in domo ejus cujus dies erat, which latter we prefer. At all events, יומו here, in this connection, is not, with Hahn, Schlottm., and others, to be understood of the birthday, as Job 3:1. The text, understood simply as it stands, speaks of a weekly round (Oehler and others). The seven sons took it in turn to dine with one another the week round, and did not forget their sisters in the loneliness of the parental home, but added them to their number. There existed among them a family peace and union which had been uninterruptedly cherished; but early on the morning of every eighth day, Job instituted a solemn service for his family, and offered sacrifices for his ten children, that they might obtain forgiveness for any sins of frivolity into which they might have fallen in the midst of the mirth of their family gatherings.
The writer might have represented this celebration on the evening of every seventh day, but he avoids even the slightest reference to anything Israelitish: for there is no mention in Scripture of any celebration of the Sabbath before the time of Israel. The sacred observance of the Sabbath, which was consecrated by God the Creator, was first expressly enjoined by the Sinaitic Thora. Here the family celebration falls on the morning of the Sunday, - a remarkable prelude to the New Testament celebration of Sunday in the age before the giving of the law, which is a type of the New Testament time after the law. The fact that Job, as father of the family, is the Cohen of his house, - a right of priesthood which the fathers of Israel exercised at the first passover (מצרים פסח), and from which a relic is still retained in the annual celebration of the passover (הדורות פסח), - is also characteristic of the age prior to the law. The standpoint of this age is also further faithfully preserved in this particular, that עולה here, as also Job 42:8, appears distinctly as an expiatory offering; whilst in the Mosaic ritual, although it still indeed serves לכפר (Lev 1:4), as does every blood-offering, the idea of expiation as its peculiar intention is transferred to הטאת and אשׁם. Neither of these forms of expiatory offering is here mentioned. The blood-offering still bears its most general generic name, עולה, which it received after the flood. This name indicates that the offering is one which, being consumed by fire, is designed to ascend in flames and smoke. העלה refers not so much to bringing it up to the raised altar, as to causing it to rise in flame and smoke, causing it to ascend to God, who is above. קדּשׁ is the outward cleansing and the spiritual preparation for the celebration of the sacred festival, as Exo 19:14. It is scarcely necessary to remark, that the masculine suffixes refer also to the daughters. There were ten whole sacrifices offered by Job on each opening day of the weekly round, at the dawn of the Sunday; and one has therefore to imagine this round of entertainment as beginning with the first-born on the first day of the week. “Perhaps,” says Job, “my children have sinned, and bidden farewell to God in their hearts.” Undoubtedly, בּרך signifies elsewhere (1Ki 21:10; Psa 10:3), according to a so-called ἀντιφραστικὴ εὐφημία, maledicere. This signification also suits Job 2:5, but does not at all suit Job 2:9. This latter passage supports the signification valedicere, which arises from the custom of pronouncing a benediction or benedictory salutation at parting (e.g., Gen 47:10). Job is afraid lest his children may have become somewhat unmindful of God during their mirthful gatherings. In Job's family, therefore, there was an earnest desire for sanctification, which was far from being satisfied with mere outward propriety of conduct. Sacrifice (which is as old as the sin of mankind) was to Job a means of grace, by which he cleansed himself and his family every week from inward blemish. The futt. consec. are followed by perff., which are governed by them. כּכה, however, is followed by the fut., because in historical connection (cf. on the other hand, Num 8:26), in the signification, faciebat h.e. facere solebat (Ges. §127, 4, b). Thus Job did every day, i.e., continually. As head of the family, he faithfully discharged his priestly vocation, which permitted him to offer sacrifice as an early Gentile servant of God. The writer has now made us acquainted with the chief person of the history which he is about to record, and in Job 1:6 begins the history itself.

Verse 6 Edit

Job 1:6 6 Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah; and Satan came also in the midst of them.
The translation “it happened on a day” is rejected in Ges. §109, rem. 1, c.[44]
The article, it is there said, refers to what precedes - the day, at the time; but this favourite mode of expression is found at the beginning of a narrative, even when it cannot be considered to have any reference to what has preceded, e.g., 2Ki 4:18. The article is used in the opposite manner here, because the narrator in thought connects the day with the following occurrence; and this frees it from absolute indefiniteness: the western mode of expression is different. From the writer assigning the earthly measure of time to the place of God and spirits, we see that celestial things are represented by him parabolically. But the assumptions on which he proceeds are everywhere recognised in Scripture; for (1.) האלהים בּני, as the name of the celestial spirits, is also found out of the book of Job (Gen 6:2; cf. Psa 29:1; Psa 59:7; Dan 3:25). They are so called, as beings in the likeness of God, which came forth from God in the earliest beginning of creation, before this material world and man came into existence (Job 28:4-7): the designation בּני points to the particular manner of their creation. (2.) Further, it is the teaching of Scripture, that these are the nearest attendants upon God, the nearest created glory, with which He has surrounded himself in His eternal glory, and that He uses them as the immediate instruments of His cosmical rule. This representation underlies Gen 1:26, which Philo correctly explains, διαλέγεται ὁ τῶν ὅλων πατὴρ ταῖς ἑαυτοῦ δυνάμεσιν; and in Psa 59:6-8, a psalm which is closely allied to the book of Job, קהל and סוד, of the holy ones, is just the assembly of the heavenly spirits, from which, as ἄγγελοι of God, they go forth into the universe and among men. (3.) It is also further the teaching of Scripture, that one of these spirits has withdrawn himself from the love of God, has reversed the truth of his bright existence, and in sullen ardent self-love is become the enemy of God, and everything godlike in the creature. This spirit is called, in reference to God and the creature, השּׂטן ,er, from the verb שׂטן, to come in the way, oppose, treat with enmity, - a name which occurs first here, and except here occurs only in Zec 3:1-10 and 1Ch 21:1. Since the Chokma turned, with a decided preference, to the earliest records of the world and mankind before the rise of nationalities, it must have known the existence of this God-opposing spirit from Gen. 2f. The frequent occurrence of the tree of life and the way of life in the Salomonic Proverbs, shows how earnestly the research of that time was engaged with the history of Paradise: so that it cannot be surprising that it coined the name השּׂטן for that evil spirit. (4.) Finally, it agrees with 1Ki 22:19-22; Zec 3:1, on the one hand, and Rev. 12 on the other, that Satan here appears still among the good spirits, resembling Judas Iscariot among the disciples until his treachery was revealed. The work of redemption, about which his enmity to God overdid itself, and by which his damnation is perfected, is during the whole course of the Old Testament history incomplete.
Herder, Eichhorn, Lutz, Ewald, and Umbreit, see in this distinct placing of Satan in relation to the Deity and good spirits nothing but a change of representations arising from foreign influences; but if Jesus Christ is really the vanquisher of Satan, as He himself says, the realm of spirits must have a history, which is divided into two eras by this triumph. Moreover, both the Old and New Testaments agree herein, that Satan is God's adversary, and consequently altogether evil, and must notwithstanding serve God, since He makes even evil minister to His purpose of salvation, and the working out of His plan in the government of the world. This is the chief thought which underlies the further progress of the scene. The earthly elements of time, space, and dialogue, belong to the poetic drapery.
Instead of על התיצּב, לפני is used elsewhere (Pro 22:29): על is a usage of language derived from the optical illusion to the one who is in the foreground seeming to surpass the one in the background. It is an assembly day in heaven. All the spirits present themselves to render their account, and expecting to receive commands; and the following dialogue ensues between Jehovah and Satan: -

Verse 7 Edit

Job 1:7 7 Then Jehovah said to Satan, Whence comest thou? Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and from walking up and down in it.
The fut. follows מאין in the signification of the praes., Whence comest thou? the perf. would signify, Whence hast thou come? (Ges. §127, 2). Cocceius subtly observes: Notatur Satanas velut Deo nescio h.e. non adprobante res suas agere. It is implied in the question that his business is selfish, arbitrary, and has no connection with God. In his answer, בּ שׁוּט, as 2Sa 24:2, signifies rapid passing from one end to the other; התלּך, an observant roaming forth. Peter also says of Satan, περιπατεῖ (1Pe 5:8.).[45]
He answers at first generally, as expecting a more particular question, which Jehovah now puts to him.

Verse 8 Edit

Job 1:8 8 Then said Jehovah to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God and escheweth evil.
By כּי Jehovah gives the reason of His inquiry. Had Satan been observant of Job, even he must have confessed that there was on the earth real genuine piety. לב שׂים, animum advertere (for לב is animus, נפשׁ anima), is construed with על, of the object on which the attention falls, and on which it fixes itself, or אל, of the object towards which it is directed (Job 2:3). The repetition of the four predicates used of Job (Job 1:1) in the mouth of Jehovah (though without the waw combining both pairs there) is a skilful touch of the poet. Further on, the narrative is also interwoven with poetic repetitions (as e.g., Job 34 and Gen 1), ), to give it architectural symmetry, and to strengthen the meaning and impression of what is said. Jehovah triumphantly displays His servant, the incomparable one, in opposition to Satan; but this does not disconcert him: he knows how, as on all occasions, so here also, to deny what Jehovah affirms.

Verses 9-11 Edit

Job 1:9-11 9-11 Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Doth Job fear God for nought? Hast Thou not made a hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he hath on every side? Hast Thou not blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land? But put forth Thine hand now, and touch all that he hath: truly he will renounce Thee to Thy face.
Satan is, according to the Rev 12:10, the κατήγωρ who accuses the servants of God day and night before God. It is a fact respecting the invisible world, though expressed in the language and imagery of this world. So long as he is not finally vanquished and condemned, he has access to God, and thinks to justify himself by denying the truth of the existence and the possibility of the continuance of all piety. God permits it; for since everything happening to the creature is placed under the law of free development, evil in the world of spirits is also free to maintain and expand itself, until a spiritual power comes forward against it, by which the hitherto wavering conflict between the principles of good and evil is decided. This is the truth contained in the poetic description of the heavenly scene, sadly mistaken by Umbreit in his Essay on Sin, 1853, in which he explains Satan, according to Psa 109:6, as a creation of our author's fancy. The paucity of the declarations respecting Satan in the Old Testament has misled him. And indeed the historical advance from the Old Testament to the New, though in itself well authorized, has in many ways of late induced to the levelling of the heights and depths of the New Testament. Formerly Umbreit was of the opinion, as many are still, that the idea of Satan is derived from Persia; but between Ahriman (Angramainyus) and Satan there is no striking resemblance;[46] whereas Diestel, in his Abh. über Set-Typhon, Asasel und Satan, Stud. u. Krit., 1860, 2, cannot indeed recognise any connection between עזאזל and the Satan of the book of Job, but maintains a more complete harmony in all substantial marks between the latter and the Egyptian Typhon, and infers that “to Satan is therefore to be denied a purely Israelitish originality, the natural outgrowth of the Hebrew mind. It is indeed no special honour for Israel to be able to call him their own. He never has taken firm hold on the Hebrew consciousness.” But how should it be no honour for Israel, the people to whom the revelation of redemption was made, and in whose history the plan of redemption was developed, to have traced the poisonous stream of evil up to the fountain of its first free beginning in the spiritual world, and to have more than superficially understood the history of the fall of mankind by sin, which points to a disguised superhuman power, opposed to the divine will? This perception undoubtedly only begins gradually to dawn in the Old Testament; but in the New Testament, the abyss of evil is fully disclosed, and Satan has so far a hold on the consciousness of Jesus, that He regards His life's vocation as a conflict with Satan. And the Protevangelium is deciphered in facts, when the promised seed of the woman crushed the serpent's head, but at the same time suffered the bruising of its own heel.
The view (e.g., Lutz in his Biblishce Dogmatik) that Satan as he is represented in the book of Job is not the later evil spirit, is to be rejected: he appears here only first, say Herder and Eichhorn, as impartial executor of judgment, and overseer of morality, commissioned by God. But he denies what God affirms, acknowledges no love towards God in the world which is not rooted in self-love, and is determined to destroy this love as a mere semblance. Where piety is dulled, he rejoices in its obscurity; where it is not, he dims its lustre by reflecting his own egotistical nature therein. Thus it is in Zec 3:1-10, and so here. Genuine love loves God חנּם (adverb from חן, like gratis from gratia): it loves Him for His own sake; it is a relation of person to person, without any actual stipulations and claim. But Job does not thus fear God; ירא is here praet., whereas in Job 1:1 and Job 1:8 it is the adjective. God has indeed hitherto screened him from all evil; שׂכתּ from שׂוּך, sepire, and בּעד (בּעד) composed of בּ and עד, in the primary signification circum, since עד expresses that the one joins itself to the other, and בּ that it covers it, or covers itself with it. By the addition of מסּביב, the idea of the triple בּעד is still strengthened. מעשׂה, lxx, Vulg., have translated by the plural, which is not false according to the thought; for ידים מעשׂה is, especially in Deuteronomy, a favourite collective expression for human enterprise. פּרץ, a word, with the Sanskrito-Sem. frangere, related to פּרק, signifying to break through the bounds, multiply and increase one's self unboundedly (Gen 30:30, and freq.). The particle אוּלם, proper only to the oldest and classic period, and very commonly used in the first four books of the Pentateuch, and in our book, generally ואוּלם, is an emphatic ”nevertheless;” Lat. (suited to this passage at least) verum enim vero. אם־לא is either, as frequently, a shortened formula of asseveration: May such and such happen to me if he do not, etc., = forsooth he will (lxx ἦ μήν); or it is half a question: Attempt only this and this, whether he will not deny thee, = annon, as Job 17:2; Job 22:20. The first perhaps suits the character of Satan better: he affirms that God is mistaken. בּרך signifies here also, valedicere: he will say farewell to thee, and indeed על־פּניך (as Isa 65:3), meeting thee arrogantly and shamelessly: it signifies, properly, upon thy countenance, i.e., say it to thee, to the very face, that he will have nothing more to do with thee (comp. on Job 2:5). In order now that the truth of His testimony to Job's piety, and this piety itself, may be tried, Jehovah surrenders all Job's possessions, all that is his, except himself, to Satan. <nowiki/

Verse 12 Edit

Job 1:12 12 Then Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that he hath is in thy hand; only upon himself put not forth thy hand. And Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.
Notice well: The divine permission appears at the same time as a divine command, for in general there is not a permission by which God remains purely passive; wherefore God is even called in Scripture creator mali (the evil act as such only excepted), Isa 45:7. Further, the divine arrangement has not its foundation in the sin which still clings to Job. For in the praise conferred upon Job, it is not said that he is absolutely without sin: universal liability to sin is assumed not only of all the unrighteousness, but even of all the righteousness, of Adam's race. Thirdly, the permission proceeds, on the contrary, from God's purpose to maintain, in opposition to Satan, the righteousness which, in spite of the universal liability to sin, is peculiar to Job; and if we place this single instance in historical connection with the development of the plan of redemption, it is a part of the conflict of the woman's seed with the serpent, and of the gradual degradation of Satan to the lake of fire. After Jehovah's permission, Satan retires forthwith. The license is welcome to him, for he delights in the work of destruction. And he hopes to conquer. For after he has experienced the unlimited power of evil over himself, he has lost all faith in the power of good, and is indeed become himself the self-deceived father of lies. nowiki/>

Verses 13-15 Edit

Job 1:13-15 And it came to pass one day, when his sons and his daughters were eating and drinking wine in the house of their eldest brother, that a messenger came to Job, and said, The oxen were ploughing, and the asses feeding beside them, when the Sabeans fell upon them, and carried them away, and smote the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The principal clause, היּום ויהי, in which the art. of היּום has no more reference to anything preceding than in Job 1:6, is immediately followed by an adverbial clause, which may be expressed by participles, Lat. filiis ejus filiabusque convivantibus. The details which follow are important. Job had celebrated the usual weekly worship early in the morning with his children, and knew that they were met together in the house of his eldest son, with whom the order of mutual entertainment came round again, when the messengers of misfortune began to break in upon him: it is therefore on the very day when, by reason of the sacrifice offered, he was quite sure of Jehovah's favour. The participial construction, the oxen were ploughing (vid., Ges. §134, 2, c), describes the condition which was disturbed by the calamity that befell them. The verb היוּ stands here because the clause is a principal one, not as Job 1:13, adverbial. על־ידי, properly “at hand,” losing its radical meaning, signifies (as Jdg 11:26) “close by.” The interpretation “in their places,” after Num 2:17, is untenable, as this signification of יד is only supported in the sing. שׁבא is construed as fem., since the name of the country is used as the name of the people. In Genesis three races of this name are mentioned: Cushite (Gen 10:7), Joktanish (Gen 10:28), and Abrahamic (Gen 25:3). Here the nomadic portion of this mixed race in North Arabia from the Persian Gulf to Idumaea is intended. Luther, for the sake of clearness, translates here, and 1Ki 10:1, Arabia. In ואמּלטה, the waw, as is seen from the Kametz, is waw convertens, and the paragogic ah, which otherwise indicates the cohortative, is either without significance, or simply adds intensity to the verbal idea: I have saved myself with great difficulty. For this common form of the 1 fut. consec., occurring four times in the Pentateuch, vid., Ges. §49, 2. The clause לך להגּיד is objective: in order that - so it was intended by the calamity - I might tell thee.

Verse 16 Edit

The Second Messenger: 16 While he was yet speaking, another came, and said, The fire of God fell from heaven, and set fire to the sheep and servants, and consumed them; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
The fire of God, which descends, is not a suitable expression for Samûm (Schlottm.), that wind of the desert which often so suddenly destroys man and beast, although indeed it is indicated by certain atmospheric phenomena, appearing first of a yellow colour, which changes to a leaden hue and spreads through the atmosphere, so that the sun when at the brightest becomes a dark red. The writer, also, can scarcely have intended lightning (Rosenm., Hirz., Hahn), but rain of fire or brimstone, as with Sodom and Gomorrha, and as 1Ki 18:38; 2Ki 1:12.

Verse 17 Edit

The Third Messenger: 17 While he was yet speaking, there came also another, and said, The Chaldeans ranged themselves in three bands, and rushed upon the camels, and carried them away, and slew the servants with the edge of the sword; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Without any authority, Ewald sees in this mention of the Chaldeans an indication of the composition of the book in the seventh century b.c., when the Chaldeans under Nabopolassar began to inherit the Assyrian power. Following Ewald, Renan observes that the Chaldeans first appear as such marauders about the time of Uzziah. But in Genesis we find mention of early Semitic Chaldeans among the mountain ranges lying to the north of Assyria and Mesopotamia; and later, Nahor Chaldeans of Mesopotamia, whose existence is traced back to the patriarchal times (vid., Genesis, p. 422),[47] and who were powerful enough at any time to make a raid into Idumaea. To make an attack divided into several ראשׁים, heads, multitudes, bands (two - Gen. Job 14:15; three - Jdg 7:16, 1Sa 11:11; or four - Judg. Job 9:34), is an ancient military stratagem; and פּשׁט, e.g., Jdg 9:33, is the proper word for attacks of such bands, either for plunder or revenge. In לפי־חרב, at the edge of the sword, à l'epée, ל is like the usual acc. of manner.

Verses 18-19 Edit

The Fourth Messenger: 18 While he was yet speaking, another also came, and said, Thy sons and thy daughters were eating and drinking wine in their eldest brother's house: and, behold, a great wind came across from the desert, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young people, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
Instead of עוד, we have עד here: the former denotes continuity in time, the latter continuity in space, and they may be interchanged. עד in the signif. “while” is here construed with the participle, as Neh 7:3; comp. other constructions, Job 8:21; 1Sa 14:19; Jon 4:2. “From the other side of the desert” is equivalent to, from its farthest end. הנּערים are the youthful sons and daughters of Job, according to the epicene use of נער in the Pentateuch (youths and maidens). In one day Job is now bereft of everything which he accounted the gift of Jehovah, - his herds, and with these his servants, which he not only prizes as property, but for whom he has also a tender heart (Job 31); ); last of all, even his dearest ones, his children. Satan has summoned the elements and men for the destruction of Job's possessions by repeated strokes. That men and nations can be excited by Satan to hostile enterprises, is nothing surprising (cf. Rev 20:8); but here, even the fire of God and the hurricane are attributed to him. Is this poetry or truth? Luther, in the Larger Catechism, question 4, says the same: “The devil causes strife, murder, rebellion, and war, also thunder and lightning, and hail, to destroy corn and cattle, to poison the atmosphere,” etc., - a passage of our creed often ridiculed by rationalism; but it is correct if understood in accordance with Scripture, and not superstitiously. As among men, so in nature, since the Fall two different powers of divine anger and divine love are in operation: the mingling of these is the essence of the present Kosmos. Everything destructive to nature, and everything arising therefrom which is dangerous and fatal to the life of man, is the outward manifestation of the power of anger. In this power Satan has fortified himself; and this, which underlies the whole course of nature, he is able to make use of, so far as God may permit it as being subservient to His chief design (comp. Rev 13:13 with 2Th 2:9). He has no creative power. Fire and storm, by means of which he works, are of God; but he is allowed to excite these forces to hostility against man, just as he himself is become an instrument of evil. It is similar with human demonocracy, whose very being consists in placing itself en rapport with the hidden powers of nature. Satan is the great juggler, and has already manifested himself as such, even in paradise and in the temptation of Jesus Christ. There is in nature, as among men, an entanglement of contrary forces which he knows how to unloose, because it is the sphere of his special dominion; for the whole course of nature, in the change of its phenomena, is subject not only to abstract laws, but also to concrete supernatural powers, both bad and good.

Verses 20-21 Edit

The Conduct of Job: 20, 21 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, and said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah hath taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.
The first three messengers Job has heard, sitting, and in silence; but at the news of the death of his children, brought by the fourth, he can no longer overcome his grief. The intensity of his feeling is indicated by rising up (cf. Jon 3:6); his torn heart, by the rending of his mantle; the conscious loss of his dearest ones, by cutting off the hair of his head. He does not, however, act like one in despair, but, humbling himself under the mighty hand of God, falls to the ground and prostrates himself, i.e., worshipping God, so that his face touches the earth. השׁתּחוה, se prosternere, this is the gesture of adoration, προσκήνησις.[48] יצתי is defectively written, as Num 11:11; cf. infra, Job 32:18. The occurrence of שׁמּה here is remarkable, and may have given rise to the question of Nicodemus, Joh 3:4 : μὴ δύναται ἄνθρωπος εἰς τῆν κοιλίαν τῆς μητρὸς αὐτοῦ δεύτερον εἰσελθεῖν. The writer of Ecclesiastes (Ecc 5:14) has left out this difficult שׁמה. It means either being put back into a state of unconsciousness and seclusion from the light and turmoil of this world, similar to his former state in his mother's womb, which Hupfeld, in his Commentatio in quosdam Iobeidos locos, 1853, favours; or, since the idea of אמּי בּטן may be extended, return to the bosom of mother earth (Ew., Hirz., Schlottm., et al.), so that שׁמה is not so much retrospective as rather prospective with reference to the grave (Böttch.), which we prefer; for as the mother's bosom can be compared to the bosom of the earth (Psa 139:15), because it is of the earth, and recalls the original forming of man from the earth, so the bosom of the earth is compared to the mother's, Sir. 40:1: ἀφ ̓ ἡμέρας ἐξόδου ἐκ γαστρὸς μητρὸς ἕως ἡμέρας ἐπιταφῆς εἰς μητέρα πάντων. The writer here intentionally makes Job call God יהוה. In the dialogue portion, the name יהוה occurs only once in the mouth of Job (Job 12:9); most frequently the speakers use אלוה and שׁדי. This use of the names of God corresponds to the early use of the same in the Pentateuch, according to which שׁדי is the proper name of God in the patriarchal days, and יהוה in the later days, to which they were preparatory. The traditional view, that Elohim describes God according to the attribute of justice, Jehovah according to the attribute of mercy, is only in part correct; for even when the advent of God to judgment is announced, He is in general named Jehovah. Rather, אלהים (plur. of אלוהּ, fear), the Revered One, describes God as object; יהוה or יהוה, on the other hand, as subject. אלהים describes Him in the fulness of His glorious majesty, including also the spirits, which are round about Him; יהוה as the Absolute One. Accordingly, Job, when he says יהוה, thinks of God not only as the absolute cause of his fate, but as the Being ordering his life according to His own counsel, who is ever worthy of praise, whether in His infinite wisdom He gives or takes away. Job was not driven from God, but praised Him in the midst of suffering, even when, to human understanding and feeling, there was only occasion for anguish: he destroyed the suspicion of Satan, that he only feared God for the sake of His gifts, not for His own sake; and remained, in the midst of a fourfold temptation, the conqueror.[49]
Throughout the whole book he does not go so far as to deny God (אלהים בּרך), and thus far he does not fall into any unworthy utterances concerning His rule.

Verse 22 Edit

Job 1:22 22 In all this Job sinned not, nor attributed folly to God.
In all this, i.e., as the lxx correctly renders it: which thus far had befallen him; Ewald et al. translate incorrectly: he gave God no provocation. תּפלה signifies, according to Job 24:12, comp. Job 6:6, saltlessness and tastelessness, dealing devoid of meaning and purpose, and is to be translated either, he uttered not, non edidit, anything absurd against God, as Jerome translates, neque stultum quid contra Deum locutus est; or, he did not attribute folly to God: so that נתן ל are connected, as Psa 68:35; Jer 13:16. Since נתן by itself nowhere signifies to express, we side with Hirzel and Schlottm. against Rödiger (in his Thes.) and Oehler, in favour of the latter. The writer hints that, later on, Job committed himself by some unwise thoughts of the government of God.

Chap. 2 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Job 2:1 1 Again there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before Jehovah, and Satan came also among them, to present himself before Jehovah.
The clause expressive of the purpose of their appearing is here repeated in connection with Satan (comp. on the contrary, Job 1:6), for this time he appears with a most definite object. Jehovah addresses Satan as He had done on the former occasion.

Verse 2 Edit

Job 2:2 2 And Jehovah said to Satan, Whence comest thou? And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, From going to and fro in the earth, and wandering up and down in it.
Instead of מאין, Job 1:7, we have here the similar expression מזּה אי (Ges. §150, extra). Such slight variations are also frequent in the repetitions in the Psalms, and we have had an example in Job 1 in the interchange of עוד and עד. After the general answer which Satan givers, Jehovah inquires more particularly.

Verse 3 Edit

Job 2:3 3 Then Jehovah said to Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job? for there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, fearing God and eschewing evil; and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou hast moved me against him, to injure him without cause.
From the foregoing fact, that amidst all his sufferings hitherto Job has preserved and proved his תּמּה (except in the book of Job, only Pro 11:3), the fut. consec. draws the conclusion: there was no previous reason for the injury which Satan had urged God to decree for Job. הסית does not signify, as Umbreit thinks, to lead astray, in which case it were an almost blasphemous anthropomorphism: it signifies instigare, and indeed generally, to evil, as e.g., 1Ch 21:1; but not always, e.g., Jos 15:18 : here it is certainly in a strongly anthropopathical sense of the impulse given by Satan to Jehovah to prove Job in so hurtful a manner. The writer purposely chooses these strong expressions, הסית and בּלּע. Satan's aim, since he suspected Job still, went beyond the limited power which was given him over Job. Satan even now again denies what Jehovah affirms.

Verses 4-5 Edit

Job 2:4-5 4, 5 And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, and all that man hath will he give for his life: stretch forth yet once Thy hand, and touch his bone, and his flesh, truly he will renounce Thee to Thy face.
Olshausen refers עזר בּעד עזר to Job in relation to Jehovah: So long as Thou leavest his skin untouched, he will also leave Thee untouched; which, though it is the devil who speaks, were nevertheless too unbecomingly expressed. Hupfeld understands by the skin, that skin which is here given for the other, - the skin of his cattle, of his servants and children, which Job had gladly given up, that for such a price he might get off with his own skin sound; but בּעד cannot be used as Beth pretii: even in Pro 6:26 this is not the case. For the same reason, we must not, with Hirz., Ew., and most, translate, Skin for skin = like for like, which Ewald bases on the strange assertion, that one skin is like another, as one dead piece is like another. The meaning of the words of Satan (rightly understood by Schlottm. and the Jewish expositors) is this: One gives up one's skin to preserve one's skin; one endures pain on a sickly part of the skin, for the sake of saving the whole skin; one holds up the arm, as Raschi suggests, to avert the fatal blow from the head. The second clause is climacteric: a man gives skin for skin; but for his life, his highest good, he willingly gives up everything, without exception, that can be given up, and life itself still retained. This principle derived from experience, applied to Job, may be expressed thus: Just so, Job has gladly given up everything, and is content to have escaped with his life. ואולם, verum enim vero, is connected with this suppressed because self-evident application. The verb ננע, above, Job 1:11, with בּ, is construed here with אל, and expresses increased malignity: Stretch forth Thy hand but once to his very bones, etc. Instead of על־פּניך, Job 1:11, על־פּ is used here with the same force: forthwith, fearlessly and regardlessly (comp. Job 13:15; Deu 7:10), he will bid Thee farewell.

Verse 6 Edit

The Grant of New Power: 6 And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, he is in thy hand; only take care of his life.
Job has not forfeited his life; permission is given to place it in extreme peril, and nothing more, in order to see whether or not, in the face of death, he will deny the God who has decreed such heavy affliction for him. נפשׁ does not signify the same as חיּים; it is the soul producing the spirit-life of man. We must, however, translate “life,” because we do not use “soul” in the sense of ψυχή, anima.

Verses 7-8 Edit

The Working Out of the Commission: 7, 8 Then Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils, from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with, and sat in the midst of ashes.
The description of this disease calls to mind Deu 28:35 with Deu 28:27, and is, according to the symptoms mentioned further on in the book, elephantiasis so called because the limbs become jointless lumps like elephants' legs), Arab. jḏâm,‛gudhâm, Lat. lepra nodosa, the most fearful form of lepra, which sometimes seizes persons even of the higher ranks. Artapan (C. Müller, Fragm. iii. 222) says, that an Egyptian king was the first man who died of elephantiasis. Baldwin, king of Jerusalem, was afflicted with it in a very dangerous form.[50]

The disease begins with the rising of tubercular boils, and at length resembles a cancer spreading itself over the whole body, by which the body is so affected, that some of the limbs fall completely away. Scraping with a potsherd will not only relieve the intolerable itching of the skin, but also remove the matter. Sitting among ashes is on account of the deep sorrow (comp. Jon 3:6) into which Job is brought by his heavy losses, especially the loss of his children. The lxx adds that he sat on a dunghill outside the city: the dunghill is taken from the passage Psa 113:7, and the ”outside the city” from the law of the מצרע. In addition to the four losses, a fifth temptation, in the form of a disease incurable in the eye of man, is now come upon Job: a natural disease, but brought on by Satan, permitted, and therefore decreed, by God. Satan does not appear again throughout the whole book. Evil has not only a personal existence in the invisible world, but also its agents and instruments in this; and by these it is henceforth manifested.

Verse 9 Edit

First Job's Wife (who is only mentioned in one other passage (Job 19:17), where Job complains that his breath is offensive to her) Comes to Him: 9 Then his wife said to him, Dost thou still hold fast thine integrity? renounce God, and die.
In the lxx the words of his wife are unskilfully extended. The few words as they stand are sufficiently characteristic. They are not to be explained, Call on God for the last time, and then die (von Gerl.); or, Call on Him that thou die (according to Ges. §130, 2); but בּרך signifies, as Job's answer shows, to take leave of. She therefore counsels Job to do that which Satan has boasted to accomplish. And notwithstanding, Hengstenberg, in his Lecture on the Book of Job (1860),[51] defends her against the too severe judgment of expositors. Her desperation, says he, proceeds from her strong love for her husband; and if she had to suffer the same herself, she would probably have struggled against despair. But love hopeth all things; love keeps its despondency hidden even when it desponds; love has no such godless utterance, as to say, Renounce God; and none so unloving, as to say, Die. No, indeed! this woman is truly diaboli adjutrix (August.); a tool of the temper (Ebrard); impiae carnis praeco (Brentius). And though Calvin goes too far when he calls her not only organum Satanae, but even Proserpinam et Furiam infernalem, the title of another Xantippe, against which Hengstenberg defends her, is indeed rather flattery than slander. Tobias' Anna is her copy.[52]
What experience of life and insight the writer manifests in introducing Job's wife as the mocking opposer of his constant piety! Job has lost his children, but this wife he has retained, for he needed not to be tried by losing her: he was proved sufficiently by having her. She is further on once referred to, but even then not to her advantage. Why, asks Chrysostom, did the devil leave him this wife? Because he thought her a good scourge, by which to plague him more acutely than by any other means. Moreover, the thought is not far distant, that God left her to him in order that when, in the glorious issue of his sufferings, he receives everything doubled, he might not have this thorn in the flesh also doubled.[53]
What enmity towards God, what uncharitableness towards her husband, is there in her sarcastic words, which, if they are more than mockery, counsel him to suicide! (Ebrard). But he repels them in a manner becoming himself.

Verse 10 Edit

Job 2:10 10 But he said to her, As one of the ungodly would speak, thou speakest. Shall we receive good from God, and shall we not also receive evil?
The answer of Job is strong but not harsh, for the אחת (comp. 2Sa 13:13) is somewhat soothing. The translation “as one of the foolish women” does not correspond to the Hebrew; נבל is one wxo thinks madly and acts impiously. What follows is a double question, גּם for הגם. The גּם stands at the beginning of the sentence, but logically belongs to the second part, towards which pronunciation and reading must hurry over the first, - a frequent occurrence after interrogative particles, e.g., Num 16:22; Isa 5:4; after causal particles, e.g., Isa 12:1; Pro 1:24; after the negative פּן, Deu 8:12., and often. Hupfeld renders the thought expressed in the double question very correctly: bonum quidem hucusque a Deo accepimus, malum vero jam non item accipiemus? גּם is found also elsewhere at the beginning of a sentence, although belonging to a later clause, and that indeed not always the one immediately following, e.g., Hos 6:11; Zec 9:11; the same syntax is to be found with אף, אך, and רק. קבּל, like תּמּה, is a word common to the book of Job and Proverbs (Pro 19:20); besides these, it is found only in books written after the exile, and is more Aramaic than Hebraic. By this answer which Job gives to his wife, he has repelled the sixth temptation. For 10b In all this Job sinned not with his lips. 10b In all this Job sinned not with his lips.
The Targum adds: but in his thoughts he already cherished sinful words. בּשׂפתיו is certainly not undesignedly introduced here and omitted in Job 1:22. The temptation to murmur was now already at work within him, but he was its master, so that no murmur escaped him.

Verse 11 Edit

After the sixth temptation there comes a seventh; and now the real conflict begins, through which the hero of the book passes, not indeed without sinning, but still triumphantly. 11 When Job's three friends heard of all this evil that was come upon him, they came every one from his own place; Eliphaz from Teman, and Bildad from Shuach, and Zophar from Naama: for they had made an appointment to come together to go and sympathize with him, and comfort him. אליפז is, according to Gen 36, an old Idumaean name (transposed = Phasaël in the history of the Herodeans; according to Michaelis, Suppl. p. 87; cui Deus aurum est, comp. Job 22:25), and תּימן a district of Idumaea, celebrated for its native wisdom (Jer 49:7; Bar. 3:22f.). But also in East-Hauran a Têmâ is still found (described by Wetzstein in his Bericht über seine Reise in den beiden Trachonen und um das Hauran-Gebirge, Zeitschr. für allg. Erdkunde, 1859), and about fifteen miles south of Têmâ, a Bûzân suggestive of Elihu's surname (comp. Jer 25:23). שׁוּח we know only from Gen 25 as the son of Abraham and Keturah, who settled in the east country. Accordingly it must be a district of Arabia lying not very far from Idumaea: it might be compared with trans-Hauran Schakka, though the sound, however, of the word makes it scarcely admissible, which is undoubtedly one and the same with Dakkai'a, east from Batanaea, mentioned in Ptolem. v. 15. נעמה is a name frequent in Syria and Palestine: there is a town of the Jewish Shephêla (the low ground by the Mediterranean) of this name, Jos 15:41, which, however, can hardly be intended here. הבּאה is Milel, consequently third pers. with the art. instead of the relative pron. (as, besides here, Gen 18:21; Gen 46:27), vid., Ges. §109 ad init. The Niph. נועד is strongly taken by some expositors as the same meaning with נועץ, to confer with, appoint a meeting: it signifies, to assemble themselves, to meet in an appointed place at an appointed time (Neh 6:2). Reports spread among the mounted tribes of the Arabian desert with the rapidity of telegraphic despatches.

Verse 12 Edit

Their Arrival: 12 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle, and threw dust upon their heads toward heaven.
They saw a form which seemed to be Job, but in which they were not able to recognise him. Then they weep and rend their outer garments, and catch up dust to throw up towards heaven (1Sa 4:12), that it may fall again upon their heads. The casting up of dust on high is the outwards sign of intense suffering, and, as von Gerlach rightly remarks, of that which causes him to cry to heaven. ==Verse 13==
Their Silence: 13 And they sat with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights; and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his pain was very great.
Ewald erroneously thinks that custom and propriety prescribed this seven days' silence; it was (as Eze 3:15) the force of the impression produced on them, and the fear of annoying the sufferer. But their long silence shows that they had not fully realized the purpose of their visit. Their feeling is overpowered by reflection, their sympathy by dismay. It is a pity that they let Job utter the first word, which they might have prevented by some word of kindly solace; for, becoming first fully conscious of the difference between his present and former position from their conduct, he breaks forth with curses.

Chap. 3 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

Job's first longer utterance now commences, by which he involved himself in the conflict, which is his seventh temptation or trial. 1, 2 After this Job opened his mouth, and cursed his day. And Job spake, and said.

Verse 2 Edit

Job 3:2 consists only of three words, which are separated by Rebia; and ויאמר, although Milel, is vocalized ויּאמר, because the usual form ויּאמר, which always immediately precedes direct narration, is not well suited to close the verse. ענה, signifies to begin to speak from some previous incitement, as the New Testament ἀποκρίνεσθαι (not always = השׁיב) is also sometimes used.[54]
The following utterance of Job, with which the poetic accentuation begins, is analysed by modern critics as follows: Job 3:3-10, Job 3:11-19, Job 3:20-26. Schlottmann calls it three strophes, Hahn three parts, in the first of which delirious cursing of life is expressed; in the second, eager longing for death; in the third, reproachful inquiry after the end of such a life of suffering. In reality they are not strophes. Nevertheless Ebrard is wrong when he maintains that, in general, strophe-structure is as little to be found in the book of Job as in Wallenstein's Monologue. The poetical part of the book of Job is throughout strophic, so far as the nature of the drama admits it. So also even this first speech. Stickel has correctly traced out its divisions; but accidentally, for he has reckoned according to the Masoretic verses. That this is false, he is now fully aware; also Ewald, in his Essay on Strophes in the Book of Job, is almost misled into this groundless reckoning of the strophes according to the Masoretic verses (Jahrb. iii. X. 118, Anm. 3). The strophe-schema of the following speech is as follows: 8. 10. 6. 8. 6. 8. 6. The translation will show how unmistakeably it may be known. In the translation we have followed the complete lines of the original, and their rhythm: the iambic pentameter into which Ebrard, and still earlier Hosse (1849), have translated, disguises the oriental Hebrew poetry of the book with its variegated richness of form in a western uniform, the monotonous impression of which is not, as elsewhere, counter-balanced in the book of Job by the change of external action. After the translation we give the grammatical explanation of each strophe; and at the conclusion of the speech thus translated and explained, its higher exposition, i.e., its artistic importance in the connection of the drama, and its theological importance in relation to the Old and New Testament religion and religious life.

Verses 3-5 Edit

Job 3:3-5 3 Perish the day wherein I was born.
And the night which said, A man-child is conceived! 4 Let that day become darkness;
Let not Eloah ask after it from above,
And let not the light shine on it. 5 May darkness and the shadow of death purchase it back;
Let a cloud lie upon it;
May that which obscures the day terrify it.
The curse is against the day of his birth and the night of his conception as recurring yearly, not against the actual first day (Schlottm.), to which the imprecations which follow are not pertinent. Job wishes his birth-day may become dies ater, swallowed up by darkness as into nothing. The elliptical relative clauses, Job 3:3 (Ges. §123, 3; cf. 127, 4, c), become clear from the translation. Transl. the night (לילה with parag. He is masc.) which said, not: in which they said; the night alone was witness of this beginning of the development of a man-child, and made report of it to the High One, to whom it is subordinate. Day emerges from the darkness as Eloah from above (as Job 31:2, Job 31:28), i.e., He who reigns over the changes here below, asks after it; interests Himself in His own (דּרשׁ). Job wishes his birth-day may not rejoice in this. The relations of this his birth-day are darkness and the shadow of death. These are to redeem it, as, according to the right of kinsmen, family property is redeemed when it has got into a stranger's hands. This is the meaning of גּאל (lxx ἐκλάβοι), not = גּעל, inquinent (Targ.). עננה is collective, as נהרה, mass of cloud. Instead of כּמרירי (the Caph of which seems pointed as praepos), we must read with Ewald (§157, a), Olshausen, (§187, b), and others, כּמרירי, after the form חכליל, darkness, dark flashing (vid., on Psa 10:8), שׁפריר, tapestry, unless we are willing to accept a form of noun without example elsewhere. The word signifies an obscuring, from כּמר, to glow with heat, because the greater the glow the deeper the blackness it leaves behind. All that ever obscures a day is to overtake and render terrible that day.[55]

Verses 6-9 Edit

Job 3:6-9 6 That night! let darkness seize upon it;
Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;
Let it not come into the number of the month. 7 Lo! let that night become barren;
Let no sound of gladness come to it. 8 Let those who curse the day curse it,
Who are skilled in stirring up leviathan. 9 Let the stars of its early twilight be darkened;
Let it long for light and there be none;
And let it not refresh itself with eyelids of the dawn.
Darkness is so to seize it, and so completely swallow it up, that it shall not be possible for it to pass into the light of day. It is not to become a day, to be reckoned as belonging to the days of the year and rejoice in the light thereof. יחדּ, for יחדּ, fut. Kal from חדה (Exo 18:9), with Dagesh lene retained, and a helping Pathach (vid., Ges. §75, rem. 3, d); the reverse of the passage Gen 49:6, where יחד, from יחד, uniat se, is found. It is to become barren, גּלמוּד, so that no human being shall ever be conceived and born, and greeted joyfully in it.[56] “Those who curse days” are magicians who know how to change days into dies infausti by their incantations. According to vulgar superstition, from which the imagery of Job 3:8 is borrowed, there was a special art of exciting the dragon, which is the enemy of sun and moon, against them both, so that, by its devouring them, total darkness prevails. The dragon is called in Hindu râhu; the Chinese, and also the natives of Algeria, even at the present day make a wild tumult with drums and copper vessels when an eclipse of the sun or moon occurs, until the dragon will release his prey.[57]
Job wishes that this monster may swallow up the sun of his birth-day. If the night in which he was conceived or born is to become day, then let the stars of its twilight (i.e., the stars which, as messengers of the morning, twinkle through the twilight of dawn) become dark. It is to remain for ever dark, never behold with delight the eyelids of the dawn. בּ ראה, to regale one's self with the sight of anything, refresh one's self. When the first rays of morning shoot up in the eastern sky, then the dawn raises its eyelids; they are in Sophocles's Antigone, 103, χρυσέης ἡμέρας βλέφαρον, the eyelid of the golden day, and therefore of the sun, the great eye.

Verses 10-12 Edit

Job 3:10-12 10 Because it did not close the doors of my mother's womb,
Nor hid sorrow from my eyes. 11 Why did I not die from the womb,
Come forth from the womb and expire? 12 Why have the knees welcomed me?
And why the breasts, that I should suck?
The whole strophe contains strong reason for his cursing the night of his conception or birth. It should rather have closed (i.e., make the womb barren, to be explained according to 1Sa 1:5; Gen 16:2) the doors of his womb (i.e., the womb that conceived concepit him), and so have withdrawn the sorrow he now experiences from his unborn eyes (on the extended force of the negative, vid., Ges. §152, 3). Then why, i.e., to what purpose worth the labour, is he then conceived and born? The four questions, Job 3:11., form a climax: he follows the course of his life from its commencement in embryo (מרהם, to be explained according to Jer 20:17, and Job 10:18, where, however, it is מן local, not as here, temporal) to the birth, and from the joy of his father who took the new-born child upon his knees (comp. Gen 50:23) to the first development of the infant, and he curses this growing life in its four phases (Arnh., Schlottm.). Observe the consecutio temp. The fut. אמוּת has the signification moriebar, because taken from the thought of the first period of his conception and birth; so also ואגוע, governed by the preceding perf., the signification et exspirabam (Ges. §127, 4, c). Just so אינק, but modal, ut sugerem ea.

Verses 13-16 Edit

Job 3:13-16 13 So should I now have lain and had quiet,
I should have slept, then it would have been well with me, 14 With kings and councillors of the earth,
Who built ruins for themselves, 15 Or with princes possessing gold,
Who filled their houses with silver: 16 Or like a hidden untimely birth I had not been,
And as children that have never seen the light.The perf. and interchanging fut. have the signification of oriental imperfecta conjunctivi, according to Ges. §126, 5; עתּה כּי is the usual expression after hypothetical clauses, and takes the perf. if the preceding clause specifies a condition which has not occurred in the past (Gen 31:42; Gen 43:10; Num 22:29, Num 22:33; 1Sa 14:30), the fut. if a condition is not existing in the present (Job 6:3; Job 8:6; Job 13:19). It is not to be translated: for then; כי rather commences the clause following: so I should now, indeed then I should. Ruins, הרבות, are uninhabited desolate buildings, elsewhere such as have become, here such as are from the first intended to remain, uninhabited and desolate, consequently sepulchres, mausoleums; probably, since the book has Egyptian allusions, in other passages also, a play upon the pyramids, in whose name (III-XPAM, according to Coptic glossaries) III is the Egyptian article (vid., Bunsen, Aeg. ii. 361); Arab. without the art. hirâm or ahrâm (vid., Abdollatîf, ed. de Sacy, p. 293, s.).[58]
Also Renan: Qui se bâtissent des mausolées. Böttch. de inferis, §298 (who, however, prefers to read רחבות, wide streets), rightly directs attention to the difference between החרבות בנה (to rebuild the ruins) and לו בנה ח (to build ruins for one's self). With או like things are then ranged after one another. Builders of the pyramids, millionaires, abortions (vid., Ecc 6:3), and the still-born: all these are removed from the sufferings of this life in their quiet of the grave, be their grave a “ruin” gazed upon by their descendants, or a hole dug out in the earth, and again filled in as it was before.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Job 3:17-19 17 There the wicked cease from troubling,
And the weary are at rest. 18 The captives dwell together in tranquillity;
They hear not the voice of the taskmaster. 19 The small and great, - they are alike there;
And the servant is free from his lord.
There, i.e., in the grave, all enjoy the rest they could not find here: the troublers and the troubled ones alike. רגן corresponds to the radical idea of looseness, broken in pieces, want of restraint, therefore of Turba (comp. Isa 57:20; Jer 6:7), contained etymologically in רשׁע. The Pilel שׁאנן vid., Ges. §55, 2) signifies perfect freedom from care. In הוּא שׁם, הוּא is more than the sign of the copula (Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm.); the rendering of the lxx, Vulg., and Luther., ibi sunt, is too feeble. As it is said of God, Isa 41:4; Isa 43:13; Psa 102:28, that He is הוּא, i.e., He who is always the same, ὁ αὐτός; so here, הוּא, used purposely instead of המּה, signifies that great and small are like one another in the grave: all distinction has ceased, it has sunk to the equality of their present lot. Correctly Ewald: Great and small are there the same. יחד, Job 3:18, refers to this destiny which brings them together.

Verses 20-23 Edit

Job 3:20-23 20 Why is light given to the wretched,
And life to the sorrowful in soul? 21 Who wait for death, and he comes not,
Who dig after him more than for treasure, 22 Who rejoice with exceeding joy,
Who are enraptured, when they can find the grave? 23 To the man whose way is hidden,
And whom Eloah hath hedged round?
The descriptive partt. Job 3:21, Job 3:22, are continued in predicative clauses, which are virtually relative clauses; Job 3:21 has the fut. consec., since the sufferers are regarded as now at least dead; Job 3:22 the simple fut., since their longing for the grave is placed before the eye (on this transition from the part. to the verb. fin., vid., Ges. §134, rem. (2). Schlottm. and Hahn wrongly translate: who would dig (instead of do dig) for him more than for treasure. אלי־גיל (with poetical אלי instead of אל) might signify, accompanied by rejoicing, i.e., the cry and gesture of joy. The translation usque ad exultationem, is however, more appropriate here as well as in Hos 9:1. With Job 3:23 Job refers to himself: he is the man whose way of suffering is mysterious and prospectless, and whom God has penned in on all sides (a fig. like Job 19:8; comp. Lam 3:5). סכך, sepire, above, Job 1:10, to hedge round for protection, here: forcibly straiten.

Verses 24-26 Edit

Job 3:24-26 24 For instead of my food my sighing cometh,
And my roarings pour themselves forth as water. 25 For I fear something terrible, and it cometh upon me,
And that before which I shudder cometh to me. 26 I dwelt not in security, nor rested, nor refreshed myself:
Then trouble cometh.
That לפני may pass over from the local signification to the substitutionary, like the Lat. pro (e.g., pro praemio est), is seen from Job 4:19 (comp. 1Sa 1:16): the parallelism, which is less favourable to the interpretation, before my bread (Hahn, Schlottm., and others), favours the signification pro here. The fut. consec. ויּתּכוּ (Kal of נתך) is to be translated, according to Ges. §129, 3, a, se effundunt (not effuderunt): it denotes, by close connection with the preceding, that which has hitherto happened. Just so v. 25a: I fear something terrible; forthwith it comes over me (this terrible, most dreadful thing). אתה is conjugated by the ה passing into the original א of the root (vid., Ges. §74, rem. 4). And just so the conclusion: then also forthwith רגן (i.e., suffering which disorders, rages and ransacks furiously) comes again. Schlottm. translates tamely and wrongly: then comes - oppression. Hahn, better: Nevertheless fresh trouble always comes; but the “nevertheless” is incorrect, for the fut. consec. indicates a close connection, not contrast. The praett., Job 3:26, give the details of the principal fact, which follows in the fut. consec.: only a short cessation, which is no real cessation; then the suffering rages afresh.
Why - one is inclined to ask respecting this first speech of Job, which gives rise to the following controversy - why does the writer allow Job, who but a short time before, in opposition to his wife, has manifested such wise submission to God's dealings, all at once to break forth in such despair? Does it not seem as though the assertion of Satan were about to be confirmed? Much depends upon one's forming a correct and just judgment respecting the state of mind from which this first speech proceeds. To this purpose, consider (1) That the speech contains no trace of what the writer means by את־האלהים ברך: Job nowhere says that he will have nothing more to do with God; he does not renounce his former faithfulness: (2) That, however, in the mind of the writer, as may be gathered from Job 2:10, this speech is to be regarded as the beginning of Job's sinning. If a man, on account of his sufferings, wishes to die early, or not to have been born at all, he has lost his confidence that God, even in the severest suffering, designs his highest good; and this want of confidence is sin.
There is, however, a great difference between a man who has in general no trust in God, and in whom suffering only makes this manifest in a terrible manner, and the man with whom trust in God is a habit of his soul, and is only momentarily repressed, and, as it were, paralysed. Such interruption of the habitual state may result from the first pressure of unaccustomed suffering; it may then seem as though trust in God were overwhelmed, whereas it has only given way to rally itself again. It is, however, not the greatness of the affliction in itself which shakes his sincere trust in God, but a change of disposition on the part of God which seems to be at work in the affliction. The sufferer considers himself as forgotten, forsaken, and rejected of God, as many passages in the Psalms and Lamentations show: therefore he sinks into despair: and in this despair expression is given to the profound truth (although with regard to the individual it is a sinful weakness), that it is better never to have been born, or to be annihilated, than to be rejected of God (comp. Mat 26:24, καλὸν ἦ αὐτῷ ει ̓ οὐκ ἐγεννήθη ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἐκεῖνος). In such a condition of spiritual, and, as we know from the prologue, of Satanic temptation (Luk 22:31; Eph 6:16), is Job. He does not despair when he contemplates his affliction, but when he looks at God through it, who, as though He were become his enemy, has surrounded him with this affliction as with a rampart. He calls himself a man whose way is hidden, as Zion laments, Isa 40:27, “My way is hidden from Jehovah;” a man whom Eloah has hedged round, as Jeremiah laments over the ruins of Jerusalem, Lam 3:1-13 (in some measure a comment on Job 3:23), “I am the man who has seen affliction by the rod of His wrath ... . He has hedged me round that I cannot get out, and made my chain heavy.”
In this condition of entire deprivation of every taste of divine goodness, Job breaks forth in curses. He has lost wealth and children, and has praised God; he has even begun to bear an incurable disease with submission to the providence of God. Now, however, when not only the affliction, but God himself, seems to him to be hostile (nunc autem occultato patre, as Brentius expresses it),[59] we hear from his mouth neither words of praise (the highest excellence in affliction) nor words of resignation (duty in affliction), but words of despair: his trust in God is not destroyed, but overcast by thick clouds of melancholy and doubt.
It is indeed inconceivable that a New Testament believer, even under the strongest temptation, should utter such imprecations, or especially such a question of doubt as in Job 3:20 : Wherefore is light given to the miserable? But that an Old Testament believer might very easily become involved in such conflicts of belief, may be accounted for by the absence of any express divine revelation to carry his mind beyond the bounds of the present. Concerning the future at the period when the book of Job was composed, and the hero of the book lived, there were longings, inferences, and forebodings of the soul; but there was no clear, consoling word of God on which to rely, - no θεῖος λόγος which, to speak as Plato (Phaedo, p. 85, D), could serve as a rescuing plank in the shipwreck of this life. Therefore the πανταχοῦ θρυλλούμενον extends through all the glory and joy of the Greek life from the very beginning throughout. The best thing is never to have been born; the second best, as soon as possible thereafter, to die. The truth, that the suffering of this present time is not worthy of the glory which shall be revealed in us, was still silent. The proper disposition of mind, under such veiling of the future, was then indeed more absolute, as faith committed itself blindfold to the guidance of God. But how near at hand was the temptation to regard a troublous life as an indication of the divine anger, and doubtingly to ask, Why God should send the light of life to such! They knew not that the present lot of man forms but the one half of his history: they saw only in the one scale misery and wrath, and not in the other the heaven of love and blessedness to be revealed hereafter, by which these are outweighed; they longed for a present solution of the mystery of life, because they knew nothing of the possibility of a future solution. Thus it is to be explained, that not only Job in this poem, but also Jeremiah in the book of his prophecy, Job 20:14-18, curses the day of his birth. He curses the man who brought his father the joyous tidings of the birth of a son, and wishes him the fate of Sodom and Gomorrha. He wishes for himself that his mother might have been his grave, and asks, like Job, “Wherefore came I forth out of the womb to see labour and sorrow, and that my days should be consumed in shame?” Hitzig remarks on this, that it may be inferred from the contents and form of this passage, there was a certain brief disturbance of spirit, a result of the general indescribable distress of the troublous last days of Zedekiah, to which the spirit of the prophet also succumbed. And it is certainly a kind of delirium in which Jeremiah so speaks, but there is no physical disorder of mind with it: the understanding of the prophet is so slightly and only momentarily disturbed, that he has the rather gained power over his faith, and is himself become one of its disturbing forces.
Without applying to this lyric piece either the standard of pedantic moralizing, or of minute criticism as poetry, the intense melancholy of this extremely plaintive prophet may have proceeded from the following reasoning: After I have lived ten long years of fidelity and sacrifice to my prophetic calling, I see that it has totally failed in its aim: all my hopes are blighted; all my exhortations to repentance, and my prayers, have not availed to draw Judah back from the abyss into which he is now cast, nor to avert the wrath of Jehovah which is now poured forth: therefore it had been better for me never to have been born. This thought affects the prophet so much the more, since in every fibre of his being he is an Israelite, and identifies the weal and woe of his people with his own; just as Moses would rather himself be blotted out form the book of life than that Israel should perish, and Paul was willing to be separated from Christ as anathema if he could thereby save Israel. What wonder that this thought should disburden itself in such imprecations! Had Jeremiah not been born, he would not have had occasion to sit on the ruins of Jerusalem. But his outburst of feeling is notwithstanding a paroxysm of excitement, for, though reason might drive him to despair, faith would teach him to hope even in the midst of downfall; and in reality, this small lyric piece in the collective prophecy of Jeremiah is only as a detached rock, over which, as a stream of clear living water, the prophecy flows on more joyous in faith, more certain of the future. In the book of Job it is otherwise; for what in Jeremiah and several of the psalms is compressed into a small compass, - the darkness of temptation and its clearing up, - is here the substance of a long entanglement dramatically presented, which first of all becomes progressively more and more involved, and to which this outburst of feeling gives the impulse. As Jeremiah, had he not been born, would not have sat on the ruins of Jerusalem; so Job, had he not been born, would not have found himself in this abyss of wrath. Neither of them knows anything of the future solution of every present mystery of life; they know nothing of the future life and the heavenly crown. This it is which, while it justifies their despair, casts greater glory round their struggling faith.
The first speaker among the friends, who now comes forward, is Eliphaz, probably the eldest of them. In the main, they all represent one view, but each with his individual peculiarity: Eliphaz with the self-confident pathos of age, and the mien of a prophet;[60]
Bildad with the moderation and caution befitting one poorer in thought; Zophar with an excitable vehemence, neither skilled nor disposed for a lasting contest. The skill of the writer, as we may here at the outset remark, is manifested in this, that what the friends say, considered in itself, is true: the error lies only in the inadequacy and inapplicability of what is said to the case before them.

Chap. 4 Edit

Verse 1 Edit

In reply to Sommer, who in his excellent biblische Abhandlungen, 1846, considers the octastich as the extreme limit of the compass of the strophe, it is sufficient to refer to the Syriac strophe-system. It is, however, certainly an impossibility that, as Ewald (Jahrb. ix. 37) remarks with reference to the first speech of Jehovah, Job 38-39, the strophes can sometimes extend to a length of 12 lines = Masoretic verses, consequently consist of 24 στίχοι and more. Then Eliphaz the Temanite began, and said:

Verses 2-5 Edit

Job 4:2-5 2 If one attempts a word with thee, will it grieve thee?
And still to restrain himself from words, who is able? 3 Behold, thou hast instructed many,
And the weak hands thou hast strengthened. 4 The stumbling turned to thy words,
And the sinking knees thou hast strengthened. 5 But now it cometh to thee, thou art grieved;
Now it toucheth thee, thou despondest.
The question with which Eliphaz beings, is certainly one of those in which the tone of interrogation falls on the second of the paratactically connected sentences: Wilt thou, if we speak to thee, feel it unbearable? Similar examples are Job 4:21; Num 16:22; Jer 8:4; and with interrogative Wherefore? Isa 5:4; Isa 50:2 : comp. the similar paratactic union of sentences, Job 2:10; Job 3:11. The question arises here, whether נסּה is an Aramaic form of writing for נשּׂא (as the Masora in distinction from Deu 4:34 takes it), and also either future, Wilt thou, if we raise, i.e., utter, etc.; or passive, as Ewald formerly,[61]
If a word is raised, i.e., uttered, דּבר נשׂא, like משׁל נשׂא, Job 27:1; or whether it is third pers. Piel, with the signification, attempt, tentare, Ecc 7:23. The last is to be preferred, because more admissible and also more expressive. נסּה followed by the fut. is a hypothetic praet., Supposing that, etc., wilt thou, etc., as e.g., Job 23:10. מלּין is the Aramaic plur. of מלּה, which is more frequent in the book of Job than the Hebrew plur. מלּים. The futt., Job 4:3., because following the perf., are like imperfects in the western languages: the expression is like Isa 35:3. In עתּה כּי, Job 4:5, כּי has a temporal signification, Now when, Ges. §155, 1, e, (b).

Verses 6-11 Edit

Job 4:6-11 6 Is not thy piety thy confidence,
Thy Hope? And the uprightness of thy ways? 7 Think now: who ever perished, being innocent?!
And where have the righteous been cut off?! 8 As often as I saw, those who ploughed evil
And sowed sorrow, - they reaped the same. 9 By the breath of Eloah they perished,
By the breath of His anger they vanished away. 10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the shachal,
And the teeth of the young lions, are rooted out. 11 The lion wanders about for want of prey,
And the lioness' whelps are scattered.
In Job 4:6 all recent expositors take the last waw as waw apodosis: And thy hope, is not even this the integrity of thy way? According to our punctuation, there is no occasion for supposing such an application of the waw apodosis, which is an error in a clause consisting only of substantives, and is not supported by the examples, Job 15:17; Job 23:12; 2Sa 22:41.[62] תקותך is the permutative of the ambiguous כסלתך, which, from כּסל, to be fat, signifies both the awkwardness of stupidity and the boldness of confidence. The addition of הוּא to מי, Job 4:7, like Job 13:19; Job 17:3, makes the question more earnest: quis tandem, like זה מי, quisnam (Ges. §122, 2). In Job 4:8, כּאשׁר is not comparative, but temporal, and yet so that it unites, as usual, what stands in close connection with, and follows directly upon, the preceding: When, so as, as often as I had seen those who planned and worked out evil (comp. Pro 22:8), I also saw that they reaped it. That the ungodly, and they alone, perish, is shown in Job 4:10. under the simile of the lions. The Hebrew, like the oriental languages in general, is rich in names for lions; the reason of which is, that the lion-tribe, although now become rarer in Asia, and of which only a solitary one is found here and there in the valley of the Nile, was more numerous in the early times, and spread over a wider area.[63] שׁחל, which the old expositors often understood as the panther, is perhaps the maneless lion, which is still found on the lower Euphrates and Tigris. נתע = נתץ, Psa 58:7, evellere, elidere, by zeugma, applies to the voice also. All recent expositors translate Job 4:11 init. wrongly: the lion perishes. The participle אבד is a stereotype expression for wandering about viewless and helpless (Deu 26:5; Isa 27:13; Psa 119:176, and freq.). The part., otherwise remarkable here, has its origin in this usage of the language. The parallelism is like Psa 92:10.

Verses 12-16 Edit

Job 4:12-16 12 And a word reached me stealthily,
And my ear heard a whisper thereof. 13 In the play of thought, in visions of the night,
When deep sleep falleth on men, 14 Fear came upon me, and trembling;
And it caused the multitude of my bones to quake with fear. 15 And a breathing passed over my face; 16 It stood there, and I discerned not its appearance:
An image was before my eyes;
A gentle murmur, and I heard a voice.
The fut. יגגּב, like Jdg 2:1; Psa 80:9, is ruled by the following fut. consec.: ad me furtim delatum est (not deferebatur). Eliphaz does not say אלי ויגנּב (although he means a single occurrence), because he desires, with pathos, to put himself prominent. That the word came to him so secretly, and that he heard only as it were a whisper (שׁמץ, according to Arnheim, in distinction from שׁמע, denotes a faint, indistinct impression on the ear), is designed to show the value of such a solemn communication, and to arouse curiosity. Instead of the prosaic ממּנוּ, we find here the poetic pausal-form מנהוּ expanded from מנּוּ, after the form מנּי, Job 21:16; Psa 18:23. מן is partitive: I heard only a whisper, murmur; the word was too sacred and holy to come loudly and directly to his ear. It happened, as he lay in the deep sleep of night, in the midst of the confusion of thought resulting from nightly dreams. שׂעפּים (from שׂעיף, branched) are thoughts proceeding like branches from the heart as their root, and intertwining themselves; the מן which follows refers to the cause: there were all manner of dreams which occasioned the thoughts, and to which they referred (comp. Job 33:15); תּרדּמה, in distinction from שׁנה, sleep, and תּנוּמה, slumber, is the deep sleep related to death and ecstasy, in which man sinks back from outward life into the remotest ground of his inner life. In Job 4:14, קראני, from קרא = קרה, to meet (Ges. §75, 22), is equivalent to קרני (not קרני, as Hirz., first edition, wrongly points it; comp. Gen 44:29). The subject of הפחיד is the undiscerned ghostlike something. Eliphaz was stretched upon his bed when רוּח, a breath of wind, passed (חלף( dessap, similar to Isa 21:1) over his face. The wind is the element by means of which the spirit-existence is made manifest; comp. 1Ki 19:12, where Jehovah appears in a gentle whispering of the wind, and Act 2:2, where the descent of the Holy Spirit is made known by a mighty rushing. רוּח, πνεῦμα, Sanscrit âtma, signifies both the immaterial spirit and the air, which is proportionately the most immaterial of material things.[64]
His hair bristled up, even every hair of his body; סמּר, not causative, but intensive of Kal. יעמד has also the ghostlike appearance as subject. Eliphaz could not discern its outline, only a תמוּנה, imago quaedam (the most ethereal word for form, Num 12:8; Psa 17:15, of μορφή or δόξα of God), was before his eyes, and he heard, as it were proceeding from it, רקל דּממה, i.e., per hendiadyn: a voice, which spoke to him in a gentle, whispering tone, as follows:

Verses 17-21 Edit

Job 4:17-21 17 Is a mortal just before Eloah,
Or a man pure before his Maker? 18 Behold, He trusteth not His servants!
And His angels He chargeth with imperfection. 19 How much more those who dwell in houses of clay,
They are crushed as though they were moths. 20 From morning until evening, - so are they broken in pieces:
Unobserved they perish for ever. 21 Is it not so: the cord of their tent in them is torn away,
So they die, and not in wisdom?
The question arises whether מן is comparative: prae Deo, on which Mercier with penetration remarks: justior sit oportet qui immerito affligitur quam qui immerito affligit; or causal: a Deo, h.e., ita ut a Deo justificetur. All modern expositors rightly decide on the latter. Hahn justly maintains that עם and בּעיני are found in a similar connection in other places; and Job 32:2 is perhaps not to be explained in any other way, at least that does not restrict the present passage. By the servants of God, none but the angels, mentioned in the following line of the verse, are intended. שׂים with בּ signifies imputare (1Sa 22:15); in Job 24:12 (comp. Job 1:22) we read תּפלה, absurditatem (which Hupf. wishes to restore even here), joined with the verb in this signification. The form תּהלה is certainly not to be taken as stultitia from the verb הלל; the half vowel, and still less the absence of the Dagesh, will not allow this. תּרן (Olsh. §213, c), itself uncertain in its etymology, presents no available analogy. The form points to a Lamedh-He verb, as תּרמה from רמה, so perhaps from הלה, Niph. נהלא, remotus, Mic 4:7 : being distant, being behind the perfect, difference; or even from הלה (Targ. הלא, Pa. הלּי) = לאה, weakness, want of strength.[65]
Both significations will do, for it is not meant that the good spirits positively sin, as if sin were a natural necessary consequence of their creatureship and finite existence, but that even the holiness of the good spirits is never equal to the absolute holiness of God, and that this deficiency is still greater in spirit-corporeal man, who has earthiness as the basis of his original nature. At the same time, it is presupposed that the distance between God and created earth is disproportionately greater than between God and created spirit, since matter is destined to be exalted to the nature of the spirit, but also brings the spirit into the danger of being degraded to its own level.

Verse 19 Edit

Job 4:19 אף signifies, like כּי אף, quanto minus, or quanto magis, according as a negative or positive sentence precedes: since Job 4:18 is positive, we translate it here quanto magis, as 2Sa 16:11. Men are called dwellers in clay houses: the house of clay is their φθαρτὸν σῶμα, as being taken de limo terrae (Job 33:6; comp. Wis. 9:15); it is a fragile habitation, formed of inferior materials, and destined to destruction. The explanation which follows - those whose יסוד, i.e., foundation of existence, is in dust - shows still more clearly that the poet has Gen 2:7; Gen 3:19, in his mind. It crushes them (subject, everything that operates destructively on the life of man) לפני־עשׁ, i.e., not: sooner than the moth is crushed (Hahn), or more rapidly than a moth destroys (Oehler, Fries), or even appointed to the moth for destruction (Schlottm.); but לפני signifies, as Job 3:24 (cf. 1Sa 1:16), ad instar: as easily as a moth is crushed. They last only from morning until evening: they are broken in pieces (הכּת, from כּתת, for הוּכת); they are therefore as ephemerae. They perish for ever, without any one taking it to heart (suppl. על־לב, Isa 42:25; Isa 57:1), or directing the heart towards it, animum advertit (suppl. לב, Job 1:8).
In Job 4:21 the soul is compared to the cord of a tent, which stretches out and holds up the body as a tent, like Ecc 12:6, with a silver cord, which holds the lamp hanging from the covering of the tent. Olshausen is inclined to read יתדם, their tent-pole, instead of יתרם, and at any rate thinks the accompanying בּם superfluous and awkward. But (1) the comparison used here of the soul, and of the life sustained by it, corresponds to its comparison elsewhere with a thread or weft, of which death is the cutting through or loosing (Job 6:9; Job 27:8; Isa 38:12); (12) בּם is neither superfluous nor awkward, since it is intended to say, that their duration of life falls in all at once like a tent when that which in them (בם) corresponds to the cord of a tent (i.e., the נפשׁ) is drawn away from it. The relation of the members of the sentence in Job 4:21 is just the same as in Job 4:2 : Will they not die when it is torn away, etc. They then die off in lack of wisdom, i.e., without having acted in accordance with the perishableness of their nature and their distance from God; therefore, rightly considered: unprepared and suddenly, comp. Job 36:12; Pro 5:23. Oehler, correctly: without having been made wiser by the afflictions of God. The utterance of the Spirit, the compass of which is unmistakeably manifest by the strophic division, ends here. Eliphaz now, with reference to it, turns to Job.

Chap. 5 Edit

Verses 1-5 Edit

Job 5:1-5 1 Call now, - is there any one who will answer thee?
And to whom of the holy ones wilt thou turn? 2 For he is a fool who is destroyed by complaining,
And envy slays the simple one. 3 I, even I, have seen a fool taking root:
Then I had to curse his habitation suddenly. 4 His children were far from help,
And were crushed in the gate, without a rescuer; 5 While the hungry ate his harvest,
And even from among thorns they took it away,
And the intriguer snatched after his wealth.
The chief thought of the oracle was that God is the absolutely just One, and infinitely exalted above men and angels. Resuming his speech from this point, Eliphaz tells Job that no cry for help can avail him unless he submits to the all-just One as being himself unrighteous; nor can any cry addressed to the angels avail. This thought, although it is rejected, certainly shows that the writer of the book, as of the prologue, is impressed with the fundamental intuition, that good, like evil, spirits are implicated in the affairs of men; for the “holy ones,” as in Ps 89, are the angels. כּי supports the negation implied in Job 5:1 : If God does not help thee, no creature can help thee; for he who complains and chafes at his lot brings down upon himself the extremest destruction, since he excites the anger of God still more. Such a surly murmurer against God is here called אויל. ל is the Aramaic sign of the object, having the force of quod attinet ad, quoad (Ew. §310, a).
Eliphaz justifies what he has said (Job 5:2) by an example. He had seen such a complainer in increasing prosperity; then he cursed his habitation suddenly, i.e., not: he uttered forthwith a prophetic curse over it, which, though פּתאם might have this meaning (not subito, but illico; cf. Num 12:4), the following futt., equivalent to imperff., do not allow, but: I had then, since his discontent had brought on his destruction, suddenly to mark and abhor his habitation as one overtaken by a curse: the cursing is a recognition of the divine curse, as the echo of which it is intended. This curse of God manifests itself also on his children and his property (Job 5:4.). שׁער is the gate of the city as a court of justice: the phrase, to oppress in the gate, is like Pro 22:22; and the form Hithpa. is according to the rule given in Ges. §54, 2, b. The relative אשׁר, Job 5:5, is here conj. relativa, according to Ges. §155, 1, c. In the connection אל־מצּנּים, אל is equivalent to עד, adeo e spinis, the hungry fall so eagerly upon what the father of those now orphans has reaped, that even the thorny fence does not hold them back. צנּים, as Pro 22:5 : the double praepos. אל־מן is also found elsewhere, but with another meaning. עמּים has only the appearance of being plur.: it is sing. after the form צדּיק, from the verb צמם, nectere, and signifies, Job 18:9, a snare; here, however, not judicii laqueus (Böttch.), but what, besides the form, comes still nearer - the snaremaker, intriguer. The Targ. translates לסטיסין, i.e., λησταί. Most modern critics (Rosenm. to Ebr.) translate: the thirsty (needy), as do all the old translations, except the Targ.; this, however, is not possible without changing the form. The meaning is, that intriguing persons catch up (שׁאף, as Amo 2:7) their wealth.
Eliphaz now tells why it thus befell this fool in his own person and his children.

Verses 6-11 Edit

Job 5:6-11 6 For evil cometh not forth from the dust,
And sorrow sprouteth not from the earth; 7 For man is born to sorrow,
As the sparks fly upward. 8 On the contrary, I would earnestly approach unto God,
And commit my cause to the Godhead; 9 To Him who doeth great things and unsearchable;
Marvellous things till there is no number: 10 Who giveth rain over the earth,
And causeth water to flow over the fields: 11 To set the low in high places;
And those that mourn are exalted to prosperity.
As the oracle above, so Eliphaz says here, that a sorrowful life is allotted to man,[66] so that his wisdom consequently consists in accommodating himself to his lot: if he does not do that, he is an אויל, and thereby perishes. Misfortune does not grow out of the ground like weeds; it is rather established in the divine order of the world, as it is established in the order of nature that sparks of fire should ascend. The old critics understood by רשׁף בני birds of prey, as being swift as lightning (with which the appellation of beasts of prey may be compared, Job 28:8; Job 41:26); but רשׁף signifies also a flame or blaze (Sol 8:6). Children of the flame is an appropriate name for sparks, and flying upwards is naturally peculiar to sparks as to birds of prey; wherefore among modern expositors, Hirz., Ew., Hahn, von Gerl., Ebr., rightly decide in favour of sparks. Schlottmann understands “angels” by children of flame; but the wings, which are given to angels in Scripture, are only a symbol of their freedom of motion. This remarkable interpretation is altogether opposed to the sententious character of Job 5:7, which symbolizes a moral truth by an ordinary thing. The waw in וּבני, which we have translated ”as,” is the so-called waw adaequationis proper to the Proverbs, and also to emblems, e.g., Pro 25:25.
Eliphaz now says what he would do in Job's place. Ew. and Ebr. translate incorrectly, or at least unnecessarily: Nevertheless I will. We translate, according to Ges. §127, 5: Nevertheless I would; and indeed with an emphatic I: Nevertheless I for my part. דּרשׁ with אל is constr. praegnans, like Deu 12:5, sedulo adire. דּברה is not speech, like אמרה but cause, causa, in a judicial sense. אל is God as the Mighty One; אלהים is God in the totality of His variously manifested nature. The fecundity of the earth by rain, and of the fields (חוּצות = rura) by water-springs (cf. Psa 104:10), as the works of God, are intentionally made prominent. He who makes the barren places fruitful, can also change suffering into joy. To His power in nature corresponds His power among men (Job 5:11). לשׂוּם is here only as a variation for השּׂם, as Heiligst. rightly observes: it is equivalent to collacaturus, or qui in eo est ut collocet, according to the mode of expression discussed in Ges. §132, rem. 1, and more fully on Hab 1:17. The construction of Hab 1:11 is still bolder. שׂגב signifies to be high and steep, inaccessible. It is here construed with the acc. of motion: those who go in dirty, black clothes because they mourn, shall be high in prosperity, i.e., come to stand on an unapproachable height of prosperity.

Verses 12-16 Edit

Job 5:12-16 12 Who bringeth to nought the devices of the crafty,
So that their hands cannot accomplish anything; 13 Who catcheth the wise in their craftiness;
And the counsel of the cunning is thrown down. 14 By day they run into darkness,
And grope in the noon-day as in the night. 15 He rescueth from the sword, that from their mouth,
And from the hand of the strong, the needy. 16 Hope ariseth for the weak,
And folly shall close its mouth.
All these attributes are chosen designedly: God brings down all haughtiness, and takes compassion on those who need it. The noun תּוּשׁיּה, coined by the Chokma, and out of Job and Proverbs found only in Mic 6:9; Isa 28:29, and even there in gnomical connection, is formed from ישׁ, essentia, and signifies as it were essentialitas, realitas: it denotes, in relation to all visible things, the truly existing, the real, the objective; true wisdom (i.e., knowledge resting on an objective actual basis), true prosperity, real profiting and accomplishing. It is meant that they accomplish nothing that has actual duration and advantage. Job 5:13 cannot be better translated than by Paul, 1Co 3:19, who here deviates from the lxx. With נמהרה, God's seizure, which prevents the contemplated achievement, is to be thought of. He pours forth over the worldly wise what the prophets call the spirit of deep sleep (תּרדּמה) and of dizziness (עועים). On the other hand, He helps the poor. In מפיהם מחרב the second מן is local: from the sword which proceeds from their mouth (comp. Psa 64:4; Psa 57:5, and other passages). Böttch. translates: without sword, i.e., instrument of power (comp. Job 9:15; Job 21:9); but מן with חרב leads one to expect that that from which one is rescued is to be described (comp. Job 5:20). Ewald corrects מחרב, which Olsh. thinks acute: it is, however, unhebraic, according to our present knowledge of the usage of the language; for the passives of חרב are used of cities, countries, and peoples, but not of individual men. Olsh., in his hesitancy, arrives at no opinion. But the text is sound and beautiful. עלתה with pathetic unaccented ah (Ges. §80, rem. 2, f), from עולה = עולה, as Ps. 92:16 Chethib.

Verses 17-21 Edit

Job 5:17-21 17 Behold, happy is the man whom Eloah correcteth;
So despise not the chastening of the Almighty! 18 For He woundeth, and He also bindeth up;
He bruiseth, and His hands make whole. 19 In six troubles He will rescue thee,
And in seven no evil shall touch thee. 20 In famine He will redeem thee from death,
And in war from the stroke of the sword. 21 When the tongue scourgeth, thou shalt be hidden;
And thou shalt not fear destruction when it cometh.
The speech of Eliphaz now becomes persuasive as it turns towards the conclusion. Since God humbles him who exalts himself, and since He humbles in order to exalt, it is a happy thing when He corrects (הוכיח) us by afflictive dispensations; and His chastisement (מוּסר) is to be received not with a turbulent spirit, but resignedly, yea joyously: the same thought as Pro 3:11-13; Psa 94:12, in both passages borrowed from this; whereas Job 5:18 here, like Hos 6:1; Lam 3:31., refers to Deu 32:39. רפא, to heal, is here conjugated like a הל verb (Ges. §75, rem. 21). Job 5:19 is formed after the manner of the so-called number-proverbs (Pro 6:16; Pro 30:15, Pro 30:18), as also the roll of the judgment of the nations in Amos 1-2: in six troubles, yea in still more than six. רע is the extremity that is perhaps to be feared. In Job 5:20, the praet. is a kind of prophetic praet. The scourge of the tongue recalls the similar promise, Psa 31:21, where, instead of scourge, it is: the disputes of the tongue. שׁוד, from שׁדד violence, disaster, is allied in sound with שׁוט. Isaiah has this passage of the book of Job in his memory when he writes Job 28:15. The promises of Eliphaz now continue to rise higher, and sound more delightful and more glorious.

Verses 22-27 Edit

Job 5:22-27 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,
And from the beasts of the earth thou hast nothing to fear. 23 For thou art in league with the stones of the field,
And the beasts of the field are at peace with thee. 24 And thou knowest that peace is thy pavilion;
And thou searchest thy household, and findest nothing wanting. 25 Thou knowest also that thy seed shall be numerous,
And thy offspring as the herb of the ground. 26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a ripe age,
As shocks of corn are brought in in their season. 27 Lo! this we have searched out, so it is:
Hear it, and give thou heed to it.
The verb שׂחק is construed (Job 5:22) with ל of that which is despised, as Job 39:7, Job 39:18; Job 41:21 [Hebr.]. על־תּירא is the form of subjective negation [vid. Ges. §152, 1: Tr.]: only fear thou not = thou hast no occasion. In Job 5:23, בּריתך is the shortest substantive form for לך בּרית. The whole of nature will be at peace with thee: the stones of the field, that they do not injure the fertility of thy fields; the wild beasts of the field, that they do not hurt thee and thy herds. The same promise that Hosea (Hos 2:20) utters in reference to the last days is here used individually. From this we see how deeply the Chokma had searched into the history of Paradise and the Fall. Since man, the appointed lord of the earth, has been tempted by a reptile, and has fallen by a tree, his relation to nature, and its relation to him, has been reversed: it is an incongruity, which is again as a whole put right (שׁלום), as the false relation of man to God is put right. In Job 5:24, שׁלום (which might also be adj.) is predicate: thou wilt learn (וידעתּ, praet. consec. with accented ultima, as e.g., Deu 4:39, here with Tiphcha initiale s. anterius, which does not indicate the grammatical tone-syllable) that thy tent is peace, i.e., in a condition of contentment and peace on all sides. Job 5:24 is to be arranged: And when thou examinest thy household, then thou lackest nothing, goest not astray, i.e., thou findest everything, without missing anything, in the place where thou seekest it.
Job 5:25 reminds one of the Salomonic Psa 72:16. צאצאים in the Old Testament is found only in Isaiah and the book of Job. The meaning of the noun כּלח, which occurs only here and Job 30:2, is clear. Referring to the verb כּלח, Arabic qahila (qalhama), to be shrivelled up, very aged, it signifies the maturity of old age, - an idea which may be gained more easily if we connect כּלח with כּלה (to be completed), like קשׁח with קשׁה (to be hard).[67]
In the parallel there is the time of the sheaves, when they are brought up to the high threshing-floor, the latest period of harvest. עלה, of the raising of the sheaves to the threshing-floor, as elsewhere of the raising, i.e., the bringing up of the animals to the altar. גּדישׁ is here a heap of sheaves, Arab. kuds, as Job 21:32 a sepulchral heap, Arab. jadat, distinct from אלמּה, a bundle, a single sheaf.
The speech of Eliphaz, which we have broken up into nine strophes, is now ended. Eliphaz concludes it by an epimythionic distich, Job 5:27, with an emphatic nota bene. He speaks at the same time in the name of his companions. These are principles well proved by experience with which he confronts Job. Job needs to lay them to heart: tu scito tibi.
All that Eliphaz says, considered in itself, is blameless. He censures Job's vehemence, which was certainly not to be approved. He says that the destroying judgment of God never touches the innocent, but certainly the wicked; and at the same time expresses the same truth as that placed as a motto to the Psalter in Psa 1:1-6, and which is even brilliantly confirmed in the issue of the history of Job. When we find Isa 57:1, comp. Psa 12:2, in apparent opposition to this, אבד הצּדּיק, it is not meant that the judgment of destruction comes upon the righteous, but that his generation experiences the judgment of his loss (aetati suae perit). And these are eternal truths, that between the Creator and creature, even an angel, there remains an infinite distance, and that no creature possesses a righteousness which it can maintain before God. Not less true is it, that with God murmuring is death, and that it is appointed to sinful man to pass through sorrow. Moreover, the counsel of Eliphaz is the right counsel: I would turn to God, etc. His beautiful concluding exhortation, so rich in promises, crowns his speech.
It has been observed (e.g., by Löwenthal), that if it is allowed that Eliphaz (Job 5:17.) expresses a salutary spiritual design of affliction, all coherence in the book is from the first destroyed. But in reality it is an effect producing not only outward happiness, but also an inward holiness, which Eliphaz ascribes to sorrow. It is therefore to be asked, how it consists with the plan of the book. There is no doctrinal error to be discovered in the speech of Eliphaz, and yet he cannot be considered as a representative of the complete truth of Scripture. Job ought to humble himself under this; but since he does not, we must side with Eliphaz.
He does not represent the complete truth of Scripture: for there are, according to Scripture, three kinds of sufferings, which must be carefully distinguished.[68]
The godless one, who has fallen away from God, is visited with suffering from God; for sin and the punishment of sin (comprehended even in the language in עון and חטּאת) are necessarily connected as cause and effect. This suffering of the godless is the effect of the divine justice in punishment; it is chastisement (מוּסר) under the disposition of wrath (Psa 6:2; Psa 38:2; Jer 10:24.), though not yet final wrath; it is punitive suffering (נקם, נגע, τιμωρία, poena). On the other hand, the sufferings of the righteous flow from the divine love, to which even all that has the appearance of wrath in this suffering must be subservient, as the means only by which it operates: for although the righteous man is not excepted from the weakness and sinfulness of the human race, he can never become an object of the divine wrath, so long as his inner life is directed towards God, and his outward life is governed by the most earnest striving after sanctification. According to the Old and New Testaments, he stands towards God in the relation of a child to his father (only the New Testament idea includes the mystery of the new birth not revealed in the Old Testament); and consequently all sufferings are fatherly chastisements, Deu 8:5; Pro 3:12; Heb 12:6, Rev 3:19, comp. Tob. 12:13 (Vulg.). But this general distinction between the sufferings of the righteous and of the ungodly is not sufficient for the book of Job. The sufferings of the righteous even are themselves manifold. God sends affliction to them more and more to purge away the sin which still has power over them, and rouse them up from the danger of carnal security; to maintain in them the consciousness of sin as well as of grace, and with it the lowliness of penitence; to render the world and its pleasures bitter as gall to them; to draw them from the creature, and bind them to himself by prayer and devotion. This suffering, which has the sin of the godly as its cause, has, however, not God's wrath, but God's love directed towards the preservation and advancement of the godly, as its motive: it is the proper disciplinary suffering (מוּסר or תּוכחת, Pro 3:11; παιδεία, Heb 12). It is this of which Paul speaks, 1Co 11:32. This disciplinary suffering may attain such a high degree as entirely to overwhelm the consciousness of the relation to God by grace; and the sufferer, as frequently in the Psalms, considers himself as one rejected of God, over whom the wrath of God is passing. The deeper the sufferer's consciousness of sin, the more dejected is his mood of sorrow; and still God's thoughts concerning him are thoughts of peace, and not of evil (Jer 29:11). He chastens, not however in wrath, but בּמשׁפּט, with moderation (Jer 10:24).
Nearly allied to this suffering, but yet, as to its cause and purpose, distinct, is another kind of the suffering of the godly. God ordains suffering for them, in order to prove their fidelity to himself, and their earnestness after sanctification, especially their trust in God, and their patience. He also permits Satan, who impeaches them, to tempt them, to sift them as wheat, in order that he may be confounded, and the divine choice justified, - in order that it may be manifest that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, are able to separate them from the love of God, and to tear away their faith (אמונה) from God, which has remained stedfast on Him, notwithstanding every apparent manifestation of wrath. The godly will recognise his affliction as such suffering when it comes upon him in the very midst of his fellowship with God, his prayer and watching, and his struggling after sanctification. For this kind of suffering - trial - Scripture employs the expressions נסּה (Deu 8:2, Deu 8:16) and בּחן (Pro 17:3), πειρασμός (Jam 1:12; 1Pe 1:6., Job 4:19; comp. Sir. 2:1ff.). Such suffering, according to a common figure, is for the godly what the smelting-furnace or the fining-pot is to precious metals. A rich reward awaits him who is found proof against the trial, temptation, and conflict, and comes forth from it as pure, refined gold. Suffering for trial is nearly allied to that for chastisement, in so far as the chastisement is at the same time trial; but distinct from it, in so far as every trial is not also chastisement (i.e., having as its purpose the purging away of still existing sin).
A third kind of the suffering of the righteous is testimony borne by suffering, - reproach, persecution, and perhaps even martyrdom, which are endured for the sake of fidelity to God and His word. While he is blessed who is found proof against trial, he is blessed in himself who endures this suffering (Mat 5:11., and other passages); for every other suffering comes upon man for his own sake, this for God's. In this case there is not even the remotest connection between the suffering and the sinfulness of the sufferer. Ps 44 is a prayer of Israel in the midst of this form of suffering. Σταυρός is the name expressly used for it in the New Testament - suffering for the kingdom of heaven's sake.
Without a knowledge of these different kinds of human suffering, the book of Job cannot be understood. “Whoever sees with spiritual eyes,” says Brentius, “does not judge the moral character of a man by his suffering, but his suffering by his moral character.” Just the want of this spiritual discernment and inability to distinguish the different kinds of suffering is the mistake of the friends, and likewise, from the very first, the mistake of Eliphaz. Convinced of the sincere piety of his friend, he came to Job believing that his suffering was a salutary chastisement of God, which would at last turn out for his good. Proceeding upon this assumption, he blames Job for his murmuring, and bids him receive his affliction with a recognition of human sinfulness and the divine purpose for good. Thus the controversy begins. The causal connection with sin, in which Eliphaz places Job's suffering, is after all the mildest. He does not go further than to remind Job that he is a sinner, because he is a man.
But even this causal connection, in which Eliphaz connects Job's sufferings, though in the most moderate way, with previous sin deserving of punishment, is his πρώτον ψεῦδος. In the next place, Job's suffering is indeed not chastisement, but trial. Jehovah has decreed it for His servant, not to chasten him, but to prove him. This it is that Eliphaz mistakes; and we also should not know it but for the prologue and the corresponding epilogue. Accordingly, the prologue and epilogue are organic parts of the form of the book. If these are removed, its spirit is destroyed.
But the speech of Eliphaz, moreover, beautiful and true as it is, when considered in itself, is nevertheless heartless, haughty, stiff, and cold. For (1.) it does not contain a word of sympathy, and yet the suffering which he beholds is so terribly great: his first word to his friend after the seven days of painful silence is not one of comfort, but of moralizing. (2.) He must know that Job's disease is not the first and only suffering which has come upon him, and that he has endured his previous afflictions with heroic submission; but he ignores this, and acts as though sorrow were now first come upon Job. (3.) Instead of recognising therein the reason of Job's despondency, that he thinks that he has fallen from the love of God, and become an object of wrath, he treats him as self-righteous;[69] and to excite his feelings, presents an oracle to him, which contains nothing but what Job might sincerely admit as true. (4.) Instead of considering that Job's despair and murmuring against God is really of a different kind from that of the godless, he classes them together, and instead of gently correcting him, present to Job the accursed end of the fool, who also murmurs against God, as he has himself seen it. Thus, in consequence of the false application which Eliphaz makes of it, the truth contained in his speech is totally reversed. Thus delicately and profoundly commences the dramatical entanglement. The skill of the poet is proved by the difficulty which the expositor has in detecting that which is false in the speech of Eliphaz. The idea of the book does not float on the surface. It is clothed with flesh and blood. It is submerged in the very action and history.

Chap. 6 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Job 6:1-4 1 Then began Job, and said: 2 Oh that my vexation were but weighed,
And they would put my suffering in the balance against it! 3 Then it would be heavier than the sand of the sea:
Therefore my words are rash. 4 The arrows of the Almighty are in me,
The burning poison whereof drinketh up my spirit;
The terrors of Eloah set themselves in array against me.
Vexation (כּעשׂ) is what Eliphaz has reproached him with (Job 5:2). Job wishes that his vexation were placed in one scale and his היּה (Keri הוּה) in the other, and weighed together (יחד). The noun היּה (הוּה), from הוה (היה), flare, hiare, signifies properly hiatus, then vorago, a yawning gulf, χάσμα, then some dreadful calamity (vid., Hupfeld on Psa 5:10). נשׂא, like נטל, Isa 11:15, to raise the balance, as pendere, to let it hang down; attollant instead of the passive. This is his desire; and if they but understood the matter, it would then be manifest (כּי־עתּה, as Job 3:13, which see), or: indeed then would it be manifest (כּי certainly in this inferential position has an affirmative signification: vid., Gen 26:22; Gen 29:32, and comp. 1Sa 25:34; 2Sa 2:27) that his suffering is heavier than the unmeasurable weight of the sand of the sea. יכבּד is neuter with reference to והיּתי. לעוּ, with the tone on the penult., which is not to be accounted for by the rhythm as in Psa 37:20; Psa 137:7, cannot be derived from לעה, but only from לוּע, not however in the signification to suck down, but from לוּע = לעה, Arab. lagiya or also lagâ, temere loqui, inania effutire, - a signification which suits excellently here.[70]
His words are like those of one in delirium. עמּדי is to be explained according to Psa 38:3; חמתם, according to Psa 7:15. יערכוּני is short for עלי מלחמה יערכי, they make war against me, set themselves in battle array against me. Böttcher, without brachylogy: they cause me to arm myself, put one of necessity on the defensive, which does not suit the subject. The terrors of God strike down all defence. The wrath of God is irresistible. The sting of his suffering, however, is the wrath of God which his spirit drinks as a draught of poison (comp. Job 21:20), and consequently wrings from him, even from his deepest soul, the thought that God is become his enemy: therefore his is an endless suffering, and therefore is it that he speaks so despondingly.

Verses 5-7 Edit

Job 6:5-7 5 Doth the wild ass bray at fresh grass?
Or loweth an ox over good fodder? 6 Is that which is tasteless eaten unsalted?
Or is there flavour in the white of an egg? 7 That which my soul refused to touch,
The same is as my loathsome food.
The meaning of the first two figures is: He would not complain, if there were really no cause for it; of the two others: It is not to be expected that he should smile at his suffering, and enjoy it as delicate food. על־בּלילו I have translated “over good fodder,” for בּליל is mixed fodder of different kinds of grain, farrago. “Without salt” is virtually adjective to תּפל, insipid, tasteless. What is without salt one does not relish, and there is no flavour in the slime of the yolk of an egg, i.e., the white of an egg (Targ.),[71] or in the slime of purslain (according to Chalmetho in the Peschito, Arab. ḥamqâ), fatua = purslain), which is less probable on account of ריר (slime, not: broth): there is no flavour so that it can be enjoyed. Thus is it with his sufferings. Those things which he before inwardly detested (dirt and dust of leprosy) are now sicut fastidiosa cibi mei, i.e., as loathsome food which he must eat. The first clause, Job 6:7, must be taken as an elliptic relative clause forming the subject: vid., Ges. §123, 3, c. Such disagreeable counsel is now like his unclean, disgusting diet. Eliphaz desires him to take them as agreeable. דּוי in כּדרי is taken by Ges. Ew., Hahn, Schlottm., Olsh. (§165, b), as constr. from דּוי, sickness, filth; but דּוי, as plur. from דּוה, sick, unclean (especially of female menstruation, Isa 30:22), as Heiligst. among modern commentators explains it, is far more suitable. Hitz. (as anonym. reviewer of Ewald's Job in the liter. Centralblatt) translates: they (my sufferings) are the morsels of my food; but the explanation of המּה is not correct, nor is it necessary to go to the Arabic for an explanation of כּדרי. It is also unnecessary, with Böttcher, to read כּדוי (such is my food in accordance with my disease); Job does not here speak of his diet as an invalid.

Verses 8-10 Edit

Job 6:8-10 8 Would that my request were fulfilled,
And that Eloah would grant my expectation, 9 That Eloah were willing and would crush me,
Let loose His hand and cut me off: 10 Then I should still have comfort - (I should exult in unsparing pain) -
That I have not disowned the words of the Holy One.
His wish refers to the ending of his suffering by death. Hupfeld prefers to read ותאותי instead of ותקותי (Job 6:8); but death, which he desires, he even indeed expects. This is just the paradox, that not life, but death, is his expectation. “Cut me off,” i.e., my soul or my life, my thread of life (Job 27:8; Isa 38:12). The optative יתּן מי (Ges. §§136, 1) is followed by optative futt., partly of the so-called jussive form, as יאל, velit (Hiph. from ואל, velle), and יתּר, solvat (Hiph. from נתר). In the phrase יד התּיר, the stretching out of the hand is regarded as the loosening of what was hitherto bound. The conclusion begins with וּתהי, just like Job 13:5. But it is to be asked whether by consolation speedy death is to be understood, and the clause with כּי gives the ground of his claim for the granting of the wish, - or whether he means that just this: not having disowned the words of the Holy One (comp. Job 23:11., and אמרי־אל in the mouth of Balaam, the non-Israelitish prophet, Num 24:4, Num 24:16), would be his consolation in the midst of death. With Hupfeld we decide in favour of the latter, with Psa 119:50 in view: this consciousness of innocence is indeed throughout the whole book Job's shield and defence. If, however, נחמתי (with Kametz impurum) points towards כּי, quod, etc., the clause ואסלּדה is parenthetical. The cohortative is found thus parenthetical with a conjunctive sense also elsewhere (Psa 40:6; Psa 51:18). Accordingly: my comfort - I would exult, etc. - would be that I, etc. The meaning of סלד, tripudiare, is confirmed by the lxx ἡλλόμην, in connection with the Arabic ṣalada (of a galloping horse which stamps hard with its fore-feet), according to which the Targ. also translates ואבוּע (I will rejoice).[72]
For יחמל לא, comp. Isa 30:14. (break in pieces unsparingly). יחמל לא certainly appears as though it must be referred to God (Ew., Hahn, Schlottm., and others), since חילה sounds feminine; but one can either pronounce חילה = חיל as Milel (Hitz.), or take יחמל לא adverbially, and not as an elliptical dependent clause (as Ges. §147, rem. 1), but as virtually an adjective: in pain unsparing.

Verses 11-13 Edit

Job 6:11-13 11 What is my strength, that I should wait,
And my end, that I should be patient? 12 Is my strength like the strength of stones?
Or is my flesh brazen? 13 Or am I then not utterly helpless,
And continuance is driven from me?
The meaning of the question (Job 6:11); is: Is not my strength already so wasted away, and an unfortunate end so certain to me, that a long calm waiting is as impossible as it is useless? נפשׁ האריך, to draw out the soul, is to extend and distribute the intensity of the emotion, to be forbearing, to be patient. The question (Job 6:11) is followed by אם, usual in double questions: or is my strength stone, etc. האם, which is so differently explained by commentators, is after all to be explained best from Num. 17:28, the only other passage in which it occurs. Here it is the same as ה אם, and in Num. הלא אם: or is it not so: we shall perish quickly altogether? Thus we explain the passage before us. The interrogative ה is also sometimes used elsewhere for הלא, Job 20:4; Job 41:1 (Ges. §153, 3); the additional אם stands per inversionem in the second instead of the first place: nonne an = an nonne, annon: or is it not so: is not my help in me = or am I not utterly helpless? Ewald explains differently (§356, a), according to which אם, from the formula of an oath, is equivalent to לא. The meaning is the same. Continuance, תּוּשׁיּה, i.e., power of endurance, reasonable prospect is driven away, frightened away from him, is lost for him.

Verses 14-17 Edit

Job 6:14-17 14 To him who is consumed gentleness is due from his friend,
Otherwise he might forsake the fear of the Almighty. 15 My brothers are become false as a torrent,
As the bed of torrents which vanish away - 16 They were blackish from ice,
Snow is hidden in them - 17 In the time, when warmth cometh to them, they are destroyed.
It becometh hot, they are extinguished from their place.
Ewald supplies between Job 6:14 and Job 6:14 two lines which have professedly fallen out (“from a brother sympathy is due to the oppressed of God, in order he may not succumb to excessive grief”). Hitzig strongly characterizes this interpolation as a “pure swindle.” There is really nothing wanting; but we need not even take חסד, with Hitz., in the signification reproach (like Pro 14:34): if reproach cometh to the sufferer from his friend, he forsaketh the fear of God. מס (from מסס, liquefieri) is one who is inwardly melted, the disheartened. Such an one should receive חסד from his friend, i.e., that he should restore him ἐν πνεύματι πραΰ́τητος (Gal 6:1). The waw (Job 6:14) is equivalent to alioqui with the future subjunctive (vid., Ges. §127, 5). Harshness might precipitate him into the abyss from which love will keep him back. So Schnurrer: Afflicto exhibenda est ab amico ipsius humanitas, alioqui hic reverentiam Dei exuit. Such harshness instead of charity meets him from his brothers, i.e., friends beloved as brothers. In vain he has looked to them for reviving consolation. Theirs is no comfort; it is like the dried-up water of a wady. נחל is a mountain or forest brook, which comes down from the height, and in spring is swollen by melting ice and the snow that thaws on the mountain-tops; χειμάῤῥους, i.e., a torrent swollen by winter water. The melting blocks of ice darken the water of such a wady, and the snow falling together is quickly hidden in its bosom (התעלּם). If they begin to be warmed (Pual זרב, cognate to צרב, Eze 21:3, aduri, and שׂרף, comburere), suddenly they are reduced to nothing (נצמת, exstingui); they vanish away בּחמּו, when it becomes hot. The suffix is, with Ew., Olsh., and others, to be taken as neuter; not with Hirz., to be referred to a suppressed את: when the season grows hot. job bewails the disappointment he has experienced, the ”decline” of charity[73] still further, by keeping to the figure of the mountain torrent.

Verses 18-20 Edit

Job 6:18-20 18 The paths of their course are turned about,
They go up in the waste and perish. 19 The travelling bands of Têma looked for them,
The caravans of Saba hoped for them; 20 They were disappointed on account of their trust,
They came thus far, and were red with shame.
As the text is pointed, ארחות, Job 6:18, are the paths of the torrents. Hitz., Ew., and Schlottm., however, correct ארחות, caravans, which Hahn even thinks may be understood without correction, since he translates: the caravans of their way are turned about (which is intended to mean: aside from the way that they are pursuing), march into the desert and perish (i.e., because the streams on which they reckoned are dried up). So, in reality, all modern commentators understand it; but is it likely that the poet would let the caravans perish in Job 6:18, and in Job 6:19. still live? With this explanation, Job 6:19. drag along tautologically, and the feebler figure follows the stronger. Therefore we explain as follows: the mountain streams, נחלים, flow off in shallow serpentine brooks, and the shallow waters completely evaporate by the heat of the sun. בתּהוּ עלה signifies to go up into nothing (comp. Isa 40:23), after the analogy of בעשׁן כּלה, to pass away in smoke. Thus e.g., also Mercier: in auras abeunt, in nihilum rediguntur. What next happens is related as a history, Job 6:19., hence the praett. Job compares his friends to the wady swollen by ice and snow water, and even to the travelling bands themselves languishing for water. He thirsts for friendly solace, but the seeming comfort which his friends utter is only as the scattered meandering waters in which the mountain brook leaks out. The sing. בּטח individualizes; it is unnecessary with Olsh. to read בּטחוּ.

Verses 21-23 Edit

Job 6:21-23 21 For now ye are become nothing;
You see misfortune, and are affrighted. 22 Have I then said, Give unto me,
And give a present for me from your substance, 23 And deliver me from the enemy's hand,
And redeem me from the hand of the tyrant?
In Job 6:21, the reading wavers between לו and לא, with the Keri לו; but לו, which is consequently the lectio recepta, gives no suitable meaning, only in a slight degree appropriate, as this: ye are become it, i.e., such a mountain brook; for הייתם is not to be translated, with Stickel and others, estis, but facti estis. The Targum, however, translates after the Chethib: ye are become as though ye had never been, i.e., nothingness. Now, since לא, Aramaic לה, can (as Dan 4:32 shows) be used as a substantive (a not = a null), and the thought: ye are become nothing, your friendship proves itself equal to null, suits the imagery just used, we decide in favour of the Chethib; then in the figure the בתּהוּ עלה corresponds most to this, and is also, therefore, not to be explained away. The lxx, Syr., Vulg., translate לי instead of לו: ye are become it (such deceitful brooks) to me. Ewald proposes to read לי הייתם עתה כן (comp. the explanation, Ges. §137, rem. 3), - a conjecture which puts aside all difficulty; but the sentence with לא commends itself as being bolder and more expressive. All the rest explains itself. It is remarkable that in Job 6:21 the reading תּירוּ is also found, instead of תּראוּ: ye dreaded misfortune, and ye were then affrighted. הבוּ is here, as an exception, properispomenon, according to Ges. §29, 3. כּח, as Pro 5:10; Lev 26:20, what one has obtained by putting forth one's strength, syn. חיל, outward strength.

Verses 24-27 Edit

Job 6:24-27 24 Teach me, and I will be silent,
And cause me to understand wherein I have failed. 25 How forcible are words in accordance with truth!
But what doth reproof from you reprove? 26 Do you think to reprove words?
The words of one in despair belong to the wind. 27 Ye would even cast lots for the orphan,
And traffic about your friend. נמרצוּ, Job 6:25, in the signification of נמלצוּ (Psa 119:103), would suit very well: how smooth, delicate, sweet, are, etc. (Hirz., Ew., Schlottm.); but this meaning does not suit Job 16:3. Hupfeld, by comparison with mar, bitter, translates: quantumvis acerba; but מה may signify quidquid, though not quantumvis. Hahn compares the Arabic verb to be sick, and translates: in what respect are right words bad; but physical disease and ethical badness are not such nearly related ideas. Ebrard: honest words are not taken amiss; but with an inadmissible application of Job 16:3. Von Gerl. is best: how strong or forcible are, etc. מרץ is taken as related to פּרץ, in the signification to penetrate; Hiph. to goad; Niph. to be furnished with the property of penetrating, - used here of penetrating speech; 1Ki 2:8, of a curse inevitably carried out; Mic 2:10, of unsparing destruction. Words which keep the straight way to truth, go to the heart; on the contrary, what avails the reproving from you, i.e., which proceeds from you? הוכח, inf. absol. as Pro 25:27, and in but a few other passages as subject; מכּם, as Job 5:15, the sword going forth out of their mouth. In Job 6:26 the waw introduces a subordinate adverbial clause: while, however, the words of one in despair belong to the wind, that they may be carried away by it, not to the judgment which retains and analyzes them, without considering the mood of which they are the hasty expression. The futt. express the extent to which their want of feeling would go, if the circumstances for it only existed; they are subjunctive, as Job 3:13, Job 3:16. גּורל, the lot, is to be supplied to תּפּילוּ, as 1Sa 14:42. The verb כּרה, however, does not here signify to dig, so that שׁחת, a pit, should be supplied (Heiligst.), still less: dig out earth, and cast it on any one (Ebrard); but has the signification of buying and selling with על of the object, exactly like Job 39:27.

Verses 28-30 Edit

Job 6:28-30 28 And now be pleased to observe me keenly,
I will not indeed deceive you to your face. 29 Try it again, then: let there be no injustice;
Try it again, my righteousness still stands. 30 Is there wrong on my tongue?
Or shall not my palate discern iniquity?
He begs them to observe him more closely; בּ פּנה, as Ecc 2:11, to observe scrutinizingly. אם is the sign of negative asseveration (Ges. §155, 2, f). He will not indeed shamelessly give them the lie, viz., in respect to the greatness and inexplicableness of his suffering. The challenging שׁוּבוּ we do not translate: retrace your steps, but: begin afresh, to which both the following clauses are better suited. So Schlottm. and von Gerlach. Hahn retains the Chethib שׁובי, in the signification: my answer; but that is impossible: to answer is השׁיב, not שׁוּב. The עוד drawn to שׁובו by Rebia mugrasch is more suitably joined with צדקי־בה, in which בּהּ refers neutrally to the matter of which it treats. They are to try from the beginning to find that comfort which will meet the case. Their accusations are עולה; his complaints, on the contrary, are fully justified. He does not grant that the outburst of his feeling of pain (Job 3) is עולה: he has not so completely lost his power against temptation, that he would not restrain himself, if he should fall into הוּות. Thus wickedness, which completely contaminates feeling and utterance, is called (Psa 52:4).

Chap. 7 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Job 7:1-3 1 Has not a man warfare upon earth,
And his days are like the days of a hireling? 2 Like a servant who longs for the shade,
And like a hireling who waits for his wages, 3 So am I made to possess months of disappointment,
And nights of weariness are appointed to me.
The conclusion is intended to be: thus I wait for death as refreshing and rest after hard labour. He goes, however, beyond this next point of comparison, or rather he remains on this side of it. צבא is not service of a labourer in the field, but active military service, then fatigue, toil in general (Isa 40:20; Dan 10:1). Job 7:2 Ewald and others translate incorrectly: as a slave longs, etc. כּ can never introduce a comparative clause, except an infinitive, as e.g., Isa 5:24, which can then under the regimen of this כּ be continued by a verb. fin.; but it never stands directly for כּאשׁר, as כּמו does in rare instances. In Isa 5:3, שׁוא retains its primary signification, nothingness, error, disappointment (Job 15:31): months that one after another disappoint the hope of the sick. By this it seems we ought to imagine the friends as not having come at the very commencement of his disease. Elephantiasis is a disease which often lasts for years, and slowly but inevitably destroys the body. On מנּוּ, adnumeraverunt = adnumeratae sunt, vid., Ges. §137, 3*.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Job 7:4-6 4 If I lie down, I think:
When shall I arise and the evening break away?
And I become weary with tossing to and fro unto the morning dawn. 5 My flesh is clothed with worms and clods of earth;
My skin heals up to fester again. 6 My days are swifter than a weaver's shuttle,
And vanish without hope.
Most modern commentators take מדּד as Piel from מדד: the night is extended (Renan: la nuit se prolonge), which is possible; comp. Ges. §52, 2. But the metre suggests another rendering: מדּד constr. of מדּד from נדד, to flee away: and when fleeing away of the evening. The night is described by its commencement, the late evening, to make the long interval of the sleeplessness and restlessness of the invalid prominent. In נדדים and מדד there is a play of words (Ebrard). רמּה, worms, in reference to the putrifying ulcers; and גּוּשׁ (with זעירא )ג, clod of earth, from the cracked, scaly, earth-coloured skin of one suffering with elephantiasis. The praett. are used of that which is past and still always present, the futt. consec. of that which follows in and with the other. The skin heals, רגע (which we render with Ges., Ew., contrahere se); the result is that it becomes moist again. ימּאס, according to Ges. §67, rem. 4 = ימּס, Psa 58:8. His days pass swiftly away; the result is that they come to an end without any hope whatever. ארג is like κερκίς, radius, a weaver's shuttle, by means of which the weft is shot between the threads of the warp as they are drawn up and down. His days pass as swiftly by as the little shuttle passes backwards and forwards in the warp.
Next follows a prayer to God for the termination of his pain, since there is no second life after the present, and consequently also the possibility of requital ceases with death.

Verses 7-11 Edit

Job 7:7-11 7 Remember that my life is a breath,
That my eye will never again look on prosperity. 8 The eye that looketh upon me seeth me no more;
Thine eyes look for me, - I am no more! 9 The clouds are vanished and passed away,
So he that goeth down to Sheôl cometh not up. 10 He returneth no more to his house,
And his place knoweth him no more. 11 Therefore I will not curb my mouth;
I will speak in the anguish of my spirit;
I will complain in the bitterness of my soul.
We see good, i.e., prosperity and joy, only in the present life. It ends with death. שׁוּב with ל infin. is a synonym of הוסיף, Job 20:9. No eye (עין femin.) which now sees me (prop. eye of my seer, as Gen 16:13, comp. Job 20:7; Psa 31:12, for ראני, Isa 29:15, or ראני, Isa 47:10; according to another reading, ראי: no eye of seeing, i.e., no eye with the power of seeing, from ראי, vision) sees me again, even if thy eyes should be directed towards me to help me; my life is gone, so that I can no more be the subject of help. For from Sheôl there is no return, no resurrection (comp. Psa 103:16 for the expression); therefore will I at least give free course to my thoughts and feelings (comp. Psa 77:4; Isa 38:15, for the expression). The גּם, Job 7:11, is the so-called גם talionis; the parallels cited by Michalis are to the point, Eze 16:43; Mal 2:9; Psa 52:7. Here we first meet with the name of the lower world; and in the book of Job we learn the ancient Israelitish conception of it more exactly than anywhere else. We have here only to do with the name in connection with the grammatical exposition. שׁאול (usually gen. fem.) is now almost universally derived from שׁאל = שׁעל, to be hollow, to be deepened; and aptly so, for they imagined the Sheôl as under ground, as Num 16:30, Num 16:33 alone shows, on which account even here, as from Gen 37:35 onwards, שׁאולה ירד is everywhere used. It is, however, open to question whether this derivation is correct: at least passages like Isa 5:14; Hab 2:5; Pro 30:15., show that in the later usage of the language, שׁאל, to demand, was thought of in connection with it; derived from which Sheôl signifies (1) the appointed inevitable and inexorable demanding of everything earthly (an infinitive noun like אלוהּ, פּקוד); (2) conceived of as space, the place of shadowy duration whither everything on earth is demanded; (3) conceived of according to its nature, the divinely appointed fury which gathers in and engulfs everything on the earth. Job knows nothing of a demanding back, a redemption from Sheôl.

Verses 12-16 Edit

Job 7:12-16 12 Am I a sea or a sea-monster,
That thou settest a watch over me? 13 For I said, My bed shall comfort me;
My couch shall help me to bear my complaint. 14 Then thou scaredst me with dreams,
And thou didst wake me up in terror from visions, 15 So that my soul chose suffocation,
Death rather than this skeleton. 16 I loathe it, I would not live alway;
Let me alone, for my days are breath.
Since a watch on the sea can only be designed to effect the necessary precautions at its coming forth from the shores, it is probable that the poet had the Nile in mind when he used ים, and consequently the crocodile by תּנּין. The Nile is also called ים in Isa 19:5, and in Homer ὠκεανός, Egyptian oham (= ὠκεανός), and is even now called (at least by the Bedouins) bahhr (Arab. bahr). The illustrations of the book, says von Gerlach correctly, are chiefly Egyptian. On the contrary, Hahn thinks the illustration is unsuitable of the Nile, because it is not watched on account of its danger, but its utility; and Schlottman thinks it even small and contemptible without assigning a reason. The figure is, however, appropriate. As watches are set to keep the Nile in channels as soon as it breaks forth, and as men are set to watch that they may seize the crocodile immediately he moves here or there; so Job says all his movements are checked at the very commencement, and as soon as he desires to be more cheerful he feels the pang of some fresh pain. In Job 7:13, ב after נשׂא is partitive, as Num 11:17; Mercier correctly: non nihil querelam meam levabit. If he hopes for such repose, it forthwith comes to nought, since he starts up affrighted from his slumber. Hideous dreams often disturb the sleep of those suffering with elephantiasis, says Avicenna (in Stickel, S. 170). Then he desires death; he wishes that his difficulty of breathing would increase to suffocation, the usual end of elephantiasis. מחנק is absolute (without being obliged to point it מחנק with Schlottm.), as e.g., מרמס, Isa 10:6 (Ewald, §160, c). He prefers death to these his bones, i.e., this miserable skeleton or framework of bone to which he is wasted away. He despises, i.e., his life, Job 9:21. Amid such suffering he would not live for ever. הבל, like רוּח, Job 7:7.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Job 7:17-19 17 What is man that Thou magnifiest him,
And that Thou turnest Thy heart toward him, 18 And visitest him every morning,
Triest him every moment? 19 How long dost Thou not look away from me,
Nor lettest me alone till I swallow down my spittle?
The questions in Job 7:17. are in some degree a parody on Psa 8:5, comp. Psa 144:3, Lam 3:23. There it is said that God exalts puny man to a kingly and divine position among His creatures, and distinguishes him continually with new tokens of His favour; here, that instead of ignoring him, He makes too much of him, by selecting him, perishable as he is, as the object of ever new and ceaseless sufferings. כּמּה, quamdiu, Job 7:19, is construed with the praet. instead of the fut.: how long will it continue that Thou turnest not away Thy look of anger from me? as the synonymous עד־מתי, quousque, is sometimes construed with the praet. instead of the fut., e.g., Psa 80:5. “Until I swallow my spittle” is a proverbial expression for the minimum of time.

Verses 20-21 Edit

Job 7:20-21 20 Have I sinned - what could I do to Thee?!
O Observer of men,
Why dost Thou make me a mark to Thee,
And am I become a burden to Thee? 21 And why dost Thou not forgive my transgression,
And put away my iniquity?
For now I will lay myself in the dust,
And Thou seekest for me, and I am no more. “I have sinned” is hypothetical (Ges. §155, 4, a): granted that I have sinned. According to Ewald and Olsh., אפעל־לך מה defines it more particularly: I have sinned by what I have done to Thee, in my behaviour towards Thee; but how tame and meaningless such an addition would be! It is an inferential question: what could I do to Thee? i.e., what harm, or also, since the fut. may be regulated by the praet.: what injury have I thereby done to Thee? The thought that human sin, however, can detract nothing from the blessedness and glory of God, underlies this. With a measure of sinful bitterness, Job calls God האדם נצר, the strict and constant observer of men, per convicium fere, as Gesenius not untruly observes, nevertheless without a breach of decorum divinum (Renan: O Espion de l'homme), since the appellation, in itself worthy of God (Isa 27:3), is used here only somewhat unbecomingly. מפגּע is not the target for shooting at, which is rather מטּרה (Job 16:12; Lam 3:12), but the object on which one rushes with hostile violence (בּ פּגע). Why, says Job, hast Thou made me the mark of hostile attack, and why am I become a burden to Thee? It is not so in our text; but according to Jewish tradition, עלי, which we now have, is only a סופרים תקון, correctio scribarum,[74] for אליך, which was removed as bordering on blasphemy: why am I become a burden to Thee, so that Thou shouldest seek to get rid of me? This reading I should not consider as the original, in spite of the tradition, if it were not confirmed by the lxx, εἰμὶ δὲ ἐπὶ σοὶ φορτίον.
It is not to be objected, that he who is fully conscious of sin cannot consider the strictest divine punishment even of the smallest sin unjust. The suffering of one whose habitual state is pleasing to God, and who is conscious of the divine favour, can never be explained from, and measured according to, his infirmities: the infirmities of one who trusts in God, or the believer, and the severity of the divine justice in the punishment of sin, have no connection with one another. Consequently, when Eliphaz bids Job regard his affliction as chastisement, Job is certainly in the wrong to dispute with God concerning the magnitude of it: he would rather patiently yield, if his faith could apprehend the salutary design of God in his affliction; but after his affliction once seems to him to spring from wrath and enmity, and not from the divine purpose of mercy, after the phantom of a hostile God is come between him and the brightness of the divine countenance, he cannot avoid falling into complaint of unmercifulness. For this the speech of Eliphaz is in itself not to blame: he had most feelingly described to him God's merciful purpose in this chastisement, but he is to blame for not having taken the right tone.
The speech of Job is directed against the unsympathetic and reproving tone which the friends, after their long silence, have assumed immediately upon his first manifestation of anguish. He justifies to them his complaint (ch. 3) as the natural and just outburst of his intense suffering, desires speedy death as the highest joy with which God could reward his piety, complains of his disappointment in his friends, from whom he had expected affectionate solace, but by whom he sees he is now forsaken, and earnestly exhorts them to acknowledge the justice of his complaint (ch. 6). But can they? Yes, they might and should. For Job thinks he is no longer an object of divine favour: an inward conflict, which is still more terrible than hell, is added to his outward suffering. For the damned must give glory to God, because they recognise their suffering as just punishment: Job, however, in his suffering sees the wrath of God, and still is at the same time conscious of his innocence. The faith which, in the midst of his exhaustion of body and soul, still knows and feels God to be merciful, and can call him “my God,” like Asaph in Ps 73, - this faith is well-nigh overwhelmed in Job by the thought that God is his enemy, his pains the arrows of God. The assumption is false, but on this assumption Job's complaints (ch. 3) are relatively just, including, what he himself says, that they are mistaken, thoughtless words of one in despair. But that despair is sin, and therefore also those curses and despairing inquiries!
Is not Eliphaz, therefore, in the right? His whole treatment is wrong. Instead of distinguishing between the complaint of his suffering and the complaint of God in Job's outburst of anguish, he puts them together, without recognising the complaint of his suffering to be the natural and unblamable result of its extraordinary magnitude, and as a sympathizing friend falling in with it. But with regard to the complaints of God, Eliphaz, acting as though careful for his spiritual welfare, ought not to have met them with his reproofs, especially as the words of one heavily afflicted deserve indulgence and delicate treatment; but he should have combated their false assumption. First, he should have said to Job, “Thy complaints of thy suffering are just, for thy suffering is incomparably great.” In the next place, “Thy cursing thy birth, and thy complaint of God who has given thee thy life, might seem just if it were true that God has rejected thee; but that is not true: even in suffering He designs thy good; the greater the suffering, the greater the glory.” By this means Eliphaz should have calmed Job's despondency, so as to destroy his false assumption; but he begins wrongly, and consequently what he says at last so truly and beautifully respecting the glorious issue of a patient endurance of chastisement, makes no impression on Job. He has not fanned the faintly burning wick, but his speech is a cold and violent breath which is calculated entirely to extinguish it.
After Job has defended the justice of his complaints against the insensibility of the friends, he gives way anew to lamentation. Starting from the wearisomeness of human life in general, he describes the greatness of his own suffering, which has received no such recognition on the part of the friends: it is a restless, torturing death without hope (Job 7:1-6). Then he turns to God: O remember that there is no second life after death, and that I am soon gone for ever; therefore I will utter my woe without restraint (Job 7:7-11). Thus far (from Job 6:1 onwards) I find in Job's speech no trace of blasphemous or sinful despair. When he says (Job 6:8-12), How I would rejoice if God, whose word I have never disowned, would grant me my request, and end my life, for I can no longer bear my suffering, - I cannot with Ewald see in its despair rising to madness, which (Job 7:10) even increases to frantic joy. For Job's disease was indeed really in the eyes of men as hopeless as he describes it. In an incurable disease, however, imploring God to hasten death, and rejoicing at the thought of approaching dissolution, is not a sin, and is not to be called despair, inasmuch as one does not call giving up all hope of recovery despair.
Moreover, it must not be forgotten that the book of Job is an oriental book, and therefore some allowance must be made of the intensity and strength of conception of the oriental nature: then that it is a poetical book, and that frenzy and madness may not be also understood by the intensified expression in which poetry, which idealizes the real, clothes pain and joy: finally, that it is an Old Testament book, and that in the Old Testament the fundamental nature of man is indeed sanctified, but not yet subdued; the spirit shines forth as a light in a dark place, but the day, the ever constant consciousness of favour and life, has not yet dawned. The desire of a speedy termination of life (Job 6:8-12) is in Job 7:7-11 softened down even to a request for an alleviation of suffering, founded on this, that death terminates life for ever. In the Talmud (b. Bathra, 16, a) it is observed, on this passage, that Job denies the resurrection of the dead (המתים בתחיים איוב שׁכפר מכאן); but Job knows nothing of a resurrection of the dead, and what one knows not, one cannot deny. He knows only that after death, the end of the present life, there is no second life in this world, only a being in Sheôl, which is only an apparent existence = no existence, in which all praise of God is silent, because He no longer reveals himself there as to the living in this world (Psa 6:6; Psa 30:10; Psa 88:11-13; Psa 115:17). From this chaotic conception of the other side of the grave, against which even the psalmists still struggle, the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead had not been set forth at the time of Job, and of the author of the book of Job. The restoration of Israel buried in exile (Ezek 37) first gave the impulse to it; and the resurrection of the Prince of Life, who was laid in the grave, set the seal upon it. The resurrection of Jesus Christ was first of all the actual overthrow of Hades.Mortis seu inferni, observes Brentius, in accordance with Scriptures, ea conditio est, ut natura sua quoscunque comprehenderit tantisper teneat nec dimittat, dum Christus, filius Dei, morte ad infernum descenderit, h.e. perierit; per hunc enim devicta morte et inferno liberantur quotquot fide renovati sunt. This great change in the destiny of the dead was incomplete, and the better hope which became brighter and brighter as the advent of death's Conqueror drew near was not yet in existence. For if after death, or what is the same thing, after the descent into Sheôl, there was only a non-existence for Job, it is evident that on the one hand he can imagine a life after death only as a return to the present world (such a return does, however, not take place), on the other hand that no divine revelation said anything to him of a future life which should infinitely compensate for a return to the present world. And since he knows nothing of a future existence, it can consequently not be said that he denies it: he knows nothing of it, and even his dogmatizing friends have nothing to tell him about it. We shall see by and by, how the more his friends torment him, the more he is urged on in his longing for a future life; but the word of revelation, which could alone change desire into hope, is wanting. The more tragic and heart-rending Job's desire to be freed by death from his unbearable suffering is, the more touching and importunate is his prayer that God may consider that now soon he can no longer be an object of His mercy. Just the same request is found frequently in the Psalms, e.g., Psa 89:48, comp. Psa 103:14-16 : it involves nothing that is opposed to the Old Testament fear of God. Thus far we can trace nothing of frenzy and madness, and of despair only in so far as Job has given up the hope (נואשׁ) of his restoration, - not however of real despair, in which a man impatiently and forcibly snaps asunder the bond of trust which unites him to God. If the poet had anywhere made Job to go to such a length in despair, he would have made Satan to triumph over him.
Now, however, the last two strophes follow in which Job is hurried forward to the use of sinful language, Job 7:12-16 : Am I a sea or a sea-monster, etc.; and Job 7:17-21 : What is man, that thou accountest him so great, etc. We should nevertheless be mistaken if we thought there were sin here in the expressions by which Job describes God's hostility against himself. We may compare e.g., Lam 3:9, Lam 3:10 : “He hath enclosed my ways with hewn stone, He hath made any paths crooked; He is to me as a bear lying in wait, a lion in the thicket.” It is, moreover, not Job's peculiar sin that he thinks God has changed to an enemy against him; that is the view which comes from his vision being beclouded by the conflict through which he is passing, as is frequently the case in the Psalms. His sin does not even consist in the inquiries, How long? and Wherefore? The Psalms in that case would abound in sin. But the sin is that he dwells upon these doubting questions, and thus attributes apparent mercilessness and injustice to God. And the friends constantly urge him on still deeper in this sin, the more persistently they attribute his suffering to his own unrighteousness. Jeremiah (in Lamentations 3), ), after similar complaints, adds: Then I repeated this to my heart, and took courage from it: the mercies of Jehovah, they have no end; His compassions do not cease, etc. Many of the Psalms that begin sorrowfully, end in the same way; faith at length breaks through the clouds of doubt. But it should be remembered that the change of spiritual condition which, e.g., in Psa 6:1-10, is condensed to the narrow limits of a lyric composition of eleven verses, is here in Job worked out with dramatical detail as a passage of his life's history: his faith, once so heroic, only smoulders under ashes; the friends, instead of fanning it to a flame, bury it still deeper, until at last it is set free from its bondage by Jehovah himself, who appears in the whirlwind. Bildad's First Speech - Job 8[75]

Chap. 8 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Job 8:1-4 1 Then began Bildad the Shuhite, and said: 2 How long wilt thou utter such things,
And the words of thy mouth are a boisterous wind? 3 Will God reverse what is right,
Or the Almighty reverse what is just? 4 When thy children sinned against Him,
He gave them over to the hand of their wickedness.
Bildad[76] begins harshly and self-confidently with quousque tandem, עד־אן instead of the usual עד־אנה. אלּה, not: this, but: of this kind, of such kind, as Job 12:3; Job 16:2. כּבּיר רוּח is poetical, equivalent to גּדולה רוּח, Job 1:19; רוּח is gen. comm. in the signification wind as well as spirit, although more frequently fem. than masc. He means that Job's speeches are like the wind in their nothingness, and like a boisterous wind in their vehemence. Bildad sees the justice of God, the Absolute One, which ought to be universally acknowledged, impugned in them. In order not to say directly that Job's children had died such a sudden death on account of their sin, he speaks conditionally. If they have sinned, death is just the punishment of their sin. God has not arbitrarily swept them away, but has justly given them over to the destroying hand of their wickedness, - a reference to the prologue which belongs inseparably to the whole.

Verses 5-7 Edit

Job 8:5-7 5 If thou seekest unto God,
And makest supplication to the Almighty, 6 If thou art pure and upright; Surely!
He will care for thee,
And restore the habitation of thy righteousness; 7 And if thy beginning was small,
Thy end shall be exceeding great.
There is still hope for Job (אתּה, in opposition to his children), if, turning humbly to God, he shows that, although not suffering undeservedly, he is nevertheless pure and upright in his inmost mind. Job 8:6 is so intended; not as Mercier and others explain: si in posterum puritati et justitiae studueris. אל־אל שׁחר, to turn one's self to God earnestly seeking, constr. praegnans, like אל־אל דּרשׁ, Job 5:8. Then begins the conclusion with כּי־עתּה, like Job 13:18. “The habitation of thy righteousness” is Job's household cleansed and justified from sin. God will restore that; שׁלּם might also signify, give peace to, but restore is far more appropriate. Completely falling back on שׁלם, the Piel signifies to recompense, off like being returned for like, and to restore, of a complete covering of the loss sustained. God will not only restore, but increase beyond measure, what Job was and had. The verb. masc. after אחרית here is remarkable. But we need not, with Olsh., read ישׂגּה: we may suppose, with Ewald, according to 174, e, that אהרית is purposely treated as masc. It would be a mistake to refer to Pro 23:32; Pro 29:21, in support of it.

Verses 8-10 Edit

Job 8:8-10 8 For inquire only of former ages,
And attend to the research of their fathers - 9 For we are of yesterday, without experience,
Because our days upon earth are a shadow - 10 Shall they not teach thee, speak to thee,
And bring forth words from their heart?
This challenge calls Deu 32:7 to mind. לבּך is to be supplied to כּונן; the conjecture of Olshausen, וּבונן, is good, but unnecessary. רשׁון is after the Aramaic form of writing, comp. Job 15:7, where this and the ordinary form are combined. The “research of their fathers,” i.e., which the fathers of former generations have bequeathed to them, is the collective result of their research, the profound wisdom of the ancients gathered from experience. Our ephemeral and shadowy life is not sufficient for passing judgment on the dealings of God; we must call history and tradition to our aid. We are תּמול (per aphaeresin, the same as אתמול), yesterday = of yesterday; it is not necessary to read, with Olshausen, מתּמול. There is no occasion for us to suppose that Job 8:9 is an antithesis to the long duration of life of primeval man. לב (Job 8:10) is not the antithesis of mouth; but has the pregnant signification of a feeling, i.e., intelligent heart, as we find לבב אישׁ, a man of heart, i.e., understanding, Job 34:10, Job 34:34. יוציאוּ, promunt, calls to mind Mat 13:52. Now follow familiar sayings of the ancients, not directly quoted, but the wisdom of the fathers, which Bildad endeavours to reproduce.

Verses 11-15 Edit

Job 8:11-15 11 Doth papyrus grow up without mire?
Doth the reed shoot up without water? 12 It is still in luxuriant verdure, when it is not cut off,
Then before all other grass it with 13 So is the way of all forgetters of God,
And the hope of the ungodly perisheth, 14 Because his hope is cut off,
And his trust is a spider's house: 15 He leaneth upon his house and it standeth not,
He holdeth fast to it and it endureth not.
Bildad likens the deceitful ground on which the prosperity of the godless stands to the dry ground on which, only for a time, the papyrus or reed finds water, and grows up rapidly: shooting up quickly, it withers as quickly; as the papyrus plant,[77] if it has no perpetual water, though the finest of grasses, withers off when most luxuriantly green, before it attains maturity. גּמא, which, excepting here, is found only in connection with Egypt (Exo 2:3; Isa 18:2; and Isa 35:7, with the general קנה as specific name for reed), is the proper papyrus plant (Cypeerus papyyrus, L.): this name for it is suitably derived in the Hebrew from גּמא, to suck up (comp. Lucan, iv. 136: conseritur bibulâ Memphytis cymba papyro); but is at the same time Egyptian, since Coptic kam, cham, signifies the reed, and ‘gôm, 'gōme, a book (like liber, from the bark of a tree).[78] אחוּ, occurring only in the book of Job and in the history of Joseph, as Jerome (Opp. ed. Vallarsi, iv. 291) learned from the Egyptians, signifies in their language, omne quod in palude virem nascitur: the word is transferred by the lxx into their translation in the form ἄχι (ἄχει), and became really incorporated into the Alexandrian Greek, as is evident from Isa 19:7 (ערות, lxx καὶ τὸ ἄχι τὸ χλωρόν) and Sir. 40:16 (ἄχι ἐπὶ παντὸς ὕδατος καὶ χείλους ποταμοῦ πρὸ παντὸς χόρτου ἐκτιλήσεται); the Coptic translates pi-akhi, and moreover ake, oke signify in Coptic calamus, juncus.[79] יקּטף לא describes its condition: in a condition in which it is not ready for being gathered. By אשׁר, quippe, quoniam, this end of the man who forgets God, and of the חנף, i.e., the secretly wicked, is more particularly described. His hope יקוט, from קטט, or from קוט, med. o,[80] in neuter signification succiditur. One would indeed expect a figure corresponding to the spider's web earlier; and accordingly Hahn, after Reiske, translates: whose hope is a gourd, - an absurd figure, and linguistically impossible, since the gourd or cucumber is קשּׁוּא, which has its cognates in Arabic and Syriac. Saadia[81] translates: whose hope is the thread of the sun. The “thread of the sun” is what we call the fliegender Sommer or Altweibersommer, i.e., the sunny days in the latter months of the year: certainly a suitable figure, but unsupportable by any parallel in language.[82]
We must therefore suppose that יקוט, succiditur, first gave rise to the figure which follows: as easily as a spider's web is cut through, without offering any resistance, by the lightest touch, or a breath of wind, so that on which he depends and trusts is cut asunder. The name for spider's web, עכּבישׁ בּית,[83] leads to the description of the prosperity of the ungodly by בּית (Job 8:15): His house, the spider's house, is not firm to him. Another figure follows: the wicked in his prosperity is like a climbing plant, which grows luxuriantly for a time, but suddenly perishes.

Verses 16-19 Edit

Job 8:16-19 16 He dwells with sap in the sunshine,
And his branch spreads itself over his garden. 17 His roots intertwine over heaps of stone,
He looks upon a house of stones. 18 If He casts him away from his place,
It shall deny him: I have not seen thee. 19 Behold, thus endeth his blissful course,
And others spring forth from the dust.
The subject throughout is not the creeping-plant directly, but the ungodly, who is likened to it. Accordingly the expression of the thought is in part figurative and in part literal, יחזה אבנים בּית (Job 8:17). As the creeper has stones before it, and by its interwindings, as it were, so rules them that it may call them its own (v. Gerlach: the exuberant growth twines itself about the walls, and looks proudly down upon the stony structure); so the ungodly regards his fortune as a solid structure, which he has quickly caused to spring up, and which seems to him imperishable. Ewald translates: he separates one stone from another; בּית, according to §217, g, he considers equivalent to בּינת, and signifies apart from one another; but although חזה = חזז, according to its radical idea, may signify to split, pierce through, still בּית, when used as a preposition, can signify nothing else but, within. Others, e.g., Rosenmüller, translate: he marks a place of stones, i.e., meets with a layer of stones, against which he strikes himself; for this also בּית will not do. He who casts away (Job 8:18) is not the house of stone, but God. He who has been hitherto prosperous, becomes now as strange to the place in which he flourished so luxuriantly, as if it had never seen him. Behold, that is the delight of his way (course of life), i.e., so fashioned, so perishable is it, so it ends. From the ground above which he sprouts forth, others grow up whose fate, when they have no better ground of confidence than he, is the same. After he has placed before Job both the blessed gain of him who trusts, and the sudden destruction of him who forgets, God, as the result of the whole, Bildad recapitulates:

Verses 20-22 Edit

Job 8:20-22 20 Behold! God despiseth not the perfect man,
And taketh not evil-doers by the hand. 21 While He shall fill thy mouth with laughing,
And thy lips with rejoicing, 22 They who hate thee shall be clothed with shame,
And the tent of the ungodly is no more. “To take by the hand,” i.e., ready to help as His own, as Isa 41:13; Isa 42:6. Instead of עד (Job 8:21), there is no great difficulty in reading עוד: again (as e.g., Psa 42:6) He will fill; but even עד is supportable; it signifies, like Job 1:18; Psa 141:10, while. On the form ימלּה, vid., Ges. §75, 21, b. This close of Bildad's speech sounds quite like the Psalms (comp. Psa 126:2 with Job 8:21; Psa 35:26; Psa 109:29; Psa 132:18, with Job 8:22). Bildad does all he can to win Job over. He calls the ungodly שׂנאיך, to show that he tries to think and expect the best of Job.
We have seen that Job in his second speech charges God with the appearance of injustice and want of compassion. The friends act as friends, by not allowing this to pass without admonition. After Job has exhausted himself with his plaints, Bildad enters into the discussion in the above speech. He defends the justice of God against Job's unbecoming words. His assertion that God does not swerve from the right, is so true that it would be blasphemy to maintain against him that God sometimes perverts the right. And Bildad seems also to make the right use of this truth when he promises a glorious issue to his suffering, as a substantial proof that God does not deal unjustly towards him; for Job's suffering does actually come to such an issue, and this issue in its accomplishment destroys the false appearance that God had been unjust or unmerciful towards him. Bildad expresses his main point still more prudently, and more in accordance with the case before him, when he says, “Behold! God does not act hostilely towards the godly, neither does He make common cause with the evil-doer” (Job 8:20), - a confession which he must allow is on both sides the most absolute truth. By the most telling figures he portrays the perishableness of the prosperity of those who forget God, and paints in glowing colours on this dark background the future which awaits Job. What is there in this speech of Bildad to censure, and how is it that it does not produce the desired cheering effect on Job?
It is true that nothing that God sends to man proceeds from injustice, but it is not true that everything that He sends to him comes from His justice. As God does not ordain suffering for the hardened sinner in order to improve him, because He is merciful, so He does not ordain suffering for the truly godly in order to punish him, because He is just. What we call God's attributes are only separate phases of His indivisible holy being, - ad extra, separate modes of His operation in which they all share, - of which, when in operation, one does not act in opposition to another; they are not, however, all engaged upon the same object at one time. One cannot say that God's love manifests itself in action in hell, nor His anger in heaven; nor His justice in the afflictions of the godly, and His mercy in the sufferings of the godless.
Herein is Bildad's mistake, that he thinks his commonplace utterance is sufficient to explain all the mysteries of human life. We see from his judgment of Job's children how unjust he becomes, since he regards the matter as the working out of divine justice. He certainly speaks hypothetically, but in such a way that he might as well have said directly, that their sudden death was the punishment of their sin. If he had found Job dead, he would have considered him as a sinner, whom God had carried off in His anger. Even now he has no pleasure in promising Job help and blessing; accordingly from his point of view he expresses himself very conditionally: If thou art pure and upright. We see from this that his belief in Job's uprightness is shaken, for how could the All-just One visit Job with such severe suffering, if he had not deserved it! Nevertheless אתה וישׁר זך אם (Job 8:6) shows that Bildad thinks it possible that Job's heart may be pure and upright, and consequently his present affliction may not be peremptory punishment, but only disciplinary chastisement. Job just - such is Bildad's counsel - give God glory, and acknowledge that he deserves nothing better; and thus humbling himself beneath the just hand of God, he will be again made righteous, and exalted.
Job cannot, however, comprehend his suffering as an act of divine justice. His own fidelity is a fact, his consciousness of which cannot be shaken: it is therefore impossible for him to deny it, for the sake of affirming the justice of God; for truth is not to be supported by falsehood. Hence Bildad's glorious promises afford Job no comfort. Apart from their being awkwardly introduced, they depend upon an assumption, the truth of which Job cannot admit without being untrue to himself. Consequently Bildad, though with the best intention, only urges Job still further forward and deeper into the conflict.
But does, then, the confession of sin on the part of constantly sinful man admit of his regarding the suffering thus appointed to him not merely not as punishment, but also not as chastisement? If a sufferer acknowledges the excessive hideousness of sin, how can he, when a friend bids him regard his affliction as a wholesome chastisement designed to mortify sin more and more, - how can he receive the counsel with such impatience as we see in the case of Job? The utterances of Job are, in fact, so wild, inconsiderate, and unworthy of God, and the first speeches of Eliphaz and Bildad on the contrary so winning and appropriate, that if Job's affliction ought really to be regarded from the standpoint of chastisement, their tone could not be more to the purpose, nor exhortation and comfort more beautifully blended. Even when one knows the point of the book, one will still be constantly liable to be misled by the speeches of the friends; it requires the closest attention to detect what is false in them. The poet's mastery of his subject, and the skill with which he exercises it, manifests itself in his allowing the opposition of the friends to Job, though existing in the germ from the very beginning, to become first of all in the course of the controversy so harsh that they look upon Job as a sinner undergoing punishment from God, while in opposition to them he affirms his innocence, and challenges a decision from God.
The poet, however, allows Bildad to make one declaration, from which we clearly see that his address, beautiful as it is, rests on a false basis, and loses its effect. Bildad explains the sudden death of Job's children as a divine judgment. He could not have sent a more wounding dart into Job's already broken heart; for is it possible to tell a man anything more heart-rending that that his father, his mother, or his children have died as the direct punishment of their sins? One would not say so, even if it should seem to be an obvious fact, and least of all to a father already sorely tried and brought almost to the grave with sorrow. Bildad, however, does not rely upon facts, he reasons only à priori. He does not know that Job's children were godless; the only ground of his judgment is the syllogism: Whoever dies a fearful, sudden death must be a great sinner; God has brought Job's children to such a death; ergo, etc. Bildad is zealously affected for God, but without understanding. He is blind to the truth of experience, in order not to be drawn away from the truth of his premiss. He does not like to acknowledge anything that furnishes a contradiction to it. It is this same rationalism of superstition or credulity which has originated the false doctrine of the decretum absolutum. With the same icy and unfeeling rigorism with which Calvinism refers the divine rule, and all that happens upon earth, to the one principle of absolute divine will and pleasure, in spite of all the contradictions of Scripture and experience, Bildad refers everything to the principle of the divine justice, and indeed, divine justice in a judicial sense.
There is also another idea of justice beside this judicial one. Justice, צדקה or צדק, is in general God's dealings as ruled by His holiness. Now there is not only a holy will of God concerning man, which says, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but also a purpose for the redemption of unholy man springing from the holy love of God to man. Accordingly justice is either the agreement of God's dealings with the will of His holiness manifest in the demands of the law, apart from redemption, or the agreement of His dealings with the will of His love as graciously manifested in the gospel; in short, either retributive or redemptive. If one, as Bildad, in the first sense says, God never acts unjustly, and glaringly maintains it as universally applicable, the mystery of the divine dispensations is not made clear thereby, but destroyed. Thus also Job's suffering is no longer a mystery: Job suffers what he deserves; and if it cannot be demonstrated, it is to be assumed in contradiction to all experience. This view of his affliction does not suffice to pacify Job, in spite of the glorious promises by which it is set off. His conscience bears him witness that he has not merited such incomparably heavy affliction; and if we indeed suppose, what we must suppose, that Job was in favour with God when this suffering came upon him, then the thought that God deals with him according to his works, perhaps according to his unacknowledged sins, must be altogether rejected.
God does not punish His own; and when He chastises them, it is not an act of His retributive justice, but of His disciplinary love. This motive of love, indeed, belongs to chastisement in common with trial; and the believer who clearly discerns this love will be able to look upon even the severest affliction as chastisement without being led astray, because he knows that sin has still great power in him; and the medicine, if it is designed to heal him, must be bitter. If, therefore, Bildad had represented Job's affliction as the chastisement of divine love, which would humble him in order the more to exalt him, then Job would have humbled himself, although Bildad might not be altogether in the right. But Bildad, still further than Eliphaz from weakening the erroneous supposition of a hostile God which had taken possession of Job's mind, represents God's justice, to which he attributes the death of his children, instead of His love, as the hand under which Job is to humble himself. Thereby the comfort which Job's friend offers becomes to him a torture, and his trial is made still greater; for his conscience does not accuse him of any sins for which he should now have an angry instead of a gracious God.
But we cannot even here withhold the confession that the composition of such a drama would not be possible under the New Testament. The sight of the suffering of Christ and the future crown has a power in calming the mind, which makes such an outburst of sorrow as that of Job impossible even under the strongest temptation. “If the flesh should murmur and cry out, as Christ even cried out and was feeble,” says Luther in one of his consolatory letters (Rambach, Kleine Schriften Luthers, S. 627), “the spirit nevertheless is ready and willing, and with sighings that cannot be uttered will cry: Abba, Father, it is Thou; Thy rod is hard, but Thou art still Father; I know that of a truth.” And since the consciousness of sin is as deep as the consciousness of grace, the Christian will not consider any suffering so severe but that he may have deserved severer on account of his sins, even though in the midst of his cross he be unable clearly to recognise the divine love. Even such uncharitable, cold-hearted consolation as that of Eliphaz and Bildad, which bids him regard the divine trial as divine chastisement, cannot exasperate him, since he is conscious of the need for even severer divine chastisement; he need not therefore allow the uncharitableness of the friend to pass without loving counter-exhortations.
Hengstenberg observes, in the Excursus to his Commentary on the Psalms, that the righteousness on which the plea to be heard is based in the Psalms, like Psa 17:1-15; Psa 18:21., Psa 44:18-23, is indeed a righteousness of conduct resting on righteousness by faith, and also this again is only to be considered as the righteousness of endeavour; that moreover their strong tone does not sound altogether becoming, according to our consciousness. We should expect each time, as it happens sometimes urgently (e.g., Psa 143:2), the other side, - that human infirmity which still clings to the righteous should be made prominent, and divine forgiveness for it implored, instead of the plea for deliverance being based on the incongruity of the affliction with the sufferer's consciousness of righteousness towards God. We cannot altogether adopt such psalms and passages of the Psalms as expressive of our Christian feeling; and we are scarcely able to read them in public without hesitation when we attempt it. Whence is this? Hengstenberg replied, “The Old Testament wanted the most effectual means for producing the knowledge of sin - the contemplation of the sufferings of Christ. The New Testament, moreover, possesses a more powerful agency of the Spirit, which does not search more into the depths of the divine nature than it lays open the depths of sin. Hence in Christian songs the sense of sin, as it is more independent of outward occasions than formerly, so it is also more openly disclosed and more delicate in itself; its ground is felt to lie deeper, and also the particular manifestations. It was good that under the Old Covenant the cords of sinful conviction were not strung too rightly, as the full consolation was still not to be found. The gulph closed up again when the sufferings were gone.”[84]
Such is the actual connection. And this development of the work of redemption in the history of mankind is repeated in the individual experience of every believer. As the individual, the further he progresses in the divine life, becomes the more deeply conscious of the natural depravity of man, and acquires a keener and still keener perception of its most subtle working; so in the New Testament, with the disclosure of actual salvation, a deeper insight into sin is also given. When the infinite depth and extent of the kingdom of light is unveiled, the veil is for the first time removed from the abyss of the kingdom of darkness. Had the latter been revealed without the former in the dispensation before Christ, the Old Testament would have been not only what it actually was in connection with the then painful consciousness of sin and death, - a school of severe discipline preparatory to the New Testament, a school of ardent longing for redemption, - but would have become an abyss of despair.

Chap. 9 Edit

Verses 1-4 Edit

Job 9:1-4 1 Then Job began, and said: 2 Yea, indeed, I know it is thus,
And how should a man be just with God! 3 Should he wish to contend with God,
He could not answer Him one of a thousand. 4 The wise in heart and mighty in strength,
Who hath defied Him and remained unhurt?
Job does not (Job 9:1) refer to what Eliphaz said (Job 4:17), which is similar, though still not exactly the same; but “indeed I know it is so” must be supposed to be an assert to that which Bildad had said immediately before. The chief thought of Bildad's speech was, that God does not pervert what is right. Certainly (אמנם, scilicet, nimirum, like Job 12:2), - says Job, as he ironically confirms this maxim of Bildad's, - it is so: what God does is always right, because God does it; how could man maintain that he is in the right in opposition to God! If God should be willing to enter into controversy with man, he would not be able to give Him information on one of a thousand subjects that might be brought into discussion; he would be so confounded, so disarmed, by reason of the infinite distance of the feeble creature from his Creator. The attributes (Job 9:4) belong not to man (Olshausen), but to God, as Job 36:5. God is wise of heart (לב = νοῦς) in putting one question after another, and mighty in strength in bringing to nought every attempt man may make to maintain his own right; to defy Him (הקשׁה, to harden, i.e., ערף, the neck), therefore, always tends to the discomfiture of him who dares to bid Him defiance.

Verses 5-7 Edit

Job 9:5-7 5 Who removeth mountains without their knowing,
That He hath overturned them in His wrath; 6 Who causeth the earth to shake out of its place,
And its pillars to tremble; 7 Who commandeth the sun, and it riseth not,
And sealeth up the stars. ידעוּ ולא (Job 9:5) may also be translated: without one's perceiving it or knowing why; but it is more natural to take the mountains as the subject. אשׁר, quod, that (not “as,” Ewald, §333, a), after ידע, as Eze 20:26; Ecc 8:12. Even the lofty mountains are quite unconscious of the change which He effects on them in a moment. Before they are aware that it is being done, it is over, as the praet. implies; the destructive power of His anger is irresistible, and effects its purpose suddenly. He causes the earth to start up from its place (comp. Isa 13:13) which it occupies in space (Job 26:7); and by being thus set in motion by Him, its pillars tremble, i.e., its internal foundations (Psa 104:5), which are removed from human perception (Job 38:6). It is not the highest mountains, which are rather called the pillars, as it were the supports, of heaven (Job 26:11), that are meant. By the same almighty will He disposes of the sun and stars. The sun is here called חרס (as in Jdg 14:18 חרסה with unaccented ah, and as Isa 19:18 ‛Ir ha-Heres is a play upon החרס עיר, Ἡλιούπολις), perhaps from the same root as חרוּץ, one of the poetical names of gold. At His command the sun rises not, and He seals up the stars, i.e., conceals them behind thick clouds, so that the day becomes dark, and the night is not made bright. One may with Schultens think of the Flood, or with Warburton of the Egyptian darkness, and the standing still of the sun at the word of Joshua; but these are only single historical instances of a fact here affirmed as a universal experience of the divine power.

Verses 8-10 Edit

Job 9:8-10 8 Who alone spreadeth out the heavens,
And walketh upon the heights of the sea; 9 Who made the Bear, Orion, and the Pleiades,
And the chambers of the south; 10 Who doeth great things past finding out,
And wondrous things without number.
Ewald, Hirzel, and others, understand נטה (Job 9:8) according to Psa 18:10 : He letteth down the clouds of heaven, and walketh on the heights of the sea of clouds, i.e., high above the towering thunder-clouds. But parallel passages, such as Isa 40:22; Psa 104:2, and especially Isa 44:24, show that Job 9:8 is to be understood as referring to the creation of the firmament of heaven; and consequently נטה is to be taken in the sense of expandere, and is a form of expression naturally occurring in connection with the mention of the waters which are separated by means of the רקיע. The question arises, whether ים here means the sea of waters above the firmament or upon the earth. According to the idea of the ancients, the waters which descend as rain have their habitation far away in the infinite expanse of the sky; the ocean of the sky (Egyptian Nun-pa), through which the sun-god Ra sails every day, is there. It is possible that ”the heights of the sea” here, and perhaps also “the roots of the sea” (Job 36:30), may mean this ocean of the sky, as Hahn and Schlottmann suppose. But it is not necessary to adopt such an explanation, and it is moreover hazardous, since this conception of the celestial θάλασσα is not found elsewhere (apart from Rev 4:6; Rev 15:2; Rev 22:1). Why may not בּמתי, which is used of the heights of the clouds (Isa 14:14), be used also of the waves of the sea which mount up towards heaven (Psa 107:26)? God walks over them as man walks on level ground (lxx περιπατῶν ἐπὶ θαλάσσης ὡς ἐπ ̓ ἐδάφους); they rise or lie calmly beneath His feel according to His almighty will (comp. Hab 3:15).
Job next describes God as the Creator of the stars, by introducing a constellation of the northern (the Bear), one of the southern (Orion), and one of the eastern sky (the Pleiades). עשׁ, contracted from נעשׁ, Arabic na‛š, a bier, is the constellation of seven stars (septentrio orseptentriones) in the northern sky. The Greater and the Lesser Bear form a square, which the Arabs regarded as a bier; the three other stars, benâth n‛asch, i.e., daughters of the bier (comp. Job 38:32), seem to be the mourners. כּסיל is Orion chained to the sky, which the ancients regarded as a powerful giant, and also as an insolent, foolish fellow[85] (K. O. Müller, Kleine deutsche Schriften, ii. 125). כּימה is the Pleiades, a constellation consisting of seven large and other smaller stars, Arabic turayyâ, which, like the Hebrew (comp. Arab. kûmat, cumulus), signifies the heap, cluster (vid., Job 38:31), and is compared by the Persian poets to a bouquet formed of jewels. It is the constellation of seven stars, whose rising and setting determined the commencement and end of their voyages (πλειάς, probably = constellation of navigation), and is to be distinguished from the northern septentriones. תּימן חדרי are, according to the Targ., the chambers of the constellations on the south side of the heavens, as also most expositors explain them (Mercier: sidera quae sunt in altero hemisphaerio versus alterum polum antarcticum), according to which תּימן, or written defectively תּמן, would therefore be equivalent to תמן כוכבי; or perhaps, in a more general meaning, the regions of the southern sky (penetralia), which are veiled, or altogether lost to view (Hirzel). In v. 10, Job says, almost verbatim, what Eliphaz had said (Job 5:10). Job agrees with the friends in the recognition of the power of God, and intentionally describes those phases of it which display its terrible majesty. But while the friends deduce from this doctrine the duty of a humble deportment on the part of the sufferer, Job uses it to support the cheerless truth that human right can never be maintained in opposition to the absolute God.

Verses 11-15 Edit

Job 9:11-15 11 Behold, He goeth by me and I see not,
And passeth by and I perceive Him not. 12 Behold, He taketh away, who will hold Him back?
Who will say to Him: What doest Thou? 13 Eloah restraineth not His anger,
The helpers of Rahab stoop under Him - 14 How much less that I should address Him,
That I should choose the right words in answer to Him; 15 Because, though I were right, I could not answer, -
To Him as my Judge I must make supplication.
God works among men, as He works in nature, with a supreme control over all, invisibly, irresistibly, and is not responsible to any being (Isa 45:9). He does not turn or restrain His anger without having accomplished His purpose. This is a proposition which, thus broadly expressed, is only partially true, as is evident from Psa 78:38. The helpers of Rahab must bow themselves under Him. It is not feasible to understand this in a general sense, as meaning those who are ready with boastful arrogance to yield succour to any against God. The form of expression which follows in Job 9:14, “much less I,” supports the assumption that רהב עזרי refers to some well-known extraordinary example of wicked enterprise which had been frustrated, notwithstanding the gigantic strength by which it was supported; and שׁחהוּ may be translated by the present tense, since a familiar fact is used as synonymous with the expression of an universal truth. Elsewhere Rahab as a proper name denotes Egypt (Psa 87:4), but it cannot be so understood here, because direct references to events in the history of Israel are contrary to the character of the book, which, with remarkable consistency, avoids everything that is at all Israelitish. But how has Egypt obtained the name of Rahab? It is evident from Isa 30:7 that it bears this name with reference to its deeds of prowess; but from Psa 89:11; Isa 51:9, it is evident that Rahab properly denotes a sea-monster, which has become the symbol of Egypt, like tannîn and leviathan elsewhere. This signification of the word is also supported by Job 26:12, where the lxx actually translate κητος, as here with remarkable freedom, ὑπ ̓ ἀυτοῦ ἐκάμφθησαν κήτη τὰ ὑπ ̓ οὐρανόν. It is not clear whether these ”sea-monsters” denote rebels cast down into the sea beneath the sky, or chained upon the sky; but at any rate the consciousness of a distinct mythological meaning in רהב עזרי is expressed by this translation (as also in the still freer translation of Jerome, et sub quo curvantur qui portant orbem); probably a myth connected with such names of the constellations as Κῆτος and Πρίστις (Ewald, Hirz., Schlottm.). The poesy of the book of Job even in other places does not spurn mythological allusions; and the phrase before us reminds one of the Hindu myth of Indras’ victory over the dark demon Vritras, who tries to delay the descent of rain, and over his helpers. In Vritras, as in רהב, there is the idea of hostile resistance.
Job compares himself, the feeble one, to these mythical titanic powers in Job 9:14. כּי אף (properly: even that), or even אף alone (Job 4:19), signifies, according as the connection introduces a climax or anti-climax, either quanto magis or quanto minus, as here: how much less can I, the feeble one, dispute with Him! אשׁר, Job 9:15, is best taken, as in Job 5:5, in the signification quoniam. The part. Poel משׁפטי we should more correctly translate “my disputant” than “my judge;” it is Poel which Ewald appropriately styles the conjugation of attack: שׁופט, judicando vel litigando aliquem petere; comp. Ges. §55, 1. The part. Kal denotes a judge, the part. Poel one who is accuser and judge at the same time. On such Poel-forms from strong roots, vid., on Psa 109:10, where wedorschu is to be read, and therefore it is written ודרשׁוּ in correct Codices.

Verses 16-20 Edit

Job 9:16-20 16 If when I called He really answered,
I could not believe that He would hearken to me; 17 He would rather crush me in a tempest,
And only multiply my wounds without cause; 18 He would not suffer me to take my breath,
But would fill me with bitter things. 19 If it is a question of the strength of the strong - : “Behold here!”
And if of right - : “Who will challenge me?” 20 Where I in the right, my mouth must condemn me;
Were I innocent, He would declare me guilty.
The answer of God when called upon, i.e., summoned, is represented in Job 9:16 as an actual result (praet. followed by fut. consec.), therefore Job 9:16 cannot be intended to express: I could not believe that He answers me, but: I could not believe that He, the answerer, would hearken to me; His infinite exaltation would not permit such condescension. The אשׁר which follows, Job 9:17, signifies either quippe qui or quoniam; both shades of meaning are after all blended, as in Job 9:15. The question arises here whether שׁוף signifies conterere, or as cognate form with שׁאף, inhiare, - a question also of importance in the exposition of the Protevangelium. There are in all only three passages in which it occurs: here, Gen 3:15, and Psa 139:11. In Psa 139:11 the meaning conterere is unsuitable, but even the signification inhiare can only be adopted for want of a better: perhaps it may be explained by comparison with צעף, in the sense of obvelare, or as a denominative from נשׁף (the verb of which, נשׁף, is kindred to נשׁב, נשׁם, flare) in the signification obtenebrare. In Gen 3:15, if regarded superficially, the meaning inhiare and conterere are alike suitable, but the meaning inhiare deprives that utterance of God of its prophetic character, which has been recognised from the beginning; and the meaning conterere, contundere, is strongly supported by the translations. We decide in favour of this meaning also in the present passage, with the ancient translations (lxx ἐκτρίψῃ, Targ. מדקדּק, comminuens). Moreover, it is the meaning most generally supported by a comparison with the dialects, whereas the signification inhiare can only be sustained by comparison with שׁאף and the Arabic sâfa (to sniff, track by scent, to smell); besides, “to assail angrily” (Hirz., Ewald) is an inadmissible contortion of inhiare, which signifies in a hostile sense “to seize abruptly” (Schlottm.), properly to snatch, to desire to seize.
Translate therefore: He would crush me in a tempest and multiply (multiplicaret), etc., would not let me take breath (respirare), but (כּי, Ges. §155, 1, e. a.) fill me (ישׂבּיענּי, with Pathach with Rebia mugrasch) with bitter things (ממּררים, with Dag. dirimens, which gives the word a more pathetic expression). The meaning of Job 9:19 is that God stifles the attempt to maintain one's right in the very beginning by His being superior to the creature in strength, and not entering into a dispute with him concerning the right. הנּה (for הנּני as איּה, Job 15:23, for איּו): see, here I am, ready for the contest, is the word of God, similar to quis citare possit me (in Jer 49:19; Jer 50:44), which sounds as an echo of this passage. The creature must always be in the wrong, - a thought true in itself, in connection with which Job forgets that God's right in opposition to the creature is also always the true objective right. פּי, with suffix, accented to indicate its logical connection, as Job 15:6 : my own mouth.[86]
In ויּעקשׁני the Chirek of the Hiphil is shortened to a Sheva, as 1Sa 17:25; vid., Ges. §53, rem. 4. The subject is God, not “my mouth” (Schlottm.): supposing that I were innocent, He would put me down as one morally wrong and to be rejected.

Verses 21-24 Edit

Job 9:21-24 21 Whether I am innocent, I know not myself,
My life is offensive to me. 22 There is one thing-therefore I maintain - :
The innocent and wicked He destroyeth. 23 If the scourge slay suddenly,
He laugheth at the melting away of the innocent. 24 Countries are given into the hand of the wicked;
The countenance of its rulers He veileth -
Is it not so, who else doeth it?
Job 9:21 is usually considered to be an affirmation of innocence on the part of Job, though without effect, and even at the peril of his own destruction: ”I am innocent, I boldly say it even with scorn of my life” (Schnurr., Hirz., Ewald, Schlottm.). But although נפשׁי אדע לא may mean: I care nothing for my soul, i.e., my life (comp. Gen 39:6), its first meaning would be: I know not my soul, i.e., myself; and this sense is also quite in accordance with the context. He is innocent, but the contradiction between his lot and his innocence seems to show that his self-consciousness is deceptive, and makes him a mystery to himself, leads him astray respecting himself; and having thus become a stranger to himself, he abhors this life of seeming contradictions, for which he desires nothing less than its long continuance (vid., Job 7:16). The היא אחת which follows we do not explain: “it is all the same to me whether I live or not,” but: it is all one whether man is innocent or not. He himself is a proof of this; therefore he maintains, etc. It is, however, also possible that this expression, which is similar in meaning to Ecc 9:2 (there is one event, אחד מקרה, to the righteous and to the wicked), and is well translated in the Targ. by היא מכילא חדא (there is one measure of retribution, מכילא = מדּה, μέτρον, Mat 7:2), refers to what follows, and that “therefore I maintain” is parenthetical (like אמרתי, Psa 119:57; אמר לי, Isa 45:24), and we have translated it accordingly. There is certainly a kind of suspense, and על־כן d introduces an assertion of Job, which is founded upon the fact of the continuance of his own misfortune, - an assertion which he advances in direct contradiction to the friends, and which is expressly censured by Elihu.
In Job 9:23., by some striking examples, he completes the description of that which seems to be supported by the conflict he is called to endure. שׁוט, a scourge, signifies a judgment which passes over a nation (Isa 28:15). It swept off the guiltless as well, and therefore Job concludes that God delights in מסּה, πειρασμός, trial, or perhaps more correctly the melting away (from מסס, as Job 6:14) of the guiltless, i.e., their dissolution in anguish and dismay, their wearing away and despondency. Jerome rightly remarks that in the whole book Job says nihil asperius than what he says in Job 9:23. Another example in favour of his disconsolate היא אחת is that whole lands are given into the hand of the wicked: the monarch is an evil man, and the countenance of their judges He (God) covers, so that they do not distinguish between right and wrong, nor decide in favour of the former rather than of the latter. God himself is the final cause of the whole: if not, i.e., if it is not so, who can it then be that causes it? אפו (four times in the book of Job instead of the usual form אפוא) is, according to the current opinion, placed per hyperbaton in the conditional instead of the interrogative clause; and מי אפו are certainly not, with Hirzel, to be taken together. There is, however, not a proper hyperbaton, but אפו here gives intensity to the question; though not directly as Job 17:15 (Ges. §153, 2), but only indirectly, by giving intensity to that which introduces the question, as Job 24:25 and Gen 27:37; translate therefore: if it really is not so (comp. the Homeric expression ει ̓ δ ̓ ἄγε). It is indisputable that God, and no one else, is the final cause of this misery, apparently so full of contradiction, which meets us in the history of mankind, and which Job now experiences for himself.

Verses 25-28 Edit

Job 9:25-28 25 My days were swifter than a runner,
They fled away without seeing prosperity, 26 They shot by as ships of reeds,
As an eagle which dasheth upon its prey. 27 If my thought is: I will forget my complaint,
I will give up my dark looks and look cheerful; 28 I shudder at all my pains,
I feel that Thou dost not pronounce me innocent.
Such, as described in the preceding strophe, is the lot of the innocent in general, and such (this is the connection) is also Job's lot: his swiftly passing life comes to an end amidst suffering, as that of an evil-doer whom God cuts off in judgment. In the midst of his present sufferings he has entirely forgotten his former prosperity; it is no happiness to him, because the very enjoyment of it makes the loss of it more grievous to bear. The days of prosperity are gone, have passed swiftly away without טובה, i.e., without lasting prosperity. They have been swifter רץ מנּי. By reference to Job 7:6, this might be considered as a figure borrowed from the weaver's loom, since in the Coptic the threads of the weft (fila subteminis) which are wound round the shuttle are called ”runners” (vid., Ges. Thesaurus); but Rosenmüller has correctly observed that, in order to describe the fleetness of his life, Job brings together that which is swiftest on land (the runners or couriers), in water (fast-sailing ships), and in the air (the swooping eagle). עם, Job 9:26, signifies, in comparison with, aeque ac. But we possess only a rather uncertain tradition as to the kind of vessels meant by אבה אניות. Jerome translates, after the Targ.: naves poma portantes, by which one may understand the small vessels, according to Edrisi, common on the Dead Sea, in which corn and different kinds of fruits were carried from Zoar to Jericho and to other regions of the Jordan (Stickel, S. 267); but if אבה were connected with אב, we might rather expect אבּה, after the form אשּׁה (from אשׁ), instead of אבה. Others derive the word from אבה, avere: ships of desire, i.e., full-rigged and ready for sea (Gecatilia in Ges. Thes. suppl. p. 62), or struggling towards the goal (Kimchi), or steering towards (Zamora), and consequently hastening to (Symmachuc, σπευδούσαις), the harbour; but independently of the explanation not being suited to the description, it should then be accented êbeh, after the form נדה, קצה, instead of êbéh. The explanation, ships of hostility (Syr.),[87] i.e., ships belonging to pirates or freebooters, privateers, which would suit the subject well, is still less admissible with the present pointing of the text, as it must then be אבה (איבה), with which the Egyptian uba, against, and adverse (contrarius), may be compared. According to Abulwalid (Parchon, Raschi), אבה is the name of a large river near the scene of the book of Job; which may be understood as either the Babylonian name for river Arab. ‘bby, or the Abyssinian name of the Nile, abâï; and אבה may be compared with לבנה in relation to the Arabic, lubna. But a far more satisfactory explanation is the one now generally received, according to the comparison with the Arabic abâ'un, a reed (whence abaa-t-un, a reed, a so-called n. unitatis): ships made from reeds, like גּמא כּלי, Isa 18:2, vessels of papyrus, βαρίδες παπύριναι. In such small ships, with Egyptian tackling, they used to travel as far as Taprobane. These canoes were made to fold together, plicatiles, so that they could be carried past the cataracts; Heliodorus describes them as ὀξυδρομώτατα.[88]
The third figure is the eagle, which swoops down upon its prey; טוּשׂ, like Chaldee טוּס, by which the Targ. translates השׁ, Hab 1:8; Grätz' conjecture of ישׁוּט (which is intended to mean flutters) is superfluous. Just as unnecessary is it, with Olshausen, to change אמרי אם into אמרתי אם: “if my saying (thinking)” is equivalent to, “as often as I say (think).” פנים is here (as in the German phrase, ein Gesicht machen) an ill-humoured, distorted, wry face. When Job desires to give up this look of suffering and be cheerful (הבליג, like Job 10:20, hilaritatem prae se ferre, vultum hilarem induere), the certainty that he is not favoured of God, and consequently that he cannot be delivered from his sufferings, all his anguish in spite of his struggles against it comes ever afresh before his mind. It is scarcely necessary to remark that תנקני is addressed to God, not to Bildad. It is important to notice that Job does not speak of God without at the same time looking up to Him as in prayer. Although he feels rejected of God, he still remains true to God. In the following strophe he continues to complain of God, but without denying Him.

Verses 29-33 Edit

Job 9:29-33 29 If I am wicked, why do I exert myself in vain? 30 If I should wash myself with snow water,
And make my hands clean with lye, 31 Then thou wouldst plunge me into the pit,
And my clothes would abhor me. 32 For He is not a man as I, that I should answer Him,
That we should go together to judgment. 33 There is not an arbitrator between us
Who should lay his hand upon us both.
The clause with strongly accented “I” affirms that in relation to God is from the first, and unchangeably, a wicked, i.e., guilty, man (Psa 109:7) (רשׁע, to be a wicked man, means either to act as such Job 10:15, or to appear as such, be accounted as such, as here and Job 10:7; Hiph., Job 9:20, to condemn). Why, therefore, should he vainly (הבל, acc. adv., like breath, useless) exert himself by crying for help, and basing his plaint on his innocence? In Job 9:30 the Chethib is במו, the Keri במי, as the reverse in Isa 25:10; mo itself appears in the signification water (Egyptian muau), in the proper names Moab and Moshe (according to Jablonsky, ex aqua servatus); in במו, however, the mo may be understood according to Ges. §103, 2. This is the meaning - no cleansing, even though he should use snow and בּר (a vegetable alkali), i.e., not even the best-grounded self-justification can avail him, for God would still bring it to pass, that his clearly proved innocence should change to the most horrible impurity. Ewald, Rödiger, and others translate incorrectly: my clothes would make me disgusting. The idea is tame. The Piel תּעב signifies elsewhere in the book (Job 19:19; Job 30:10) to abhor, not to make abhorrent; and the causative meaning is indeed questionable, for מתעב (Isa 49:7) signifies loathing, as מכסּה (Job 23:17) covering, and Eze 16:25 certainly borders on the signification “to make detestable,” but תעב may also be in the primary meaning, abominari, the strongest expression for that contempt of the beauty bestowed by God which manifests itself by prostitution. Translate: My clothes would abhor me; which does not mean: I should be disgusted with myself (Hirzel); Job is rather represented as naked; him, the naked one, God would - says he - so plunge into the pit that his clothes would conceive a horror of him, i.e., start back in terror at the idea of being put on and defiled by such a horrible creature (Schlottm., Oehler). For God is not his equal, standing on the same level with him: He, the Absolute Being, is accuser and judge in one person; there is between them no arbitrator who (or that he) should lay, etc. Mercier correctly explains: impositio manus est potestatis signum; the meaning therefore is: qui utrumque nostrum velut manu imposita coerceat.

Verses 34-35 Edit

Job 9:34-35 34 Let Him take away His rod from me,
And let His terrors not stupify me. 35 Then I would speak and not fear Him,
For not thus do I stand with myself.
The two Optatives, Job 9:34., as is frequently the case with the Imper., are followed by the Cohortative as the conclusion (אדבּרה, therefore will I speak; whereas ואדברה might be equivalent to, in order that I may speak) of a conditional antecedent clause. שׁבט is here the rod with which God smites Job; comp. Job 13:21. If God would only remove his pain from him for a brief space, so that he might recover himself for self-defence, and if He would not stifle his words as they come freely forth from his lips by confronting him with His overwhelming majesty, then he would fearlessly express himself; for “not thus am I in myself,” i.e., I am not conscious of such a moral condition as compels me to remain dumb before Him. However, we must inquire whether, according to the context, this special reference and shade of meaning is to be given to לא־כן. There is a use of כן = nothing, when accompanied by a gesture expressive of contemptuous rejection, Num 13:33 (כמו־כן, Isa 51:6, as nothing);[89] and a use of לא־כן = not only so = not so small, so useless, 2Sa 23:5, accompanied by a gesture expressive of the denial of such contempt, according to which the present passage may probably be explained: I am in myself, i.e., according to the testimony of my conscience, not so, i.e., not so morally worthless and devoid of right.

Chap. 10 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Job 10:1-2 1 My soul is full of disgust with my life,
Therefore I will freely utter my complaint;
I will speak in the bitterness of my soul. 2 I will say to Eloah: Condemn me not;
Let me know wherefore Thou contendest with me!
His self-consciousness makes him desire that the possibility of answering for himself might be granted him; and since he is weary of life, and has renounced all claim for its continuance, he will at least give his complaints free course, and pray the Author of his sufferings that He would not permit him to die the death of the wicked, contrary to the testimony of his own conscience. נקטה is equivalent to נקטּה ot tnel, Eze 6:9, after the usual manner of the contraction of double Ayin verbs (Gen 11:6-7; Isa 19:3; Jdg 5:5; Eze 41:7; vid., Ges. §67, rem. 11); it may nevertheless be derived directly from נקט, for this secondary verb formed from the Niph. נקט is supported by the Aramaic. In like manner, in Gen 17:11 perhaps a secondary verb נמל, and certainly in Gen 9:19 and Isa 23:3 a secondary verb נפץ (1Sa 13:11), formed from the Niph. נפץ (Gen 10:18), is to be supposed; for the contraction of the Niphal form נקומה into נקמה is impossible; and the supposition which has been advanced, of a root פצץ = פוץ in the signification diffundere, dissipare is unnecessary. His soul is disgusted (fastidio affecta est, or fastidit) with his life, therefore he will give free course to his plaint (comp. Job 7:11). עלי is not super or de me, but, as Job 30:16, in me; it belongs to the Ego, as an expression of spontaneity: I in myself, since the Ego is the subject, ὑποκείμενον, of his individuality (Psychol. S. 151f.). The inner man is meant, which has the Ego over or in itself; from this the complaint shall issue forth as a stream without restraint; not, however, a mere gloomy lamentation over his pain, but a supplicatory complaint directed to God respecting the peculiar pang of his suffering, viz., this stroke which seems to come upon him from his Judge (ריב, seq. acc., as Isa 27:8), without his being conscious of that for which he is accounted guilty.

Verses 3-7 Edit

Job 10:3-7 3 Doth it please Thee when Thou oppressest,
That Thou rejectest the work of Thy hands,
While Thou shinest upon the counsel of the wicked? 4 Hast Thou eyes of flesh,
Or seest Thou as a mortal seeth? 5 Are Thy days as the days of a mortal,
Or Thy years as man's days, 6 That Thou seekest after my iniquity,
And searchest after my sin? 7 Although Thou knowest that I am not a wicked man,
And there is none that can deliver out of Thy hand.
There are three questions by which Job seeks to exhaust every possible way of accounting for his sufferings as coming from God. These attempts at explanation, however, are at once destroyed, because they proceed upon conceptions which are unworthy of God, and opposed to His nature. Firstly, Whether it gives Him pleasure (טּוב, agreeable, as Job 13:9) when He oppresses, when He despises, i.e., keeps down forcibly or casts from Him as hateful (מאס, as Psa 89:39; Isa 54:6) the work of His hand; while, on the contrary, He permits light to shine from above upon the design of the wicked, i.e., favours it? Man is called the יגיע of the divine hands, as though he were elaborated by them, because at his origin (Gen 2:7), the continuation of which is the development in the womb (Psa 139:15), he came into existence in a remarkable manner by the directly personal, careful, and, so to speak, skilful working of God. That it is the morally innocent which is here described, may be seen not only from the contrast (Job 10:3), but also from the fact that he only can be spoken of as oppressed and rejected. Moreover, “the work of Thy hands” involves a negative reply to the question. Such an unloving mood of self-satisfaction is contrary to the bounty and beneficence of that love to which man owes his existence. Secondly, Whether God has eyes of flesh, i.e., of sense, which regard only the outward appearance, without an insight into the inner nature, or whether He sees as mortals see, i.e., judges, κατὰ τῆν σάρκα (Joh 8:15)? Mercier correctly: num ex facie judicas, ut affectibus ducaris more hominum. This question also supplies its own negative; it is based upon the thought that God lookest on the heart (1Sa 16:7). Thirdly, Whether His life is like to the brevity of man's life, so that He is not able to wait until a man's sin manifests itself, but must institute such a painful course of investigation with him, in order to extort from him as quickly as possible a confession of it? Suffering appears here to be a means of inquisition, which is followed by the final judgment when the guilt is proved. What is added in Job 10:7 puts this supposition aside also as inconceivable. Such a mode of proceeding may be conceived of in a mortal ruler, who, on account of his short-sightedness, seeks to bring about by severe measures that which was at first only conjecture, and who, from the apprehension that he may not witness that vengeance in which he delights, hastens forward the criminal process as much as possible, in order that his victim may not escape him. God, however, to whom belongs absolute knowledge and absolute power, would act thus, although, etc. על, although, notwithstanding (proceeding from the signification, besides, insuper), as Job 17:16 (Isa 53:9), Job 34:6. God knows even from the first that he (Job) will not appear as a guilty person (רשׁע, as in Job 9:29); and however that may be, He is at all events sure of him, for nothing escapes the hand of God.
That operation of the divine love which is first echoed in “the labour of Thy hands,” is taken up in the following strophe, and, as Job contemplates it, his present lot seems to him quite incomprehensible.

Verses 8-12 Edit

Job 10:8-12 8 Thy hands have formed and perfected me
Altogether round about, and Thou hast now swallowed me up! 9 Consider now, that Thou has perfected me as clay,
And wilt Thou turn me again into dust? 10 Hast Thou not poured me out as milk,
And curdled me as curd? 11 With skin and flesh hast Thou clothed me,
And Thou hast intertwined me with bones and sinews; 12 Life and favour Thou hast shown me,
And thy care hath guarded my breath.
The development of the embryo was regarded by the Israelitish Chokma as one of the greatest mysteries (Ecc 11:5; 2 Macc. 7:22f.). There are two poetical passages which treat explicitly of this mysterious existence: this strophe of the book of Job, and the Psalm by David, Psa 139:13-16 (Psychol. S. 210). The assertion of Scheuchzer, Hoffmann, and Oetinger, that these passages of Scripture “include, and indeed go beyond, all recent systemata generationis,” attributes to Scripture a design of imparting instruction, - a purpose which is foreign to it. Scripture nowhere attempts an analysis of the workings of nature, but only traces them back to their final cause. According to the view of Scripture, a creative act similar to the creation of Adam is repeated at the origin of each individual; and the continuation of development according to natural laws is not less the working of God than the creative planting of the very beginning. Thy hands, says Job, have formed (עצּב, to cut, carve, fashion; cognate are חצב, קצב, without the accompanying notion of toil, which makes this word specially appropriate, as describing the fashioning of the complicated nature of man) and perfected me. We do not translate: made; for עשׂה stands in the same relation to ברא and יצר as perficere to creare and fingere (Gen 2:2; Isa 43:7). יחד refers to the members of the body collectively, and סביב to the whole form. The perfecting as clay implies three things: the earthiness of the substance, the origin of man without his knowledge and co-operation, and the moulding of the shapeless substance by divine power and wisdom. The primal origin of man, de limo terrae (Job 33:6; Psa 139:15), is repeated in the womb. The figures which follow (Job 10:10) describe this origin, which being obscure is all the more mysterious, and glorifies the power of God the more. The sperma is likened to milk; the חתּיך (used elsewhere of smelting), which Seb. Schmid rightly explains rem colliquatam fundere et immittere in formam aliquam, refers to the nisus formativus which dwells in it. The embryo which is formed from the sperma is likened to גּבינה, which means in all the Semitic dialects cheese (curd). “As whey” (Ewald, Hahn) is not suitable; whey does not curdle; in making cheese it is allowed to run off from the curdled milk. “As cream” (Schlottm.) is not less incorrect; cream is not lac coagulatum, which the word signifies. The embryo forming itself from the sperma is like milk which is curdled and beaten into shape.
The consecutio temporum, moreover, must be observed here. It is, for example, incorrect to translate, with Ewald: Dost Thou not let me flow away like milk, etc. Job looks back to the beginning of his life; the four clauses, Job 10:10, Job 10:11, under the control of the first two verbs (Job 10:8), which influence the whole strophe, are also retrospective in meaning. The futt. are consequently like synchronous imperff.; as, then, Job 10:12 returns to perff., Job 10:11 describes the development of the embryo to the full-grown infant, on which Grotius remarks: Hic ordo est in genitura: primum pellicula fit, deinde in ea caro, duriora paulatim accedunt, and by Job 10:12, the manifestations of divine goodness, not only in the womb, but from the beginning of life and onwards, are intended. The expression “Life and favour (this combination does not occur elsewhere) hast Thou done to me” is zeugmatic: He has given him life, and sustained that life amidst constant proofs of favour; His care has guarded the spirit (רוּח), by which his frame becomes a living and self-conscious being. This grateful retrospect is interspersed with painful reflections, in which Job gives utterance to his feeling of the contrast between the manifestation of the divine goodness which he had hitherto experienced and his present condition. As in Job 10:8., ותּבלּעני, which Hirzel wrongly translates: and wilt now destroy me; it is rather: and hast now swallowed me up, i.e., drawn me down into destruction, as it were brought me to nought; or even, if in the fut. consec., as is frequently the case, the consecutive and not the aorist signification preponderates: and now swallowest me up; and in Job 10:9 (where, though not clear from the syntax, it is clear from the substance that תשׁיבני is not to be understood as an imperfect, like the futt. in Job 10:10.): wilt Thou cause me to become dust again? The same tone is continued in the following strophe. Thus graciously has he been brought into being, and his life sustained, in order that he may come to such a terrible end.

Verses 13-17 Edit

Job 10:13-17 13 And such Thou hast hidden in Thy heart,
I perceive that this was in Thy mind: 14 If I should sin, Thou wouldst take note of it,
And not acquit me of my iniquity. 15 If I should act wickedly, woe unto me!
And were I righteous, I should not lift up my head,
Being full of shame and conscious of my misery. 16 And were I to raise it, Thou wouldst hunt me as a lion,
And ever display on me Thy wondrous power, 17 Thou wouldst ever bring fresh witnesses against me,
And increase Thy wrath against me,
I should be compelled to withstand continuously advancing troops and a host.
This manifestation of divine goodness which Job has experienced from the earliest existence seems to him, as he compares his present lot of suffering with it, to have served as a veil to a hidden purpose of a totally opposite character. That purpose - to make this life, which has been so graciously called into existence and guarded thus far, the object of the severest and most condemning visitation - is now manifest. Both אלּה and זאת refer to what is to follow: עמּך זאת used of the thought conceived, the purpose cherished, as Job 23:14; Job 27:11. All that follows receives a future colouring from this principal clause, “This is what Thou hadst designed to do,” which rules the strophe. Thus Job 10:14 is to be rendered: If I had sinned, Thou wouldst have kept me in remembrance, properly custodies me, which is here equivalent to custoditurus eras me. שׁמר, with the acc. of the person, according to Psa 130:3 (where it is followed by the acc. of the sin), is to be understood: to keep any one in remembrance, i.e., to mark him as sinful (Hirzel). This appears more appropriate than rigide observaturus eras me (Schlottm.). ושׁמרתני, according to Ges. §121, 4, might be taken for לי ושׁמרת (viz., חטּאתי); but this is unnecessary, and we have merely translated it thus for the sake of clearness. His infirmities must not be passed by unpunished; and if he should act wickedly (רשׁע, of malignant sin, in distinction from חטא), woe unto him (comp. οἰαί μοι, 1Co 9:16). According to the construction referred to above, וצדקתי is praet. hypotheticum (Ges. §155, 4, a); and the conclusion follows without waw apodosis: If I had acted rightly, I should not have raised my head, being full of shame and conscious of my misery. The adjectives are not in apposition to ראשׁי (Böttcher), but describe the condition into which he would be brought, instead of being able (according to the ethical principle, Gen 4:7) to raise his head cheerfully. ראה constr. of ראה, as שׂבע or שׂבע. It is needless, with Pisc., Hirz., Böttch., and Ewald, to alter it to ראה, since ראה is verbal adjective like יפה, נכה, קשׁה. Moreover, וּראה cannot be imperative (Rosenm., De Wette); for although imperatives, joined by waw to sentences of a different construction, do occur (Psa 77:2; 2Sa 21:3), such an exclamation would destroy the connection and tone of the strophe in the present case.

Verse 16 Edit

Job 10:16 יגאה is hypothetical, like וצדקתי, but put in the future form, because referring to a voluntary act (Ewald, §357, b): and if it (the head) would (nevertheless) exalt itself (גאה, to raise proudly or in joyous self-consciousness), then (without waw apod., which is found in other passages, e.g., Job 22:28) Thou wouldst hunt me like a shachal (vid., Job 4:10), - Job likens God to the lion (as Hos 5:14; Hos 13:7), and himself to the prey which the lion pursues-Thou wouldst ever anew show Thyself wonderful at my expense (תּשׁב, voluntative form, followed by a future with which it is connected adverbially, Ges. §142, 3, b; תּתפּלּא, with â in the last syllable, although not in pause, as Num 19:12; Ewald, §141, c.), i.e., wonderful in power, and inventive by ever new forms off suffering, by which I should be compelled to repent this haughtiness. The witnesses (עדים) that God continually brings forth afresh against him are his sufferings (vid., Job 16:8), which, while he is conscious of his innocence, declare him to be a sinner; for Job, like the friends, cannot think of suffering and sin otherwise than as connected one with the other: suffering is partly the result of sin, and partly it sets the mark of sin on the man who is no sinner. תּרב (fut. apoc. Hiph. Ges. §75, rem. 15) is also the voluntative form: Thou wouldst multiply, increase Thy malignity against me. עם, contra, as also in other passages with words denoting strife and war, Job 13:19; Job 23:6; Job 31:13; or where the context implies hostility, Psa 55:19; Psa 94:16. The last line is a clause by itself consisting of nouns. וצבא חליפות is considered by all modern expositors as hendiadys, as Mercier translates: impetor variis et sibi succedentibus malorum agminibus; and צבא is mostly taken collectively. Changes and hosts = hosts continuously dispersing themselves, and always coming on afresh to the attack. But is not this form of expression unnatural? By חליפות Job means the advancing troops, and by צבא the main body of the army, from which they are reinforced; the former stands first, because the thought figuratively expressed in תחדשׁ and תרב is continued (comp. Job 19:12): the enmity of God is manifested against him by ever fresh sufferings, which are added to the one chief affliction. Böttcher calls attention to the fact that all the lines from v. 14 end in î, a rhythm formed by the inflection, which is also continued in v. 18. This repetition of the pronominal suffix gives intensity to the impression that these manifestations of the divine wrath have special reference to himself individually.

Verses 18-22 Edit

Job 10:18-22 18 And wherefore hast Thou brought me forth out of the womb?
I should have expired, that no eye had seen me, 19 I should have been as though I had never been,
Carried from the womb to the grave. 20 Are not my days few? then cease
And turn from me, that I may become a little cheerful, 21 Before I go to return no more
Into the land of darkness and of the shadow of death, 22 The land of deep darkness like to midnight,
Of the shadow of death and of confusion,
And which is bright like midnight.
The question Wherefore? Job 10:18, is followed by futt. as modi conditionales (Ges. §127, 5) of that which would and should have happened, if God had not permitted him to be born alive: I should have expired, prop. I ought to have expired, being put back to the time of birth (comp. Job 3:13, where the praet. more objectively expressed what would then have happened). These modi condit. are continued in Job 10:19: I should have been (sc. in the womb) as though I had not been (comp. the short elliptical[90] expression, Oba 1:16), i.e., as one who had scarcely entered upon existence, and that only of the earliest (as at conception); I should have been carried (הוּבל, as Job 21:32) from the womb (without seeing the light as one born alive) to the grave. This detestation of his existence passes into the wish, Job 10:20, that God would be pleased at least somewhat to relieve him ere he is swallowed up by the night of Hades. We must neither with the Targ. translate: are not my days few, and vanishing away? nor with Oetinger: will not my fewness of days cease? Both are contrary to the correct accentuation. Olshausen thinks it remarkable that there is not a weaker pausal accent to ימי; but such a one is really indirectly there, for Munach is here equivalent to Dechî, from which it is formed (vid., the rule in Comm. über den Psalter, ii. 504). Accordingly, Seb. Schmid correctly translates: nonne parum dies mei? ideo cessa. The Keri substitutes the precative form of expression for the optative: cease then, turn away from me then (imper. consec. with waw of the result, Ewald, §235, a); comp. the precative conclusion to the speech, Job 7:16., but there is no real reason for changing the optative form of the text. ישׁית (voluntative for ישׁת, Job 9:33) may be supplemented by ידו, פניו, עיניו ,פ, or לבו (Job 7:17) (not, however, with Hirz., שׁבטו, after Job 9:34, which is too far-fetched for the usage of the language, or with Böttch., מחנהו, copias suas); שׁית can however, like שׂים, Job 4:20, signify to turn one's self to, se disponere = to attend to, consequently מן שׁית, to turn the attention from, as מן שׁעה, Job 7:19, Ps. 39:14 (where, as here, ואבליגה follows).
He desires a momentary alleviation of his sufferings and ease before his descent to Hades, which seems so near at hand. He calls Hades the land of darkness and of the shadow of death. צלמות, which occurs for the first time in the Old Testament in Psa 23:4, is made into a compound from סלמוּת, and is the proper word for the obscurity of the region of the dead, and is accordingly repeated later on. Further, he calls it the land of encircling darkness (עפתה, defective for עיפתה, from עוף, caligare, and with He parag. intensive for עיפה, in Amo 4:13, who also uses הבליג, Job 5:9, in common with Job), like midnight darkness. אפל cannot mean merely the grey of twilight, it is the entire absence of sunlight, Job 3:6; Job 28:3; Psa 91:6; comp. ex. Job 10:22, where the Egyptian darkness is called אפלה חשׁך. Böttch. correctly compares אפל and נפל: mersa ad imum h.e. profunda nox (the advancing night). Still further he calls it (the land) of the shadow of death, and devoid of order (סדרים, ἅπ. λεγ. in the Old Testament, but a common word in the later Hebrew), i.e., where everything is so encompassed by the shadow of death that it seems a chaos, without any visible or distinct outline. It is difficult to determine whether ותּפע is to be referred to ארץ: and which lights (fut. consec. as the accent on the penult. indicates, the syntax like Job 3:21, Job 3:23; Isa 57:3); or is to be taken as neuter: and it shines there (= and where it shines) like midnight darkness. Since ותּפע (from יפע = ופע, to rise, shine forth; vid., on Psa 95:4), as also האיר, does not occur elsewhere as neuter, we prefer, with Hirzel, to refer it to ארץ ot, as being more certain. Moreover, אפל is here evidently the intensest darkness, ipsum medullitium umbrae mortis ejusque intensissimum, as Oetinger expresses it. That which is there called light, i.e., the faintest degree of darkness, is like the midnight of this world; “not light, but darkness visible,” as Milton says of hell.
The maxim of the friends is: God does not pervert right, i.e., He deals justly in all that He does. They conclude from this, that no man, no sufferer, dare justify himself: it is his duty to humble himself under the just hand of God. Job assents to all this, but his assent is mere sarcasm at what they say. He admits that everything that God does is right, and must be acknowledged as right; not, however, because it is right in itself, but because it is the act of the absolute God, against whom no protest uttered by the creature, though with the clearest conviction of innocence, can avail. Job separates goodness from God, and regards that which is part of His very being as a produce of His arbitrary will. What God says and does must be true and right, even if it be not true and right in itself. The God represented by the friends is a God of absolute justice; the God of Job is a God of absolute power. The former deals according to the objective rule of right; the latter according to a freedom which, because removed from all moral restraint, is pure caprice.
How is it that Job entertains such a cheerless view of the matter? The friends, by the strong view which they have taken up, urge him into another extreme. On their part, they imagine that in the justice of God they have a principle which is sufficient to account for all the misfortunes of mankind, and Job's in particular. They maintain, with respect to mankind in general (Eliphaz by an example from his own observation, and Bildad by calling to his aid the wisdom of the ancients), that the ungodly, though prosperous for a time, come to a fearful end; with respect to Job, that his affliction is a just chastisement from God, although designed for his good. Against the one assertion Job's own experience of life rebels; against the other his consciousness rises up with indignation. Job's observation is really as correct as that of the friends; for the history of the past and of the present furnishes as many illustrations of judgments which have suddenly come upon the godless in the height of their prosperity, as of general visitations in which the innocent have suffered with the guilty, by whom these judgments have been incurred. But with regard to his misfortune, Job cannot and ought not to look at it from the standpoint of the divine justice. For the proposition, which we will give in the words of Brentius, quidquid post fidei justificationem pio acciderit, innocenti accidit, is applicable to our present subject.
If, then, Job's suffering were not so severe, and his faith so powerfully shaken, he would comfort himself with the thought that the divine ways are unsearchable; since, on the one hand, he cannot deny the many traces of the justice of the divine government in the world (he does not deny them even here), and on the other hand, is perplexed by the equally numerous incongruities of human destiny with the divine justice. (This thought is rendered more consolatory to us by the revelation which we possess of the future life; although even in the later Old Testament times the last judgment is referred to as the adjustment of all these incongruities; vid., the conclusion of Ecclesiastes.) His own lot might have remained always inexplicable to him, without his being obliged on that account to lose the consciousness of the divine love, and that faith like Asaph's, which, as Luther says, struggles towards God through wrath and disfavour, as through thorns, yea, even through spears and swords.
Job is passing through conflict and temptation. He does not perceive the divine motive and purpose of his suffering, nor has he that firm and unshaken faith which will keep him from mistaken views of God, although His dispensations are an enigma to him; but, as his first speech (ch. 3) shows, he is tormented by thoughts which form part of the conflict of temptation. The image of the gracious God is hidden from him, he feels only the working of the divine wrath, and asks, Wherefore doth God give light to the suffering ones? - a question which must not greatly surprise us, for, as Luther says, “There has never been any one so holy that he has not been tormented with this quare, quare, Wherefore? wherefore should it be so?” And when the friends, who know as little as Job himself about the right solution of this mystery, censure him for his inquiry, and think that in the propositions: man has no righteousness which he can maintain before God, and God does not pervert the right, they have found the key to the mystery, the conflict becomes fiercer for Job, because the justice of God furnishes him with no satisfactory explanation of his own lot, or of the afflictions of mankind generally. The justice of God, which the friends consider to be sufficient to explain everything that befalls man, Job can only regard as the right of the Supreme Being; and while it appears to the friends that every act of God is controlled by His justice, it seems to Job that whatever God does must be right, by virtue of His absolute power.
This principle, devoid of consolation, drives Job to the utterances so unworthy of him, that, in spite of his conviction of his innocence, he must appear guilty before God, because he must be speechless before His terrible majesty, - that if, however, God would only for once so meet him that he could fearlessly address Him, he would know well enough how to defend himself (ch. 9). After these utterances of his feeling, from which all consciousness of the divine love is absent, he puts forth the touching prayer: Condemn me not without letting me know why Thou dost condemn me! (Job 10:1-7).
As he looks back, he is obliged to praise God, as his Creator and Preserver, for what He has hitherto done for him (Job 10:8-12); but as he thinks of his present condition, he sees that from the very beginning God designed to vent His wrath upon him, to mark his infirmities, and to deprive him of all joy in the consciousness of his innocence (Job 10:13-17). He is therefore compelled to regard God as his enemy, and this thought overpowers the remembrance of the divine goodness. If, however, God were his enemy, he might well ask, Wherefore then have I come into being? And while he writhes as a worm crushed beneath the almighty power of God, he prays that God would let him alone for a season ere he passes away into the land of darkness, whence there is no return (Job 10:18-22).
Brentius remarks that this speech of Job contains inferni blasphemias, and explains them thus: non enim in tanto judicii horrore Deum patrem, sed carnificem sentit; but also adds, that in passages like Job 10:8-12 faith raises its head even in the midst of judgment; for when he praises the mercies of God, he does so spiritu fidei, and these he would not acknowledge were there not a fidei scintilla still remaining. This is true. The groundwork of Job's faith remains even in the fiercest conflict of temptation, and is continually manifest; we should be unable to understand the book unless we could see this fidei scintilla, the extinction of which would be the accomplishment of Satan's design against him, glimmering everywhere through the speeches of Job. The unworthy thoughts he entertains of God, which Brentius calls inferni blasphemias, are nowhere indulged to such a length that Job charges God with being his enemy, although he fancies Him to be an enraged foe. In spite of the imagined enmity of God against him, Job nowhere goes so far as to declare enmity on his part against God, so far as אלהים ברך. He does not turn away from God, but inclines to Him in prayer. His soul is filled with adoration of God, and with reverence of His power and majesty; he can clearly discern God's marvellous works in nature and among men, and His creative power and gracious providence, the workings of which he has himself experienced. But that mystery, which the friends have made still more mysterious, has cast a dark cloud over his vision, so that he can no longer behold the loving countenance of God. His faith is unable to disperse this cloud, and so he sees but one side of the divine character - His Almightiness. Since he consequently looks upon God as the Almighty and the Wrathful One, his felling alternately manifests itself under two equally tragical phases. At one time he exalts himself in his consciousness of the justice of his cause, to sink back again before the majesty of God, to whom he must nevertheless succumb; at another time his feeling of self-confidence is overpowered by the severity of his suffering, and he betakes himself to importunate supplication.
It is true that Job, so long as he regards his sufferings as a dispensation of divine judgment, is as unjust towards God as he believes God to be unjust towards him; but if we bear in mind that this state of conflict and temptation does not preclude the idea of a temporal withdrawal of faith, and that, as Baumgarten (Pentat. i. 209) aptly expresses it, the profound secret of prayer is this, that man can prevail with the Divine Being, then we shall understand that this dark cloud need only be removed, and Job again stands before the God of love as His saint.

Chap. 11 Edit

Verses 1-6 Edit

Job 11:1-6 1 Then began Zophar the Naamathite, and said: 2 Shall the torrent of words remain unanswered,
And shall the prater be in the right? 3 Shall thy vain talking silence the people,
So that thou mockest without any one putting thee to shame, 4 And sayest: my doctrine is pure,
And I am guiltless in Thine eyes? 5 But oh that Eloah would speak,
And open His lips against thee, 6 And make known to thee the secrets of wisdom,
That she is twofold in her nature -
Know then that Eloah forgetteth much of thy guilt.
When Job has concluded his long speech, Zophar, the third and most impetuous of the friends, begins. His name, if it is to be explained according to the Arabic Esauitish name el-assfar,[91] signifies the yellow one (flavedo), and the name of the place whence he comes, pleasantness (amaenitas). The very beginning of his speech is impassioned. He calls Job's speech דברים רב, a multitude of words (besides here, Pro 10:19; Ecc 5:2), and asks whether he is to remain unanswered; יענה לא, responsum non feret, from נענה, not the sense of being humbled, but: to be answered (of the suppliant: to be heard = to receive an answer). He calls Job שׂפתים אישׁ, a prater (distinct from דברים איש, a ready speaker, Exo 4:10), who is not in the right, whom one must not allow to have the last word. The questions, Job 11:2, are followed by another which is not denoted by the sign of a question, but is only known by the accent: Shall not thy בּדּים, meaningless speeches (from בדד = בטא, βαττολογεῖν), put men (מתים, like other archaisms, e.g., תּבל, always without the article) to silence, so that thou darest mock without any one making thee ashamed, i.e., leading thee on ad absurdum? Thou darest mock God (Hirzel); better Rosenmüller: nos et Deum. The mockery here meant is that which Zophar has heard in Job's long speech; mockery at his opponents, in the belief that he is right because they remain silent. The futt. consec., Job 11:3., describe the conduct of Job which results from this absence of contradiction. Zophar, in v. 4, does not take up Job's own words, but means, that one had better have nothing more to do with Job, as he would some day say and think so and so, he would consider his doctrine blameless, and himself in relation to God pure. לקח occurs only here in this book; it is a word peculiar to the book of Proverbs (also only Deu 32:2; Isa 29:24), and properly signifies the act of appropriating, then that which is presented for appropriation, i.e., for learning: the doctrine (similar to שׁמועה, the hearing, ἀκοή, and then the discourse); we see from the words “my doctrine is pure,” which Zophar puts into the mouth of Job, that the controversy becomes more and more a controversy respecting known principles.

Verse 5 Edit

With ואולם, verum enim vero, Zophar introduces his wish that God himself would instruct Job; this would most thoroughly refute his utterances. יתן מי is followed by the infin., then by futt., vid., Ges. §136, 1; כּפלים (only here and Isa 40:2) denotes not only that which is twice as great, but generally that which far surpasses something else. The subject of the clause beginning with כּי is היא understood, i.e., divine wisdom: that she is the double with respect to (ל( ot, as e.g., 1Ki 10:23) reality (תושׁיה, as Job 5:12; Job 6:13, essentia, substantia), i.e., in comparison with Job's specious wisdom and philosophism. Instead of saying: then thou wouldst perceive, Zophar, realizing in his mind that which he has just wished, says imperiously ודע (an imper. consec., or, as Ewald, §345, b, calls it, imper. futuri, similar to Gen 20:7; 2Sa 21:3): thou must then perceive that God has dealt far more leniently with thee than thou hast deserved. The causative השּׁה (in Old Testament only this passage, and Job 39:17) denotes here oblivioni dare, and the מן of מעונך is partitive.

Verses 7-9 Edit

Job 11:7-9 7 Canst thou find out the nature of Eloah,
And penetrate to the foundation of the existence of the Almighty? 8 It is as the heights of heaven-what wilt thou do?
Deeper than Hades-what canst thou know? 9 The measure thereof is longer than the earth,
And broader than the sea.
The majority of modern commentators erroneously translate חקר searching = comprehension, and תּכלית perfection, a meaning which this word never has. The former, indeed, signifies first in an active sense: finding out by search; and then also objectively: the object sought after: “the hidden ground” (Ewald), the depth (here and Job 38:16; also, according to Ew., Job 8:8, of the deep innermost thought). The latter denotes penetrating to the extreme, and then the extreme, πέρας, itself (Job 26:10; Job 28:3). In other words: the nature that underlies that which is visible as an object of search is called חקר; and the extreme of a thing, i.e., the end, without which the beginning and middle cannot be understood, is called תכלית. The nature of God may be sought after, but cannot be found out; and the end of God is unattainable, for He is both: the Perfect One, absolutus; and the Endless One, infinitus.

Verses 8-9 Edit

The feminine form of expression has reference to the divine wisdom (Chokma, Job 11:6), and amplifies what is there said of its transcendent reality. Its absoluteness is described by four dimensions, like the absoluteness of the love which devised the plan for man's redemption (Eph 3:18). The pronoun היא, with reference to this subject of the sentence, must be supplied. She is as “the heights of heaven” (comp. on subst. pro adj. Job 22:12); what wilt or canst thou do in order to scale that which is high as heaven? In Job 11:9 we have translated according to the reading מדּה with He mappic. This feminine construction is a contraction for מדּתהּ, as Job 5:13, ערמם for ערמתם; Zec 4:2, גלה for גלתה, and more syncopated forms of a like kind (vid., Comm. über den Psalter, i. 225, ii. 172). The reading recorded by the Masora is, however, מדּה with He raph., according to which the word seems to be the accusative used adverbially; nevertheless the separation of this acc. relativus from its regens by the insertion of a word between them (comp. Job 15:10) would make a difficulty here where היא is wanting, and consequently מדה seems to signify mensura ejus whichever way it may be written (since ah raphe is also sometimes a softened form of the suffix, Job 31:22; Ewald, §94, b). The wisdom of God is in its height altogether inaccessible, in its depth fathomless and beyond research, in its length unbounded, in its breadth incomprehensible, stretching out far beyond all human thought.

Verses 10-12 Edit

Job 11:10-12 10 When He passes by and arrests
And calls to judgment, who will oppose Him? 11 For He knoweth the men devoid of principle,
And seeth wickedness without observing it. 12 But before an empty head gaineth understanding,
A wild ass would become a man.
In יחלף God is conceived as one who manifests himself by passing to and fro in the powers of nature (in the whirlwind, Isa 21:1). Should He meet with one who is guilty, and seize and bring him to judgment, who then (waw apod.) will turn Him back, i.e., restrain Him? הקהיל is used of bringing to judgment, with reference to the ancient form of trial which was in public, and in which the carrying out of the sentence was partly incumbent on the people (1Ki 21:9; Eze 16:40; Eze 23:46). One might almost imagine that Zophar looks upon himself and the other two friends as forming such an “assembly:” they cannot justify him in opposition to God, since He accounts him guilty. God's mode of trial is summary, because infallible: He knows altogether שׁוא מתי, people who hypocritically disguise their moral nothingness (on this idea, vid., on Psa 26:4); and sees (looks through) און (from the root ân, to breathe), otherwise grief, with which one pants, in a moral sense worthlessness, without any trace whatever of worth or substance. He knows and sees this moral wretchedness at once, and need not first of all reflect upon it: non opus habet, as Abenezra has correctly explained, ut diu consideret (comp. the like thought, Job 34:23).
Job 11:12 has been variously misinterpreted. Gesenius in his Handwörterbuch[92] translates: but man is empty and void of understanding; but this is contrary to the accentuation, according to which נבוב אישׁ together form the subject. Olshausen translates better: an empty man, on the other hand, is without heart; but the fut. cannot be exactly so used, and if we consider that Piel has never properly a privative meaning, though sometimes a privative idea (as e.g., סקּל, operam consumere in lapidos, scil. ejiciendos), we must regard a privative Niphal as likewise inadmissible. Stickel translates peculiarly: the man devoid of understanding is enraged against God; but this is opposed to the manifest correlation of נבוב and ילּבב, which does not indicate the antithesis of an empty and sulky person (Böttcher): the former rather signifies empty, and the latter to acquire heart or marrow (Heidenheim, לב יקנה), so that לב fills up the hollow space. Hirzel's rendering partly bears out the requirement of this correlation: man has understanding like a hollow pate; but this explanation, like that of Gesenius, violates the accentuation, and produces an affected witticism. The explanation which regards Job 11:12 as descriptive of the wholesome effect of the discipline of the divine judgments (comp. Isa 26:9) is far better; it does not violate the accent, and moreover is more in accordance with the future form: the empty one becomes discerning thereby, the rough, humane (thus recently Ewald, Heiligst., Schlottm.); but according to this explanation, Job 11:12 is not connected with what immediately precedes, nor is the peculiarity of the expression fully brought out. Hupfeld opens up another way of interpreting the passage when he remarks, nil dicto facilius et simplicius; he understands Job 11:12 according to Job 11:12: But man is furnished with an empty heart, i.e., receives at his birth an empty undiscerning heart, and man is born as a wild ass's colt, i.e., as stupid and obstinate. This thought is satisfactorily connected with the preceding; but here also נבוב is taken as predicate in violation of the accentuation, nor is justice done to the correlation above referred to, and the whole sentence is referred to the portion of man at his birth, in opposition to the impression conveyed by the use of the fut. Oehler appears to us to have recognised the right sense: But an empty man is as little endowed with sense, as that a wild ass should ever be born as man - be, so to speak, born again and become a man.[93]
The waw in ועיר is just like Job 5:7; Job 12:11, and brings into close connection the things that are to be compared, as in the form of emblematic proverbs (vid., Herzog's Real Encyklopädie, xiv. 696): the one will happen not earlier than, and as little as, the other. The Niphal נולד, which in Pro 17:17 signifies to become manifest, here borders on the notion of regenerari; a regeneration would be necessary if the wild ass should become human, - a regeneration which is inconceivable. It is by nature refractory, and especially when young (ועיר from Arab. ‛âr, fut. i in the signification vagari, huc illuc discurrere, of a young, restless, wild, frisking animal). Just so, says Zophar, the vacuum in an empty man is incapable of being filled up, - a side hit at Job, which rebounds on Zophar himself; for the dogma of the friends, which forms the sole contents of their hollowness, can indeed not fill with brightness and peace a heart that is passing through conflict. The peculiarity of the expression is no longer unintelligible; Zophar is the most impassioned of the three friends.

Verses 13-15 Edit

Job 11:13-15 13 But if thou wilt direct thy heart,
And spread out thy hands to Him - 14 If there is evil in thy hand, put it far away,
And let not wickedness dwell in thy tents - 15 Then indeed canst thou lift up thy face without spot,
And shalt be firm without fearing.
The phrase הכין לב signifies neither to raise the heart (Ewald), nor to establish it (Hirz.), but to direct it, i.e., give it the right direction (Psa 78:8) towards God, 1Sa 7:3; 2Ch 20:33; it has an independent meaning, so that there is no need to supply אל־אל, nor take וּפרשׂתּ to be for לפרושׂ (after the construction in 2Ch 30:19). To spread out the hands in prayer is כּפּים (פּרשׂ) פּרשׂ; ידים is seldom used instead of the more artistic כפים, palmas, h.e. manus supinas. The conditional antecedent clause is immediately followed, Job 11:14, by a similarly conditional parenthetical clause, which inserts the indispensable condition of acceptable prayer; the conclusion might begin with הרהיקהוּ: when thou sendest forth thy heart and spreadest out thy hands to Him, if there is wickedness in thy hand, put it far away; but the antecedent requires a promise for its conclusion, and the more so since the praet. and fut. which follow אם, Job 11:13, have the force of futt. exact.: si disposueris et extenderis, to which the conclusion: put it far away, is not suited, which rather expresses a preliminary condition of acceptable prayer. The conclusion then begins with כּי־אז, then indeed, like Job 8:6; Job 13:19, comp. Job 6:3, with עתּה כּי, now indeed; the causal signification of כי has in both instances passed into the confirmatory (comp. 1Sa 14:44; Psa 118:10-12; Psa 128:2, and on Gen 26:22): then verily wilt thou be able to raise thy countenance (without being forced to make any more bitter complaints, as Job 10:15.), without spot, i.e., not: without bodily infirmity, but: without spot of punishable guilt, sceleris et paenae (Rosenmüller). מן here signifies without (Targ. דּלא), properly: far from, as Job 21:9; 2Sa 1:22; Pro 20:3. Faultless will he then be able to look up and be firm (מצּק from יצק, according to Ges. §71), quasi ex aere fusus (1Ki 7:16), one whom God can no longer get the better of.

Verses 16-20 Edit

Job 11:16-20 16 For thou shalt forget thy grief,
Shalt remember it as waters that flow by. 17 And thy path of life shall be brighter than mid-day;
If it be dark, it shall become as morning. 18 And thou shalt take courage, for now there is hope;
And thou shalt search, thou shalt lie down in safety. 19 And thou liest down without any one making thee afraid;
And many shall caress thy cheeks. 20 But the eyes of the wicked languish,
And refuge vanisheth from them,
And their hope is the breathing forth of the soul.
The grief that has been surmounted will then leave no trace in the memory, like water that flows by (not: water that flows away, as Olshausen explains it, which would be differently expressed; comp. Job 20:28 with 2Sa 14:14). It is not necessary to change אתּה כּי into עתּה כּי (Hirzel); אתה, as in Job 11:13, strengthens the force of the application of this conclusion of his speech. Life (חלד, from חלד to glide away, slip, i.e., pass away unnoticed,[94] as αἰών, both life-time, Psa 39:6, and the world, Psa 49:2, here in the former sense), at the end of which thou thoughtest thou wert already, and which seemed to thee to run on into dismal darkness, shall be restored to thee (יקום with Munach on the ult. as Job 31:14, not on the penult.) brighter than noon-day (מן, more than, i.e., here: brighter than, as e.g., Mic 7:4, more thorny than); and be it ever so dark, it shall become like morning. Such must be the interpretation of תּעפה. It cannot be a substantive, for it has the accent on the penult.; as a substantive it must have been pointed תּעוּפה (after the form תּקוּדה, תּקוּמה, and the like). It is one of the few examples of the paragogic strengthened voluntative in the third pers., like Psa 20:4; Isa 5:19[95] (Ges. §48, 3); the cohortative form of the future is used with or without אם (vid., on Psa 73:16) in hypothetical antecedent clauses (Ges. §128, 1). Translate therefore: should it become dark (accordingly correctly accented with Rebia mugrasch), from עוּף, to envelope one's self, to darken (whence עפתה, Job 10:22), not: shouldst thou become dark (Schlottm.). The feminine forms are instead of the neuter, like תּמטיר, it rains, Amo 4:7; חשׁכה, it becomes dark, Mic 3:6 (Ges. §137, 2).
The fut. is followed by perff. consecutiva in Job 11:18 : And thou shalt take confidence, for there is ground for hope for thee; ישׁ, with the force of real and lasting existence. וחפרתּ is also perf. consec., and is rightly accented as such. If it were to be interpreted et si erubueris pudore tranquille cubabis, it would require the accent on the penult., since it would be a perf. hypotheticum. But although the seeming antithesis of וחפרת and לבטח (comp. Job 6:20) appears to favour this interpretation, it is nevertheless inadmissible, since it introduces a sadness into the promise: granted that thou shouldest be put to shame at this or that prospect; whereas, if חפר be taken in the sense of scrutari, as it is used by our poet (Job 3:21; Job 39:29) (not with Böttch., who comp. Ecc 5:11, in the signification fodere = to labour in the field, in which meaning it is not common), the tone of sadness is removed, and the accentuation is duly observed: and thou shalt search about (i.e., examine the state of thy household, which is expressed by וּפקדתּ in Job 5:24), thou shalt lay thyself down in peace (i.e., because thou findest everything in a prosperous condition, and hast no anxiety). This felling of security against every harm that may befall one's person or property, gained from trust in God, is expressed (Job 11:19) under the figure of the peaceful situation of a herd when removed from danger, - a figure which is borrowed from Lev 26:6, and is frequently repeated in the prophets (Isa 17:2; Zep 3:13). The promises of Zophar culminate in a future exaltation which shall command reverence and inspire trust: et mulcebunt faciem tuam multi. פּני חלּה, to approach any one in humble entreaty, generally used in reference to God; less frequently, as here and Psa 45:13; Pro 19:6, in reference to men in high positions. The end of the wicked, on the other hand, is told in Job 11:20. Zophar here makes use of the choicest expressions of the style of the prophetic psalms: כּלה, otherwise frequently used of those who pine away with longing, here and Job 17:5 of eyes that languish with unsatisfied longing; מנּהם (Aram. מנּהוןּ), poetic for מהם; נפשׁ מפּח, after the phrase נפשׁ נפח, he breathes forth his soul (Jer 15:9, comp. Job 31:39). The meaning is not that death is their only hope, but that every expectation remains unfulfilled; giving up the ghost is that whither all their disappointed hopes tend.
That Zophar, in the mind of the poet, is the youngest of the three speakers, may be concluded from his introducing him last of all, although he is the most impetuous. Zophar manifests a still greater inability than the other two to bring Job to a right state of mind. His standpoint is the same as that of the others; like them, he regards the retributive justice of God as the principle on which alone the divine government in the world is exercised, and to which every act of this government is to be attributed, and it may indeed be assumed to be at work even when the relation of circumstances is mysterious and impenetrably dark to us. This limited view which the friends take of the matter readily accounts for the brevity of their speeches in comparison with Job's. This one locus communis is their only theme, which they reiterate constantly in some new and modified form; while the mind of Job is an exhaustless fountain of thought, suggested by the direct experiences of the past. Before the present dispensation of suffering came upon Job, he enjoyed the peace of true godliness, and all his thoughts and feelings were under the control of a consciousness, made certain by his experience, that God makes himself known to those who fear Him. Now, however, his nature, hitherto kept in subjection by divine grace, is let loose in him; the powers of doubt, mistrust, impatience, and despondency have risen up; his inner life is fallen into the anarchy of conflict; his mind, hitherto peaceful and well-disciplined, is become a wild chaotic confusion; and hence his speeches, in comparison with those of the friends, are as roaring cataracts to small confined streams. But in this chaos lie the elements of a new creation; the harsh pertinacity with which the friends maintain their one dogma only tends to give an impulse to it. The new truth, the solution of the mystery, springs from this spiritual battle Job has to fight, from which, although not scathless, he still shall come forth as conqueror.
Is the dogma of the friends, then, so pure a doctrine (זך לקח) as that which, according to Zophar's words, Job claims for himself? On Zophar's side it is maintained that God always acts in accordance with justice, and Job maintains that God does not always so act. The maxim of the friends is false in the exclusiveness with which they maintain it; the conclusion to which they are urged gives evidence of the fallacy of the premises: they must condemn Job, and consequently become unjust, in order to rescue the justice of God. Job's maxim, on the other hand, is true; but it is so unconnected as it stands, that it may be turned over any moment and changed into a falsehood. For that God does not act everywhere as the Just One is a truth, but that He sometimes acts unjustly is blasphemy. Between these two Job hangs in suspense. For the stedfast consciousness of his innocence proves to him that God does not always act as the Just One; shall he therefore suppose that God deals unjustly with him? From this blasphemous inversion of his maxim, Job seeks refuge in the absolute power of God, which makes that just which is unjust according to the clearest human consciousness. This is the feeble thread on which Job's piety hangs. Should this be cut, it would be all over with him. The friends do their best to cut it in twain. Zophar's speech is like a sword-thrust at it.
For while Eliphaz and Bildad with cautious gentleness describe suffering more as chastisement than as punishment, Zophar proceeds more boldly, and demands of Job that he should humble himself, as one who has incurred punishment from God. Of sin on Job's part which may have called down the divine judgment, Zophar knows as little as Job himself. But he wishes that God would grant Job some revelation of His infinite wisdom, since he refuses to humble himself. Then he would confess his folly, and see that God not only does not punish him unjustly, but even allows much of his guilt to go unpunished. Job is therefore to turn penitently to God, and to put away that evil which is the cause of his suffering, in order that he may be heard. Then shall his hopeless condition become bright with hope; whereas, on the other hand, the downfall of the wicked is beyond recovery. Ewald aptly remarks that thus even the concluding words of the speeches of the friends are always somewhat equivocal. “Eliphaz just adds a slight caution, Bildad introduces the contrast in a few words, and Zophar adds but a word; all these seem to be as the forerunners of a multitude of similar harsh threatenings, ch. 15, 18, 20.”
What impression will this harsh treatment of Zophar's produce on Job? Job is to humble himself as a sinner who is undergoing the punishment of his sin, though the measure of it is far below the degree of his guilt; and while he does not deny his sinful weaknesses, he is nevertheless convinced that he is righteous, and having as such experienced the favour of God, cannot become an object of punishment. Brentius discriminatingly observes here: Videntur et Sophar et reliqui amici Hiob prorsus ignorare quid sit aut efficiat Evangelion et fides in promissionem Dei; sic argumentantur contra Hiobem, quasi nullus unquam possit coram Deo fide justificari. The language is rather too much in accordance with the light of the New Testament; but it is true that the friends know nothing whatever of the condition of a truly righteous man, over whom the law with its curse, or the retributive justice of God, has no power. The interpretation of affliction in accordance with the recognition of this principle is strange to them; and this is just the issue which is developed by the drama in the case of Job - the idea which comes to light in the working out of the plot. Even Job does not perceive the solution of the mystery, but, in the midst of the conflict, is in a state of ignorance which excites compassion; the ignorance of the friends arising from their shallowness of understanding, on the contrary, creates aversion. When Zophar, therefore, wishes that God would grant Job some revelation of His infinite wisdom, it is indeed true that Job is greatly in need of it; but it is self-deceiving pride which leads Zophar to imagine that he has no need of it himself. For this Wisdom which has decreed the suffering of Job is hidden from his also; and yet he does not treat the suffering of his friend as a divine mystery. He explains it as the working of the retributive justice of God; but since he endeavours thus to explain the mystery, he injures his cause, and if possible injures also the slender thread by which Job's faith hangs. For should Job regard his sufferings as a just divine retribution, he could then no longer believe on God as the Just One.

Chap. 12 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Job 12:1-3 1 The Job began, and said: 2 Truly then ye are the people,
And wisdom shall die with you! 3 I also have a heart as well as you;
I do not stand behind you;
And to whom should not such things be known?
The admission, which is strengthened by כּי אמנם, truly then (distinct from אמנם כּי, for truly, Job 36:4, similar to כּי הנּה, behold indeed, Psa 128:4), is intended as irony: ye are not merely single individuals, but the people = race of men (עם, as Isa 40:7; Isa 42:5), so that all human understanding is confined to you, and there is none other to be found; and when once you die, it will seem to have died out. The lxx correctly renders: μὴ ὑμεῖς ἐστὲ ἄνθρωποι μόνοι (according to the reading of the Cod. Alex.); he also has a heart like them, he is therefore not empty, נבוב, Job 11:12. Heart is, like Job 34:10, comp. נלבב, Job 11:12, equivalent to νοῦς διάνοια; Ewald's translation, “I also have a head even as you” (“brains” would better accord with the connection), is a western form of expression, and modern and unbiblical (vid., Division ”Herz und Haupt,” Psychol. iv. §12). He is not second to them; מן נפל, like Job 13:2, properly to slip from, to be below any one; מן is not the comparative (Ewald). Oetinger's translation is not bad: I cannot slink away at your presence. Who has not a knowledge of such things as those which they, by setting themselves up as defenders of God, have presented to him! אתּי היה is equivalent to ידעתּי, σύνοιδα, Isa 59:12.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Job 12:4-6 4 I must be a mockery to my own friend,
I who called on Eloah and He heard me;
A mockery - the just, the godly man. 5 Contempt belongs to misfortune, according to the ideas of the prosperous;
It awaits those who are ready to slip. 6 Tents of the destroyer remain in peace,
And those that defy God are prosperous,
Who taketh Eloah into his hand.
The synallage of לרעהוּ for לרעי is not nearly so difficult as many others: a laughing-stock to his own friend; comp. Isa 2:8, they worship the work of their (his) own hands (ידיו). “One who called on Eloah (לאלוהּ, for which לאלוהּ is found in lxx at Job 36:2) and He heard him” is in apposition to the subject; likewise תמים צדיק, which is to be explained according to Pro 11:5, צדיק (from צדק, Arab. ṣdq, to be hard, firm, stiff, straight), is one who in his conduct rules himself strictly according to the will of God; תמים, one whose thoughts are in all respects and without disguise what they should be-in one word: pure. Most old translators (Targ., Vulg., Luther) give לפּיד the signification, a torch. Thus e.g., Levi v. Gerson explains: “According to the view of the prosperous and carnally secure, he who is ready for falterings of the feet, i.e., likely to fall, is like a lighted torch which burns away and destroys whatever comes in contact with it, and therefore one keeps aloof from him; but it is also more than this: he is an object of contempt in their eyes.” Job might not inappropriately say, that in the eyes of the prosperous he is like a despised, cast-away torch (comp. the similar figure, Isa 14:19, like a branch that is rejected with contempt); and Job 12:5 would be suitably connected with this if למועדי could be derived from a substantive מעד, vacillatio, but neither the usage of the language nor the scriptio plena (after which Jerome translates tempus statutum, and consequently has in mind the מועדים, times of festal pilgrimages, which are also called ררלים in later times), nor the vowel pointing (instead of which מעדי would be expected), is favourable to this. רגל מועדי signifies vacillantes pede, those whose prosperity is shaken, and who are in danger of destruction that is near at hand. We therefore, like Abenezra and modern expositors, who are here happily agreed, take לפיד as composed of ל and פּיד, a word common to the books of Job (Job 30:24; Job 31:29) and Proverbs (ch. Pro 24:22), which is compared by the Jewish lexicographers, according both to form and meaning, to כּיד (Job 21:20) and איד, and perhaps signifies originally dissolution (comp. פדה), decease (Syr. f'jodo, escape; Arab. faid, dying), fall, then generally calamity, misfortune: contempt (befits) misfortune, according to the thoughts (or thinking), idea of the prosperous. The pointing wavers between לעשׁתּות and the more authorized לעשׁתּוּת, with which Parchon compares the nouns עבדוּת and מרדּוּת; the ת, like ד in the latter word, has Dag. lene, since the punctuation is in this respect not quite consistent, or follows laws at present unknown (comp. Ges. §21, rem. 2). Job 12:5 is now suitably connected: ready (with reference to בוז) for those who stumble, i.e., contempt certainly awaits such, it is ready and waiting for them, נכון, ἕτοιμος, like Exo 34:2.
While the unfortunate, in spite of his innocence, has thus only to expect contempt, the tents, i.e., dwellings and possessions, of the oppressor and the marauder remain in prosperity; ישׁליוּ for ישׁלוּ, an intensive form used not only in pause (Psa 36:8; comp. Deu 32:37) and with greater distinctives (Num 34:6; Psa 122:6), but also in passages where it receives no such accent (Psa 36:9; Psa 57:2; Psa 73:2). On אהלים, instead of אהלים, vid., Ges. §93, 6, 3. The verbal clause (Job 12:6) is followed by a substantival clause (Job 12:6). בּטּחות is an abstract plural from בּטּוּח, perfectly secure; therefore: the most care-less security is the portion of those who provoke God (lxx περοργίζουσι);[96] and this is continued in an individualizing form: him who causes Eloah to go into his hand. Seb. Schmid explains this passage in the main correctly: qui Deum in manu fert h.e. qui manum aut potentiam suam pro Deo habet et licitum sibi putat quodlibet; comp. Hab 1:11 : “this his strength becomes God to him,” i.e., he deifies his own power, and puts it in the place of God. But הביא signifies, in this connection with לידו (not בידו), neither to carry, nor to lead (Gesenius, who compares Psa 74:5, where, however, it signifies to cause to go into = to strike into); it must be translated: he who causes Eloah to enter into his hand; from which translation it is clear that not the deification of the hand, but of that which is taken into the hand, is meant. This which is taken into the hand is not, however, an idol (Abenezra), but the sword; therefore: him who thinks after the manner of Lamech,[97] as he takes the iron weapon of attack and defence into his hand, that he needs no other God.

Verses 7-10 Edit

Job 12:7-10 7 But ask now even the beasts - they shall teach it thee;
And the birds of heaven - they shall declare it to thee: 8 Or look thoughtfully to the ground - it shall teach it thee;
And the fish of the sea shall tell it thee. 9 Who would not recognise in all this
That the hand of Jehovah hath wrought this, 10 In whose hand is the soul of every living thing,
And the breath of all mankind?!
The meaning of the whole strophe is perverted if זאת (Job 12:9), is, with Ewald, referred to “the destiny of severe suffering and pain,” and if that which precedes is accordingly referred to the testimony of creation to God as its author. Since, as a glance at what follows shows, Job further on praises God as the governor of the universe, it may be expected that the reference is here to God as the creator and preserver of the world, which seems to be the meaning of the words. Job himself expresses the purpose of this hymn of confession, Job 12:2., Job 13:1.: he will show the friends that the majesty of God, before which he ought, according to their demands, to humble himself in penitence, is not less known to him than to them; and with ואולם, verum enim vero, he passes over to this subject when he begins his third answer with the following thought: The perception in which you pride yourselves I also possess; true, I am an object of scornful contempt to you, who are as little able to understand the suffering of the godly as the prosperity of the godless, nevertheless what you know I also know: ask now, etc. Bildad had appealed to the sayings of the ancients, which have the long experience of the past in their favour, to support the justice of the divine government; Job here appeals to the absoluteness of the divine rule over creation. In form, this strophe is the counterpart of Job 8:8-10 in the speech of Bildad, and somewhat also of Job 11:7-9 in that of Zophar. The working of God, which infinitely transcends human power and knowledge, is the sermon which is continuously preached by all created things; they all proclaim the omnipotence and wisdom of the Creator.
The plural בּהמות is followed by the verb that refers to it, in the singular, in favour of which Gen 49:22 is the favourite example among old expositors (Ges. §146, 3). On the other hand, the verb might follow the collective עוף in the plural, according to Ges. §146, 1. The plural, however, is used only in Job 12:8, because there the verb precedes instead of following its subject. According to the rule Ges. §128, 2, the jussive form of the fut. follows the imperative. In the midst of this enumeration of created things, שׂיח, as a substantive, seems to signify the plants - and especially as Arab. šı̂h even now, in the neighbourhood of Job's ancient habitation, is the name of a well-known mountain-plant - under whose shade a meagre vegetation is preserved even in the hot season (vid., on Job 30:4.). But (1) שׂיח as subst. is gen. masc. Gen 2:5); (2) instead of לערץ, in order to describe a plant that is found on the ground, or one rooted in the ground, it must be על־הארץ or בארץ; (3) the mention of plants between the birds and fishes would be strange. It may therefore be taken as the imperative: speak to the earth (lxx, Targ., Vulg., and most others); or, which I prefer, since the Aramaic construction לו סח, narravit ei, does not occur elsewhere in Hebrew (although perhaps implicite, Pro 6:22, תשׂיחך = לך תשׂיח, favulabitur, or confabulabitur tibi), as a pregnant expression: think, i.e., look meditatively to the earth (Ewald), since שׂוּח (שׂיח), like הגה, combines the significations of quiet or articulate meditation on a subject. The exhortation directs attention not to the earth in itself, but to the small living things which move about on the ground, comprehended in the collective name רמשׂ, syn. שׁרץ (creeping things), in the record of creation. All these creatures, though without reason and speech, still utter a language which is heard by every intelligent man. Renan, after Ewald, translates erroneously: qui ne sait parmi tous ces êtres. They do not even possess knowledge, but they offer instruction, and are a means of knowledge; בּ with ידע, like Gen 15:8; Gen 42:33, and freq. All the creatures named declare that the hand of Jehovah has made “this,” whatever we see around us, τὸ βλεπόμενον, Heb 11:3. In the same manner in Isa 66:2; Jer 14:22, כּל־אלּה is used of the world around us. In the hand of God, i.e., in His power, because His workmanship, are the souls of all living things, and the spirit (that which came direct from God) of all men; every order of life, high and low, owes its origin and continuance to Him. אישׁ is the individual, and in this connection, in which נפשׁ and רוּח (= נשׁמה) are certainly not unintentionally thus separated, the individual man. Creation is the school of knowledge, and man is the learner. And this knowledge forces itself upon one's attention: quis non cognoverit? The perf. has this subjunctive force also elsewhere in interrogative clauses, e.g., Psa 11:3 (vid., on Gen 21:7). That the name of God, JEHOVAH, for once escapes the poet here, is to be explained from the phrase “the hand of Jehovah hath made this,” being a somewhat proverbial expression (comp. Isa 41:20; Isa 66:2).
Job now refers to the sayings of the fathers, the authority of which, as being handed down from past generations, Bildad had maintained in his opposition to Job.

Verses 11-13 Edit

Job 12:11-13 11 Shall not the ear try sayings,
As the palate tasteth food? 12 Among the ancients is wisdom,
And long life is understanding. 13 With Him is wisdom and strength;
Counsel and understanding are His.
The meaning of Job 12:11 is, that the sayings (מלּין, Job 8:10, comp. Job 5:27) of the ancients are not to be accepted without being proved; the waw in וחך is waw adaequationis, as Job 5:7; Job 11:12, therefore equivalent to quemadmodum; it places together for comparison things that are analogous: The ear, which is used here like αἰθητήριον (Heb 5:14), has the task of searching out and testing weighty sayings, as the palate by tasting has to find out delicious and suitable food; this is indicated by לו, the dat. commodi. So far Job recognises the authority of these traditional sayings. At any rate, he adds (Job 12:12): wisdom is to be expected from the hoary-headed, and length of life is understanding, i.e., it accompanies length of life. “Length of days” may thus be taken as the subject (Ewald, Olsh.); but בּ may also, with the old translations and expositors, be carried forward from the preceding clause: ἐν δὲ πολλῷ βίῳ ἐπιστήμη (lxx). We prefer, as the most natural: long life is a school of understanding. But - such is the antithesis in Job 12:13 which belongs to this strophe - the highest possessor of wisdom, as of might, is God. Ewald inserts two self-made couplets before Job 12:12, which in his opinion are required both by the connection and “the structure of the strophe;” we see as little need for this interpolation here as before, Job 6:14. עמּו and לו, which are placed first for the sake of emphasis, manifestly introduce an antithesis; and it is evident from the antithesis, that the One who is placed in contrast to the many men of experience is God. Wisdom is found among the ancients, although their sayings are not to be always implicitly accepted; but wisdom belongs to God as an attribute of His nature, and indeed absolutely, i.e., on every side, and without measure, as the piling up of synonymous expressions implies: חכמה, which perceives the reason of the nature, and the reality of the existence, of things; עצה, which is never perplexed as to the best way of attaining its purpose; תּבוּנה, which can penetrate to the bottom of what is true and false, sound and corrupt (comp. 1Ki 3:9); and also גּבוּרה, which is able to carry out the plans, purposes, and decisions of this wisdom against all hindrance and opposition.
In the strophe which follows, from his own observation and from traditional knowledge (Job 13:1), Job describes the working of God, as the unsearchably wise and the irresistibly mighty One, both among men and in nature.

Verses 14-16 Edit

Job 12:14-16 14 Behold, He breaketh down and it cannot be built again,
He shutteth up, and it cannot be opened. 15 Behold, He restraineth the waters and they dry up,
And He letteth them out and they overturn the earth. 16 With Him is might and existence,
The erring and the deceiver are His.
God is almighty, and everything in opposition to Him powerless. If He break down (any structure whatever), it can never be rebuilt; should He close upon any one (i.e., the dungeon, as perhaps a cistern covered with a stone, Lam 3:53, comp. Jer 38:6; על with reference to the depth of the dungeon, instead of the usual בּעד), it (that which is closed from above) cannot be opened again. In like manner, when He desires to punish a land, He disposes the elements according to His will and pleasure, by bringing upon it drought or flood. יעצר, coercet, according to the correct Masoretic mode of writing יעצר with dagesh in the Ssade, in order clearly to distinguish in the pronunciation between the forms j'a-ssor and jaa'ssor (יעצר);[98] ויבשׁוּ (for which Abulwalid writes ויבשׁוּ) is a defective form of writing according to Ges. §69, 3, 3; the form ויהפכוּ with the similarly pointed fut. consec., 1Sa 25:12, form a pair (zuwg) noted by the Masora. By תּוּשׁיּה, which is ascribed to God, is here to be understood that which really exists, the real, the objective, knowledge resting on an objective actual basis, in contrast with what only appears to be; so that consequently the idea of Job 12:16 and Job 12:13 is somewhat veiled; for the primary notion of חכמה is thickness, solidity, purity, like πυκνότης.[99]
This strophe closes like the preceding, which favours our division. The line with עמּו is followed by one with לו, which affirms that, in the supremacy of His rule and the wisdom of His counsels, God makes evil in every form subservient to His designs.

Verses 17-21 Edit

Job 12:17-21 17 He leadeth away counsellors stripped of their robes,
And maketh judges fools. 18 The authority of kings He looseth,
And bindeth their loins with bands. 19 He leadeth away priests stripped of their robes,
And overthroweth those who are firmly established. 20 He removeth the speech of the eloquent,
And taketh away the judgment of the aged. 21 He poureth contempt upon princes,
And maketh loose the girdle of the mighty.
In Job 12:17, Job 12:19, שׁולל is added to מוליך as a conditional accusative; the old expositors vary in the rendering of this word; at any rate it does not mean: chained (Targ. on Job 12:17), from שׁלל (שׁרר), which is reduplicated in the word שׁלשׁלת, a chain, a word used in later Hebrew than the language of the Old Testament (שׁרשׁרה is the Old Testament word); nor is it: taken as booty, made captive (lxx αἰχμαλώτους; Targ. on Job 12:19, בּבזתא, in the quality of spoil) = משׁולל; but it is a neuter adjective closely allied to the idea of the verb, exutus, not however mente (deprived of sense), but vestibus; not merely barefooted (Hirz., Oehler, with lxx, Mic 1:8, ἀνυπόδετος), which is the meaning of יחף, but: stripped of their clothes with violence (vid., Isa 20:4), stripped in particular of the insignia of their power. He leads them half-naked into captivity, and takes away the judges as fools (יהולל, vid., Psychol. S. 292), by destroying not only their power, but the prestige of their position also. We find echoes of this utterance respecting God's paradoxical rule in the world in Isa 40:23; Isa 44:25; and Isaiah's oracle on Egypt, Job 19:11-15, furnishes an illustration in the reality.
It is but too natural to translate Job 12:18 : the bands of kings He looses (after Psa 116:16, למוסרי פתחת, Thou hast loosed my bands); but the relation of the two parts of the verse can then not be this: He unchains and chains kings (Hirz., Ew., Heiligst. Schlottm.), for the fut. consec. ויּאסר requires a contrast that is intimately connected with the context, and not of mere outward form: fetters in which kings have bound others (מלכים, gen. subjectivus) He looses, and binds them in fetters (Raschi), - an explanation which much commends itself, if מוּסר could only be justified as the construct of מוּסר by the remark that “the o sinks into u” (Ewald, §213, c). מוּסר does not once occur in the signification vinculum; but only the plur. מוסרים and מוסרות, vincula, accord with the usage of the language, so that even the pointing מוסר proposed by Hirzel is a venture. מוּסר, however, as constr. of מוּסר, correction, discipline, rule (i.e., as the domination of punishment, from יסר, castigare), is an equally suitable sense, and is probably connected by the poet with פּתּח (a word very familiar to him, Job 30:11; Job 39:5; Job 41:6) on account of its relation both in sound and sense to מוסרים (comp. Psa 105:22). The English translation is correct: He looseth the authority of kings. The antithesis is certainly lost, but the thoughts here moreover flow on in synonymous parallelism.

Verse 19 Edit

It is unnecessary to understand כהנים, after 2Sa 8:18, of high officers of state, perhaps privy councillors; such priest-princes as Melchizedek of Salem and Jethro of Midian are meant. איטנים, which denotes inexhaustible, perennis, when used of waters, is descriptive of nations as invincible in might, Jer 5:15, and of persons as firmly-rooted and stedfast. נאמנים, such as are tested, who are able to speak and counsel what is right at the fitting season, consequently the ready in speech and counsel. The derivation, proposed by Kimchi, from נאם, in the sense of diserti, would require the pointing נאמנים. טעם is taste, judgment, tact, which knows what is right and appropriate under the different circumstances of life, 1Sa 25:33. יקּח is used exactly as in Hos 4:11. Job 12:21 is repeated verbatim, Psa 107:40; the trilogy, Ps 105-107, particularly Ps 107, is full of passages similar to the second part of Isaiah and the book of Job (vid., Psalter, ii. 117). אפיקים (only here and Job 41:7) are the strong, from אפק, to hold together, especially to concentrate strength on anything. מזיח (only here, instead of מזח, not from מזח, which is an imaginary root, but from זחח, according to Fürst equivalent to זקק, to lace, bind) is the girdle with which the garments were fastened and girded up for any great exertion, especially for desperate conflict (Isa 5:27). To make him weak or relaxed, is the same as to deprive of the ability of vigorous, powerful action. Every word is here appropriately used. This tottering relaxed condition is the very opposite of the intensity and energy which belongs to “the strong.” All temporal and spiritual power is subject to God: He gives or takes it away according to His supreme will and pleasure.

Verses 22-25 Edit

Job 12:22-25 22 He discovereth deep things out of darkness,
And bringeth out to light the shadow of death; 23 He giveth prosperity to nations and then destroyeth them,
Increase of territory to nations and then carrieth them away; 24 He taketh away the understanding of the chief people of the land,
And maketh them to wander in a trackless wilderness; 25 They grope in darkness without light,
He maketh them to stagger like a drunken man.
The meaning of Job 12:22 in this connection can only be, that there is nothing so finely spun out that God cannot make it visible. All secret plans of the wicked, all secret sins, and the deeds of the evil-doer though veiled in deep darkness, He bringeth before the tribunal of the world. The form of writing given by the Masora is עמוּקות with koph raphatum, consequently plur. from עמוּק, like ערוּמים, עצוּמים from ערוּם, עצוּם, not from עמק.[100]
The lxx translates משגיא πλανῶν, as it is also explained in several Midrash-passages, but only by a few Jewish expositors (Jachja, Alschech) by מטעה. The word, however, is not משׁגּיא, but משׂגּיא with ש sinistrum, after which in Midrash Esther it is explained by מגדיל; and Hirzel correctly interprets it of upward growth (Jerome after the Targ. unsuitably, multiplicat), and שׁטח, on the other hand, of growth in extent. The latter word is falsely explained by the Targ. in the sense of expandere rete, and Abenezra also falsely explains: He scatters nations, and brings them to their original peace. The verb שׁטח is here connected with ל, as הפתּה (Gen 9:27); both signify to make a wider and longer space for any one, used here of the ground where they dwell and rule. The opposite, in an unpropitious sense, is הנחה, which is used here, as 2Ki 18:11, in a similar sense with הגלה (abducere, i.e., in servitutem). We have intentionally translated גוים nations, עם people; for גּוי, as we shall show elsewhere, is the mass held together by the ties of a common origin, language, and country; (עם) עם, the people bound together by unity of government, whose membra praecipua are consequently called העם ראשׁי. הארץ is, in this connection, the country, although elsewhere, as Isa 24:4, comp. Job 42:5, הארץ עם signifies also the people of the earth or mankind; for the Hebrew language expresses a country as a portion of the earth, and the earth as a whole, by the same name. Job dwells longer on this tragic picture, how God makes the star of the prosperity of these chiefs to set in mad and blind self-destruction, according to the proverb, quem Deus perdere vult prius dementat. This description seems to be echoed in many points in Isaiah, especially in the oracle on Egypt, Job 19 (e.g., כּשּׁכּור, Job 19:14). The connection ברך לא בתהו is not genitival; but דרך לא is either an adverbial clause appended to the verb, as חקר לא, Job 34:24, בנים לא, 1Ch 2:30, 1Ch 2:32, or, which we prefer as being more natural, and on account of the position of the words, a virtual adjective: in a trackless waste, as אישׁ לא, Job 38:26; עבות לא, 2Sa 23:4 (Olsh.).
Job here takes up the tone of Eliphaz (comp. Job 5:13.). Intentionally he is made to excel the friends in a recognition of the absolute majesty of God. He is not less cognizant of it than they.

Chap. 13 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Job 13:1-2 1 Lo, mine eye hath seen all,
Mine ear hath heard and marked it. 2 What ye know do I know also,
I do not stand back behind you.
Job has brought forward proof of what he has stated at the commencement of this speech (Job 12:3), that he is not inferior to them in the knowledge of God and divine things, and therefore he can now repeat as proved what he maintains. The plain כּל, which in other passages, with the force of הכּל, signifies omnes (Gen 16:12; Isa 30:5; Jer 44:12) and omnia (Job 42:2; Psa 8:7; Isa 44:24), has the definite sense of haec omnia here. לה (v. 1b) is not after the Aramaic manner dat. pro acc. objecti: my ear has heard and comprehended it (id); but dat. commodi, or perhaps only dat. ethicus: and has made it intelligible to itself (sibi); בּין of the apprehension accompanying perception. He has a knowledge of the exalted and glorious majesty of God, acquired partly from his own observation and partly from the teachings of others. He also knows equal to (instar) their knowledge, i.e., he has a knowledge (ידע as the idea implied in it, e.g., like Psa 82:5) which will bear comparison with theirs. But he will no longer contend with them.

Verses 3-6 Edit

Job 13:3-6 3 But I would speak to the Almighty,
And I long to reason with God. 4 And ye however are forgers of lies,
Physicians of no value are ye all. 5 Oh that ye would altogether hold your peace,
It would be accounted to you as wisdom. 6 Hear now my instruction,
Ando hearken to the answers of my lips!
He will no longer dispute with the friends; the more they oppose him, the more earnestly he desires to be able to argue his cause before God. אוּלם (Job 13:3) is disjunctive, like ἀλλά, and introduces a new range of thoughts; lxx ου ̓ μήν δὲ ἀλλά, verum enim vero. True, he has said in Job 9 that no one can maintain his cause before God; but his confidence in God grows in proportion as his distrust of the friends increases; and at the same time, the hope is begotten that God will grant him that softening of the terror of His majesty which he has reserved to himself in connection with this declaration (Job 9:34, comp. Job 13:20.). The infin. absol. הוכח, which in Job 6:25 is used almost as a substantive, and indeed as the subject, is here in the place of the object, as e.g., Isa 5:5; Isa 58:6 : to prove, i.e., my cause, to God (אל־אל, like Job 13:15, אל־פּניו) I long. With ואוּלם (Job 13:4) the antithesis is introduced anew: I will turn to God, you on the contrary (καὶ ὑμεῖς δὲ). Since the verb טפל, from its primary meaning to spread on, smear on (whence e.g., Talmudic טפלה, the act of throwing on, as when plastering up the cracks of an oven), cogn. תּפל (whence תּפל, plaster, and perhaps also in the signification tasteless, Job 6:6 = sticky, greasy, slimy), does not signify, at least not at first, consuere, but assuere (without any relation of root with תּפר), we explain, not with Olshausen and others, concinnatores mendacii, such as sew together lies as patchwork; but with Hirzel and others, assutores mendacii, such as patch on lies, i.e., charge falsely, since they desire throughout to make him out to be a sinner punished according to his desert. This explanation is also confirmed by Job 14:17. Another explanation is given by Hupfeld: sarcinatores false = inanes, inutiles, so that שׁקר signifies what lies = what deceives, as in the parallel member of the verse אלל,[101] nothingness, and also עמל (Job 16:2) in a similar connection, is not an objective but attributive genitive; but Psa 119:69 is decisive against this interpretation of שׁקר טפלי. The parallelism is not so exactly adjusted, as e.g., even רפאי does not on account of the parallel with טפלי signify patchers, ῥάπται, but: they are not able to heal Job's wounds with the medicine of consolation; they are medici nihili, useless physicians. Pro 17:28, “Even a fool, when he holdeth his peace, is counted wise,” applies to them, si tacuisses, sapiens mansisses; or, as a rabbinical proverb of similar meaning, quoted by Heidenheim, says, השׂגה בהשׂגה הלאות, “the fatigue of comprehension is comprehension,” i.e., the silent pause before a problem is half the solution. The jussive form וּתהי, it would be (Ges. §128, 2), is used in the conclusion of the wish. Thus he challenges them to hear his תּוכחת (תּוכחה) and his רבוה. Hirzel is quite right when he says the former does not mean defence (justification), nor the latter proofs (counter-evidence); תוכחת is, according to his signification (significatus, in distinction from sensus), ἔλεγχος, correptio (lxx, Vulg.), and here not so much refutation and answer, as correction in an ethical sense, in correspondence with which רבות is also intended of reproaches, reproofs, or reprimands.

Verses 7-11 Edit

Job 13:7-11 7 Will ye speak what is wrong for God,
And speak what is deceitful for Him? 8 Will ye be partial for Him,
Or will ye play the part of God's advocates? 9 Would it be pleasant if He should search you out,
Or can ye jest with Him, as one jesteth with men? 10 He will surely expose you
If ye secretly act with partiality. 11 Will not His majesty confound you,
And His fear fall upon you?
Their advocacy of God - this is the thought of this strophe - is an injustice to Job, and an evil service rendered to God, which cannot escape undisguised punishment from Him. They set themselves up as God's advocates (לאל ריב, like לבּעל ריב, Jdg 6:31), and at the same time accept His person, accipiunt (as in acceptus = gratus), or lift it up, i.e., favour, or give preference to, His person, viz., at the expense of the truth: they are partial in His favour, as they are twice reminded and given to understand by the fut. energicum תּשּׂאוּן. The addition of בּסּתר (Job 13:10) implies that they conceal their better knowledge by the assumption of an earnest tone and bearing, expressive of the strongest conviction that they are in the right. They know that Job is not a flagrant sinner; nevertheless they deceive themselves with the idea that he is, and by reason of this delusion they take up the cause of God against him. Such perversion of the truth in majorem Dei gloriam is an abomination to God. When He searches them, His advocates, out (חקר, as Prov.Job 28:11), they will become conscious of it; or will God be mocked, as one mocketh mortal men? Comp. Gal 6:7 for a similar thought. חתל is inf. absol. after the form תּללּ, and תּהתלּוּ is also to be derived from תּללּ, and is fut. Hiph., the preformative not being syncopated, for תּתלּוּ (Ges. §53, rem. 7); not Piel, from התל (as 1Ki 18:27), with the doubling of the middle radical resolved (Olsh. in his Lehrb. S. 577). God is not pleased with λατρεία (Joh 16:2) which gives the honour to Him, but not to truth, such ζῆλος Θεοῦ ἀλλ ̓ ου ̓ κατ ̓ ἐπίγνωσιν (Rom 10:2), such advocacy contrary to one's better knowledge and conscience, in which the end is thought to sanctify the means. Such advocacy must be put to shame and confounded when He who needs no concealment of the truth for His justification is manifest in His שׂאת, i.e., not: in the kindling of His wrath (after Jdg 20:38; Isa 30:27), but: in His exaltation (correctly by Ralbag: התנשׂאותו ורוממותו), and by His direct influence brings all untruth to light. It is the boldest thought imaginable, that one dare not have respect even to the person of God when one is obliged to lie to one's self. And still it is also self-evident. For God and truth can never be antagonistic.

Verses 12-16 Edit

Job 13:12-16 12 Your memorable words are proverbs of dust,
Your strongholds are become strongholds of clay! 13 Leave me in peace, and I will speak,
And let what will come on me. 14 Wherefore should I bear my flesh in my teeth?
I take my soul in my hands. 15 Behold, He slayeth me-I wait for Him:
I will only prove my way before Him. 16 Even this would by my salvation,
That a hypocrite dare not appear before Him.
The words by which they exhort and warn him are called זכרנים, not because they recall the experience and teaching of the ancients (Hirz.), but as sayings to which attention and thought should be given, with the tone of זכר־נא, Job 4:7 (Hahn); as ספר זכרון, Mal 3:16, the book of remembrance; and ספר זכרנות, Est 6:1, the book of memorabilia or memoranda. These their loci communes are proverbs of ashes, i.e., proverbs which in respect to the present case, say nothing, passing away like ashes (אפר = vanity, Isa 44:20). While Job 13:12 says what their speeches, with the weighty nota bene, are, Job 13:12 says what their גּבּים become; for ל always denotes a κίνησις = γένεσις, and is never the exponent of the predicate in a simple clause.[102]
Like the Arabic dahr, גּב signifies a boss, back, then protection, bulwark, rampart: their arguments or proofs are called גבים (עצּמות, Isa 41:21; comp. ὀχυρώματα, 2Co 10:4); these ramparts which they throw up become as ramparts of clay, will be shown to be such by their being soon broken through and falling in. Their reasons will not stand before God, but, like clay that will not hold together, fall to pieces.

Verse 13 Edit

Be silent therefore from me, he says to them, i.e., stand away from me and leave me in peace (opp. החרישׁ אל, Isa 41:1): then will I speak, or: in order that I may speak (the cohortative usual in apod. imper.) - he, and he alone, will defend (i.e., against God) his cause, which they have so uncharitably abandoned in spite of their better knowledge and conscience, let thereby happen (עבר, similar to Deu 24:5) to him מה, whatever may happen (מה שׁיעבר); or more simply: whatever it may be, quidquid est, as 2Sa 18:22 ויהי מה, let happen whatever may happen; or more simply: whatever it may be, like מה דּבר quodcunque, Num 23:3; מי occurs also in a similar sense, thus placed last (Ewald, §104, d).

Verse 14 Edit

Wherefore should he carry away his flesh in his teeth, i.e., be intent upon the maintenance of his life, as a wild beast upon the preservation of its prey, by holding it between its teeth (mordicus tenet) and carrying it away? This is a proverbial phrase which does not occur elsewhere; for Jer 38:2 (thy life shall become as spoil, לשׁלל, to thee) is only similar in outward appearance. It may be asked whether Job 13:14 continues the question begun with על־מה (vid., on Isa 1:5): and wherefore should I take my soul in my hands, i.e., carefully protect it as a valuable possession? (Eichh., Umbr., Vaih.). But apart from Psa 119:109 (my soul is continually in my hand), - where it may be asked, whether the soul is not there regarded as treasure (according to the current religious phrase: to carry his soul in his hand = to work out the blessedness of his soul with fear and trembling), - בכפּיו נפשׁו שׂים signifies everywhere else (Jdg 12:3; 1Sa 19:5; 1Sa 28:21) as much as to risk one's life without fear of death, properly speaking: to fight one's way through with one's fist, perishing so soon as the strength of one's fist is gone (Ewald); comp. the expression for the impending danger of death, Deu 28:66. If this sense, which is in accordance with the usage of the language, be adopted, it is unnecessary with Hirz., after Ewald, §352, b, to take ונפשׁי for נפשׁי גם: also, even my soul, etc., although it cannot be denied that ו, like καὶ and et, sometimes signifies: also, etiam (Isa 32:7; 2Ch 27:5; Ecc 5:6, and according to the accents, Hos 8:6 also; on the contrary, 2Sa 1:23; Psa 31:12, can at least by explained by the copulative meaning, and Amo 4:10 by “and indeed”). The waw joins the positive to the negative assertion contained in the question of Job 13:14 (Hahn): I will not eagerly make my flesh safe, and will take my soul in my hand, i.e., calmly and bravely expose myself to the danger of death. Thus Job 13:15 is most directly connected with what precedes.

Verse 15 Edit

This is one of eighteen passages in which the Chethib is לא and the Keri לו; Job 6:21 is another.[103]
In the lxx, which moreover changes איחל into החל, ἄρχεσθαι, the rendering is doubtful, the Cod. Vat. Translating ἐάν με χειρώσηται, the Cod. Alex. ἐὰν μή με χειρ. The Mishna b. Sota, 27, b, refers to the passage with reference to the question whether Job had served God from love or fear, and in favour of the former appeals to Job 27:5, since here the matter is doubtful (הדבר שׁקול), as the present passage may be explained, “I hope in Him,” or “I hope not.” The Gemara, ib. 31, a, observes that the reading לא does not determine the sense, for Isa 63:9 is written לא, and is not necessarily to be understood as לו, but can be so understood.[104]
Among the ancient versions, the Targ., Syr., and Jerome (etiamsi occiderit me, in ipso sperabo) are in favour of לו. This translation of the Vulgate is followed by the French, English, Italian, and other versions. This utterance, in this interpretation, has a venerable history. The Electoress Louise Henriette von Oranien (died 1667), the authoress of the immortal hymn, “Jesus meine Zuversicht” the English translation begins, “Jesus Christ, my sure defence,” chose these words, “Though the Lord should slay me, yet will I hope in Him,” for the text of her funeral oration. And many in the hour of death have adopted the utterance of Job in this form as the expression of their faith and consolation.[105]
Among these we may mention a Jewess. The last movement of the wasted fingers of Grace Aguilar was to spell the words, “Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him.”[106]
The words, so understood, have an historic claim in their favour which we will not dispute. Even the apostles do not spurn the use of the Greek words of the Old Testament, though they do not accord with the proper connection in the original text, provided they are in accordance with sacred Scripture, and give brief and pregnant expression to a truth taught elsewhere in the Scriptures. Thus it is with this utterance, which, understood as the Vulgate understands it, is thoroughly Job-like, and in some measure the ultimate solution of the book of Job. It is also, according to its most evident meaning, an expression of perfect resignation. We admit that if it is translated: behold, He will slay me, I hope not, i.e., I await no other and happier issue, a thought is obtained that also agrees with the context. But יחל does not properly mean to hope, but to wait for; and even in Job 6:11; Job 14:14, where it stands as much without an object as here, it has no other meaning but that of waiting; and Luther is true to it when he translates: behold, He will destroy me, and I cannot expect it; it is, however, strange; and Böttch. translates: I will not wait to justify myself, which is odd. The proper meaning of יחל, praestolari, gives no suitable sense. Thus, therefore, the writer will have written or meant לו, since יחל ל is also elsewhere a familiar expression with him, Job 29:21, Job 29:23; Job 30:26. The meaning, then, which agrees both with the context and with the reality, is: behold, He will slay me, I wait for Him, i.e., I wait what He may do, even to smite with death, only I will (אך, as frequently, e.g., Psa 49:16, does not belong to the word which immediately follows, but to the whole clause) prove my ways to Him, even before His face. He fears the extreme, but is also prepared for it. Hirzel, Heiligst., Vaihinger, and others, think that Job regards his wish for the appearing of God as the certain way of death, according to the belief that no one can behold God and not die. But יקטלני has reference to a different form of idea. He fears the risk of disputing with God, and being obliged to forfeit his life; but, as לו איחל implies, he resigns himself even to the worst, he waits for Him to whom he resigns himself, whatever He may do to him; nevertheless (אך restrictive, or as frequently אכן adversative, which is the same thing here) he cannot and will not keep down the inward testimony of his innocence, he is prepared to render Him an account of the ways in which he has walked (i.e., the way of His will) - he can succumb in all respects but that of his moral guiltlessness. And in Job 13:16 he adds what will prove a triumph for him, that a godless person, or (what is suitable, and if it does not correspond to the primary idea,[107] still accords with the use of the word) a hypocrite, one who judges thus of himself in his own heart, would not so come forward to answer for himself before God (Hahn). It can be explained: that a godless person has no access to God; but the other explanation givers a truer thought. הוא is here used as neuter, like Job 15:9; Job 31:28 comp. Job 41:3, Exo 34:10. Correctly lxx, καὶ τοῦτό μοι ἀποβήσεται εἰς σωτηρίαν. ישׁוּעה here (comp. Job 30:15) has not, however, the usual deeper meaning which it has in the prophets and in Psalms. It means here salvation, as victory in a contest for the right. Job means that he has already as good as won the contest, by so urgently desiring to defend himself before God. This excites a feeling in favour of his innocence at the onset, and secures him an acquittal.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Job 13:17-19 17 Hear, O hear my confession,
And let my declaration echo in your ears. 18 Behold now! I have arranged the cause,
I know that I shall maintain the right. 19 Who then can contend with me?
Then, indeed, I would be silent and expire.
Eager for the accomplishment of his wish that he might himself take his cause before God, and as though in imagination it were so, he invites the friends to be present to hear his defence of himself. מלּה (in Arabic directly used for confession = religion) is the confession which he will lay down, and אחוה the declaration that he will make in evidence, i.e., the proof of his innocence. The latter substantive, which signifies brotherly conduct in post-biblical Hebrew, is here an ἅπ. λεγ. from חוה, not however with Aleph prostheticum from Kal, but after the form אזכּרה = הזכּרה, from the Aphêl = Hiphil of this verb, which, except Psa 19:3, occurs only in the book of Job as Hebrew (comp. the n. actionis, אחויה, Dan 5:12), Ewald, §156, c. It is unnecessary to carry the שׁמעוּ on to Job 13:17 (hear now ... with your own ears, as e.g., Jer 26:11); Job 13:17 is an independent substantival clause like Job 15:11; Isa 5:9, which carries in itself the verbal idea of תּהי or תּבא (Psa 18:7). They shall hear, for on his part he has arranged, i.e., prepared (משׁפּט ערך, causam instruere, as Job 23:4, comp. Job 33:5) the cause, so that the action can begin forthwith; and he knows that he, he and no one else, will be found in the right. With the conviction of this superiority, he exclaims, Who in all the world could contend with him, i.e., advance valid arguments against his defence of himself? Then, indeed, if this impossibility should happen, he would be dumb, and willingly die as one completely overpowered not merely in outward appearance, but in reality vanquished. יריב עמדי following הוא מי (comp. Job 4:7) may be taken as an elliptical relative clause: qui litigare possit mecum (comp. Isa 50:9 with Rom 8:34, τίς ὁ καταδρίνων); but since זה הוא מי is also used in the sense of quis tandem or ecquisnam, this syntactic connection which certainly did exist (Ewald, §325, a) is obliterated, and הוא serves like זה only to give intensity and vividness to the מי. On עתּה כּי (in meaning not different to אז כּי), vid., Job 3:13; Job 8:6. In Job 13:19 that is granted as possible which, according to the declaration of his conscience, Job must consider as absolutely impossible. Therefore he clings to the desire of being able to bring his cause before God, and becomes more and more absorbed in the thought.

Verses 20-22 Edit

Job 13:20-22 20 Only two things do not unto me,
Then will I not hide myself from Thy countenance: 21 Withdraw Thy hand from me,
And let Thy fear not terrify me - 22 Call then and I will answer,
Or I will speak and answer Thou me!
He makes only two conditions in his prayer, as he has already expressed it in Job 9:34 : (1) That God would grant him a cessation of his troubles; (2) That He would not overwhelm him with His majesty. The chastening hand of God is generally called יד elsewhere; but in spite of this prevalent usage of the language, כּף cannot be understood here (comp. on the contrary Job 33:7) otherwise than of the hand (Job 9:34 : the rod) of God, which lies heavily on Job. The painful pressure of that hand would prevent the collecting and ordering of his thoughts required for meeting with God, and the אימה (Codd. defectively אמתך) of God would completely crush and confound him. But if God grants these two things: to remove His hand for a time, and not to turn the terrible side of His majesty to him, then he is ready whether God should himself open the cause or permit him to have the first word. Correctly Mercerus: optionem ei dat ut aut actoris aut rei personam deligat, sua fretus innocentia, sed interim sui oblitus et immodicus. In contrast with God he feels himself to be a poor worm, but his consciousness of innocence makes him a Titan.
He now says what he would ask God; or rather, he now asks Him, since he vividly pictures to himself the action with God which he desires. His imagination anticipates the reality of that which is longed for. Modern expositors begin a new division at Job 13:23. But Job's speech does not yet take a new turn; it goes on further continually uno tenore.

Verses 23-25 Edit

Job 13:23-25 23 How many are mine iniquities and sins?
Make me to know my transgression and sin! - - 24 Wherefore dost Thou hide Thy face,
And regard me as Thine enemy? 25 Wilt Thou frighten away a leaf driven to and fro,
And pursue the dry stubble?
When עון and חטּאת, פּשׁע and חטּאת, are used in close connection, the latter, which describes sin as failing and error, signifies sins of weakness (infirmities, Schwachheitssünde); whereas עון (prop. distorting or bending) signifies misdeed, and פשׁע (prop. breaking loose, or away from, Arab. fsq) wickedness which designedly estranges itself from God and removes from favour, both therefore malignant sin (Bosheitssünde).[108]
The bold self-confidence which is expressed in the question and challenge of Job 13:23 is, in Job 13:24, changed to grievous astonishment that God does not appear to him, and on the contrary continues to pursue him as an enemy without investigating his cause. Has the Almighty then pleasure in scaring away a leaf that is already blown to and fro? העלה, with He interrog., like החכם, Job 15:2, according to Ges. §100, 4. ערץ used as transitive here, like Psa 10:18, to terrify, scare away affrighted. Does it give Him satisfaction to pursue dried-up stubble? By את (before an indeterminate noun, according to Ges. §117, 2) he points δεικτικῶς to himself: he, the powerless one, completely deprived of strength by sickness and pain, is as dried-up stubble; nevertheless God is after him, as though He would get rid of every trace of a dangerous enemy by summoning His utmost strength against him.

Verses 26-28 Edit

Job 13:26-28 26 For Thou decreest bitter things against me,
And causest me to possess the iniquities of my youth, 27 And puttest my feet in the stocks,
And observest all my ways.
Thou makest for thyself a circle round the soles of my feet, 28 Round one who moulders away as worm-eaten,
As a garment that the moth gnaweth.
He is conscious of having often prayed: “Remember not the sins of my youth, and my transgressions: according to Thy mercy remember Thou me,” Psa 25:7; and still he can only regard his affliction as the inheritance (i.e., entailed upon him by sins not repented of) of the sins of his youth, since he has no sins of his mature years that would incur wrath, to reproach himself with. He does not know how to reconcile with the justice of God the fact that He again records against him sins, the forgiveness of which he implores soon after their commission, and decrees (כּתב, as Psa 149:9, and as used elsewhere in the book of Job with reference to the recording of judgment) for him on account of them such bitter punishment (מררות, amara, bitter calamities; comp. Deu 32:32, “bitter” grapes). And the two could not indeed be harmonized, if it really were thus. So long as a man remains an object of the divine mercy, his sins that have been once forgiven are no more the object of divine judgment. But Job can understand his affliction only as an additional punishment. The conflict of temptation through which he is passing has made God's loving-kindness obscure to him. He appears to himself to be like a prisoner whose feet are forced into the holes of a סד, i.e., the block or log of wood in which the feet of a criminal are fastened, and which he must shuffle about with him when he moves; perhaps connected with Arab. sadda, occludere, opplere (foramen), elsewhere מהפּכת (from the forcible twisting or fastening), Chald. סדיא, סדנא, Syr. sado, by which Act 16:24, ξύλον = ποδοκάκη, is rendered; Lat. cippus (which Ralbag compares), codex (in Plautus an instrument of punishment for slaves), or also nervus. The verb תּשׂם which belongs to it, and is found also in Job 33:11 in the same connection, is of the jussive form, but is neither jussive nor optative in meaning, as also the future with shortened vowel (e.g., Job 27:22; Job 40:19) or apocopated (Job 18:12; Job 23:9, Job 23:11) is used elsewhere from the preference of poetry for a short pregnant form. He seems to himself like a criminal whose steps are closely watched (שׁמר, as Job 10:14), in order that he may not have the undeserved enjoyment of freedom, and may not avoid the execution for which he is reserved by effecting an escape by flight. Instead of ארחתי, the reading adopted by Ben-Ascher, Ben-Naphtali writes ארחתי, with Cholem in the first syllable; both modes of punctuation change without any fixed law also in other respects in the inflexion of ארח, as of ארחה, a caravan, the construct is both ארחות, Job 6:19, and ארחות. It is scarcely necessary to remark that the verbs in Job 13:27 are addressed to God, and are not intended as the third pers. fem. in reference to the stocks (Ralbag). The roots of the feet are undoubtedly their undermost parts, therefore the soles. But what is the meaning of תּתחקּה? The Vulg., Syr., and Parchon explain: Thou fixest thine attention upon ... , but certainly according to mere conjecture; Ewald, by the help of the Arabic tahhakkaka ala: Thou securest thyself ... , but there is not the least necessity to depart from the ordinary use of the word, as those also do who explain: Thou makest a law or boundary (Aben-Ezra, Ges., Hahn, Schlottm.). The verb חקה is the usual word (certainly cognate and interchangeable with חקק) for carved-out work (intaglio), and perhaps with colour rubbed in, or filled up with metal (vid., Job 19:23, comp. Eze 23:14); it signifies to hew into, to carve, to dig a trench. Stickel is in some measure true to this meaning when he explains: Thou scratchest, pressest (producing blood); by which rendering, however, the Hithpa. is not duly recognised. Raschi is better, tu t'affiches, according to which Mercerus: velut affixus vestigiis pedum meorum adhaeres, ne quâ elabi possim aut effugere. But a closer connection with the ordinary use of the word is possible. Accordingly Rosenm., Umbreit, and others render: Thou markest a line round my feet (drawest a circle round); Hirz., however, in the strictest sense of the Hithpa.: Thou diggest thyself in (layest thyself as a circular line about my feet). But the Hithpa. does not necessarily mean se insculpere, but, as התפשׁט sibi exuere, התפתח sibi solvere, התחנן sibi propitium facere, it may also mean sibi insculpere, which does not give so strange a representation: Thou makest to thyself furrows (or also: lines) round the soles of my feet, so that they cannot move beyond the narrow boundaries marked out by thee. With והוּא, Job 13:28, a circumstantial clause begins: While he whom Thou thus fastenest in as a criminal, etc. Observe the fine rhythmical accentuation achālo ‛asch. Since God whom he calls upon does not appear, Job's defiance is changed to timidity. The elegiac tone, into which his bold tone has passed, is continued in Job 14.

Chap. 14 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Job 14:1-3 1 Man that is born of a woman,
Short of days and full of unrest, 2 Cometh forth as a flower and is cut down;
He fleeth as a shadow, and continueth not. 3 Moreover, Thou openest Thine eyes upon him,
And Thou drawest me before Thy tribunal.
Even if he yields to the restraint which his suffering imposes on him, to regard himself as a sinner undergoing punishment, he is not able to satisfy himself by thus persuading himself to this view of God's conduct towards him. How can God pass so strict a judgment on man, whose life is so short and full of sorrow, and which cannot possibly be pure from sin? - Job 14:1. אדם is followed by three clauses in apposition, or rather two, for אשּׁה ילוּד (lxx γεννητὸς γυναικός, as Mat 11:11; comp. γέννημα γυν. Sir. 10:18) belongs to the subject as an adjectival clause: woman-born man, short-lived, and full of unrest, opens out as a flower. Woman is weak, with pain she brings forth children; she is impure during her lying-in, therefore weakness, suffering, and impurity is the portion of man even from the birth (Job 15:14; Job 25:4). As קצר is the constr. of קצר, so (רגז) שׂבע is from שׂבע, which here, as Job 10:15, has the strong signification: endowed (with adversity). It is questionable whether ויּמּל, Job 14:2, signifies et marcescit or et succiditur. We have decided here as elsewhere (vid., on Psa 37:2; Psa 90:6, Genesis, S. 383) in favour of the latter meaning, and as the Targ. (אתמולל), translated “he is mown down.” For this meaning (prop. to cut off from above or before, to lop off), - in which the verb מלל (מוּל נמל) is become technical for the περιτομή, - is most probably favoured by its application in Job 24:24; where Jerome however translates, sicut summitates spicarum conterentur, since he derives ימלו from מלל in the signification not found in the Bible (unless perhaps retained in מלילה ni , Deu 23:25), fricare (Arab. mll, frigere, to parch). At the same time, the signification marcescere, which certainly cannot be combined with praecidere, but may be with fricare (conterere), is not unnatural; it is more appropriate to a flower (comp. נבל ציץ, Isa 40:7); it accords with the parallelism Psa 37:2, and must be considered etymologically possible in comparison with ק־מל א־מל. But it is not supported by any dialect, and none of the old translations furnish any certain evidence in its favour; ימולל, Psa 90:6, which is to be understood impersonally rather than intransitively, does not favour it; and none of the passages in which ימּל occurs demand it: least of all Job 24:24, where praeciduntur is more suitable than, and Job 18:16, praeciditur, quite as suitable as, marcescit. For these reasons we also take ויּמּל here, not as fut. Kal from מלל, or, as Hahn, from נמל = נבל, to wither, but as fut. Niph. from מלל, to cut down. At the same time, we do not deny the possibility of the notion of withering having been connected with ימל, whether it be that it belonged originally and independently to the root מל, or has branched off from some other radical notion, as “to fall in pieces” (lxx here ἐξέπεσεν, and similarly also Job 18:16; Job 24:24; comp. מלחים, rags, נמלח, to come to pieces, to be dissolved) or “to become soft” (with which the significations in the dialects, to grind and to parch, may be connected). As a flower, which having opened out is soon cut or withered, is man: אף, accedit quod, insuper. This particle, related to ἐπὶ, adds an enhancing cumulat. More than this, God keeps His eye open (not: His eyes, for the correct reading, expressly noted by the Masora, is עינך without Jod plur.), על־זה, super hoc s. tali, over this poor child of man, who is a perishable flower, and not a “walking light, but a fleeting shadow” (Gregory the Great), to watch for and punish his sins, and brings Job to judgment before himself, His tribunal which puts down every justification. Elsewhere the word is pointed במשׁפט, Job 9:32; Job 22:4; here it is במשׁפט, because the idea is rendered determinate by the addition of עמך.

Verses 4-6 Edit

Job 14:4-6 4 Would that a pure one could come from an impure!
Not a single one - - 5 His days then are determined,
The number of his months is known to Thee,
Thou hast appointed bounds for him that he may not pass over: 6 Look away from him then, and let him rest,
Until he shall accomplish as a hireling his day.
Would that perfect sinlessness were possible to man; but since (to use a New Testament expression) that which is born of the flesh is flesh, there is not a single one pure. The optative מי־יתּן seems to be used here with an acc. of the object, according to its literal meaning, quis det s. afferat, as Job 31:31; Deu 28:67; Psa 14:7. Ewald remarks (and refers to §358, b, of his Grammar) that לא, Job 14:4, must be the same as לוּ; but although in 1Sa 20:14; 2Sa 13:26; 2Ki 5:17, לא might be equivalent to the optative לו, which is questionable, still אחד לא here, as an echo of אין גם־אחד, Psa 14:3, is Job's own answer to his wish, that cannot be fulfilled: not one, i.e., is in existence. Like the friends, he acknowledges an hereditary proneness to sin; but this proneness to sin affords him no satisfactory explanation of so unmerciful a visitation of punishment as his seems to him to be. It appears to him that man must the rather be an object of divine forbearance and compassion, since absolute purity is impossible to him. If, as is really the case, man's days are חרוּצים, cut off, i.e., ἀποτόμως, determined (distinct from חרוצים with an unchangeable Kametz: sharp, i.e., quick, eager, diligent), - if the number of his months is with God, i.e., known by God, because fixed beforehand by Him, - if He has set fixed bounds (Keri חקּיו) for him, and he cannot go beyond them, may God then look away from him, i.e., turn from him His strict watch (מן שׁעה, as Job 7:19; מן שׁית, Job 10:20), that he may have rest (יחדּל, cesset), so that he may at least as a hireling enjoy his day. Thus ירצה is interpreted by all modern expositors, and most of them consider the object or reason of his rejoicing to be the rest of evening when his work is done, and thereby miss the meaning.
Hahn appropriately says, “He desires that God would grant man the comparative rest of the hireling, who must toil in sorrow and eat his bread in the sweat of his brow, but still is free from any special suffering, by not laying extraordinary affliction on him in addition to the common infirmities beneath which he sighs. Since the context treats of freedom from special suffering in life, not of the hope of being set free from it, comp. Job 13:25-27; Job 14:3, the explanation of Umbreit, Ew., Hirz., and others, is to be entirely rejected, viz., that God would at least permit man the rest of a hireling, who, though he be vexed with heavy toil, cheerfully reconciles himself to it in prospect of the reward he hopes to obtain at evening time. Job does not claim for man the toil which the hireling gladly undergoes in expectation of complete rest, but the toil of the hireling, which seems to him to be rest in comparison with the possibility of having still greater toil to undergo.” Such is the true connection.[109]
Man's life - this life which is as a hand-breadth (Psa 39:6), and in Job 7:1. is compared to a hireling's day, which is sorrowful enough - is not to be overburdened with still more and extraordinary suffering.
It must be asked, however, whether ריה seq. acc. here signifies εὐδοκεῖν (τὸν βίον, lxx), or not rather persolvere; for it is undeniable that it has this meaning in Lev 26:34 (vid., however Keil [Pent., en loc.]) and elsewhere (prop. to satisfy, remove, discharge what is due). The Hiphil is used in this sense in post-biblical Hebrew, and most Jewish expositors explain ירצה by ישלים. If it signifies to enjoy, עד ought to be interpreted: that (he at least may, like as a hireling, enjoy his day). But this signification of עד (ut in the final sense) is strange, and the signification dum (Job 1:18; Job 8:21) or adeo ut (Isa 47:7) is not, however, suitable, if ירצה is to be explained in the sense of persolvere, and therefore translate donec persolvat (persolverit). We have translated “until he accomplish,” and wish “accomplish” to be understood in the sense of “making complete,” as Col 1:24, Luther (“vollzählig machen”) = ἀνταναπληροῦν.

Verses 7-9 Edit

Job 14:7-9 7 For there is hope for a tree:
If it is hewn down, it sprouts again,
And its shoot ceaseth not. 8 If its root becometh old in the ground,
And its trunk dieth off in the dust: 9 At the scent of water it buddeth,
And bringeth forth branches like a young plant.
As the tree falleth so it lieth, says a cheerless proverb. Job, a true child of his age, has a still sadder conception of the destiny of man in death; and the conflict through which he is passing makes this sad conception still sadder than it otherwise is. The fate of the tree is far from being so hopeless as that of man; for (1) if a tree is hewn down, it (the stump left in the ground) puts forth new shoots (on החליף, vid., on Psa 90:6), and young branches (יונקת, the tender juicy sucker μόσχος) do not cease. This is a fact, which is used by Isaiah (Isa 6:1-13) as an emblem of a fundamental law in operation in the history of Israel: the terebinth and oak there symbolize Israel; the stump (מצבת) is the remnant that survives the judgment, and this remnant becomes the seed from which a new sanctified Israel springs up after the old is destroyed. Carey is certainly not wrong when he remarks that Job thinks specially of the palm (the date), which is propagated by such suckers; Shaw's expression corresponds exactly to לא תחדל: “when the old trunk dies, there is never wanting one or other of these offsprings to succeed it.” Then (2) if the root of a tree becomes old (חזקין inchoative Hiphil: senescere, Ew. §122, c) in the earth, and its trunk (גּזע also of the stem of an undecayed tree, Isa 40:24) dies away in the dust, it can nevertheless regain its vitality which had succumbed to the weakness of old age: revived by the scent (ריח always of scent, which anything exhales, not, perhaps Sol 1:3 only excepted, odor = odoratus) of water, it puts forth buds for both leaves and flowers, and brings forth branches (קציר, prop. cuttings, twigs) again, כמו נטע, like a plant, or a young plant (the form of נטע in pause), therefore, as if fresh planted, lxx ὥσπερ νεόφυτον. One is here at once reminded of the palm which, on the one hand, is pre-eminently a φιλυδρον φυτόν,[110] on the other hand possesses a wonderful vitality, whence it is become a figure for youthful vigour. The palm and the phoenix have one name, and not without reason. The tree reviving as from the dead at the scent of water, which Job describes, is like that wondrous bird rising again from its own ashes (vid., on Job 29:18). Even when centuries have at last destroyed the palm - says Masius, in his beautiful and thoughtful studies of nature - thousands of inextricable fibres of parasites cling about the stem, and delude the traveller with an appearance of life.

Verses 10-12 Edit

Job 14:10-12 10 But man dieth, he lieth there stretched out,
Man giveth up the ghost, and where is he? 11 The waters flow away from the sea,
And a stream decayeth and dryeth up: 12 So man lieth down and riseth not again;
Till the heavens pass away they wake not,
And are not aroused from their sleep.
How much less favoured is the final lot of man! He dies, and then lies there completely broken down and melted away (חלשׁ( yaw, in the neuter signification, confectum esse, rendered in the Targum by אתּבר and אתמקמק). The fut. consec. continues the description of the cheerless results of death: He who has thus once fallen together is gone without leaving a trace of life. In Job 14:11. this vanishing away without hope and beyond recovery is contemplated under the figure of running water, or of water that is dried up and never returns again to its channel. Instead of אזלוּ Isaiah uses נשּׁתוּ (Job 19:5) in the oracle on Egypt, a prophecy in which many passages borrowed from the book of Job are interwoven. The former means to flow away (related radically with נזל), the latter to dry up (transposed נתּשׁ, Jer 18:14). But he also uses יחרב, which signifies the drying in, and then ויבשׁ, which is the complete drying up which follows upon the drying in (vid., Genesis, S. 264). What is thus figuratively expressed is introduced by waw (Job 14:12), similar to the waw adaequationis of the emblematic proverbs mentioned at Job 5:7; Job 11:12 : so there is for man no rising (קוּם), no waking up (הקיץ), no ἐγείρεσθαι (נעור), and indeed not for ever; for what does not happen until the heavens are no more (comp. Psa 72:7, till the moon is no more), never happens; because God has called the heavens and the stars with their laws into existence, לעד לעולם (Psa 148:6), they never cease (Jer 31:35.), the days of heaven are eternal (Psa 89:30). This is not opposed to declarations like Psa 102:27, for the world's history, according to the teaching of Scripture, closes with a change in all these, but not their annihilation. What is affirmed in Job 14:10-12 of mankind in general, is, by the change to the plural in Job 14:12, affirmed of each individual of the race. Their sleep of death is עזלם שׁנת (Jer 51:39, Jer 51:57). What Sheôl summons away from the world, the world never sees again. Oh that it were otherwise! How would the brighter future have comforted him with respect to the sorrowful present and the dark night of the grave!

Verses 13-16 Edit

Job 14:13-16 13 Oh that Thou wouldst hide me in Sheôl,
That Thou wouldst conceal me till Thine anger change,
That Thou wouldst appoint me a time and then remember me! 14 If man dieth, shall he live again?
All the days of my warfare would I wait,
Until my change should come. 15 Thou wouldst call and I would answer,
Thou wouldst have a desire for the work of Thy hands - 16 For now thou numberest my steps,
And dost not restrain thyself over my sins.
The optative יתּן מי introduces a wish that has reference to the future, and is therefore, as at Job 6:8, followed by futt.; comp. on the other hand, Job 23:3, utinam noverim. The language of the wish reminds one of such passages in the Psalms as Psa 31:21; Psa 27:5 (comp. Isa 26:20): “In the day of trouble He hideth me in His pavilion, and in the secret of His tabernacle doth He conceal me.” So Job wishes that Hades, into which the wrath of God now precipitates him for ever, may only be a temporary place of safety for him, until the wrath of God turn away (שׁוּב, comp. the causative, Job 9:13); that God would appoint to him, when there, a חק, i.e., a terminus ad quem (comp. Job 14:5), and when this limit should be reached, again remember him in mercy. This is a wish that Job marks out for himself. The reality is indeed different: “if (ἐὰν) a man dies, will he live again?” The answer which Job's consciousness, ignorant of anything better, alone can give, is: No, there is no life after death. It is, however, none the less a craving of his heart that gives rise to the wish; it is the most favourable thought, - a desirable possibility, - which, if it were but a reality, would comfort him under all present suffering: “all the days of my warfare would I wait until my change came.” צבא is the name he gives to the whole of this toilsome and sorrowful interval between the present and the wished-for goal, - the life on earth, which he likens to the service of the soldier or of the hireling (Job 7:1), and which is subject to an inevitable destiny (Job 5:7) of manifold suffering, together with the night of Hades, where this life is continued in its most shadowy and dismal phase. And חליפה does not here signify destruction in the sense of death, as the Jewish expositors, by comparing Isa 2:18 and Sol 2:11, explain it; but (with reference to צבאי, comp. Job 10:17) the following after (Arab. chlı̂ft, succession, successor, i.e., of Mohammed), relief, change (syn. תּמוּרה, exchange, barter), here of change of condition, as Psa 55:20, of change of mind; Aquila, Theod., ἄλλαγμα. Oh that such a change awaited him! What a blessed future would it be if it should come to pass! Then would God call to him in the depth of Sheôl, and he, imprisoned until the appointed time of release, would answer Him from the deep. After His anger was spent, God would again yearn after the work of His hands (comp. Job 10:3), the natural loving relation between the Creator and His creature would again prevail, and it would become manifest that wrath is only a waning power (Isa 54:8), and love His true and essential attribute. Schlottman well observes: “Job must have had a keen perception of the profound relation between the creature and his Maker in the past, to be able to give utterance to such an imaginative expectation respecting the future.”
In Job 14:16, Job supports what is cheering in this prospect, with which he wishes he might be allowed to console himself, by the contrast of the present. עתּה כּי is used here as in Job 6:21; כי is not, as elsewhere, where עתה כי introduces the conclusion, confirmatory (indeed now = then indeed), but assigns a reason (for now). Now God numbers his steps (Job 13:27), watching him as a criminal, and does not restrain himself over his sin. Most modern expositors (Ew., Hlgst, Hahn, Schlottm.) translate: Thou observest not my sins, i.e., whether they are to be so severely punished or not; but this is poor. Raschi: Thou waitest not over my sins, i.e., to punish them; instead of which Ralbag directly: Thou waitest not for my sins = repentance or punishment; but שׁמר is not supported in the meaning: to wait, by Gen 37:11. Aben-Ezra: Thou lookest not except on my sins, by supplying רק, according to Ecc 2:24 (where, however, probably משׁיאכל should be read, and מ after אדם, just as in Job 33:17, has fallen away). The most doubtful is, with Hirzel, to take the sentence as interrogative, in opposition to the parallelism: and dost Thou not keep watch over my sins? It seems to me that the sense intended must be derived from the phrase אף שׁמר, which means to keep anger, and consequently to delay the manifestation of it (Amo 1:11). This phrase is here so applied, that we obtain the sense: Thou keepest not Thy wrath to thyself, but pourest it out entirely. Mercerus is substantially correct: non reservas nec differs peccati mei punitionem.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Job 14:17-19 17 My transgression is sealed up in a bag,
And Thou hast devised additions to my iniquity. 18 But a falling mountain moveth indeed,
And a rock falleth from its place. 19 Water holloweth out stone,
Its overflowings carry away the dust of the earth,
And the hope of man - Thou destroyest.
The meaning of Job 14:17 is, not that the judgment which pronounces him guilty lies in the sealed-up bag of the judge, so that it requires only to be handed over for execution (Hirz., Ew., Renan), for although פּשׁע (though not exactly the punishment of sin, which it does not signify even in Dan 9:24) can denote wickedness, as proved and recorded, and therefore metonomically the penal sentence, the figure is, however, taken not from the mode of preserving important documents, but from the mode of preserving collected articles of value in a sealed bag. The passage must be explained according to Hos 13:12; Deu 32:34; Rom 2:5, comp. Jer 17:1. The evil Job had formerly (Job 13:26) committed according to the sentence of God, God has gathered together as in a money bag, and carefully preserved, in order now to bring them home to him. And not this alone, however; He has devised still more against him than his actual misdeeds. Ewald translates: Thou hast sewed up my punishment; but טפל (vid., on Job 13:4) signifies, not to sew up, but: to sew on,patch on, and gen. to add (טפל, Rabb. accidens, a subordinate matter, opp. עקּר), after which the lxx translates ἐπεσημήνω (noted in addition), and Gecatilia Arab. ḥftṣt (added to in collecting). It is used here just as in the Aramaic phrase טפל שׁקרא (to patch on falsehood, to invent scandal).
The idea of the figures which follow is questionable. Hahn maintains that they do not describe destruction, but change, and that consequently the relation of Job 14:19 to what precedes is not similarity, but contrast: stones are not so hard, that they are not at length hollowed out, and the firm land is not so firm that it cannot be carried away by the flood; but man's prospect is for ever a hopeless one, and only for him is there no prospect of his lot ever being changed. Thus I thought formerly it should be explained: considering the waw, Job 14:19, as indicative not of comparison, but of contrast. But the assumption that the point of comparison is change, not destruction, cannot be maintained: the figures represent the slow but inevitable destruction wrought by the elements on the greatest mountains, on rocks, and on the solid earth. And if the poet had intended to contrast the slow but certain changes of nature with the hopelessness of man's lot, how many more appropriate illustrations, in which nature seems to come forth as with new life from the dead, were at his command! Raschi, who also considers the relation of the clauses to be antithetical, is guided by the right perception when he interprets: even a mountain that is cast down still brings forth fruit, and a rock removed from its place, even these are not without some signs of vitality in them, יבּול = (יבוּל) יעשׂהבוּל, which is indeed a linguistic impossibility. The majority of expositors are therefore right when they take the waw, Job 14:19, similarly to Job 5:7; Job 11:12; Job 12:11, as waw adaequationis. With this interpretation also, the connection of the clause with what precedes by ואוּלם (which is used exactly as in Job 1:11; Job 11:5; Job 12:7, where it signifies verum enim vero or attamen) is unconstrained. The course of thought is as follows: With unsparing severity, and even beyond the measure of my guilt, hast Thou caused me to suffer punishment for my sins, but (nevertheless) Thou shouldst rather be gentle and forbearing towards me, since even that which is firmest, strongest, and most durable cannot withstand ultimate destruction; and entirely in accordance with the same law, weak, frail man (אנושׁ) meets an early certain end, and at the same time Thou cuttest off from him every ground of hope of a continued existence. The waw, Job 14:19, is consequently, according to the sense, more quanto magis than sic, placing the things to be contrasted over against each other. הר־נופL is a falling, not a fallen (Ralbag) mountain; and having once received the impetus, it continues gradually to give way; Renan: s'effondre peu à peu. Carey, better: “will decay,” for נבל (cogn. נבל) signifies, decrease from external loses; specially of the falling off of leaves, Isa 34:4. The second figure, like Job 18:4, is to be explained according to Job 9:5 : a rock removes (not as Jerome translates, transfertur, which would be יעתק, and also not as lxx παλαιωθήσεται, Schlottm.: becomes old and crumbles away, although in itself admissible both as to language and fact; comp. on Job 21:7) from its place; it does not stand absolutely, immovably fast. In the third figure אבנים is a prominent object, as the accentuation with Mehupach legarmeh or (as it is found in correct Codd.) with Asla legarmeh rightly indicates שׁחק signifies exactly the same as Arab. sḥq, attere, conterere. In the fourth figure, ספיח must not be interpreted as meaning that which grows up spontaneously without re-sowing, although the Targum translates accordingly: it (the water) washes away its (i.e., the dust of the earth's) after-growth (כּתהא), which Symm. follows (τὰ παραλελειμνένα). It is also impossible according to the expression; for it must have been עפר הארץ. Jerome is essentially correct: et alluvione paullatim terra consumitur. It is true that ספח in Hebrew does not mean effundere in any other passage (on this point, vid., on Hab 2:15), but here the meaning effusio or alluvio may be supposed without much hesitation; and in a book whose language is so closely connected with the Arabic, we may even refer to ספח = Arab. sfḥ (kindred to Arab. sfk, שׁפך), although the word may also (as Ralbag suggests), by comparison with מטר סחף, Pro 28:3, and Arab. sḥı̂qt, a storm of rain, be regarded as transposed from חיפיה, from סחף in Arab. to tear off, sweep away, Targ. to thrust away (= רחף), Syr., Talm. to overthrow, subvertere (whence s'chifto, a cancer or cancerous ulcer). The suffix refers to מים, and תּשׁטף before a plural subject is quite according to rule, Ges. §146, 3. ספיחיה is mostly marked with Mercha, but according to our interpretation Dechî, which is found here and there in the Codd., would be more correct.
The point of the four illustrations is not that not one of them is restored to its former condition (Oetinger, Hirz.), but that in spite of their stability they are overwhelmed by destruction, and that irrecoverably. Even the most durable things cannot defy decay, and now even as to mortal man - Thou hast brought his hope utterly to nought (האבדת with Pathach in pause as frequently; vid., Psalter ii. 468). The perf. is praegnans: all at once, suddenly - death, the germ of which he carries in him even from his birth, is to him an end without one ray of hope, - it is also the death of his hope.

Verses 20-22 Edit

Job 14:20-22 20 Thou siezest him for ever, then he passeth away;
Thou changest his countenance and castest him forth. 21 If his sons come to honour, he knoweth it not;
Or to want, he observeth them not. 22 Only on his own account his flesh suffereth pain,
And on his own account is his soul conscious of grief.
The old expositors thought that תּתקפהוּ must be explained by תתקף נמנו (Thou provest thyself stronger than he, according to Ges. §121, 4), because תּקף is intrans.; but it is also transitive in the sense of seizing forcibly and grasping, Job 15:24; Ecc 4:12, as Talm. תּקף (otherwise commonly אתקף as החזיק), Arab. taqifa, comprehendere. The many sufferings which God inflicts on him in the course of his life are not meant; לנצח does not signify here: continually, without intermission, as most expositors explain, but as Job 4:20; Job 20:7, and throughout the book: for ever (Rosenm., Hahn, Welte). God gives him the death-stroke which puts an end to his life for ever, he passes away βαίνει, οἴχεται (comp. Job 10:21); disfiguring his countenance, i.e., in the struggle of death and in death by the gradual working of decay, distorting and making him unlike himself, He thrusts him out of this life (שׁלּח like Gen 3:23). The waw consec. is used here as e.g., Psa 118:27.
When he is descended into Hades he knows nothing more of the fortune of his children, for as Ecc 9:6 says: the dead have absolutely no portion in anything that happens under the sun. In Job 14:21 Job does not think of his own children that have died, nor his grandchildren (Ewald); he speaks of mankind in general. כּבד and צער are not here placed in contrast in the sense of much and little, but, as in Jer 30:19, in the wider sense of an important or a destitute position; כּבד, to be honoured, to attain to honour, as Isa 66:5. בּין (to observe anything) is joined with ל of the object, as in Psa 73:17 (on the other hand, להּ, Job 13:1, was taken as dat. ethicus). He neither knows nor cares anything about the welfare of those who survive him: “Nothing but pain and sadness is the existence of the dead; and the pain of his own flesh, the sadness of his own soul, alone engage him. He has therefore no room for rejoicing, nor does the joyous or sorrowful estate of others, though his nearest ones, affect him” (Hofmann, Schriftbeweis, i. 495). This is certainly, as Ewald and Psychol. S. 444, the meaning of Job 14:22; but עליו is hardly to be translated with Hofmann “in him,” so that it gives the intensive force of ἴδιος to the suff. For it is improbable that in this connection, - where the indifference of the deceased respecting others, and the absolute reference to himself of the existence of pain on his own account, are contrasted, - עליו, Job 14:22, is to be understood according to Job 30:16 (Psychol. S. 152), but rather objectively (over him). On the other hand, Job 14:22 is not to be translated: over himself only does his flesh feel pain (Schlottm., Hirz., and others); for the flesh as inanimate may indeed be poetically, so to speak zeugmatically, represented as conscious of pain, but not as referring its pain to another, and consequently as selfconscious. On this account, עליו, Job 14:22, is to be taken in the signification, over him = upon him, or as Job 14:22 (beyond him), which is doubtful; or it signifies, as we have sought to render it in our translation in both cases, propter eum. Only on his own account does his flesh suffer, i.e., only applying to himself, only on his own account does his soul mourn, i.e., only over his own condition. He has no knowledge and interest that extends beyond himself; only he himself is the object of that which takes place with his flesh in the grave, and of that on which his soul reflects below in the depths of Hades. According to this interpretation אך belongs to עליו, after the hyperbaton described at Job 2:10, comp. Job 13:15, Isa 34:15. And he עליו, Job 14:22, implies the idea (which is clearly expressed in Isa 66:24, and especially in Judith 16:17: δοῦναι πῦρ καὶ σκώληκας εἰς σάρκας αὐτῶν καὶ κλαύσονται ἐν αἰσθήσει ἕως αἰῶνος) that the process of the decomposition of the body is a source of pain and sorrow to the departed spirit, - a conception which proceeds from the supposition, right in itself, that a connection between body and soul is still continued beyond the grave, - a connection which is assumed by the resurrection, but which, as Job viewed it, only made the future still more sorrowful.
This speech of Job (Job 12-14), ), which closes here, falls into three parts, which correspond to the divisions into chapters. In the impassioned speech of Zophar, who treats Job as an empty and conceited babbler, the one-sided dogmatical standpoint of the friends was maintained with such arrogance and assumption, that Job is obliged to put forth all his power in self-defence. The first part of the speech (Job 12) triumphantly puts down this arrogance and assumption. Job replies that the wisdom, of which they profess to be the only possessors, is nothing remarkable, and the contempt with which they treat him is the common lot of the innocent, while the prosperity of the ungodly remains undisturbed. In order, however, to prove to them that what they say of the majesty of God, before which he should humble himself, can neither overawe nor help him, he refers them to creation, which in its varied works testifies to this majesty, this creative power of God, and the absolute dependence of every living thin on Him, and proves that he is not wanting in an appreciation of the truth contained in the sayings of the ancients by a description of the absolute majesty of God as it is manifested in the works of nature, and especially in the history of man, which excels everything that the three had said. This description is, however, throughout a gloomy picture of disasters which God brings about in the world, corresponding to the gloomy condition of mind in which Job is, and the disaster which is come upon himself.
As the friends have failed to solace him by their descriptions of God, so his own description is also utterly devoid of comfort. For the wisdom of God, of which he speaks, is not the wisdom that orders the world in which one can confide, and in which one has the surety of seeing every mystery of life sooner or later gloriously solved; but this wisdom is something purely negative, and repulsive rather than attractive, it is abstract exaltation over all created wisdom, whence it follows that he puts to shame the wisdom of the wise. Of the justice of God he does not speak at all, for in the narrow idea of the friends he cannot recognise its control; and of the love of God he speaks as little as the friends, for as the sight of the divine love is removed from them by the one-sidedness of their dogma, so is it from him by the feeling of the wrath of God which at present has possession of his whole being. Hegel has called the religion of the Old Testament the religion of sublimity (die Religion der Erhabenheit); and it is true that, so long as that manifestation of love, the incarnation of the Godhead, was not yet realized, God must have relatively transcended the religious consciousness. From the book of Job, however, this view can be brought back to its right limits; for, according to the tendency of the book, neither the idea of God presented by the friends nor by Job is the pure undimmed notion of God that belongs to the Old Testament. The friends conceive of God as the absolute One, who acts only according to justice; Job conceives of Him as the absolute One, who acts according to the arbitrariness of His absolute power. According to the idea of the book, the former is dogmatic one-sidedness, the latter the conception of one passing through temptation. The God of the Old Testament consequently rules neither according to justice alone, nor according to a “sublime whim.”
After having proved his superiority over the friends in perception of the majesty of God, Job tells them his decision, that he shall turn away from them. The sermon they address to him is to no purpose, and in fact produces an effect the reverse of that intended by them. And while it does Job no good, it injures them, because their very defence of the honour of God incriminates themselves in the eyes of God. Their aim is missed by them, for the thought of the absolute majesty of God has no power to impart comfort to any kind of sufferer; nor can the thought of His absolute justice give any solace to a sufferer who is conscious that he suffers innocently. By their confidence that Job's affliction is a decree of the justice of God, they certainly seem to defend the honour of God; but this defence is reversed as soon as it is manifest that there exists no such just ground for inflicting punishment on him. Job's self-consciousness, however, which cannot be shaken, gives no testimony to its justice; their advocacy of God is therefore an injustice to Job, and a miserable attempt at doing God service, which cannot escape the undisguised punishment of God. It is to be carefully noted that in Job 13:6-12 Job seriously warns the friends that God will punish them for their partiality, i.e., that they have endeavoured to defend Him at the expense of truth.
We see from this how sound Job's idea of God is, so far as it is not affected by the change which seems, according to the light which his temptation casts upon his affliction, to have taken place in his personal relationship to God. While above, ch. 9, he did not acknowledge an objective right, and the rather evaded the thought, of God's dealing unjustly towards him, by the desperate assertion that what God does is in every case right because God does it, he here recognises an objective truth, which cannot be denied, even in favour of God, and the denial of which, even though it were a pientissima fraus, is strictly punished by God. God is the God of truth, and will therefore be neither defended nor honoured by any perverting of the truth. By such pious lies the friends involve themselves in guilt, since in opposition to their better knowledge they regard Job as unrighteous, and blind themselves to the incongruities of daily experience and the justice of God. Job will therefore have nothing more to do with them; and to whom does he now turn? Repelled by men, he feels all the more strongly drawn to God. He desires to carry his cause before God. He certainly considers God to be his enemy, but, like David, he thinks it is better to fall into the hands of God than into the hands of man (2Sa 24:14). He will plead his cause with God, and prove to Him his innocence: he will do it, even though he be obliged to expiate his boldness with his life; for he knows that morally he will not be overcome in the contest. He requires compliance with but two conditions: that God would grant a temporary alleviation of his pain, and that He would not overawe him with the display of His majesty. Job's disputing with God is as terrible as it is pitiable. It is terrible, because he uplifts himself, Titan-like, against God; and pitiable, because the God against which he fights is not the God he has known, but a God that he is unable to recognise, - the phantom which the temptation has presented before his dim vision instead of the true God. This phantom is still the real God to him, but in other respects in no way differing from the inexorable ruling fate of the Greek tragedy. As in this the hero of the drama seeks to maintain his personal freedom against the mysterious power that is crushing him with an iron arm, so Job, even at the risk of sudden destruction, maintains the stedfast conviction of his innocence, in opposition to a God who has devoted him, as an evil-doer, to slow but certain destruction. The battle of freedom against necessity is the same as in the Greek tragedy. Accordingly one is obliged to regard it as an error, arising from simple ignorance, when it has been recently maintained that the boundless oriental imagination is not equal to such a truly exalted task as that of representing in art and poetry the power of the human spirit, and the maintenance of its dignity in the conflict with hostile powers, because a task that can only be accomplished by an imagination formed with a perception of the importance of recognising ascertained phenomena.[111]
In treating this subject, the book of Job not only attains to, but rises far above, the height attained by the Greek tragedy: for, on the one hand, it brings this conflict before us in all the fearful earnestness of a death-struggle; on the other, however, it does not leave us to the cheerless delusion that an absolute caprice moulds human destiny. This tragic conflict with the divine necessity is but the middle, not the beginning nor the end, of the book; for this god of fate is not the real God, but a delusion of Job's temptation. Human freedom does not succumb, but it comes forth from the battle, which is a refining fire to it, as conqueror. The dualism, which the Greek tragedy leaves unexplained, is here cleared up. The book certainly presents much which, from its tragic character, suggests this idea of destiny, but it is not its final aim - it goes far beyond: it does not end in the destruction of its hero by fate; but the end is the destruction of the idea of this fate itself.
We have seen in this speech (comp. Job 13:23, Job 13:26; Job 14:16.), as often already, that Job is as little able as the friends to disconnect suffering from the idea of the punishment of sin. If Job were mistaken or were misled by the friends respecting his innocence, the history of his sufferings would be no material for a drama, because there would be no inner development. But it is just Job's stedfast conviction of his innocence, and his maintenance of it in spite of the power which this prejudice exercises over him, that makes the history of his affliction the history of the development of a new and grand idea, and makes him as the subject, on whom it is developed, a tragic character. In conformity with his prepossession, Job sees himself put down by his affliction as a great sinner; and his friends actually draw the conclusion from false premises that he is such. But he asserts the testimony of his conscience to his innocence; and because this contradicts those premises, the one-sidedness of which he does not discern, God himself appears to him to be unjust and unmerciful. And against this God, whom the temptation has distorted and transformed to the miserable image of a ruler, guided only by an absolute caprice, he struggles on, and places the truth and freedom of his moral self-consciousness over against the restraint of the condemnatory sentence, which seems to be pronounced over him in the suffering he has to endure. Such is the struggle against God which we behold in the second part of the speech (ch. 13): ready to prove his innocence, he challenges God to trial; but since God does not appear, his confidence gives place to despondency, and his defiant tone to a tone of lamentation, which is continued in the third part of the speech (ch. 14).
While he has raised his head towards heaven with the conscious pride of a תמים צדיק, first in opposition to the friends and then to God, he begins to complain as one who is thrust back, and yielding to the pressure of his affliction, begins to regard himself as a sinner. But he is still unable to satisfy himself respecting God's dealings by any such forcible self-persuasion. For how can God execute such strict judgment upon man, whose life is so short and full of care, and who, because he belongs to a sinful race, cannot possibly be pure from sin, without allowing him the comparative rest of a hireling? How can he thus harshly visit man, to whose life He has set an appointed bound, and who, when he once dies, returns to life no more for ever? The old expositors cannot at all understand this absolute denial of a new life after death. Brentius erroneously observes on donec coelum transierit: ergo resurget; and Mercerus, whose exposition is free from all prejudice, cannot persuade himself that the elecus et sanctus Dei vir can have denied not merely a second earthly life, but also the eternal imperishable life after death. And yet it is so: Job does not indeed mean that man when he dies is annihilated, but he knows of no other life after death but the shadowy life in Sheôl, which is no life at all. His laments really harmonize with those in Moschos iii. 106ff.: Αἲ αἲ, ταὶ μαλάχαι μὲν ἐπὰν κατὰ κᾶπον ὄλωνται, Ἤ τὰ χλωρὰ σέλινα, τό τ ̓ εὐθαλὲς οὖλον ἄνηθον, Ὕστερον αὖ ζώοντι καὶ εἰς ἔτος ἄλλο φύοντι· Ἄμμες δ ̓ οἱ μεγάλοι καὶ καρτεροὶ ἢ σοφοὶ ἄνδρες, Ὁππότε πρῶτα θάνωμες, ἀνάκοοι ἐν χθονὶ κοίλᾳ Εὔδομες εὖ μάλα μακρὸν ἀτέρμονα νήγρετον ὕπνον.
Alas! alas! the mallows, after they are withered in the garden,
Or the green parsley and the luxuriant curly dill,
Live again hereafter and sprout in future years;
But we men, the great and brave, or the wise,
When once we die, senseless in the bosom of the earth
We sleep a long, endless, and eternal sleep.
And with that of Horace, Od. iv. 7, 1:Nos ubi decidimusQuo pius Aeneas, quo dives Tullus et Ancus,Pulvis et umbra sumus;
Or with that of the Jagur Weda: “While the tree that has fallen sprouts again from the root fresher than before, from what root does mortal man spring forth when he has fallen by the hand of death?”[112]
These laments echo through the ancient world from one end to the other, and even Job is without any superior knowledge respecting the future life. He denies a resurrection and eternal life, not as one who has a knowledge of them and will not however know anything about them, but he really knows nothing of them: our earthly life seems to him to flow on into the darkness of Sheôl, and onward beyond Sheôl man has no further existence.
We inquire here: Can we say that the poet knew nothing of a resurrection and judgment after death? If we look to the psalms of the time of David and Solomon, we must reply in the negative. Since, however, as the Grecian mysteries fostered and cherished ἡδυστέρας ἐλπίδας, the Israelitish Chokma also, by its constant struggles upwards and onwards, anticipated views of the future world which reached beyond the present (Psychol. S. 410): it may be assumed, and from the book of Job directly inferred, that the poet had a perception of the future world which went beyond the dim perception of the people, which was not yet lighted up by any revelation. For, on the one hand, he has reproduced for us a history of the patriarchal period, not merely according to its external, but also according to its internal working, with as strict historical faithfulness as delicate psychological tact; on the other, he has with a master hand described for us in the history of Job what was only possible from an advanced standpoint of knowledge, - how the hope of a life beyond the present, where there is no express word of promise to guide it, struggles forth from the heart of man as an undefined desire and longing, so that the word of promise is the fulfilment and seal of this desire and yearning. For when Job gives expression to the wish that God would hide him in Sheôl until His anger turn, and then, at an appointed time, yearning after the work of His hands, raise him again from Sheôl (Job 14:13-17), this wish it not to be understood other than that Sheôl might be only his temporary hiding-place from the divine anger, instead of being his eternal abode. He wishes himself in Sheôl, so far as he would thereby be removed for a time from the wrath of God, in order that, after an appointed season, he might again become an object of the divine favour. He cheers himself with the delightful thought, All the days of my warfare would I wait till my change should come, etc.; for then the warfare of suffering would become easy to him, because favour, after wrath and deliverance from suffering and death, would be near at hand. We cannot say that Job here expresses the hope of a life after death; on the contrary, this hope is wanting to him, and all knowledge respecting the reasons that might warrant it. The hope exists only in imagination, as Ewald rightly observes, without becoming a certainty, since it is only the idea, How glorious it would be if it were so, that is followed up. But, on the one side, the poet shows us by this touching utterance of Job how totally different would be his endurance of suffering if he but knew that there was really a release from Hades; on the other side, he shows us, in the wish of Job, the incipient tendency of the growing hope that it might be so, for what a devout mind desires has a spiritual power which presses forward from the subjective to the objective reality. The hope of eternal life is a flower, says one of the old commentators, which grows on the verge of the abyss. The writer of the book of Job supports this. In the midst of this abyss of the feeling of divine wrath in which Job is sunk, this flower springs up to cheer him. In its growth, however, it is not hope, but only at first a longing. And this longing cannot expand into hope, because no light of promise shines forth in that night, by which Job's feeling is controlled, and which makes the conflict darker than it is in itself. Scarcely has Job feasted for a short space upon the idea of that which he would gladly hope for, when the thought of the reality of that which he has to fear overwhelms him. He seems to himself to be an evil-doer who is reserved for the execution of the sentence of death. If it is not possible in nature for mountains, rocks, stones, and the dust of the earth to resist the force of the elements, so is it an easy thing for God to destroy the hope of a mortal all at once. He forcibly thrust him hence from this life; and when he is descended to Hades, he knows nothing whatever of the lot of his own family in the world above. Of the life and knowledge of the living, nothing remains to him but the senseless pain of his dead body, which is gnawed away, and the dull sorrow of his soul, which continues but a shadowy life in Sheôl.
Thus the poet shows us, in the third part of Job's speech, a grand idea, which tries to force its way, but cannot. In the second part, Job desired to maintain his conviction of innocence before God: his confidence is repulsed by the idea of the God who is conceived of by him as an enemy and a capricious ruler, and changes to despair. In the third part, the desire for a life after death is maintained; but he is at once overwhelmed by the imagined inevitable and eternal darkness of Sheôl, but overwhelmed soon to appear again above the billows of temptation, until, in ch. 19, the utterance of faith respecting a future life rises as a certain confidence over death and the grave: the γνῶσις which comes forth from the conflict of the πίστις anticipates that better hope which in the New Testament is established and ratified by the act of redemption wrought by the Conqueror of Hades.

Chap. 15 Edit

Verses 1-6 Edit

Job 15:1-6 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said: 2 Doth a wise man utter vain knowledge,
And fill his breast with the east wind? 3 Contending with words, that profit not,
And speeches, by which no good is done? 4 Moreover, thou makest void the fear of God,
And thou restrainest devotion before God; 5 For thy mouth exposeth thy misdeeds,
And thou choosest the language of the crafty. 6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee and not I,
And thine own lips testify against thee.
The second course of the controversy is again opened by Eliphaz, the most respectable, most influential, and perhaps oldest of the friends. Job's detailed and bitter answers seem to him as empty words and impassioned tirades, which ill become a wise man, such as he claims to be in assertions like Job 12:3; Job 13:2. החלם with He interr., like העלה, Job 13:25. רוּח, wind, is the opposite of what is solid and sure; and קדים in the parallel (like Hos 12:2) signifies what is worthless, with the additional notion of vehement action. If we translate בּטן by “belly,” the meaning is apt to be misunderstood; it is not intended as the opposite of לב fo et (Ewald), but it means, especially in the book of Job, not only that which feels, but also thinks and wills, the spiritually receptive and active inner nature of man (Psychol. S. 266); as also in Arabic, el-battin signifies that which is within, in the deepest mystical sense. Hirz. and Renan translate the inf. abs. הוכח, which follows in Job 15:3, (Job 15:35), it is not an interrogative. Ewald takes it as the subject: “to reprove with words-avails not, and speeches - whereby one does no good;” but though דּבר and מלּים might be used without any further defining, as in λογομαχεῖν (2Ti 2:14) and λογομαχία (1Ti 6:4), the form of Job 15:3 is opposed to such an explanation. The inf. abs. is connected as a gerund (redarguendo s. disputando) with the verbs in the question, Job 15:2; and the elliptical relative clause יסכּן לא is best, as referring to things, according to Job 35:3 : sermone (דּבד from דּבר, as sermo from serere) qui non prodest; בּם יועיל לא, on the other hand, to persons, verbis quibus nil utilitatis affert. Eliphaz does not censure Job for arguing, but for defending himself by such useless and purposeless utterances of his feeling. But still more than that: his speeches are not only unsatisfactory and unbecoming, אף, accedit quod (cumulative like Job 14:3), they are moreover irreligious, since by doubting the justice of God they deprive religion of its fundamental assumption, and diminish the reverence due to God. יראה in such an objective sense as Psa 19:10 almost corresponds to the idea of religion. שׂיחה לפני־אל is to be understood, according to Psa 102:1; Psa 142:3 (comp. Psa 64:2; Psa 104:34): before God, and consequently customary devotional meditation, here of the disposition of mind indispensable to prayer, viz., devotion, and especially reverential awe, which Job depreciates (גּרע, detrahere). His speeches are mostly directed towards God; but they are violent and reproachful, therefore irreverent in form and substance.

Verse 5 Edit

Job 15:5 כּי is not affirmative: forsooth (Hirz.), but, confirmatory and explicative. This opinion respecting him, which is so sharply and definitely expressed by אתּה, thrusts itself irresistibly forward, for it is not necessary to know his life more exactly, his own mouth, whence such words escape, reveals his sad state: docet (אלּף only in the book of Job, from אלף, discere, a word which only occurs once in the Hebrew, Pro 22:25) culpam tuam os tuum, not as Schlottm. explains, with Raschi: docet culpa tua os tuum, which, to avoid being misunderstood, must have been חטאתך תאלף, and is a though unsuited to the connection. אלּף is certainly not directly equivalent to הגּיד, Isa 3:9; it signifies to teach, to explain, and this verb is just the one in the mouth of the censorious friend. What follows must not be translated: while thou choosest (Hirz.); ותבחר is not a circumstantial clause, but adds a second confirmatory clause to the first: he chooses the language of the crafty, since he pretends to be able to prove his innocence before God; and convinced that he is in the right, assumes the offensive (as Job 13:4.) against those who exhort him to humble himself. Thus by his evil words he becomes his own judge (ירשׁיעך) and accuser (יענו בך after the fem. שׂפתיך, like Pro 5:2; Pro 26:23). The knot of the controversy becomes constantly more entangled since Job strengthens the friends more and more in their false view by his speeches, which certainly are sinful in some parts (as Job 9:22).

Verses 7-10 Edit

Job 15:7-10 7 Wast thou as the first one born as a man,
And hast thou been brought forth before the hills? 8 Hast thou attended to the counsel of Eloah,
And hast thou kept wisdom to thyself? 9 What dost thou know that we have not known?
Doest thou understand what we have not been acquainted with? 10 Both grey-haired and aged are among us,
Older in days than thy father.
The question in Job 15:7 assumes that the first created man, because coming direct from the hand of God, had the most direct and profoundest insight into the mysteries of the world which came into existence at the same time as himself. Schlottman calls to mind an ironical proverbial expression of the Hindus: “Yea, indeed, he is the first man; no wonder that he is so wise” (Roberts, Orient. Illustr. p. 276). It is not to be translated: wast thou born as the first man, which is as inadmissible as the translation of אחת מעט, Hag 2:6, by “a little” (vid., Köhler in loc.); rather ראישׁון (i.e., ראישׁון, as Jos 21:10, formed from ראשׁ, like the Arabic raı̂s, from ras, if it is not perhaps a mere incorrect amalgamation of the forms ראשׁון and רשׁון, Job 8:8) is in apposition with the subject, and אדם is to be regarded as predicate, according to Ges. §139, 2. Raschi's translation is also impossible: wast thou born before Adam? for this Greek form of expression, πρῶτος μον, Joh 1:15, Joh 1:30; Joh 15:18 (comp. Odyss. xi. 481f., σεῖο μακάρτατος), is strange to the Hebrew. In the parallel question, Job 15:7, Umbr., Schlottm., and Renan (following Ewald) see a play upon Pro 8:24.: art thou the demiurgic Wisdom itself? But the introductory proverbs (Prov 1-9) are more recent than the book of Job (vid., supra, p. 24), and indeed probably, as we shall show elsewhere, belong to the time of Jehoshaphat. Consequently the more probable relation is that the writer of Pro 8:24. has adopted words from the book of Job in describing the pre-existence of the Chokma. Was Job, a higher spirit-nature, brought forth, i.e., as it were amidst the pangs of travail (חוללת, Pulal from חול, חיל), before the hills? for the angels, according to Scripture, were created before man, and even before the visible universe (vid., Job 38:4.). Hirz., Ew., Schlottm., and others erroneously translate the futt. in the questions, Job 15:8, as praes. All the verbs in Job 15:7, Job 15:8, are under the control of the retrospective character which is given to the verses by ראישׁון; comp. Job 10:10., where זכר־נא has the same influence, and also Job 3:3, where the historical sense of אוּלד depends not upon the syntax, but upon logical necessity. Translate therefore: didst thou attend in the secret council (סוד, like Jer 23:18, comp. Psa 89:8) of Eloah (according to the correct form of writing in Codd. and in Kimchi, Michlol 54a, הבסוד, like Job 15:11 המעט and Job 22:13 הבעד, with Beth raph. and without Gaja),[113] and didst then acquire for thyself (גרע, here attrahere, like the Arabic, sorbere, to suck in) wisdom? by which one is reminded of Prometheus' fire stolen from heaven. Nay, Job can boast of no extraordinary wisdom. The friends - as Eliphaz, Job 15:9, says in their name - are his contemporaries; and if he desires to appeal to the teaching of his father, and of his ancestors generally, let them know that there are hoary-headed men among themselves, whose discernment is deeper by reason of their more advanced age. גּם is inverted, like Job 2:10 (which see); and at the same time, since it is sued twice, it is correlative: etiam inter nos et cani et senes. Most modern expositors think that Eliphaz, “in modestly concealed language” (Ewald), refers to himself. But the reference would be obvious enough; and wherefore this modest concealing, which is so little suited to the character of Eliphaz? Moreover, Job 15:10 does not sound as if speaking merely of one, and in Job 15:10 Eliphaz would make himself older than he appears to be, for it is nowhere implied that Job is a young man in comparison with him. We therefore with Umbreit explain בּנוּ: in our generation. Thus it sounds more like the Arabic, both in words (kebı̂r Arab., usual in the signif. grandaevus) and in substance. Eliphaz appeals to the source of reliable tradition, since they have even among their races and districts mature old men, and since, indeed, according to Job's own admission (Job 12:12), there is “wisdom among the ancient ones.”

Verses 11-13 Edit

Job 15:11-13 11 Are the consolations of God too small for thee,
And a word thus tenderly spoken with thee? 12 What overpowers thy hearts?
And why do thine eyes wink, 13 That thou turnest thy snorting against God,
And sendest forth such words from thy mouth?
By the consolations of God, Eliphaz means the promises in accordance with the majesty and will of God, by which he and the other friends have sought to cheer him, of course presupposing a humble resignation to the just hand of God. By “a word (spoken) in gentleness to him,” he means the gentle tone which they have maintained, while he has passionately opposed them. לאט, elsewhere לאט (e.g., Isa 8:6, of the softly murmuring and gently flowing Siloah), from אט (declined, אטּי), with the neutral, adverbial ל (as לבטה), signifies: with a soft step, gently, The word has no connection with לוּט, לאט, to cover over, and is not third praet. (as it is regarded by Raschi, after Chajug): which he has gently said to you, or that which has gently befallen you; in which, as in Fürst's Handwörterbuch, the notions secrete (Jdg 4:21, Targ. בּרז, in secret) and leniter are referred to one root. Are these divine consolations, and these so gentle addresses, too small for thee (מעט ממך, opp. 1Ki 19:7), i.e., beneath thy dignity, and unworthy of they notice? What takes away (לקה, auferre, abripere, as frequently) thy heart (here of wounded pride), and why do thine eyes gleam, that thou turnest (השׁיב, not revertere, but vertere, as freq.) thy ill-humour towards God, and utterest מלּין (so here, not מלּים) words, which, because they are without meaning and intelligence, are nothing but words? רזם, ἅπ. γεγρ., is transposed from רמז, to wink, i.e., to make known by gestures and grimaces, - a word which does not occur in biblical, but is very common in post-biblical, Hebrew (e.g., חרשׁ רומז ונרמז, a deaf and dumb person expresses himself and is answered by a language of signs). Modern expositors arbitrarily understand a rolling of the eyes; it is more natural to think of the vibration of the eye-lashes or eye-brows. רוּח, Job 15:13, is as in Jdg 8:3; Isa 25:4, comp. Job 13:11, and freq. used of passionate excitement, which is thus expressed because it manifests itself in πνέειν (Act 9:1), and has its rise in the πνεῦμα (Ecc 7:9). Job ought to control this angry spirit, θυμός (Psychol. S. 198); but he allows it to burst forth, and makes even God the object on which he vents his anger in impetuous language. How much better it would be for him, if he would search within himself (Lam 3:39) for the reason of those sufferings which so deprive him of his self-control!

Verses 14-16 Edit

Job 15:14-16 14 What is mortal man that he should be pure,
And that he who is born of woman should be righteous? 15 He trusteth not His holy ones,
And the heavens are not pure in His eyes: 16 How much less the abominable and corrupt,
Man, who drinketh iniquity as water!
The exclamation in Job 15:14 is like the utterance: mortal man and man born flesh of flesh cannot be entirely sinless. Even “the holy ones” and “the heavens” are not. The former are, as in Job 5:1, according to Job 4:18, the angels as beings of light (whether קדשׁ signifies to be light from the very first, spotlessly pure, or, vid., Psalter, i. 588f., to be separated, distinct, and hence exalted above what is common); the latter is not another expression for the אנגּלי מרומא (Targ.), the “angels of the heights,” but שׁמים is the word used for the highest spheres in which they dwell (comp. Job 25:5); for the angels are certainly not corporeal, but, like all created things, in space, and the Scriptures everywhere speak of angels and the starry heavens together. Hence the angels are called the morning stars in Job 38:7, and hence both stars and angels are called צבא השׁמים and צבאות (vid., Genesis. S. 128). Even the angels and the heavens are finite, and consequently are not of a nature absolutely raised above the possibility of sin and contamination.
Eliphaz repeats here what he has already said, Job 4:18.; but he does it intentionally, since he wishes still more terribly to describe human uncleanness to Job (Oetinger). In that passage אף was merely the sign of an anti-climax, here כּי אף is quanto minus. Eliphaz refers to the hereditary infirmity and sin of human nature in Job 15:14, here (Job 15:16) to man's own free choice of that which works his destruction. He uses the strongest imaginable words to describe one actualiter and originaliter corrupted. נתעב denotes one who is become an abomination, or the abominated = abominable (Ges. §134, 1); נאלח, one thoroughly corrupted (Arabic alacha, in the medial VIII conjugation: to become sour, which reminds one of ζύμη, Rabb. שׂאר שׁבּעסּה, as an image of evil, and especially of evil desire). It is further said of him (an expression which Elihu adopts, Job 34:7), that he drinks up evil like water. The figure is like Pro 26:6, comp. on Psa 73:10, and implies that he lusts after sin, and that it is become a necessity of his nature, and is to his nature what water is to the thirsty. Even Job does not deny this corruption of man (Job 14:4), but the inferences which the friends draw in reference to him he cannot acknowledge. The continuation of Eliphaz' speech shows how they render this acknowledgment impossible to him.

Verses 17-19 Edit

Job 15:17-19 17 I will inform thee, hear me!
And what I have myself seen that I will declare, 18 Things which wise men declare
Without concealment from their fathers 19 To them alone was the land given over,
And no stranger had passed in their midst - :
Eliphaz, as in his first speech, introduces the dogma with which he confronts Job with a solemn preface: in the former case it had its rise in a revelation, here it is supported by his own experience and reliable tradition; for חזיתי is not intended as meaning ecstatic vision (Schlottm.). The poet uses חזה also of sensuous vision, Job 8:17; and of observation and knowledge by means of the senses, not only the more exalted, as Job 19:26., but of any kind (Job 23:9; Job 24:1; Job 27:12, comp. Job 36:25; Job 34:32), in the widest sense. זה is used as neuter, Gen 6:15; Exo 13:8; Exo 30:13; Lev 11:4, and freq.[114] (comp. the neuter הוּא, Job 13:16, and often), and זה־חזיתי is a relative clause (Ges. §122, 2): quod conspexi, as Job 19:19 quos amo, and Psa 74:2 in quo habitas, comp. Psa 104:8, Psa 104:26; Pro 23:22, where the punctuation throughout proceeds from the correct knowledge of the syntax. The waw of ואספרה is the waw apodosis, which is customary (Nägelsbach, §111, 1, b) after relative clauses (e.g., Num 23:3), or what is the same thing, participles (e.g., Pro 23:24): et narrabo = ea narrabo. In Job 15:18 ולא כחדו is, logically at least, subordinate to יגידו, as in Isa 3:9,[115] as the Targum of the Antwerp Polyglott well translates: “what wise men declare, without concealing (ולא מכדבין), from the tradition of their fathers;” whereas all the other old translations, including Luther's, have missed the right meaning. These fathers to whom this doctrine respecting the fate of evil-doers is referred, lived, as Eliphaz says in Job 15:19, in the land of their birth, and did not mingle themselves with strangers, consequently their manner of viewing things, and their opinions, have in their favour the advantage of independence, of being derived from their own experience, and also of a healthy development undisturbed by any foreign influences, and their teaching may be accounted pure and unalloyed.
Eliphaz thus indirectly says, that the present is not free from such influences, and Ewald is consequently of opinion that the individuality of the Israelitish poet peeps out here, and a state of things is indicated like that which came about after the fall of Samaria in the reign of Manasseh. Hirzel also infers from Eliphaz' words, that at the time when the book was written the poet's fatherland was desecrated by some foreign rule, and considers it an indication for determining the time at which the book was composed. But how groundless and deceptive this is! The way in which Eliphaz commends ancient traditional lore is so genuinely Arabian, that there is but the faintest semblance of a reason for supposing the poet to have thrown his own history and national peculiarity so vividly into the working up of the rôle of another. Purity of race was, from the earliest times, considered by “the sons of the East” as a sign of highest nobility, and hence Eliphaz traces back his teaching to a time when his race could boast of the greatest freedom from intermixture with any other. Schlottmann prefers to interpret Job 15:19 as referring to the “nobler primeval races of man” (without, however, referring to Job 8:8), but הארץ does not signify the earth here, but: country, as in Job 30:8; Job 22:8, and elsewhere, and Job 15:19 seems to refer to nations: זר = barbarus (perhaps Semitic: בּרבּר, ὁ ἔξω). Nevertheless it is unnecessary to suppose that Eliphaz' time was one of foreign domination, as the Assyrian-Chaldean time was for Israel: it is sufficient to imagine it as a time when the tribes of the desert were becoming intermixed, from migration, commerce, and feud.
Now follows the doctrine of the wise men, which springs from a venerable primitive age, an age as yet undisturbed by any strange way of thinking (modern enlightenment and free thinking, as we should say), and is supported by Eliphaz' own experience. (Note: Communication from Consul Wetzstein: If this verse affirms that the freer a people is from intermixture with other races, the purer is its tradition, it gives expression to a principle derived from experience, which needs no proof. Even European races, especially the Scandinavians, furnish proof of this in their customs, language, and traditions, although in this case certain elements of their indigenous character have vanished with the introduction of Christianity. A more complete parallel is furnished by the wandering tribes of the ‘Aneze and Sharârât of the Syrian deserts, people who have indeed had their struggles, and have even been weakened by emigration, but have certainly never lost their political and religious autonomy, and have preserved valuable traditions which may be traced to the earliest antiquity. It is unnecessary to prove this by special instance, when the whole outer and inner life of these peoples can be regarded as the best commentary on the biblical accounts of the patriarchal age. It is, however, not so much the fact that the evil-doer receives his punishment, in favour of which Eliphaz appeals to the teaching handed down from the fathers, as rather the belief in it, consequently in a certain degree the dogma of a moral order in the world. This dogma is an essential element of the ancient Abrahamic religion of the desert tribes - that primitive religion which formed the basis of the Mosaic, and side by side with it was continued among the nomads of the desert; which, shortly before the appearance of Christianity in the country east of Jordan, gave birth to mild doctrines, doctrines which tended to prepare the way for the teaching of the gospel; which at that very time, according to historical testimony, also prevailed in the towns of the Higâz, and was first displaced again by the Jemanic idolatry, and limited to the desert, in the second century after Christ, during the repeated migrations of the southern Arabs; which gave the most powerful impulse to the rise of Islam, and furnished its best elements; which, towards the end of the last century, brought about the reform of Islamism in the province of Negd, and produced the Wahabee doctrine; and which, finally, is continued even to the present day by the name of Dîn Ibrâhîm, “Religion of Abraham,” as a faithful tradition of the fathers, among the vast Ishmaelitish tribes of the Syrian desert, “to whom alone the land is given over, and into whose midst no stranger has penetrated.” Had this cultus spread among settled races with a higher education, it might have been taught also in writings: if, however, portions of writings in reference to it, which have been handed down to us by the Arabic, are to be regarded as unauthentic, it may also in ‘Irâk have been mixed with the Sabian worship of the stars; but among the nomads it will have always been only oral, taught by the poets in song, and contained in the fine traditions handed down uncorrupted from father to son, and practised in life.
It is a dogma of this religion (of which I shall speak more fully in the introduction to my Anthologie von Poesien der Wanderstâmme), that the pious will be rewarded by God in his life and in his descendants, the wicked punished in his life and in his descendants; and it may also, in Job 15:19, be indirectly said that the land of Eliphaz has preserved this faith, in accordance with tradition, purer than Job's land. If Eliphaz was from the Petraean town of Têmân (which we merely suggest as possible here), he might indeed rightly assert that no strange race had become naturalized there; for that hot, sterile land, poorly supplied with water, had nothing inviting to the emigrant or marauder, and its natives remain there only by virtue of the proverb: lôlâ hhibb el-wattan quat.tâl,lakân dâr eṡsû' charâb, “Did not the love of one's country slay (him who is separated from it), the barren country would be uninhabited.” Job certainly could not affirm the same of his native country, if this is, with the Syrian tradition, to be regarded as the Nukra (on this point, vid., the Appendix). As the richest province of Syria, it has, from the earliest time to the present, always been an apple of contention, and has not only frequently changed its rulers, but even its inhabitants.)

Verses 20-24 Edit

Job 15:20-24 20 So long as the ungodly liveth he suffereth,
And numbered years are reserved for the tyrant. 21 Terrors sound in his ears;
In time of peace the destroyer cometh upon him. 22 He believeth not in a return from darkness,
And he is selected for the sword. 23 He roameth about after bread: “Ah! where is it?”
He knoweth that a dark day is near at hand for him. 24 Trouble and anguish terrify him;
They seize him as a king ready to the battle.
All the days of the ungodly he (the ungodly) is sensible of pain. רשׁע stands, like Elohim in Gen 9:6, by the closer definition; here however so, that this defining ends after the manner of a premiss, and is begun by הוּא after the manner of a conclusion. מתחולל, he writhes, i.e., suffers inward anxiety and distress in the midst of all outward appearance of happiness. Most expositors translate the next line: and throughout the number of the years, which are reserved to the tyrant. But (1) this parallel definition of time appended by waw makes the sense drawling; (2) the change of עריץ (oppressor, tyrant) for רשׁע leads one to expect a fresh affirmation, hence it is translated by the lxx: ἔτη δὲ ἀριθμητὰ δεδομένα δυνάστῃ. The predicate is, then, like Job 32:7, comp. Job 29:10; Job 2:4 (Ges. §148), per attractionem in the plur. instead of in the sing., and especially with מספּר followed by gen. plur.; this attraction is adopted by our author, Job 21:21; Job 38:21. The meaning is not, that numbered, i.e., few, years are secretly appointed to the tyrant, which must have been sh'nôth mispâr, a reversed position of the words, as Job 16:22; Num 9:20 (vid., Gesenius' Thes.); but a (limited, appointed) number of years is reserved to the tyrant (צפן as Job 24:1; Job 21:19, comp. טמן, Job 20:26; Mercerus: occulto decreto definiti), after the expiration of which his punishment begins. The thought expressed by the Targ., Syr., and Jerome would be suitable: and the number of the years (that he has to live unpunished) is hidden from the tyrant; but if this were the poet's meaning, he would have written שׁניו, and must have written מן־העריץ.
With regard to the following Job 15:21-24, it is doubtful whether only the evil-doer's anxiety of spirit is described in amplification of הוא מתחולל, or also how the terrible images from which he suffers in his conscience are realized, and how he at length helplessly succumbs to the destruction which his imagination had long foreboded. A satisfactory and decisive answer to this question is hardly possible; but considering that the real crisis is brought on by Eliphaz later, and fully described, it seems more probable that what has an objective tone in Job 15:21-24 is controlled by what has been affirmed respecting the evil conscience of the ungodly, and is to be understood accordingly. The sound of terrible things (startling dangers) rings in his ears; the devastator comes upon him (בוא seq. acc. as Job 20:22; Pro 28:22; comp. Isa 28:15) in the midst of his prosperity. He anticipates it ere it happens. From the darkness by which he feels himself menaced, he believes not (האמין seq. infin. as Psa 27:13, לראות, of confident hope) to return; i.e., overwhelmed with a consciousness of his guilt, he cannot, in the presence of this darkness which threatens him, raise to the hope of rescue from it, and he is really - as his consciousness tells him - צפוּ (like עשׂוּ, Job 41:25; Ges. §75, rem. 5; Keri צפוי, which is omitted in our printed copies, contrary to the testimony of the Masora and the authority of correct MSS), spied out for, appointed to the sword, i.e., of God (Job 19:29; Isa 31:8), or decreed by God. In the midst of abundance he is harassed by the thought of becoming poor; he wanders about in search of bread, anxiously looking out and asking where? (abrupt, like הנה, Job 9:19), i.e., where is any to be found, whence can I obtain it? The lxx translates contrary to the connection, and with a strange misunderstanding of the passage: κατατέτακται δὲ δἰς σῖτα γυψίν (איּה לחם, food for the vulture). He sees himself in the mirror of the future thus reduced to beggary; he knows that a day of darkness stands in readiness (נכון, like Job 18:12), is at his hand, i.e., close upon him (בּידו, elsewhere in this sense ליד, Psa 140:6; 1Sa 19:3, and על־ידי, Job 1:14).
In accordance with the previous exposition, we shall now interpret וּמצוּקה צר, Job 15:24, not of need and distress, but subjectively of fear and oppression. They come upon him suddenly and irresistibly; it seizes or overpowers him (תּתקפהוּ with neutral subject; an unknown something, a dismal power) as a king עתיד לכּידור. lxx ὥσπερ στρατηγὸς πρωτοστάτης πίπτων, like a leader falling in the first line of the battle, which is an imaginary interpretation of the text. The translation of the Targum also, sicut regem qui paratus est ad scabellum (to serve the conqueror as a footstool), furnishes no explanation. Another Targum translation (in Nachmani and elsewhere) is: sicut rex qui paratus est circumdare se legionibus. According to this, כידור comes from כּדר, to surround, be round (comp. כּתר, whence כּתר, Assyr. cudar, κίδαρις, perhaps also הזר, Syr. חדר, whence chedor, a circle, round about); and it is assumed, that as כּדּוּר signifies a ball (not only in Talmudic, but also in Isa 22:18, which is to be translated: rolling he rolleth thee into a ball, a ball in a spacious land), so כּידור, a round encampment, an army encamped in a circle, synon. of מעגּל. In the first signification the word certainly furnishes no suitable sense in connection with עתיד; but one may, with Kimchi, suppose that כידור, like the Italian torniamento, denotes the circle as well as the tournament, or the round of conflict, i.e., the conflict which moves round about, like tumult of battle, which last is a suitable meaning here. The same appropriate meaning is attained, however, if the root is taken, like the Arabic kdr, in the signification turbidum esse (comp. קדר, Job 6:16), which is adopted of misfortunes as troubled experiences of life (according to which Schultens translates: destinatus est ad turbulentissimas fortunas, beginning a new thought with עתיד, which is not possible, since כמלך by itself is no complete figure), and may perhaps also be referred to the tumult of battle, tumultus bellici conturbatio (Rosenm.); or of, with Fleischer, one starts from another turn of the idea of the root, viz., to be compressed, solid, thick, which is a more certain way gives the meaning of a dense crowd.[116]

Since, therefore, a suitable meaning is obtained in two ways, the natural conjecture, which is commended by Pro 6:11, עתיד לכּידון, paratus ad hastam = peritus hastae (Hupf.), according to Job 3:8) where ערר = לערר), may be abandoned. The signification circuitus has the most support, according to which Saadia and Parchon also explain, and we have preferred to translate round of battle rather than tumult of conflict; Jerome's translation, qui praeparatur ad praelium, seems also to be gained in the same manner.

Verses 25-30 Edit

Job 15:25-30 25 Because he stretched out his hand against God,
And was insolent towards the Almighty; 26 He assailed Him with a stiff neck,
With the thick bosses of his shield; 27 Because he covered his face with his fatness,
And addeth fat to his loins, 28 And inhabited desolated cities,
Houses which should not be inhabited,
Which were appointed to be ruins. 29 He shall not be rich, and his substance shall not continue
And their substance boweth not to the ground. 30 He escapeth not darkness;
The flame withereth his shoots;
And he perisheth in the breath of His mouth.
This strophe has periodic members: Job 15:25-28 an antecedent clause with a double beginning (כּי־נטה because he has stretched out, כּי־כסּה because he has covered; whereas ירוּץ may be taken as more independent, but under the government of the כי that stands at the commencement of the sentence); Job 15:29, Job 15:30, is the conclusion. Two chief sins are mentioned as the cause of the final destiny that comes upon the evil-doer: (1) his arrogant opposition to God, and (2) his contentment on the ruins of another's prosperity. The first of these sins is described Job 15:25-27. The fut. consec. is once used instead of the perf., and the simple fut. is twice used with the signification of an imperf. (as Job 4:3 and freq.). The Hithpa. התגּבּר signifies here to maintain a heroic bearing, to play the hero; התעשּׁר to make one's self rich, to play the part of a rich man, Pro 13:7. And בּצוּאר expresses the special prominence of the neck in his assailing God אל רוּץ, as Dan 8:6, comp. על, Job 16:14); it is equivalent to erecto collo (Vulg.), and in meaning equivalent to ὕβρει (lxx). Also in Psa 75:6, בצואר (with Munach, which there represents a distinctive)[117] is absolute, in the sense of stiff-necked or hard-headed; for the parallels, as Psa 31:19; Psa 94:4, and especially the primary passage, 1Sa 2:3, show that עתק is to be taken as an accusative of the object. The proud defiance with which he challengingly assails God, and renders himself insensible to the dispensations of God, which might bring him to a right way of thinking, is symbolized by the additional clause: with the thickness (עבי cognate form to עבי) of the bosses of his shields. גּב is the back (Arab. dhr) or boss (umbo) of the shield; the plurality of shields has reference to the diversified means by which he hardens himself. Job 15:27, similarly to Psa 73:4-7, pictures this impregnable carnal security against all unrest and pain, to which, on account of his own sinfulness and the distress of others, the nobler-minded man is so sensitive: he has covered his face with his fat, so that by the accumulation of fat, for which he anxiously labours, it becomes a gross material lump of flesh, devoid of mind and soul, and made fat, i.e., added fat, caused it to accumulate, upon his loins (כּסל for כּסליו); עשׂה (which has nothing to do with Arab. gšâ, to cover) is used as in Job 14:9, and in the phrase corpus facere (in Justin), in the sense of producing outwardly something from within. פּימה reminds one of πιμ-ελή (as Aquila and Symmachus translate here), o-pim-us, and of the Sanscrit piai, to be fat (whence adj. pı̂van, pı̂vara, πιαρός, part. pı̂na, subst. according to Roth pı̂vas); the Arabic renders it probable that it is a contraction of פּאימה (Olsh. §171, b). The Jewish expositors explain it according to the misunderstood פּים, 1Sa 13:21, of the furrows or wrinkles which are formed in flabby flesh, as if the ah were paragogic.
Job 15:28 describes the second capital sin of the evil-doer. The desolated cities that he dwells in are not cities that he himself has laid waste; Job 15:28 distinctly refers to a divinely appointed punishment, for התעתּדוּ does not signify: which they (evil-doers) have made ruins (Hahn), which is neither probable from the change of number, nor accords with the meaning of the verb, which signifies “to appoint to something in the future.” Hirzel, by referring to the law, Deu 13:13-18 (comp. 1Ki 16:34), which forbids the rebuilding of such cities as are laid under the curse, explains it to a certain extent more correctly. But such a play upon the requirements of the Mosaic law is in itself not probable in the book of Job, and here, as Löwenthal rightly remarks, is the less indicated, since it is not the dwelling in such cities that is forbidden, but only the rebuilding of them, so far as they had been destroyed; here, however, the reference is only to dwelling, not to rebuilding. The expression must therefore be understood more generally thus, that the powerful man settles down carelessly and indolently, without any fear of the judgments of God or respect for the manifestations of His judicial authority, in places in which the marks of a just divine retribution are still visible, and which are appointed to be perpetual monuments of the execution of divine judgments.[118]

Only by this rendering is the form of expression of the elliptical clause לא־ישׁבוּ למו explained. Hirz. refers למו to בּתּים: in which they do not dwell; but ל ישׁב does not signify: to dwell in a place, but: to settle down in a place; Schlottm. refers למו to the inhabitants: therein they dwell not themselves, i.e., where no one dwelt; but the אשׁר which would be required in this case as acc. localis could not be omitted. One might more readily, with Hahn, explain: those to whom they belong do not inhabit them; but it is linguistically impossible for למו to stand alone as the expression of this subject (the possessors). The most natural, and also an admissible explanation, is, that yshbw refers to the houses, and that למו, which can be used not only of persons, but also of things, is dat. ethicus. The meaning, however, is not: which are uninhabited, which would not be expressed as future, but rather by אין בהם יושׁב or similarly, but: which shall not inhabit, i.e., shall not be inhabited to them (ישׁב to dwell = to have inhabitants, as Isa 13:10; Jer 50:13, Jer 50:39, and freq.), or, as we should express it, which ought to remain uninhabited.
Job 15:29 begins the conclusion: (because he has acted thus) he shall not be rich (with a personal subject as Hos 12:9, and יעשּׁר to be written with a sharpened שׁ, like יעצר above, Job 12:15), and his substance shall not endure (קוּם, to take place, Isa 7:7; to endure, 1Sa 13:14; and hold fast, Job 41:18), and מנלם shall not incline itself to the earth. The interpretation of the older expositors, non extendet se in terra, is impossible - that must be בּארץ eb tsum taht - elbi ינּטה; whereas Kal is commonly used in the intransitive sense to bow down, bend one's self or incline (Ges. §53, 2). But what is the meaning of the subject מנלם? We may put out of consideration those interpretations that condemn themselves: לם מן, ex iis (Targ.), or לם מן, quod iis, what belongs to them (Saad.), or מלּם, their word (Syr. and Gecatilia), and such substitutions as σκιάν (צלם or צללם) of the lxx, and radicem of Jerome (which seems only to be a guess). Certainly that which throws most light on the signification of the word is כּנּלתך (for כּהנלתך with Dag. dirimens, as Job 17:2), which occurs in Isa 33:1. The oldest Jewish lexicographers take this הנלה (parall. התם .ll) as a synonym of כּלּה in the signification, to bring to an end; on the other hand, Ges., Knobel, and others, consider כּכלּתך to be the original reading, because the meaning perficere is not furnished for נלה from the Arab. nâl, and because נל, standing thus together, is in Arabic an incompatible root combination (Olsh. §9, 4). This union of consonants certainly does not occur in any Semitic root, but the Arab. nâla (the long a of which can in the inflection become a short changeable bowel) furnishes sufficient protection for this one exception; and the meaning consequi, which belongs to the Arab. nâla, fut. janı̂lu, is perfectly suited to Isa 33:1 : if thou hast fully attained (Hiph. as intensive of the transitive Kal, like הזעיק, הקנה) to plundering. If, however, the verb נלה is established, there is no need for any conjecture in the passage before us, especially since the improvement nearest at hand, מכלם (Hupf. מגּלה), produces a sentence (non figet in terra caulam) which could not be flatter and tamer; whereas the thought that is gained by Olshausen's more sensible conjecture, מגּלם (their sickle does not sink to the earth, is not pressed down by the richness of the produce of the field), goes to the other extreme.[119]
Juda b. Karisch (Kureisch) has explained the word correctly by Arab. mnâlhm: that which they have offered (from nâla,janûlu) or attained (nâla, janı̂lu), i.e., their possession[120] (not: their perfection, as it is chiefly explained by the Jewish expositors, according to נלה = כלה). When the poet says, “their prosperity inclines not to the ground,” he denies to it the likeness to a field of corn, which from the weight of the ears bows itself towards the ground, or to a tree, whose richly laden branches bend to the ground. We may be satisfied with this explanation (Hirz., Ew., Stickel, and most others): מנלם from מנלה (with which Kimchi compares מכרם, Num 20:19, which however is derived not from מכרה, but from מכר), similar in meaning to the post-biblical ממון, μαμωνᾶς; the suff., according to the same change of number as in Job 15:35; Job 20:23, and freq., refers to רשׁעים.
In Job 15:30, also, a figure taken from a plant is interwoven with what is said of the person of the ungodly: the flame withers up his tender branch without its bearing fruit, and he himself does not escape darkness, but rather perishes by the breath of His mouth, i.e., God's mouth (Job 4:9, not of his own, after Isa 33:11). The repetition of יסוּר (“he escapes not,” as Pro 13:14; “he must yield to,” as 1Ki 15:14, and freq.) is an impressive play upon words.

Verses 31-35 Edit

Job 15:31-35 31 Let him not trust in evil-he is deceived,
For evil shall be his possession. 32 His day is not yet, then it is accomplished,
And his palm-branch loseth its freshness. 33 He teareth off as a vine his young grapes,
And He casteth down as an olive-tree his flower. 34 The company of the hypocrite is rigid,
And fire consumeth the tents of bribery. 35 They conceive sorrow and bring forth iniquity,
And their inward part worketh self-deceit. אל does not merely introduce a declaration respecting the future (Luther: he will not continue, which moreover must have been expressed by the Niph.), but is admonitory: may he only not trust in vanity (Munach here instead of Dechî, according to the rule of transformation, Psalter, ii. 504, §4) - he falls, so far as he does it, into error, or brings himself into error (נתעה, 3 praet., not part., and Niph. like Isa 19:14, where it signifies to be thrust backwards and forwards, or to reel about helplessly), - a thought one might expect after the admonition (Olsh. conjectures נתעב, one who is detestable): this trusting in evil is self-delusion, for evil becomes his exchange (תּמוּרה not compensatio, but permutatio, acquisitio). We have translated שׁוא by “evil” (Unheil), by which we have sought elsewhere to render און, in order that we might preserve the same word in both members of the verse. In Job 15:31, שׁוא (in form = שׁוא from שׁוא, in the Chethib שוּ, the Aleph being cast away, like the Arabic sû’, wickedness, form the v. cavum hamzatum sâ-'a = sawu'a) is waste and empty in mind, in Job 15:31 (comp. Hos 12:12) waste and empty in fortune; or, to go further from the primary root, in the former case apparent goodness, in the latter apparent prosperity - delusion, and being undeceived “evil” in the sense of wickedness, and of calamity. תּמּלא, which follows, refers to the exchange, or neutrally to the evil that is exchanged: the one or the other fulfils itself, i.e., either: is realized (passive of מלּא, 1Ki 8:15), or: becomes complete, which means the measure of the punishment of his immorality becomes full, before his natural day, i.e., the day of death, is come (comp. for expression, Job 22:16; Ecc 7:17). The translation: then it is over with him (Ges., Schlottm., and others), is contrary to the usage of the language; and that given by the Jewish expositors, תּמּלא = תּמּלל (abscinditur or conteritur), is a needlessly bold suggestion. - Job 15:32. It is to be observed that רעננה is Milel, and consequently 3 praet., not as in Sol 1:16 Milra, and consequently adj. כּפּה is not the branches generally (Luzzatto, with Raschi: branchage), but, as the proverbial expression for the high and low, Isa 9:13; Isa 19:15 (vid., Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Gramm. S. 209), shows, the palm-branch bent downwards (comp. Targ. Est 1:5, where כּפּין signifies seats and walks covered with foliage). “His palm-branch does not become green, or does not remain green” (which Symm. well renders: οὐκ εὐθαλήσει), means that as he himself, the palm-trunk, so also his family, withers away. In Job 15:33 it is represented as בּסר (= בּסר), wild grapes, or even unripe grapes of a vine, and as נצּה, flowers of an olive.[121]
In Job 15:32 the godless man himself might be the subject: he casts down, like an olive-tree, his flowers, but in Job 15:32 this is inadmissible; if we interpret: ”he shakes off (Targ. יתּר, excutiet), like a vine-stock, his young grapes,” this (apart from the far-fetched meaning in יחמס) is a figure that is untrue to nature, since the grapes sit firmer the more unripe they are; and if one takes the first meaning of חמס, “he acts unjustly, as a vine, to his omphax” (e.g., Hupf.), whether it means that he does not let it ripen, or that he does not share with it any of the sweet sap, one has not only an indistinct figure, but also (since what God ordains for the godless is described as in operation) an awkward comparison. The subject of both verbs is therefore other than the vine and olive themselves. But why only an impersonal “one”? In Job 15:30 רוח פיו was referred to God, who is not expressly mentioned. God is also the subject here, and יחמס, which signifies to act with violence to one's self, is modified here to the sense of tearing away, as Lam 2:6 (which Aben-Ezra has compared), of tearing out; כגפן, כזית, prop. as a vine-stock, as an olive-tree, is equivalent to even as such an one.
Job 15:34 declares the lot of the family of the ungodly, which has been thus figuratively described, without figure: the congregation (i.e., here: family-circle) of the ungodly (חנף according to its etymon inclinans, propensus ad malum, vid., on Job 13:16) is (as it is expressed from the standpoint of the judgment that is executed) גּלמוּד, a hard, lifeless, stony mass (in the substantival sense of the Arabic galmûd instead of the adject. גלמודה, Isa 49:21), i.e., stark dead (lxx θάνατος; Aq., Symm., Theod., ἄκαρπος), and fire has devoured the tents of bribery (after Ralbag: those built by bribery; or even after the lxx: οἴκους δωροδεκτῶν). The ejaculatory conclusion, Job 15:35, gives the briefest expression to that which has been already described. The figurative language, Job 15:35, is like Psa 7:15; Isa 59:4 (comp. supra, p. 257); in the latter passage similar vividly descriptive infinitives are found (Ges. §131, 4, b). They hatch the burdens or sorrow of others, and what comes from it is evil for themselves. What therefore their בּטן, i.e., their inward part, with the intermingled feelings, thoughts, and strugglings (Olympiodorus: κοιλίαν ὅλον τὸ ἐντὸς χωρίον φησὶ καὶ αὐτὴν τῆν ψυχήν), prepares or accomplishes (יכין similar to Job 27:17; Job 38:41), that on which it works, is מרמה, deceit, with which they deceive others, and before all, themselves (New Test. ἀπάτη).
With the speech of Eliphaz, the eldest among the friends, who gives a tone to their speeches, the controversy enters upon a second stage. In his last speech Job has turned from the friends and called upon them to be silent; he turned to God, and therein a sure confidence, but at the same time a challenging tone of irreverent defiance, is manifested. God does not enter into the controversy which Job desires; and the consequence is, that that flickering confidence is again extinguished, and the tone of defiance is changed into despair and complaint. Instead of listening to the voice of God, Job is obliged to content himself again with that of the friends, for they believe the continuance of the contest to be just as binding upon them as upon Job. They cannot consider themselves overcome, for their dogma has grown up in such inseparable connection with their idea of God, and therefore is so much raised above human contradiction, that nothing but a divine fact can break through it. And they are too closely connected with Job by their friendship to leave him to himself as a heretic; they regard Job as one who is self-deluded, and have really the good intention of converting their friend.
Eliphaz' speech, however, also shows that they become still more and more incapable of producing a salutary impression on Job. For, on the one hand, in this second stage of the controversy also they turn about everywhere only in the circle of their old syllogism: suffering is the punishment of sin, Job suffers, therefore he is a sinner who has to make atonement for his sin; on the other hand, instead of being disconcerted by an unconditioned acceptation of this maxim, they are strengthened in it. For while at the beginning the conclusio was urged upon them only by premises raised above any proof, so that they take for granted sins of Job which were not otherwise known to them; now, as they think, Job has himself furnished them with proof that he is a sinner who has merited such severe suffering. For whoever can speak so thoughtlessly and passionately, so vexatiously and irreverently, as Job has done, is, in their opinion, his own accuser and judge. It remains unperceived by them that Job's mind has lost its balance by reason of the fierceness of his temptation, and that in it nature and grace have fallen into a wild, confused conflict. In those speeches they see the true state of Job's spirit revealed. What, before his affliction, was the determining principle of his inner life, seems to them now to be brought to light in the words of the sufferer. Job is a godless one; and if he does affirm his innocence so solemnly and strongly, and challenges the decision of God, this assurance is only hypocritical, and put on against his better knowledge and conscience, in order to disconcert his accusers, and to evade their admonitions to repentance. It is לשׁון ערומים, a mere stratagem, like that of one who is guilty, who thinks he can overthrow the accusations brought against him by assuming the bold bearing of the accuser. Seb. Schmid counts up quinque vitia, with which Eliphaz in the introduction to his speech (Job 15:1-13) reproaches Job: vexatious impious words, a crafty perversion of the matter, blind assumption of wisdom, contempt of the divine word, and defiance against God. Of these reproaches the first and last are well-grounded; Job does really sin in his language and attitude towards God. With respect to the reproach of assumed wisdom, Eliphaz pays Job in the same coin; and when he reproaches Job with despising the divine consolations and gentle admonitions they have addressed to him, we must not blame the friends, since their intention is good. If, however, Eliphaz reproaches Job with calculating craftiness, and thus regards his affirmation of his innocence as a mere artifice, the charge cannot be more unjust, and must certainly produce the extremest alienation between them. It is indeed hard that Eliphaz regards the testimony of Job's conscience as self-delusion; he goes still further, and pronounces it a fine-spun lie, and denies not only its objective but also its subjective truth. Thus the breach between Job and the friends widens, the entanglement of the controversy becomes more complicated, and the poet allows the solution of the enigma to ripen, by its becoming increasingly enigmatical and entangled.
In this second round of the friends' speeches we meet with no new thoughts whatever; only “in the second circle of the dispute everything is more fiery than in the first” (Oetinger): the only new thing is the harsher and more decided tone of their maintenance of the doctrine of punishment, with which they confront Job. They cannot go beyond the narrow limits of their dogma of retribution, and confine themselves now to even the half of that narrowness; for since Job contemns the consolations of God with which they have hitherto closed their speeches, they now exclusively bring forward the terrible and gloomy phase of their dogma in opposition to him. After Eliphaz has again given prominence to the universal sinfulness of mankind, which Job does not at all deny, he sketches from his own experience and the tradition of his ancestors, which demands respect by reason of their freedom from all foreign influence, with brilliant lines, a picture of the evil-doer, who, being tortured by the horrors of an evil conscience, is overwhelmed by the wrath of God in the midst of his prosperity; and his possessions, children, and whole household are involved in his ruin. The picture is so drawn, that in it, as in a mirror, Job shall behold himself and his fate, both what he has already endured and what yet awaits him. מרמה is the final word of the admonitory conclusion of his speech: Job is to know that that which satisfies his inward nature is a fearful lie.
But what Job affirms of himself as the righteous one, is not מרמה. He knows that he is טמא מטמא (Job 14:4), but he also knows that he is as צדיק תמים (Job 12:4). He is conscious of the righteousness of his endeavour, which rests on the groundwork of a mind turned to the God of salvation, therefore a believing mind, - a righteousness which is also accepted of God. The friends know nothing whatever of this righteousness which is available before God. Fateor quidem, says Calvin in his Institutiones, iii. 12, in libro Iob mentionem fieri justitiae, quae excelsior est observatione legis; et hanc distinctionem tenere operae pretium est, quia etiamsi quis legi satisfaceret, ne sic quidem staret ad examen illius justitiae, quae sensus omnes exsuperat. Mercier rightly observes: Eliphas perstringit hominis naturam, quae tamen per fidem pura redditur. In man Eliphaz sees only the life of nature and not the life of grace, which, because it is the word of God, makes man irreproachable before God. He sees in Job only the rough shell, and not the kernel; only the hard shell, and not the pearl. We know, however, from the prologue, that Jehovah acknowledged Job as His servant when he decreed suffering for him; and this sufferer, whom the friends regard as one smitten of God, is and remains, as this truly evangelical book will show to us, the servant of Jehovah.

Chap. 16 Edit

Verses 1-5 Edit

Job 16:1-5 1 Then began Job, and said: 2 I have now heard such things in abundance,
Troublesome comforters are ye all! 3 Are windy words now at an end,
Or what goadeth thee that thou answerest? 4 I also would speak like you,
If only your soul were in my soul's stead.
I would weave words against you,
And shake my head at you; 5 I would encourage you with my mouth,
And the solace of my lips should soothe you.
The speech of Eliphaz, as of the other two, is meant to be comforting. It is, however, primarily an accusation; it wounds instead of soothing. Of this kind of speech, says Job, one has now heard רבּות, much, i.e., (in a pregnant sense) amply sufficient, although the word might signify elliptically (Psa 106:43; comp. Neh 9:28) many times (Jer. frequenter); multa (as Job 23:14) is, however, equally suitable, and therefore is to be preferred as the more natural. Job 16:2 shows how כּאלּה is intended; they are altogether עמל מנחמי, consolatores onerosi (Jer.), such as, instead of alleviating, only cause עמל, molestiam (comp. on Job 13:4). In Job 16:3 Job returns their reproach of being windy, i.e., one without any purpose and substance, which they brought against him, Job 15:2.: have windy words an end, or (לו vel = אם in a disjunctive question, Ges. §155, 2, b) if not, what goads thee on to reply? מרץ has been already discussed on Job 6:25. The Targ. takes it in the sense of מלץ: what makes it sweet to thee, etc.; the Jewish interpreters give it, without any proof, the signification, to be strong; the lxx transl. παρενοχλήσει, which is not transparent. Hirz., Ew., Schlottm., and others, call in the help of the Arabic marida (Aramaic מרע), to be sick, the IV. form of which signifies “to make sick,” not “to injure.”[122]
We keep to the primary meaning, to pierce, penetrate; Hiph. to goad, bring out, lacessere: what incites thee, that (כי as Job 6:11, quod not quum) thou repliest again? The collective thought of what follows is not that he also, if they were in his place, could do as they have done; that he, however, would not so act (thus e.g., Blumenfeld: with reasons for comfort I would overwhelm you, and sympathizingly shake my head over you, etc.). This rendering is destroyed by the shaking of the head, which is never a gesture of pure compassion, but always of malignant joy, Sir. 12:18; or of mockery at another's fall, Isa 37:22; and misfortune, Psa 22:8; Jer 18:16; Mat 27:39. Hence Merc. considers the antithesis to begin with Job 16:5, where, however, there is nothing to indicate it: minime id facerem, quin potius vos confirmarem ore meo - rather: that he also could display the same miserable consolation; he represents to them a change of their respective positions, in order that, as in a mirror, they may recognise the hatefulness of their conduct. The negative antecedent clause si essem (with לוּ, according to Ges. §155, 2, f) is surrounded by cohortatives, which (since the interrogative form of interpretation is inadmissible) signify not only loquerer, but loqui possem, or rather loqui vellem (comp. e.g., Psa 51:18, dare vellem). When he says: I would range together, etc. (Carey: I would combine), he gives them to understand that their speeches are more artificial than natural, more declamations than the outgushings of the heart; instead of מלּים, it is בּמלּים, since the object of the action is thought is as the means, as in Job 16:4 ראשׁי במּו, capite meo (for caput meum, Psa 22:8), and בּפיהם, Job 16:10, for פּיּהם, comp. Jer 18:16; Lam 1:17, Ges. §138† ; Ew. takes חהביר by comparison of the Arabic chbr, to know (the IV. form of which, achbara, however, signifies to cause to know, announce), in a sense that belongs neither to the Heb. nor to the Arab.: to affect wisdom. In Job 16:5 the chief stress is upon “with my mouth,” without the heart being there, so also on the word “my lips,” solace (ניד ἅπ. λεγ., recalling Isa 57:19, ניב שׂפתים, offspring or fruit of the lips) of my lips, i.e., dwelling only on the lips, and not coming from the heart. In אאמּצכם (Piel, not Hiph.) the Ssere is shortened to Chirek (Ges. §60, rem. 4). According to Job 16:6, כאבכם is to be supplied to יחשׂך. He also could offer such superficial condolence without the sympathy which places itself in the condition and mood of the sufferer, and desires to afford that relief which it cannot. And yet how urgently did he need right and effectual consolation! He is not able to console himself, as the next strophe says: neither by words nor by silence is his pain assuaged.

Verses 6-9 Edit

Job 16:6-9 6 If I speak, my pain is not soothed;
And if I forbear, what alleviation do I experience? 7 Nevertheless now hath He exhausted me;
Thou hast desolated all my household, 8 And Thou filledst me with wrinkles - for a witness was it,
And my leanness rose up against me
Complaining to my face. 9 His wrath tore me, and made war upon me;
He hath gnashed upon me with His teeth,
As mine enemy He sharpeneth His eyes against me. אם stands with the cohortative in the hypothetical antecedent clause Job 16:6, and in 6b the cohortative stands alone as Job 11:17; Psa 73:16; Psa 139:8, which is more usual, and more in accordance with the meaning which the cohortative has in itself, Nägelsbach, §89, 3. The interrogative, What goes from me? is equivalent to, what (= nothing) of pain forsakes me. The subject of the assertion which follows (Job 16:7) is not the pain - Aben-Ezra thinks even that this is addressed in v. 7b - still less Eliphaz, whom some think, particularly on account of the sharp expressions which follow, must be understood, but God, whose wrath Job regards as the cause of his suffering, and feels as the most intolerable part of it. A strained connection is obtained by taking אך either in an affirmative sense (Ew.: surely), as Job 18:21, or in a restrictive sense: only (= entirely) He has now exhausted me (Hirz., Hahn, also Schlottm.: only I feel myself oppressed, at least to express this), by which interpretation the עתּה, which stands between אך and the verb, is in the way. We render it therefore in the adversative signification: nevertheless (verum tamen) now he seeks neither by speaking to alleviate his pain, nor by silence to control himself; God has placed him in a condition in which all his strength is exhausted. He is absolutely incapable of offering any resistance to his pain, and care has also been taken that no solacing word shall come to him from any quarter: Thou hast made all my society desolate (Carey: all my clan); עדה of the household, as in Job 15:34. Jerome: in nihilum redacti sunt omnes artus mei (כל אברי, as explained by the Jewish expositors, e.g., Ralbag), as though the human organism could be called עדה. Hahn: Thou hast destroyed all my testimony, which must have been אדתי (from עוּד, whereas עדה, from ועד, has a changeable Ssere). He means to say that he stands entirely alone, and neither sees nor hears anything consolatory, for he does not count his wife. He is therefore completely shut up to himself; God has shrivelled him up; and this suffering form to which God has reduced him, is become an evidence, i.e., for himself and for others, as the three friends, an accusation de facto, which puts him down as a sinner, although his self-consciousness testifies the opposite to him.

Verse 8 Edit

The verb קמט (Aram. קמט), which occurs only once beside (Job 22:16), has, like Arab. qmṭ (in Gecatilia's transl.), the primary meaning of binding and grasping firmly (lxx ἐπελάβου, Symm. κατέδησας, Targ. for לכד, תּמך, lengthened to a quadriliteral in Arab. qmṭr, cogn. קמץ),[123]constringere, from which the significations comprehendere and corrugare have branched off; the signification, to wrinkle (make wrinkled), to shrivel up, is the most common, and the reference which follows, to his emaciation, and the lines which occur further on from the picture of one sick with elephantiasis, show that the poet here has this in his mind. Ewald's conjecture, which changes היה into היּה, Job 6:2; Job 30:13 = הוּה, as subject to ותקמטני (calamity seizes me as a witness), deprives the thought contained in לעד, which renders the inferential clause לעד היה prominent, of much of its force and emphasis. In Job 16:8 this thought is continued: כּחשׁ signifies here, according to Psa 109:24 (which see), a wasting away; the verb-group כחשׁ, כחד, Arab. jḥd,kḥt, qḥṭ, etc., has the primary meaning of taking away and decrease: he becomes thin from whom the fat begins to fail; to disown is equivalent to holding back recognition and admission; the metaphor, water that deceives = dries up, is similar. His wasted, emaciated appearance, since God has thus shrivelled him up, came forth against him, told him to his face, i.e., accused him not merely behind his back, but boldly and directly, as a convicted criminal. God has changed himself in relation to him into an enraged enemy. Schlottm. wrongly translates: one tears and tortures me fiercely; Raschi erroneously understands Satan by צרי. In general, it is the wrath of God whence Job thinks his suffering proceeds. It was the wrath of God which tore him so (like Hos 6:1, comp. Amo 1:11), and pursued him hostilely (as he says with the same word in Job 30:21); God has gnashed against him with His teeth; God drew or sharpened (Aq., Symm., Theod., ὤξυνεν לטשׁ like Psa 7:13). His eyes or looks like swords (Targ. as a sharp knife, אזמל, σμίλη) for him, i.e., to pierce him through. Observe the aorr. interchanging with perff. and imperff. He describes the final calamity which has made him such a piteous form with the mark of the criminal. His present suffering is only the continuation of the decree of wrath which is gone forth concerning him.

Verses 10-11 Edit

Job 16:10-11 10 They have gaped against me with their mouth,
In contempt they smite my cheeks;
They conspire together against me. 11 God left me to the mercy of the ungodly,
And cast me into the hands of the evil-doer.
He does not mean the friends by those who mock and vex him with their contemptuous words, but the men around him who envied his prosperity and now rejoice at his misfortune; those to whom his uprightness was a burden, and who now consider themselves disencumbered of their liege lord, the over-righteous, censorious, godly man. The perfects here also have not a present signification; he depicts his suffering according to the change it has wrought since it came upon him. The verb פּער is used with the instrumental Beth instead of with the acc., as Job 29:23 (comp. on במלים, Job 16:4): they make an opening with their mouth (similar to Psa 22:8, they make an opening with the lips, for diducunt labia). Smiting on the cheeks is in itself an insult (Lam 3:30); the additional בּחרפּה will therefore refer to insulting words which accompany the act. The Hithpa. התמלּא, which occurs only here, signifies not only to gather together a מלא in general, Isa 31:4, but (after the Arab. tamâla'a ‛ala, to conspire against any one)[124] to complete one's self, to strengthen one's self (for a like hostile purpose): Reiske correctly: sibi invicem mutuam et auxiliatricem operam contra me simul omnes ferunt.[125]
The meaning of עויל is manifest from Job 21:11; from עוּל, to suckle, alere (Arab. ‛âl med. Wau, whence the inf. ‛aul, ‛uwûl, and ‛ijâle), it signifies boys, knaves; and it is as unnecessary to suppose two forms, עויל and עויל, as two meanings, puer and pravus, since the language and particularly the book of Job has coined עוּל for the latter signification: it signifies in all three passages (here and Job 19:18; Job 21:11) boys, or the boyish, childish, knavish. The Arabic warratta leaves no doubt as to the derivation and meaning of ירטני; it signifies to cast down to destruction (warttah, a precipice, ruin, danger), and so here the fut. Kal ירטני for יירטני (Ges. §69, rem. 3), praecipitem me dabat (lxx ἔῤῥιψε, Symm. ἐνέβαλε), as the praet. Kal, Num 22:32 : praeceps = exitiosa est via. The preformative Jod has Metheg in correct texts, so that we need not suppose, with Ralbag, a רטה, similar in meaning to ירט.

Verses 12-14 Edit

Job 16:12-14 12 I was at ease, but He hath broken me in pieces;
And He hath taken me by the neck and shaken me to pieces,
And set me up for a mark for himself. 13 His arrows whistled about me;
He pierced my reins without sparing;
He poured out my gall upon the ground. 14 He brake through me breach upon breach,
He ran upon me like a mighty warrior.
He was prosperous and contented, when all at once God began to be enraged against him; the intensive form פּרפּר (Arab. farfara) signifies to break up entirely, crush, crumble in pieces (Hithpo. to become fragile, Isa 24:19); the corresponding intensive form פּצפּץ (from פּצץ, Arab. fḍḍ, cogn. נפץ), to beat in pieces (Polel of a hammer, Jer 23:29), to dash to pieces: taking him by the neck, God raised him on high in order to dash him to the ground with all His might. מטּרה (from נטר, τηρεῖν, like σκοπός from σκέπτισθαι) is the target, as in the similar passage, Lam 3:12, distinct from מפגּע, Job 7:20, object of attack and point of attack: God has set me up for a target for himself, in order as it were to try what He and His arrows can do. Accordingly רבּיו (from רבב = רבה, רמה, jacere) signifies not: His archers (although this figure would be admissible after Job 10:17; Job 19:12, and the form after the analogy of רב, רע, etc., is naturally taken as a substantival adj.), but, especially since God appears directly as the actor: His arrows (= הצּיו, Job 6:4), from רב, formed after the analogy of בּז, מס, etc., according to which it is translated by lxx, Targ., Jer., while most of the Jewish expositors, referring to Jer 50:29 (where we need not, with Böttch., point רבים, and here רביו), interpret by מורי החצים. On all sides, whichever way he might turn himself, the arrows of God flew about him, mercilessly piercing his reins, so that his gall-bladder became empty (comp. Lam 2:11, and vid., Psychol. S. 268). It is difficult to conceive what is here said;[126] it is, moreover, not meant to be understood strictly according to the sense: the divine arrows, which are only an image for divinely decreed sufferings, pressed into his inward parts, and wounded the noblest organs of his nature. In Job 16:14 follows another figure. He was as a wall which was again and again broken through by the missiles or battering-rams of God, and against which He ran after the manner of besiegers when storming. פּרץ is the proper word for such breaches and holes in a wall generally; here it is connected as obj. with its own verb, according to Ges. §138, rem. 1. The second פרץ (פּרץ with Kametz) has Ssade minusculum, for some reason unknown to us.
The next strophe says what change took place in his own conduct in consequence of this incomprehensible wrathful disposition of God which had vented itself on him.

Verses 15-17 Edit

Job 16:15-17 15 I sewed sackcloth upon my skin,
And defiled my horn with dust. 16 My face is exceeding red with weeping,
And on mine eyelids is the shadow of death, 17 Although there is no wrong in my hand,
And my prayer is pure.
Coarse-haired cloth is the recognised clothing which the deeply sorrowful puts on, ἱμάτιον στενοχωρίας καὶ πένθους, as the Greek expositors remark. Job does not say of it that he put it on or slung it round him, but that he sewed it upon his naked body; and this is to be attributed to the hideous distortion of the body by elephantiasis, which will not admit of the use of the ordinary form of clothes. For the same reason he also uses, not עורי, but גּלדּי, which signifies either the scurfy scaly surface (as גּלד and הנליד in Talmudic of the scab of a healing wound, but also occurring e.g., of the bedaggled edge of clothes when it has become dry), or scornfully describes the skin as already almost dead; for the healthy skin is called עזר, גּלד, on the other hand, βύρσα (lxx), hide (esp. when removed from the body), Talm. e.g., sole-leather. We prefer the former interpretation (adopted by Raschi and others): The crust in which the terrible lepra has clothed his skin (vid., on Job 7:5; Job 30:18-19, Job 30:30) is intended. עללתּי in Job 16:15 is referred by Rosenm., Hirz., Ges., and others (as indeed by Saad. and Gecat., who transl. “I digged into”), to עלל (Arab. gll), to enter, penetrate: “I stuck my horn in the dust;” but this signification of the Hebrew עלל is unknown, it signifies rather to inflict pain, or scorn (e.g., Lam 3:51, mine eye causeth pain to my soul), generally with ל, here with the accusative: I have misused, i.e., injured or defiled (as the Jewish expositors explain), my horn with dust. This is not equivalent to my head (as in the Syr. version), but he calls everything that was hitherto his power and pride קרני (lxx, Targ.); all this he has together at the same time injured, i.e., represented as come to destruction, by covering his head with dust and ashes.

Verse 16 Edit

The construction of the Chethib is like 1Sa 4:15, of the Keri on the other hand like Lam 1:20; Lam 2:11 (where the same is said of מעי, viscera mea); חמרמר is a passive intensive form (Ges. §55, 3), not in the signification: they are completely kindled (lxx συγκέκανται, Jer. intumuit, from the חמר, Arab. chmr, which signifies to ferment), but: they are red all over (from חמר, Arab. ḥmr, whence the Alhambra, as a red building, takes its name), reddened, i.e., from weeping; and this has so weakened them, that the shadow of death (vid., on Job 10:21.) seems to rest upon his eyelids; they are therefore sad even to the deepest gloom. Thus exceedingly miserable is his state and appearance, although he is no disguised hypocrite, who might need to do penance in sackcloth and ashes, and shed tears of penitence without any solace. Hirz. explains על as a preposition: by the absence of evil in my hands; but Job 16:17 and Job 16:17 are substantival clauses, and על is therefore just, like Isa 53:9, a conjunction (= על־אשׁר). His hands are clean from wrong-doing, free from violence and oppression; his prayer is pure, pura; as Merc. observes, ex puritate cordis et fidei. From the feeling of the strong contrast between his piety and his being stigmatized as an evil-doer by such terrible suffering, - from this extreme contrast which has risen now to its highest in his consciousness of patient endurance of suffering, the lofty thoughts of the next strophe take their rise.

Verses 18-22 Edit

Job 16:18-22 18 Oh earth, cover thou not my blood,
And let my cry find no resting-place!! - 19 Even now behold in heaven is my Witness,
And One who acknowledgeth me is in the heights! 20 Though the mockers of me are my friends -
To Eloah mine eyes pour forth tears, 21 That He may decide for man against Eloah,
And for the son of man against his friend. 22 For the years that may be numbered are coming on,
And I shall go a way without return.
Blood that is not covered up cries for vengeance, Eze 24:7.; so also blood still unavenged is laid bare that it may find vengeance, Isa 26:21. According to this idea, in the lofty consciousness of his innocence, Job calls upon the earth not to suck in his blood as of one innocently slain, but to let it lie bare, thereby showing that it must be first of all avenged ere the earth can take it up;[127] and for his cry, i.e., the cry (זעקתי to be explained according to Gen 4:10) proceeding from his blood as from his poured-out soul, he desires that it may urge its way unhindered and unstilled towards heaven without finding a place of rest (Symm. στάσις). Therefore, in the very God who appears to him to be a blood-thirsty enemy in pursuit of him, Job nevertheless hopes to find a witness of his innocence: He will acknowledge his blood, like that of Abel, to be the blood of an innocent man. It is an inward irresistible demand made by his faith which here brings together two opposite principles - principles which the understanding cannot unite - with bewildering boldness. Job believes that God will even finally avenge the blood which His wrath has shed, as blood that has been innocently shed. This faith, which sends forth beyond death itself the word of absolute command contained in Job 16:18, in Job 16:19 brightens and becomes a certain confidence, which draws from the future into the present that acknowledgment which God afterwards makes of him as innocent. The thought of what is unmerited in that decree of wrath which delivers him over to death, is here forced into the background, and in the front stands only the thought of the exaltation of the God in heaven above human short-sightedness, and the thought that no one else but He is the final refuge of the oppressed: even now (i.e., this side of death)[128] behold in heaven is my witness (הנּה an expression of the actus directus fidei) and my confessor (שׂהר a poetic Aramaism, similar in meaning to עד, lxx ὁ συνίστωπ μου) in the heights. To whom should he flee from the mockery of his friends, who consider his appeal to the testimony of his conscience as the stratagem of a hypocrite! מליצי from הליץ, Psa 119:51, my mockers, i.e., those mocking me, lascivientes in me (vid., Gesch. der jüd. Poesie, S. 200. The short clause, Job 16:20, is, logically at least, like a disjunctive clause with כי or גם־כי, Ewald, §362, b: if his friends mock him - to Eloah, who is after all the best of friends, his eyes pour forth tears (דּלפה, stillat, comp. דּלּוּ of languishing, Isa 38:14), that He may decide (ויוכח voluntative in a final signification, as Job 9:33) for man (ל here, as Isa 11:4; Isa 2:4, of the client) against (עם, as Psa 55:19; Psa 94:16, of an opponent) Eloah, and for the son of man (ל to be supplied here in a similar sense to Job 16:21, comp. Job 15:3) in relation to (ל as it is used in ל ... בּין, e.g., Eze 34:22) his friend. Job longs and hopes for two things from God: (1) that He would finally decide in favour of גבר, i.e., just himself, the patient sufferer, in opposition to God, that therefore God would acknowledge that Job is not a criminal, nor his suffering a merited punishment; (2) that He would decide in favour of בן־אדם, i.e., himself, who is become an Ecce homo, in relation to his human opponent (רעהוּ, not collective, but individualizing or distributive instead of רעיו), who regards him as a sinner undergoing punishment, and preaches to him the penitence that becomes one who has fallen. ויוכח is purposely only used once, and the expression Job 16:21 is contracted in comparison with 21a: the one decision includes the other; for when God himself destroys the idea of his lot being merited punishment, He also at the same time delivers judgment against the friends who have zealously defended Him against Job as a just judge.
Olsh. approves Ewald's translation: “That He allows man to be in the right rather than God, and that He judges man against his friend:” but granted even that הוכיח, like שׁפט followed by an acc., may be used in the signification: to grant any one to be in the right (although, with such a construction, it everywhere signifies ἐλέγχειν), this rendering would still not commend itself, on account of the specific gravity of the hope which is here struggling through the darkness of conflict. Job appeals from God to God; he hopes that truth and love will finally decide against wrath. The meaning of הוכיח has reference to the duty of an arbitrator, as in Job 9:33. Schlottm. aptly recalls the saying of the philosophers, which applies here in a different sense from that in which it is meant, nemo contra Deum, nisi Deus ipse. In Job 16:22 Job now establishes the fact that the heavenly witness will not allow him to die a death that he and others would regard as the death of a sinner, from the brevity of the term of life yet granted him, and the hopelessness of man when he is once dead. מספּר שׁנות are years of number = few years (lxx ἔτη ἀριθμητά); comp. the position of the words as they are to be differently understood, Job 15:20. On the inflexion jeethâju, vid., on Job 12:6. Jerome transl. transeunt, but אתה cannot signify this in any Semitic dialect. But even that Job (though certainly the course of elephantiasis can continue for years) is intended to refer to the prospect of some, although few, years of life (Hirz. and others: the few years which I can still look forward to, are drawing on), does not altogether suit the tragic picture. The approach of the years that can be numbered is rather thought of as the approach of their end; and the few years are not those which still remain, but in general the but short span of life allotted to him (Hahn). The arrangement of the words in Job 16:22 also agrees with this, as not having the form of a conclusion (then shall I go, etc.), but that of an independent co-ordinate clause: and a path, there (whence) I come not back (an attributive relative clause according to Ges. §123, 3, b) I shall go (אהלך poetic, and in order to gain a rhythmical fall at the close, for אלך). Now follow, in the next strophe, short ejaculatory clauses: as Oetinger observes, Job chants his own requiem while living.

Chap. 17 Edit

Verses 1-2 Edit

Job 17:1-2 1 My breath is corrupt,
My days are extinct,
The graves are ready for me. 2 Truly mockery surrounds me,
And mine eye shall loiter over their disputings.
Hirz., Hlgst., and others, wrongly consider the division of the chapter here to be incorrect. The thought in Job 16:22 is really a concluding thought, like Job 10:20., Job 7:21. Then in Job 17:1 another strain is taken up; and as Job 16:22 is related, as a confirmation, to the request expressed in Job 16:19-21, so Job 17:1, Job 17:2 are related to that expressed in Job 17:3. The connection with the conclusion of Job 16 is none the less close: the thoughts move on somewhat crosswise (chiastisch). We do not translate with Ewald: “My spirit is destroyed,” because חבּל (here and Isa 10:27) signifies not, to be destroyed, but, to be corrupted, disturbed, troubled; not the spirit (after Arab. chbl, usually of disturbance of spirit), but the breath is generally meant, which is become short (Job 7:15) and offensive (Job 19:17), announcing suffocation and decay as no longer far distant. In Job 17:1 the ἅπ. γεγρ. נזעכוׁ is equivalent to נדעכו, found elsewhere. In Job 17:1 קברים is used as if the dead were called, Arab. ssâchib el-kubûr, grave-companions. He is indeed one who is dying, from whom the grave is but a step distant, and still the friends promise him long life if he will only repent! This is the mockery which is with him, i.e., surrounds him, as he affirms, Job 17:1. A secondary verb, התל, is formed from the Hiph. התל (of which we had the non-syncopated form of the fut. in Job 13:9), the Piel of which occurs in 1Ki 18:27 of Elijah's derision of the priests of Baal, and from this is formed the pluralet. התלים (or, according to another reading, התלּים, with the same doubling of the ל as in מהתלּות, deceitful things, Isa 30:10; comp. the same thing in Job 33:7, אראלּם, their lions of God = heroes), which has the meaning foolery, - a meaning questioned by Hirz. without right, - in which the idea of deceit and mockery are united. Gecatilia and Ralbag take it as a part.: mockers; Stick., Wolfson, Hahn: deluded; but the analogy of שׁעשׁעים, תעלולים, and the like, speaks in favour of taking it as a substantive. אם־לא is affirmative (Ges. §155, 2, f). Ewald renders it as expressive of desire: if only not (Hlgst.: dummodo ne); but this signification (Ew. §329, b) cannot be supported. On the other hand, it might be intended interrogatively (as Job 30:25): annon illusiones mecum (Rosenm.); but this אם־לא, corresponding to the second member of a disjunctive question, has no right connection in the preceding. We therefore prefer the affirmative meaning, and explain it like Job 22:20; Job 31:36, comp. Job 2:5. Truly what he continually hears, i.e., from the side of the friends, is only false and delusive utterances, which consequently sound to him like jesting and mockery. The suff. in Job 17:2 refers to them. המּרות (with Dag. dirimens, which renders the sound of the word more pathetic, as Job 9:18; Joe 1:17, and in the Hiph. form כנּלתך, Isa 33:1), elsewhere generally (Jos 1:18 only excepted) of rebellion against God, denotes here the contradictory, quarrelsome bearing of the friends, not the dispute in itself (comp. Arab. mry, III. to attack, VI. to contend with another), but coming forward controversially; only to this is תּלן עיני suitable. הלין must not be taken as = הלּין here; Ewald's translation, “only let not mine eye come against their irritation,” forces upon this verb, which always signifies to murmur, γογγύζειν, a meaning foreign to it, and one that does not well suit it here. The voluntative form תּלן = תּלן (here not the pausal form, as Jdg 19:20, comp. 2Sa 17:16) quite accords with the sense: mine eye shall linger on their janglings; it shall not look on anything that is cheering, but be held fast by this cheerless spectacle, which increases his bodily suffering and his inward pain. From these comforters, who are become his adversaries, Job turns in supplication to God.

Verses 3-5 Edit

Job 17:3-5 3 Lay down now, be bondsman for me with Thyself;
Who else should furnish surety to me?! 4 For Thou hast closed their heart from understanding,
Therefore wilt Thou not give authority to them. 5 He who giveth his friends for spoil,
The eyes of his children shall languish.
It is unnecessary, with Reiske and Olsh., to read ערבני (pone quaeso arrhabonem meum = pro me) in order that שׂימה may not stand without an object; שׂימה has this meaning included in it, and the ארבני which follows shows that neither לבך (Ralbag) nor ידך (Carey) is to be supplied; accordingly שׂים here, like Arab. wḍ‛ (wâḍ‛), and in the classics both τιθέναι and ponere, signifies alone the laying down of a pledge. Treated by the friends as a criminal justly undergoing punishment, he seeks his refuge in God, who has set the mark of a horrible disease upon him contrary to his desert, as though he were guilty, and implores Him to confirm the reality of his innocence in some way or other by laying down a pledge for him (ὑποθήκη). The further prayer is ערבני, as word of entreaty which occurs also in Hezekiah's psalm, Isa 38:14, and Psa 119:122; ערב seq. acc. signifies, as noted on the latter passage, to furnish surety for any one, and gen. to take the place of a mediator (comp. also on Heb 7:22, where ἔγγυος is a synon. of μεσίτης). Here, however, the significant עמּך is added: furnish security for me with Thyself; elsewhere the form is ל ערב, to furnish security for (Pro 6:1), or לפני before, any one, here with עם of the person by whom the security is to be accepted. The thought already expressed in Job 16:21 receives a still stronger expression here: God is conceived of as two persons, on the one side as a judge who treats Job as one deserving of punishment, on the other side as a bondsman who pledges himself for the innocence of the sufferer before the judge, and stands as it were as surety against the future. In the question, Job 17:3, the representation is again somewhat changed: Job appears here as the one to whom surety is given. נתקע, described by expositors as reciprocal, is rather reflexive: to give one's hand (the only instance of the med. form of כּף תּקע) = to give surety by striking hands, dextera data sponsionem in se recipere (Hlgst.). And לידי is not to be explained after the analogy of the passive, as the usual ל of the agents: who would allow himself to be struck by my hand, i.e., who would accept the surety from me (Wolfson), which is unnatural both in representation and expression; but it is, according to Pro 6:1 (vid., Bertheau), intended of the hand of him who receives the stroke of the hand of him who gives the pledge. This is therefore the meaning of the question: who else (הוּא מי), if not God himself, should strike (his hand) to my hand, i.e., should furnish to me a pledge (viz., of my innocence) by joining hands? There is none but God alone who can intercede for him, as a guarantee of his innocence before himself and others. This negative answer: None but Thou alone, is established in Job 17:4. God has closed the heart of the friends against understanding, prop. concealed, i.e., He has fixed a curtain, a wall of partition, between their hearts and the right understanding of the matter; He has smitten them with blindness, therefore He will not (since they are suffering from a want of perception which He has ordained, and which is consequently known to Him) allow them to be exalted, i.e., to conquer and triumph. “The exaltation of the friends,” observes Hirzel rightly, “would be, that God should openly justify their assertion of Job's guilt.” Löwenthal translates: therefore art thou not honoured; but it is not pointed תּרמם = תּתרמם, but תּרמם, whether it be that אתם is to be supplied, or that it is equivalent to תּרממם (Ew. §62, a, who, however, prefers to take is as n. Hithpa. like תּקמם in the unimproved signification: improvement, since he maintains this affords no right idea), according to the analogy of similar verb-forms (Job 31:15; Isa 64:6), by a resolving of the two similar consonants which occur together.
The hope thus expressed Job establishes (Job 17:5) by a principle from general experience, that he who offers his friends as spoil for distribution will be punished most severely for the same upon his children: he shall not escape the divine retribution which visits him, upon his own children, for the wrong done to his friends. Almost all modern expositors are agreed in this rendering of לחלק as regards Job 17:5; but חלק must not be translated “lot” (Ewald), which it never means; it signifies a share of spoil, as e.g., Num 31:36 (Jerome praedam), or even with a verbal force: plundering (from חלק, 2Ch 28:21), or even in antithesis to entering into bond for a friend with all that one possesses (Stick., Schlottm.), a dividing (of one's property) = distraining, as a result of the surrender to the creditor, to which the verb הגּיד is appropriate, which would then denote denouncing before a court of justice, as Jer 20:10, not merely proclaiming openly, as Isa 3:9. We have translated “spoil,” which admits of all these modifications and excludes none; the general meaning is certainly: one deserts (instead of shielding as an intercessor) his friends and delivers them up; יגּיד with a general subj., as Job 4:2 (if any one attempts), Job 15:3; Job 27:23. With respect to the other half of the verse, Job 17:5, the optative rendering: may they languish (Vaih.), to the adoption of which the old expositors have been misled by parallels like Psa 109:9., is to be rejected; it is contrary to the character of Job (Job 31:30). We agree with Mercerus: Nequaquam hoc per imprecationem, sed ut consequentis justissimae poenae denunciationem ab Iobo dictum putamus. For v. 5b is also not to be taken as a circumstantial clause: even if the eyes of his children languish (Ew., Hlgst. Stick., Hahn, Schl.). It is not רעהוּ, but רעים; and before supposing here a Synallage num. so liable to be misunderstood, one must try to get over the difficulty without it, which is here easy enough. Hence Job is made, in the intended application of the general principle, to allude to his own children, and Ewald really considers him the father of infant children, which, however, as may be seen from the prologue, is nothing but an invention unsupported by the history. Since it is בניו and not בניהם, we refer the suff. to the subj. of יגיד. The Waw of ועיני Mich. calls Waw consecutivum; it, however, rather combines things that are inseparable (certainly as cause and effect, sin and punishment). And it is יגיד, not הגיד, because the perf. would describe the fact as past, while the fut. places us in the midst of this faithless conduct. Job says God cannot possibly allow these, his three friends, the upper hand. One proclaims his friends as spoil (comp. Job 6:27), and the eyes of his children languish (comp. Job 11:20), i.e., he who so faithlessly disowns the claims of affection, is punished for it on that which he holds most dear. But this uncharitableness which he experiences is also a visitation of God. In the next strophe he refers all that he meets with from man to Him as the final cause, but not without a presage of the purpose for which it is designed.

Verses 6-9 Edit

Job 17:6-9 6 And He hath made me a proverb to the world,
And I became as one in whose face they spit. 7 Then mine eye became dim with grief,
And all my members were like a shadow. 8 The upright were astonished at it,
And the innocent is stirred up over the godless; 9 Nevertheless the righteous holdeth fast on his way,
And he that hath clean hands waxeth stronger and stronger.
Without a question, the subj. of Job 17:6 is God. It is the same thing whether משׁל is taken as inf. followed by the subject in the nominative (Ges. §133, 2), or as a subst. (lxx θρύλλημα; Aq., Symm., Theod., παραβολήν), like שׂחוק, Job 12:4, followed by the gen. subjectivus. משׁל is the usual word for ridicule, expressed in parables of a satirical character, e.g., Joe 2:17 (according to which, if משׁל were intended as inf., משׁל־בּי עמּים might have been expected); עמּים signifies both nations and races, and tribes or people, i.e., members of this and that nation, or in gen. of mankind (Job 12:2). We have intentionally chosen an ambiguous expression in the translation, for what Job says can be meant of a wide range of people (comp. on Job 2:11 ad fin.), as well as of those in the immediate neighbourhood; the friends themselves represent different tribes; and a perishable gipsy-like troglodyte race, to whom Job is become a derision, is specially described further on (Job 24, 30).

Verse 6 Edit

By תּפת (translated by Jer. exemplum, and consequently mistaken for מופת) the older expositors are reminded of the name of the place where the sacrifices were offered to Moloch in the valley of the sons of Hinnom (whence גּיהנּם, γέεννα, hell), since they explain it by “the fire of hell,” but only from want of a right perception; the לפנים standing with it, which nowhere signifies palam, and cannot here (where אהיה, although in the signification ἐγενόμην, follows) signify a multo tempore, shows that תפת here is to be derived from תּוּף, to spit out (as נפת, gum, from נוּף). This verb certainly cannot be supported in Hebr. and Aram. (since רקק is the commoner word), except two passages in the Talmud (Nidda 42a, comp. Sabbath 99b, and Chethuboth 61b); but it is confirmed by the Aethiopic and Coptic and an onomatopoetic origin, as the words πτύειν, ψύειν, spuere, Germ. speien, etc., show.[129]
Cognate is the Arabic taffafa, to treat with contempt, and the interjection tuffan, fie upon thee,[130] e.g., in the proverb (quoted by Umbreit): ‛aini fihi watuffan ‛aleihi, my eye rests on it wishfully, and yet I feel disgust at it. Therefore לפנים (spitting upon the face) is equivalent to בפנים, Num 12:14; Deu 25:9 (to spit in the face). In consequence of this deep debasement of the object of scorn and spitting, the brightness and vision of his eye (sense of sight) are become dim (comp. Psa 6:8; Psa 31:10) מכּעשׂ (always written with שׂ, not ס, in the book of Job), from grief, and his frames, i.e., bodily frame = members (Jer. membra, Targ. incorrectly: features), are become like a shadow all of them, as fleshless and powerless as a shadow, which is only appearance without substance. His suffering, his miserable form (זאת), is of such a kind that the upright are astonished (שׁמם, to become desolate, silent), and the guiltless (like himself and other innocent sufferers) become excited (here with vexation as in Psa 37:1, as in Job 31:29 with joy) over the godless (who is none the less prosperous); but the righteous holds firm (without allowing himself to be disconcerted by this anomalous condition of things, though impenetrably mysterious) on his way (the way of good to which he has pledged himself), and the pure of hands (וּטהר־ as Pro 22:11, according to another mode of writing וּטהר־ with Chateph-Kametz under the ט and Gaja under the ו; comp. Isa 54:9, where the form of writing וּמגּער־ umiggoor is well authorized) increases (יוסיף, of inward increase, as Ecc 1:18) in strength (אמץ only here in the book of Job); i.e., far from allowing suffering to draw him from God to the side of the godless, he gathers strength thereby only still more perseveringly to pursue righteousness of life and purity of conduct, since suffering, especially in connection with such experiences as Job now has with the three friends, drives him to God and makes his communion with Him closer and firmer. These words of Job (if we may be allowed the figure) are like a rocket which shoots above the tragic darkness of the book, lighting it up suddenly, although only for a short time. The confession which breaks through in lyric form in Ps 73 here finds expression of a more brief, sententious kind. The point of Eliphaz' reproach (Job 15:4), that Job makes void the fear of God, and depreciates communion with God, is destroyed by this confession, and the assurance of Satan (Job 2:5) is confronted by a fact of experience, which, if it should also become manifest in the case of Job, puts to shame and makes void the hope of the evil spirit.

Verses 10-12 Edit

Job 17:10-12 10 But only come again all of you!
I shall not find a wise man among you. 11 My days are past, My purposes cut off,
The cherished thoughts of my heart, - 12 Ye explain night as day,
Light is near when darkness sets in.
The truly righteous man, even if in the midst of his affliction he should see destruction before him, does not however forsake God. But (nevertheless) ye - he exclaims to the friends, who promise him a long and prosperous life if he will only humble himself as a sinner who is receiving punishment - repeat again and again your hortatory words on penitence! a wise man who might be able to see into my real condition, I shall not find among you. He means that they deceive themselves concerning the actual state of the case before them; for in reality he is meeting death without being deceived, or allowing himself to be deceived, about the matter. His appeal is similar to Job 6:29. Carey translates correctly: Attack me again with another round of arguments, etc. Instead of ואוּלם, as it is written everywhere else (generally when the speech is drawing to a close), we find ואלּם (as the form of writing אלם, אלּם occurs also in the subst. אוּלם), perh. in order to harmonize with כּלּם, which is here according to rule instead of כּלּכם, which corresponds more to our form of a vocative clause, just as in 1Ki 22:28; Mic 1:2 (Ewald, §327, a).[131]
In וּבאוּ תּשׁוּבוּ the jussive and imper. (for the Chethib יבאי, which occurs in some Codd. and editions, is meaningless) are united, the former being occasioned by the arrangement of the words, which is unfavourable to the imper. (comp. Ew. §229); moreover, the first verb gives the adverbial notion iterum, denuo to the second, according to Ges. §142, 3, a.
What follows, Job 17:11, is the confirmation of the fact that there is no wise man among them who might be able to give him efficient solace by a right estimate of the magnitude and undeservedness of his suffering. His life is indeed run out; and the most cherished plans and hopes which he had hedged in and fostered for the future in his heart, he has utterly and long since given up. The plur. (occurring only here) of זמּה, which occurs also sensu malo, signifies projects, as מזמות, Job 21:27; Job 42:2, from זמם, to tie; Aben-Ezra refers to the Arab. zamâm (a thread, band, esp. a rein). These plans which are now become useless, these cherished thoughts, he calls מורשׁי, peculia (from ירשׁ, to take possession of) of his heart. Thus, after Obad. Oba 1:17, Gecatilia (in Aben-Ezra) also explains, while, according to Ewald, Beiträge, S. 98, he understands the heart-strings, i.e., the trunks of the arteries (for thus is Arab. nî't to be explained), and consequently, as Ewald himself, and even Farisol, most improbably combines מורשׁ with מותר (יתר). Similarly the lxx τὰ ἄρθρα τῆς καρδίας, as though the joints (instead of the valves) of the heart were intended; probably with Middeldorpf, after the Syriac Hexapla, ἄκρα is to be read instead of ἄρθρα; this, however, rests upon a mistaking of מורשׁי for ראשׁי. While he is now almost dead, and his life-plans of the future are torn away (נתּקוּ), the friends turn night into day (שׂים, as Isa 5:20); light is (i.e., according to their opinion) nearer than the face of darkness, i.e., than the darkness which is in reality turned to him, and which is as though it stared at him from the immediate future. Thus Nolde explains it as comparative, but connecting Job 17:12 with ישׂימו, and considering פני (which is impossible by this compar. rendering) as meaningless: lucem magis propinquam quam tenebras. It is however possible that מפני is used the same as in Job 23:17 : light is, as they think near before darkness, i.e., while darkness sets in (ingruentibus tenebris), according to which we have translated. If we understand Job 23:12 from Job's standpoint, and not from that of the friends, מן קרוב is to be explained according to the Arab. qrı̂b mn, prope abest ab, as the lxx even translatesφῶς ἐγγὺς ἀπὸ προσώπου σκότους, which Olympiodorus interprets by ου ̓ μακρὰν σκότους. But by this rendering פני makes the expression, which really needs investigation, only still lamer. Renderings, however, like Renan's Ah! votre lumière resemble aux tenèbres, are removed from all criticism. The subjective rendering, by which Job 17:12 is under the government of ישׂימו, is after all the most natural. That he has darkness before him, while the friends present to him the approach of light on condition of penitence, is the thought that is developed in the next strophe.

Verses 13-16 Edit

Job 17:13-16 13 If I hope, it is for Sheôl as my house,
In darkness I make my bed. 14 I cry to corruption: Thou art my father! -
To the worm: Thou art my mother and sister! 15 Where now therefore is my hope?
And my hope, who seeth it? 16 To the bars of Sheôl it descends,
When at the same time there is rest in the dust.
All modern expositors transl.: If I hope (wait) for Sheôl as my house, etc., since they regard Job 17:13. as a hypothetical antecedent clause to Job 17:15, consisting of four members, where the conclusion should begin with ואיּה, and should be indicated by Waw apodosis. There is no objection to this explanation so far as the syntax is concerned, but there will then be weighty thoughts which are also expressed in the form of fresh thoughts, for which independent clauses seem more appropriate, under the government of אם, as if they were presuppositions. The transition from the preceding strophe to this becomes also easier, if we take Job 17:13. as independent clauses from which, in Job 17:15, an inference is drawn, with Waw indicative of the train of thought (Ew. §348). Accordingly, we regard אם־אקוה in Job 17:13 as antecedent (denoted by Dechî, i.e., Tiphcha anterius, just as Psa 139:8) and ביתי שׁאול as conclusion; the Waw apod. is wanting, as e.g., Job 9:27., and the structure of the sentence is similar to Job 9:19. If I hope, says Job, “Sheôl is my house” = this is the substance of my hope, that Sheôl will be my house. In darkness he has (i.e., in his consciousness, which anticipates that which is before him as near and inevitable) fixed his resting-place (poet. strata, as Psa 132:3). To corruption and the worm he already cries, father! and, mother! sister! It is, as it seems, that bold figure which is indicated in the Job-like Ps. 88:19 (“my acquaintances are the realms of darkness”), which is here (comp. Job 30:29) worked out; and, differently applied, perhaps Pro 7:4 echoes it. Since the fem. רמּה is used as the object addressed by אמי and אחותי, which is besides, on account of its always collective meaning (in distinction from תילעת), well suited for this double apostrophe, we may assume that the poet will have used a masc. object for אבי; and there is really no reason against שׁחת here being, with Ramban, Rosenm., Schlottm., Böttcher (de inferis, §179), derived not from שׁוּח (as נחת, Job 17:16, from נוח), but from שׁחת (as נחת, Isa 30:30, from נחת), especially since the old versions transl. שׁחת also elsewhere διαφθορά (putredo), and thereby prove that both derivations accord with the structure of the language. Now already conscious of his belonging to corruption and the worm as by the closest ties of relationship, he asks: Itaque ubi tandem spes mea?
The accentuation connects אפו to the following word, instead of uniting it with איּה, just as in Isa 19:12; Luzzatto (on Isa 19:12) considers this as a mistake in the Codd., and certainly the accentuation Jdg 9:38 (איה Kadma, אפוא Mercha) is not according to our model, and even in this passage another arrangement of the accents is found, e.g., in the edition of Brescia.[132]
No other hope, in Job's opinion, but speedy death is before him; no human eye is capable of seeing, i.e., of discovering (so e.g., Hahn), any other hope than just this. Somewhat differently Hirz. and others: and my hope, viz., of my recovery, who will it see in process of fulfilment? Certainly תקותי is in both instances equivalent to a hope which he dared to harbour; and the meaning is, that beside the one hope which he has, and which is a hope only per antiphrasin, there is no room for another hope; there is none such (Job 17:15), and no one will attain a sight of such, be it visible in the distance or experienced as near at hand (Job 17:15). The subj. of Job 17:16 is not the hope of recovery which the friends present to him (so e.g., Ew.), but his only real hope: this, avoiding human ken, descends to the lower world, for it is the hope of death, and consequently the death of hope. בּדּי signifies bars, bolts, which Hahn denies, although he says himself that בדים signifies beams of wood among other things; “bolts” is not here intended to imply such as are now used in locks, but the cross bars and beams of wood of any size that serve as a fastening to a door; vectis in exactly the same manner combines the meanings, a carrying-pole and a bar, in which signification בּד is the synon. of בּריח.[133]
The meanings assigned to the word, wastes (Schnurrer and others), bounds (Hahn), clefts (Böttch.), and the like, are fanciful and superfluous. On תּרדנה, instead of תּרד, vid., Caspari on Obad. Oba 1:13, Ges. §47, rem. 3. It is sing., not plur. (Böttch.), for Job 17:15 does not speak of two hopes, not even if, as it seems according to the ancient versions, another word of cognate meaning had stood in the place of the second תקותי originally. His hope goes down to the regions of the dead, when altogether there is rest in the dust. This “together, יחד,” Hahn explains: to me and it, to this hope; but that would be pursuing the figure to an inadmissible length, extending far beyond Job 20:11, and must then be expressed יחד לנוּ. Others (e.g., Hirz., Ew.) explain: if at the same time, i.e., simultaneously with this descent of my hope, there is rest to me in the dust. Considering the use of יחד in itself, it might be explained: if altogether entirely there is rest in the dust; but this meaning integer, totus quantus, the word has elsewhere always in connection with a subj. or obj. to which it is referable, e.g., Job 10:8; Psa 33:15; and, moreover, it may be rendered also in the like passages by “all together,” as Job 3:18; Job 21:26; Job 40:13, instead of “altogether, entirely.” Since, on the other hand, the signification “at the same time” can at least with probability be supported by Psa 141:10, and since אם, which is certainly used temporally, brings contemporary things together, we prefer the translation: “when at the same time in the dust there is rest.” The descent of his hope to the bars of Hades is at the same time his own, who hopes for nothing but this. When the death of his hope becomes a reality, then at the same time his turmoil of suffering will pass over to the rest of the grave.
As from the first speech of Eliphaz, so also from this first speech of Job, it may be seen that the controversy takes a fresh turn, which brings it nearer to the maturity of decision. From Eliphaz' speech Job has seen that no assertion of his innocence can avail to convince the friends, and that the more strongly he maintains his innocence, even before God, he only confirms them in the opinion that he is suffering the punishment of his godlessness, which now comes to light, like a wrong that has been hitherto concealed. Job thus perceives that he is incapable of convincing the friends; for whatever he may say only tends to confirm them in the false judgment, which they first of all inferred from their false premises, but now from his own words and conduct. He is accounted by them as one who is punished of God, whom they address as the preachers of repentance; now, however, they address him so that the chief point of their sermon is no longer bright promises descriptive of the glorious future of the penitent, but fearful descriptions of the desolating judgment which comes upon the impenitent sinner. This zealous solicitude for his welfare seems to be clever and to the point, according to their view; it is, however, only a vexatious method of treating their friend's case; it is only roughly and superficially moulded according to the order of redemption, but without an insight into the spiritual experience and condition of him with whom they have here to do. Their prudentia pastoralis is carnal and legal; they know nothing of a righteousness which avails before God, and nothing of a state of grace which frees from the divine vengeance; they know not how to deal with one who is passing through the fierce conflict of temptation, and understand not the mystery of the cross.
Can we wonder, then, that Job is compelled to regard their words as nothing more than רוח דברי, as they regarded his? In the words of Job they miss their certainly compact dogma, in which they believe they possess the philosopher's stone, by means of which all earthly suffering is to be changed into earthly prosperity. Job, however, can find nothing in their words that reminds him of anything he ought to know in his present position, or that teaches him anything respecting it. He is compelled to regard them as מנחמי עמל, who make the burden of his suffering only more grievous, instead of lightening it for him. For their consolation rests upon an unjust judgment of himself, against which his moral consciousness rebels, and upon a one-sided notion of God, which is contradicted by his experience. Their speeches exhibit skill as to their form, but the sympathy of the heart is wanting. Instead of plunging with Job into the profound mystery of God's providence, which appoints such a hard lot for the righteous man to endure, they shake their heads, and think: What a great sinner Job must be, that God should visit him with so severe a punishment! It is the same shaking of the head of which David complains Psa 22:8 and Psa 109:25, and which the incomparably righteous One experienced from those who passed by His cross, Mat 27:39; Mar 15:29. These comparisons give us the opportunity of noting the remarkable coincidence of these pictures of suffering, in outline and expression; the agreement of Job 16:8 with Psa 109:24, comp. Psa 109:23 with Job 17:7, puts it beyond a doubt, that there is a mutual relation between Job 16:4 and Psa 109:25 which is not merely accidental.
By such unjust and uncharitable treatment from the friends, Job's sufferings stand forth before him in increased magnitude. He exceeds himself in the most terrible figures, in order to depict the sudden change which the divine dispensation of suffering has brought upon him. The figures are so terrible, for Job sees behind his sufferings a hostile hideous God as their author; they are the outburst of His anger, His quivering looks, His piercing darts, His shattering missiles. His sufferings are a witness de facto against him, the sufferer; but they are this not merely in themselves, but also in the eyes of the people around him. To the sufferings which he has directly to endure in body and soul there is added, as it were, as their other equally painful part, misconstruction and scorn, which he has to suffer from without. Not only does he experience the wrath of God contrary to the testimony to his righteousness which is consciousness gives him, but also the scoff of the ungodly, who now deridingly triumph over him. Therefore he clothes himself in mourning, and lies with his former majesty in the dust; his face is red with weeping, and his eyes are become almost blind, although there is no wrong in his hand, and his prayer is free from hypocrisy. Who does not here think of the servant of Jehovah, of whom Isaiah, Isa 53:9 (in similar words to those which Job uses of himself, Job 16:16), says, that he is buried among the godless על לא־חמס עשׂה ולא מרמה בפיו? All that Job says here of the scorn that he has to endure by being regarded as one who is punished of God and tormented, agrees exactly with the description of the sufferings of the servant of Jehovah in the Psalms and the second part of Isaiah. Job says: they gape at me with their mouth; and in Psa 22:8 (comp. Psa 35:21) it is: all they that see me laugh me to scorn, they open wide the lips, they shake the head. Job says: they smite my cheeks in contempt; and the servant of Jehovah, Isa 50:6, is compelled to confess: I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that pluck off the hair; I hid not my face from shame and spitting. Like Job, the servant of Jehovah in the Psalms and in Isaiah II. is delivered over into the hands of the unrighteous, and reckoned among evil-doers, although he is the servant of Jehovah, and knows himself to be Jehovah's servant. The same hope that he expresses in Isa 50:8. in the words: he is near who justifieth me, who will condemn me! - the same hope in Job breaks through the night of conflict, with which his direct and indirect suffering has surrounded him.
Just when Job becomes conscious of his doubled affliction in all its heaviness, when he feels himself equally rejected of men as of God, must this hope break forth. For there is only a twofold possibility for a man who thinks God has become his enemy, and that he has not a friend among men: either he sinks into the abyss of despair; or if faith still exists, he struggles upwards through his desertion by God and man to the love that lies deep in the heart of God, which in spite of hostile manifestation cannot abandon the righteous. Whither shall Job turn when God seems to him as an enemy, and when he nevertheless will not renounce God? He can only turn from the hostile God to the God who is differently disposed towards him, and that is equivalent to saying from the imaginary to the real God, to whom faith clings throughout every outward manifestation of wrath and wrathful feeling.[134]
Since both, however, is one God, who only seems to be other than He is, that bold grasp of faith is the exchange of the phantom-god of the conflict of temptation for the true God. Faith, which in its essence is a perception capable of taking root, seizes the real existence behind the appearance, the heart behind the countenance, that which remains the same behind the change, and defies a thousand contradictions with the saintly Nevertheless: God nevertheless does not belie himself.
Job challenges the earth not to hide his blood; unceasingly without restraint shall the cry of his blood rise up. What he says in Job 16:18 is to be taken not so much as the expression of a desire as of a demand, and better still as a command; for even in case he should succumb to his sufferings, and consequently in the eyes of men die the death of a sinner, his clear consciousness of innocence does not allow him to renounce his claim to a public declaration that he has died guiltless. But to whom shall the blood of the slain cry out? To whom else but God; and yet it is God who has slain him? We see distinctly here how Job's idea of God is lighted up by the prospect of a decisive trial of his cause. The God who abandons Job to death as guilty, and the God who cannot (and though it should be even after death) leave him unvindicated, come forth distinct and separate as darkness from light from the chaos of the conflict of temptation. Since, however, the thought of a vindication after death for Job, which knows only of a seeming life after death, according to the notion that rules him, and which is here not yet broken through, is only the extreme demanded by his moral consciousness, he is compelled to believe in a vindication in this world; and he expresses this faith (Job 16:19) in these words: “Even now, behold, my Witness is in heaven, and One who acknowledgeth me is in the heights.” He pours forth tears to this God that He would decide between God and him, between his friends and him. He longs for this decision now, for he will now soon be gone beyond return. Thus Job becomes here the prophet of the issue of his own course of suffering; and over his relation to Eloah and to the friends, of whom the former abandons him to the sinner's death, and the latter declare him to be guilty, hovers the form of the God of the future, which now breaks through the darkness, from whom Job believingly awaits and implores what the God of the present withholds from him.[135]
What Job (Job 16:20.), by reason of that confident “Behold, my Witness is in heaven,” had expressed as the end of his longing, - that God would vindicate him both before Himself, and before the friends and the world, - urges him onward, when he reflects upon his twofold affliction, that he is sick unto death and one who is misjudged even to mockery, to the importunate request: Lay down now (a pledge), be surety for me with Thyself; for who else should strike his hand into mine, i.e., in order to become bondsman to me, that Thou dost not regard me as an unrighteous person? The friends are far from furnishing a guarantee of this; for they, on the contrary, are desirous of persuading him, that, if he would only let his conscience speak, he must regard himself as an unrighteous one, and that he is regarded as such by God. Therefore God cannot give them the victory; on the contrary, he who so uncompassionately abandons his friends, must on his own children experience similar suffering to that which he made heavier for his friend, instead of making it lighter to him. The three have no insight into the affliction of the righteous one; they dispose of him mercilessly, as of spoil or property that has fallen into the hands of the creditor; therefore he cannot hope to obtain justice unless God become surety for him with himself, - a thought so extraordinary and bold, that one cannot wonder that the old expositors were misled by it: God was in Christ, and reconciled the world with Himself, 2Co 5:19. The God of holy love has reconciled the world with himself, the God of righteous anger, as Job here prays that the God of truth may become surety for him with the God of absolute sovereignty.
When Job then complains of the misconstruction of his character, and tracing it to God, says: He hath made me למשׁל עמים, one is reminded, in connection with this extravagant expression, of complaints of a like tone in the mouth of the true people of Israel, Psa 44:15, and of the great sufferer, Psa 69:12. When we further read, that, according to Job's affirmation, the godly are scared at his affliction, the parallel Isa 52:14 forces itself upon us, where it is said of the servant of Jehovah, “How were many astonied at thee.” And when, with reference to himself, Job says that the suffering of the righteous must at length prove a gain to him that hath clean hands, who does not call to mind the fact that the glorious issue of the suffering of the servant of Jehovah which the Old Testament evangelist sets before us, that servant of Jehovah who, once himself a prey to oppression and mocking, now divides the spoil among the mighty, - tends to the reviving, strengthening, and exaltation of Israel? All these parallels cannot and are not intended to prove that the book of Job is an allegorical poem; but they prove that the book of Job stands in the closest connection, both retrospective and prospective, with the literature of Israel; that the poet, by the relation to the passion-psalms stamped on the picture of the affliction of Job, has marked Job, whether consciously or unconsciously, as a typical person; that, by taking up, probably not unintentionally, many national traits, he has made it natural to interpret Job as a Mashal of Israel; and that Isaiah himself confirms this typical relation, by borrowing some Job-like expressions in the figure of the עבד יהוה, who is a personification of the true Israel. The book of Job has proved itself a mirror of consolation for the people, faithful to God, who had cause to complain, as in Ps 44, and a mirror of warning to their scoffers and persecutors, who had neither true sympathy with the miserable state of God's people, nor a true perception of God's dealings. At the same time, however, Job appears in the light which the New Testament history, by the fulfilment of the prophecies of suffering in the Psalms, Isaiah, and also Zechariah, throws upon him, as a type of Him who suffers in like manner, in order that Satan may have his deserts, and thereby by confounded; who also has an affliction to bear which in itself has the nature and form of wrath, but has its motive and end in the love of God; who is just so misjudged and scorned of men, in order at length to be exalted, and to enter in as intercessor for those who despised and rejected Him. At the same time, it must not be forgotten that there remains an infinite distance between the type and antitype, which, however, must be in the very nature of a type, and does not annul the typical relation, which exists only exceptis excipiendis. Who could fail to recognise the involuntary picture of the three friends in the penitent ones of Isa 53:1-12, who esteemed the servant of Jehovah as one smitten of God, for whom, however, at last His sacrifice and intercession avail?
Job at last considers his friends as devoid of wisdom, because they try to comfort him with the nearness of light, while darkness is before him; because they give him the hope of a bodily restoration, while he has nothing to expect but death, and earnestly longs for the rest of death. It is surprising that the speech of Job plunges again into complete hopelessness, after he has risen to the prospect of being vindicated in this life. He certainly does not again put forth that prospect, but he does not even venture to hope that it can be realized by a blessing in this life after a seeming curse. It is in this hopelessness that the true greatness of Job's faith becomes manifest. He meets death, and to every appearance so overwhelmed by death, as a sinner, while he is still conscious that he is righteous. Is it not faith in and fidelity to God, then, that, without praying for recovery, he is satisfied with this one thing, that God acknowledges him? The promises of the friends ought to have rested on a different foundation, if he was to have the joy of appropriating them to himself. He feels himself to be inevitably given up as a prey to death, and as from the depth of Hades, into which he is sinking, he stretches out his hands to God, not that He would sustain him in life, but that He would acknowledge him before the world as His. If he is to die even, he desires only that he may not die the death of a criminal. And is this intended at the same time for the rescue of his honour? No, after all, for the honour of God, who cannot possibly destroy as an evil-doer one who is in everything faithful to Him. When, then, the issue of the history is that God acknowledges Job as His servant, and after he is proved and refined by the temptation, preserves to him a doubly rich and prosperous life, Job receives beyond his prayer and comprehension; and after he has learned from his own experience that God brings to Hades and out again, he has for ever conquered all fear of death, and the germs of a hope of a future life, which in the midst of his affliction have broken through his consciousness, can joyously expand. For Job appears to himself as one who is risen from the dead, and is a pledge to himself of the resurrection from the dead.

Chap. 18 Edit

Verses 1-3 Edit

Job 18:1-3 1 Then began Bildad the Shuhite, and said: 2 How long will ye hunt for words?!
Attend, and afterwards we will speak. 3 Wherefore are we accounted as beasts,
And narrow-minded in your eyes?
Job's speeches are long, and certainly are a trial of patience to the three, and the heaviest trial to Bildad, whose turn now comes on, because he is at pains throughout to be brief. Hence the reproach of endless babbling with which he begins here, as at Job 8:2, when he at last has an opportunity of speaking; in connection with which it must, however, not be forgotten that Job also, Job 16:3, satirically calls upon them to cease. He is indeed more entitled than his opponents to the entreaty not to weary him with long speeches. The question, Job 18:2, if קנצי six derived from קץ, furnishes no sense, unless perhaps it is, with Ralbag, explained: how long do you make close upon close in order, when you seem to have come to an end, to begin continually anew? For to give the thought: how long do you make no end of speaking, it must have been לא עד־אנה, as the lxx (μέχρι τίνος ου ̓ παύσῃ:) involuntarily inserts the negative. And what should the plur. mean by this rendering? The form קנצי = קצּי would not cause doubt; for though קצּים does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, it is nevertheless sufficient that it is good Aramaic (קצּין), and that another Hebr. plural, as קצי, קצוי, קצוות, would have been hardly in accordance with the usage of the language. But the plural would not be suitable here generally, the over-delicate explanation of Ralbag perhaps excepted. Since the book of Job abounds in Arabisms, and in Arabic qanaṣa (as synon. of ṣâd) signifies venari, venando capere, and qanṣun (maqnaṣun) cassis, rete venatorium; since, further, שׂים קנצים (comp. שׂים ארב, Jer 9:7) is an incontrovertible reading, and all the difficulties in connection with the reference to קץ lying in the עד־אנה for עד־אנה לא and in the plur. vanish, we translate with Castell., Schultens, J. D. Mich., and most modern expositors: how long (here not different from Job 8:2; Job 19:2) will ye lay snares (construction, as also by the other rendering, like Job 24:5; Job 36:16, according to Ges. §116, 1) for words; which, however, is not equivalent to hunt for words in order to contradict, but in order to talk on continually.[136]
Job is the person addressed, for Bildad agrees with the two others. It is remarkable, however, that he addresses Job with “you.” Some say that he thinks of Job as one of a number; Ewald observes that the controversy becomes more wide and general; and Schlottm. conjectures that Bildad fixes his eye on individuals of his hearers, on whose countenances he believed he saw a certain inclination to side with Job. This conjecture we will leave to itself; but the remark which Schlottm. also makes, that Bildad regards Job as a type of a whole class, is correct, only one must also add, this address in the plur. is a reply to Job's sarcasm by a similar one. As Job has told the friends that they act as if they were mankind in general, and all wisdom were concentrated in them, so Bildad has taken it amiss that Job connects himself with the whole of the truly upright, righteous, and pure; and he addresses him in the plural, because he, the unit, has puffed himself up as such a collective whole. This wrangler - he means - with such a train behind him, cannot accomplish anything: Oh that you would understand (הבין, as e.g., Job 42:3, not causative, as Job 6:24), i.e., come to your senses, and afterward we will speak, i.e., it is only then possible to walk in the way of understanding. That is not now possible, when he, as one who plays the part of their many, treats them, the three who are agreed in opposition to him, as totally void of understanding, and each one of them unwise, in expressions like Job 17:4, Job 17:10. Looking to Psa 49:13, 21, one might be tempted to regard נטמינוּ (on the vowel î instead of ê, vid., Ges. §75, rem. 7) as an interchange of consonants from נדמינו: be silent, make an end, ye profligati; but the supposition of this interchange of consonants would be arbitrary. On the other hand, there is no suitable thought in “why are we accounted unclean?” (Vulg. sorduimus), from טמה = טמא, Lev 11:43 (Ges. §75, vi.); the complaint would have no right connection, except it were a very slight one, with Job 17:9. On the contrary, if we suppose a verb טמה in the signification opplere, obturare, which is peculiar to this consonant-combination in the whole range of the Semitic languages (comp. א־טם, Arab. ‘ṭm, obstruere, Aram. טמּם, טמטם, Arab. ṭmm, e.g., Talm.: transgression stoppeth up, מטמטמת, man's heart), and after which this טמה has been explained by the Jewish expositors (Raschi: נחשׁבנו טמומים), and is interpreted by סתם (Parchon: נסתמה דעתנו), we gain a sense which corresponds both with previous reproaches of Job and the parallelism, and we decide in its favour with the majority of modern expositors. With the interrogative Wherefore, Bildad appeals to Job's conscience. These invectives proceed from an impassioned self-delusion towards the truth, which he wards off from himself, but cannot however alter.

Verses 4-7 Edit

Job 18:4-7 4 Thou art he who teareth himself in his anger:
Shall the earth become desolate for thy sake,
And a rock remove from its place? 5 Notwithstanding, the light of the wicked shall be put out,
And the glow of his fire shineth not; 6 The light becometh dark in his tent,
And his lamp above him is extinguished; 7 His vigorous steps are straitened,
And his own counsel casteth him down.
The meaning of the strophe is this: Dost thou imagine that, by thy vehement conduct, by which thou art become enraged against thyself, thou canst effect any change in the established divine order of the world? It is a divine law, that sufferings are the punishment of sin; thou canst no more alter this, than that at thy command, or for thy sake, the earth, which is appointed to be the habitation of man (Isa 45:18), will become desolate (tê‛âzab with the tone drawn back, according to Ges. §29, 3, b, Arab. with similar signification in intrans. Kal t‛azibu), or a rock remove from its place (on יעתּק, vid., Job 14:18). Bildad here lays to Job's charge what Job, in Job 16:9, has said of God's anger, that it tears him: he himself tears himself in his rage at the inevitable lot under which he ought penitently to bow. The address, Job 18:4, as apud Arabes ubique fere (Schult.), is put objectively (not: Oh thou, who); comp. what is said on כּלּם, Job 17:10, which is influenced by the same syntactic custom. The lxx transl. Job 18:4: Why! will Hades be tenantless if thou diest (ἐὰν σὺ ἀποθάνῃς)? after which Rosenm. explains: tuâ causâ h. e. te cadente. But that ought to be הבמוּתך. The peopling of the earth is only an example of the arrangements of divine omnipotence and wisdom, the continuance of which is exalted over the human power of volition, and does not in the least yield to human self-will, as (Job 18:4) the rock is an example, and at the same time an emblem, of what God has fixed and rendered immoveable. That of which he here treats as fixed by God is the law of retribution. However much Job may rage, this law is and remains the unavoidable power that rules over the evil-doer.

Verse 5 Edit

Job 18:5 גּם is here equivalent to nevertheless, or prop. even, ὅμως, as e.g., Psa 129:2 (Ew. §354, a). The light of the evil-doer goes out, and the comfortable brightness and warmth which the blaze (שׁביב, only here as a Hebr. word; according to Raschi and others, étincelle, a spark; but according to lxx, Theod., Syr., Jer., a flame; Targ. the brightness of light) of his fire in his dwelling throws out, comes to an end. In one word, as the praet. חשׁך implies, the light in his tent is changed into darkness; and his lamp above him, i.e., the lamp hanging from the covering of his tent (Job 29:3, comp. Job 21:17), goes out. When misfortune breaks in upon him, the Arab says: ed-dahru attfaa es-sirâgi, fate has put out my lamp; this figure of the decline of prosperity receives here a fourfold application. The figure of straitening one's steps is just as Arabic as it is biblical; צעדי אונו, the steps of his strength (און synon. of כּח, Job 40:16) become narrow (comp. Pro 4:12, Arab. takâssarat), by the wide space which he could pass over with a self-confident feeling of power becoming more and more contracted; and the purpose formed selfishly and without any recognition of God, the success of which he considered infallible, becomes his overthrow.

Verses 8-11 Edit

Job 18:8-11 8 For he is driven into the net by his own feet,
And he walketh over a snare. 9 The trap holdeth his heel fast,
The noose bindeth him. 10 His snare lieth hidden in the earth,
His nets upon the path; 11 Terrors affright him on every side,
And scare him at every step.
The Pual שׁלּח signifies not merely to be betrayed into, but driven into, like the Piel, Job 30:12, to drive away, and as it is to be translated in the similar passage in the song of Deborah, Jdg 5:15 : “And as Issachar, Barak was driven (i.e., with desire for fighting) behind him down into the valley (the place of meeting under Mount Tabor);” בּרגליו, which there signifies, according to Jdg 4:10; Jdg 8:5, ”upon his feet = close behind him,” is here intended of the intermediate cause: by his own feet he is hurried into the net, i.e., against his will, and yet with his own feet he runs into destruction. The same thing is said in Job 18:8; the way on which he complacently wanders up and down (which the Hithp. signifies here) is שׂבכה, lattice-work, here a snare (Arab. schabacah, a net, from שׂבך, schabaca, to intertwine, weave), and consequently will suddenly break in and bring him to ruin. This fact of delivering himself over to destruction is established in apocopated futt. (Job 18:9) used as praes., and without the voluntative signification in accordance with the poetic licence: a trap catches a heel (poetic brevity for: the trap catches his heel), a noose seizes upon him, עליו (but with the accompanying notion of overpowering him, which the translation “bind” is intended to express). Such is the meaning of צמּים here, which is not plur., but sing., from צמם (Arab. ḍmm), to tie, and it unites in itself the meanings of snarelayer (Job 5:5) and of snare; the form (as אבּיר, אדּיר) corresponds more to the former, but does not, however, exclude the latter, as תּנּין and לפּיד (λαμπάς) show.
The continuation in Job 18:10 of the figure of the fowler affirms that that issue of his life (Job 18:9) has been preparing long beforehand; the prosperity of the evil-doer from the beginning tends towards ruin. Instead of חבלו we have the pointing חבלו, as it would be in Arab. in a similar sense hhabluhu (from hhabl, a cord, a net). The nearer destruction is now to him, the stronger is the hold which his foreboding has over him, since, as Job 18:11 adds, terrible thoughts (בּלּהות) and terrible apparitions fill him with dismay, and haunt him, following upon his feet. לרגליו, close behind him, as Gen 30:30; 1Sa 25:42; Isa 41:2; Hab 3:5. The best authorized pointing of the verb is והפיצהוּ, with Segol (Ges. §104, 2, c), Chateph-Segol, and Kibbutz. Except in Hab 3:14, where the prophet includes himself with his people, הפיץ, diffundere, dissipare (vid., Job 37:11; Job 40:11), never has a person as its obj. elsewhere. It would also probably not be used, but for the idea that the spectres of terror pursue him at every step, and are now here, now there, and his person is as it were multiplied.

Verses 12-15 Edit

Job 18:12-15 12 His calamity looketh hunger-bitten,
And misfortune is ready for his fall. 13 It devoureth the members of his skin;
The first-born of death devoureth his members. 14 That in which he trusted is torn away out of his tent,
And he must march on to the king of terrors. 15 Beings strange to him dwell in his tent;
Brimstone is strewn over his habitation.
The description of the actual and total destruction of the evil-doer now begins with יהי (as Job 24:14, after the manner of the voluntative forms already used in Job 24:9). Step by step it traces his course to the total destruction, which leaves no trace of him, but still bears evident marks of being the fulfilment of the curse pronounced upon him. In opposition to this explanation, Targ., Raschi, and others, explain אנו according to Gen 49:3 : the son of his manhood's strength becomes hungry, which sounds comical rather than tragic; another Targ. transl.: he becomes hungry in his mourning, which is indeed inadmissible, because the signif. planctus, luctus, belongs to the derivatives of אנה, אנן, but not to און. But even the translation recently adopted by Ew., Stick., and Schlottm., “his strength becomes hungry,” is unsatisfactory; for it is in itself no misfortune to be hungry, and רעב does not in itself signify “exhausted with hunger.” It is also an odd metaphor, that strength becomes hungry; we would then rather read with Reiske, רעב באנו, famelicus in media potentia sua. But as און signifies strength (Job 18:7), so און (root אן, to breathe and pant) signifies both wickedness and evil (the latter either as evil = calamity, or as anhelitus, sorrow, Arab. ain); and the thought that his (i.e., appointed to the evil-doer) calamity is hungry to swallow him up (Syr., Hirz., Hahn, and others), suits the parallelism perfectly: "and misfortune stands ready for his fall."[137] איד signifies prop. a weight, burden, then a load of suffering, and gen. calamity (root אד, Arab. âda, e.g., Sur. 2, 256, la jaâduhu, it is not difficult for him, and adda, comp. on Psa 31:12); and לצלעו not: at his side (Ges., Ew., Schlottm., Hahn), but, according to Psa 35:15; Psa 38:18 : for his fall (lxx freely, but correctly: ἐξαίσιοϚ); for instead of "at the side" (Arab. ila ganbi), they no more say in Hebrew than in Germ. "at the ribs."
Job 18:13 figuratively describes how calamity takes possession of him. The members, which are called יצרים in Job 17:7, as parts of the form of the body, are here called בּדּים, as the parts into which the body branches out, or rather, since the word originally signifies a part, as that which is actually split off (vid., on Job 17:16, where it denotes "cross-bars"), or according to appearance that which rises up, and from this primary signification applied to the body and plants, the members (not merely as Farisol interprets: the veins) of which the body consists and into which it is distributed. עור (distinct from גּלד, Job 16:15, similar in meaning to Arab. baschar, but also to the Arab. gild, of which the former signifies rather the epidermis, the latter the skin in the widest sense) is the soluble surface of the naked animal body. בּכור מות devours this, and indeed, as the repetition implies, gradually, but surely and entirely. "The first-born of the poor," Isa 14:30, are those not merely who belong (בּני) to the race of the poor, but the poor in the highest sense and first rank. So here diseases are conceived of as children of death, as in the Arabic malignant fevers are called benât el-menı̂jeh, daughters of fate or death; that disease which Bildad has in his mind, as the one more terrible and dangerous than all others, he calls the "first-born of death," as that in which the whole destroying power of death is contained, as in the first-born the whole strength of his parent.[138]
The Targ. understands the figure similarly, since it transl. מלאך מותא (angel of death); another Targ. has instead שׁרוּי מותא, the firstling of death, which is intended in the sense of the primogenita (= praematura) mors of Jerome. Least of all is it to be understood with Ewald as an intensive expression for בן־מות, 1Sa 20:31, of the evil-doer as liable to death. While now disease in the most fearful form consumes the body of the evil-doer, מבטחו (with Dag.f. impl., as Job 8:14; Job 31:24, Olsh. §198, b) (a collective word, which signifies everything in which he trusted) is torn away out of his tent; thus also Rosenm., Ew., and Umbr. explain, while Hirz., Hlgst., Schlottm., and Hahn regard מבטחו as in apposition to אהלו, in favour of which Job 8:14 is only a seemingly suitable parallel. It means everything that made the ungodly man happy as head of a household, and gave him the brightest hopes of the future. This is torn away (evellitur) from his household, so that he, who is dying off, alone survives. Thus, therefore, Job 18:14 describes how he also himself dies at last. Several modern expositors, especially Stickel, after the example of Jerome (et calcet super eum quasi rex interitus), and of the Syr. (praecipitem eum reddent terrores regis), take בּלּהות as subj., which is syntactically possible (vid., Job 27:20; Job 30:15): and destruction causes him to march towards itself (Ges.: fugant eum) like a military leader; but since הצעיד signifies to cause to approach, and since no אליו (to itself) stands with it, למלך is to be considered as denoting the goal, especially as ל never directly signifies instar. In the passage advanced in its favour it denotes that which anything becomes, that which one makes a thing by the mode of treatment (Job 39:16), or whither anything extends (e.g., in Schultens on Job 13:12 : they had claws li-machâlîbi, i.e., "approaching to the claws" of wild beasts).[139]
One falls into these strange interpretations when one departs from the accentuation, which unites מלך בלהות quite correctly by Munach.
Death itself is called "the king of terrors," in distinction from the terrible disease which is called its first-born. Death is also personified elsewhere, as Isa 28:15, and esp. Psa 49:15, where it appears as a רעה, ruler in Hades, as in the Indian mythology the name of the infernal king Jamas signifies the tyrant or the tamer. The biblical representation does not recognise a king of Hades, as Jamas and Pluto: the judicial power of death is allotted to angels, of whom one, the angel of the abyss, is called Abaddon (אבדון), Rev 9:11; and the chief possessor of this judicial power, ὁ τὸδράτος ἔχων τοῦ θανάτον, is, according to Heb 2:14, the angel-prince, who, according to the prologue of our book, has also brought a fatal disease upon Job, without, however, in this instance being able to go further than to bring him to the brink of the abyss. It would therefore not be contrary to the spirit of the book if we were to understand Satan by the king of terrors, who, among other appellations in Jewish theology, is called שׂר על־התהו, because he has his existence in the Thohu, and seeks to hurl back every living being into the Thohu. But since the prologue casts a veil over that which remains unknown in this world in the midst of tragic woes, and since a reference to Satan is found nowhere else in the book - on the contrary, Job himself and the friends trace back directly to God that mysterious affliction which forms the dramatic knot - we understand (which is perfectly sufficient) by the king of terrors death itself, and with Hirz., Ew., and most expositors, transl.: "and it causes him to march onward to the king of terrors." The "it" is a secret power, as also elsewhere the fem. is used as neut. to denote the "dark power" (Ewald, §294,b) of natural and supernatural events, although sometimes, e.g., Job 4:16; Isa 14:9, the masc. is also so applied. After the evil-doer is tormented for a while with temporary בלהות, and made tender, and reduced to ripeness for death by the first-born of death, he falls into the possession of the king of בלהות himself; slowly and solemnly, but surely and inevitably (as תצעיד implies, with which is combined the idea of the march of a criminal to the place of execution), he is led to this king by an unseen arm.
In Job 18:15 the description advances another step deeper into the calamity of the evil-doer's habitation, which is now become completely desolate. Since Job 18:15 says that brimstone (from heaven, Gen 19:24; Psa 11:6) is strewn over the evil-doer's habitation, i.e., in order to mark it as a place that, having been visited with the fulfilment of the curse, shall not henceforth be rebuilt and inhabited (vid., Deu 29:22., and supra, on Job 15:28), Job 18:15 cannot be intended to affirm that a company of men strange to him take up their abode in his tent. But we shall not, however, on that account take בלהות as the subj. of תּשׁכּון. The only natural translation is: what does not belong to him dwells in his tent (Ew. §294, b); מבּלי, elsewhere praepos. (Job 4:11, Job 4:20; Job 24:7.), is here an adverb of negation, as which it is often used as an intensive of אין, e.g., Exo 14:11. It is unnecessary to take the מ as partitive (Hirz.), although it can have a special signification, as Deu 28:55 (because not), by being separated from בלי. The neutral fem. תשׁכון refers to such inhabitants as are described in Isa 13:20., Job 27:10., Job 34:11., Zep 2:9, and in other descriptions of desolation. Creatures and things which are strange to the deceased rich man, as jackals and nettles, inhabit his domain, which is appointed to eternal unfruitfulness; neither children nor possessions survive him to keep up his name. What does dwell in his tent serves only to keep up the recollection of the curse which has overtaken him.[140]

Verses 16-19 Edit

Job 18:16-19 16 His roots wither beneath,
And above his branch is lopped off. 17 His remembrance is vanished from the land,
And he hath no name far and wide on the plain; 18 They drive him from light into darkness,
And chase him out of the world. 19 He hath neither offspring nor descendant among his people,
Nor is there an escaped one in his dwellings.
The evil-doer is represented under the figure of a plant, Job 18:16, as we have had similar figures already, Job 8:16., Job 15:30, Job 15:32.;[141] his complete extirpation is like the dying off of the root and of the branch, as Amo 2:9; Isa 5:24, and “let him not have a root below and a branch above” in the inscription on the sarcophagus of Eschmunazar. Here we again meet with ימּל, the proper meaning of which is so disputed; it is translated by the Targ. (as by us) as Niph. יתמולל, but the meaning “to wither” is near at hand, which, as we said on Job 14:2, may be gained as well from the primary notion “to fall to pieces” (whence lxx ἐπιπεσεῖται), as from the primary notion “to parch, dry.” אמל (whence אמלל, formed after the manner of the Arabic IX. form, usually of failing; vid., Caspari, §59) offers a third possible explanation; it signifies originally to be long and lax, to let anything hang down, and thence in Arab. (amala) to hope, i.e., to look out into the distance. Not the evil-doer's family alone is rooted out, but also his memory. With חוּץ, a very relative notion, both the street outside in front of the house (Job 31:32), and the pasture beyond the dwelling (Job 5:10), are described; here it is to be explained according to Pro 8:26 (ארץ וחוצות), where Hitz. remarks: “The lxx translates correctly ἀοικήτους. The districts beyond each persons' land, which also belong to no one else, the desert, whither one goes forth, is meant.” So ארץ seems also here (comp. Job 30:8) to denote the land that is regularly inhabited - Job himself is a large proprietor within the range of a city (Job 29:7) - and חוץ the steppe traversed by the wandering tribes which lies out beyond. Thus also the Syr. version transl. ‘al apai barito, over the plain of the desert, after which the Arabic version is el-barrı̂je (the synon. of bedw, bâdije, whence the name of the Beduin[142].
What is directly said in Job 18:17 is repeated figuratively in Job 18:18; as also what has been figuratively expressed in Job 18:16 is repeated in Job 18:19 without figure. The subj. of the verbs in Job 18:18 remains in the background, as Job 4:19; Psa 63:11; Luk 12:20 : they thrust him out of the light (of life, prosperity, and fame) into the darkness (of misfortune, death, and oblivion); so that the illustris becomes not merely ignobilis, but totally ignotus, and they hunt him forth (ינדּהוּ from the Hiph. הנד of the verb נדד, instead of which it might also be ינדהו from נדּה, they banish him) out of the habitable world (for this is the signification of תּבל, the earth as built upon and inhabited). There remains to him in his race neither sprout nor shoot; thus the rhyming alliteration נין and נכד (according to Luzzatto on Isa 14:22, used only of the descendants of persons in high rank, and certainly a nobler expression than our rhyming pairs: Germ. Stumpf und Stiel, Mann und Maus, Kind und Kegel). And there is no escaped one (as Deu 2:34 and freq., Arab. shârid, one fleeing; sharûd, a fugitive) in his abodes (מגוּר, as only besides Psa 55:16). Thus to die away without descendant and remembrance is still at the present day among the Arab races that profess Dı̂n Ibrâhı̂m (the religion of Abraham) the most unhappy thought, for the point of gravitation of continuance beyond the grave is transferred by them to the immortality of the righteous in the continuance of his posterity and works in this world (vid., supra, p. 386); and where else should it be at the time of Job, since no revelation had as yet drawn the curtain aside from the future world? Now follows the declamatory conclusion of the speech.

Verses 20-21 Edit

Job 18:20-21 20 Those who dwell in the west are astonished at his day,
And trembling seizeth those who dwell in the east; 21 Surely thus it befalleth the dwellings of the unrighteous,
And thus the place of him that knew not God.
It is as much in accordance with the usage of Arabic as it is biblical, to call the day of a man's doom “his day,” the day of a battle at a place “the day of that place.” Who are the אחרנים who are astonished at it, and the קדמנים whom terror (שׂער as twice besides in this sense in Ezek.) seizes, or as it is properly, who seize terror, i.e., of themselves, without being able to do otherwise than yield to the emotion (as Job 21:6; Isa 13:8; comp. on the contrary Exo 15:14.)? Hirz., Schlottm., Hahn, and others, understand posterity by אחרנים, and by קדמנים their ancestors, therefore Job's contemporaries. But the return from the posterity to those then living is strange, and the usage of the language is opposed to it; for קדמנים is elsewhere always what belongs to the previous age in relation to the speaker (e.g., 1Sa 24:14, comp. Ecc 4:16). Since, then, קדמני is used in the signification eastern (e.g., הים הקדמוני, the eastern sea = the Dead Sea), and אחרון in the signification western (e.g., הים האחרון, the western sea = the Mediterranean), it is much more suited both to the order of the words and the usage of the language to understand, with Schult., Oetinger, Umbr., and Ew., the former of those dwelling in the west, and the latter of those dwelling in the east. In the summarizing Job 18:21, the retrospective pronouns are also praegn., like Job 8:19; Job 20:29, comp. Job 26:14 : Thus is it, viz., according to their fate, i.e., thus it befalls them; and אך here retains its original affirmative signification (as in the concluding verse of Psa 58:1-11), although in Hebrew this is blended with the restrictive. וזה has Rebia mugrasch instead of great Schalscheleth,[143] and מקום has in correct texts Legarme, which must be followed by לא־ידע with Illuj on the penult. On the relative clause לא־ידע אל without אשׁר, comp. e.g., Job 29:16; and on this use of the st. constr., vid., Ges. §116, 3. The last verse is as though those mentioned in Job 18:20 pointed with the finger to the example of punishment in the ”desolated” dwellings which have been visited by the curse.
This second speech of Bildad begins, like the first (Job 8:2), with the reproach of endless babbling; but it does not end like the first (Job 8:22). The first closed with the words: "Thy haters shall be clothed with shame, and the tent of the godless is no more," the second is only an amplification of the second half of this conclusion, without taking up again anywhere the tone of promise, which there also embraces the threatening.
It is manifest also from this speech, that the friends, to express it in the words of the old commentators, know nothing of evangelical but only of legal suffering, and also only of legal, nothing of evangelical, righteousness. For the righteousness of which Job boasts is not the righteousness of single works of the law, but of a disposition directed to God, of conduct proceeding from faith, or (as the Old Testament generally says) from trust in God's mercy, the weaknesses of which are forgiven because they are exonerated by the habitual disposition of the man and the primary aim of his actions. The fact that the principle, “suffering is the consequence of human unrighteousness,” is accounted by Bildad as the formula of an inviolable law of the moral order of the world, is closely connected with that outward aspect of human righteousness. One can only thus judge when one regards human righteousness and human destiny from the purely legal point of view. A man, as soon as we conceive him in faith, and therefore under grace, is no longer under that supposed exclusive fundamental law of the divine dealing. Brentius is quite right when he observes that the sentence of the law certainly is modified for the sake of the godly who have the word of promise. Bildad knows nothing of the worth and power which a man attains by a righteous heart. By faith he is removed from the domain of God's justice, which recompenses according to the law of works; and before the power of faith even rocks move from their place.
Bildad then goes off into a detailed description of the total destruction into which the evil-doer, after going about for a time oppressed with the terrors of his conscience as one walking over snares, at last sinks beneath a painful sickness. The description is terribly brilliant, solemn, and pathetic, as becomes the stern preacher of repentance with haughty mien and pharisaic self-confidence; it is none the less beautiful, and, considered in itself, also true - a masterpiece of the poet's skill in poetic idealizing, and in apportioning out the truth in dramatic form. The speech only becomes untrue through the application of the truth advanced, and this untruthfulness the poet has most delicately presented in it. For with a view of terrifying Job, Bildad interweaves distinct references to Job in his description; he knows, however, also how to conceal them under the rich drapery of diversified figures. The first-born of death, that hands the ungodly over to death itself, the king of terrors, by consuming the limbs of the ungodly, is the Arabian leprosy, which slowly destroys the body. The brimstone indicates the fire of God, which, having fallen from heaven, has burned up one part of the herds and servants of Job; the withering of the branch, the death of Job's children, whom he himself, as a drying-up root that will also soon die off, has survived. Job is the ungodly man, who, with wealth, children, name, and all that he possessed, is being destroyed as an example of punishment for posterity both far and near.
But, in reality, Job is not an example of punishment, but an example for consolation to posterity; and what posterity has to relate is not Job's ruin, but his wondrous deliverance (Psa 22:31.). He is no עוּל, but a righteous man; not one who לא ידע־אל, but he knows God better than the friends, although he contends with Him, and they defend Him. It is with him as with the righteous One, who complains, Psa 69:21 : “Contempt hath broken my heart, and I became sick: I hoped for sympathy, but in vain; for comforters, and found none;” and Psa 38:12 (comp. Psa 31:12; Psa 55:13-15; Psa 69:9; Psa 88:9, 19): “My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my stroke, and my kinsmen stand afar off.” Not without a deep purpose does the poet make Bildad to address Job in the plural. The address is first directed to Job alone; nevertheless it is so put, that what Bildad says to Job is also intended to be said to others of a like way of thinking, therefore to a whole party of the opposite opinion to himself. Who are these like-minded? Hirzel rightly refers to Job 17:8. Job is the representative of the suffering and misjudged righteous, in other words: of the “congregation,” whose blessedness is hidden beneath an outward form of suffering. One is hereby reminded that in the second part of Isaiah the יהוה עבד is also at one time spoken of in the sing., and at another time in the plur.; since this idea, by a remarkable contraction and expansion of expression (systole and diastole), at one time describes the one servant of Jehovah, and at another the congregation of the servants of Jehovah, which has its head in Him. Thus we again have a trace of the fact that the poet is narrating a history that is of universal significance, and that, although Job is no mere personification, he has in him brought forth to view an idea connected with the history of redemption. The ancient interpreters were on the track of this idea when they said in their way, that in Job we behold the image of Christ, and the figure of His church. Christi personam figuraliter gessit, says Beda; and Gregory, after having stated and explained that there is not in the Old Testament a righteous man who does not typically point to Christ, says: Beatus Iob venturi cum suo corpore typum redemtoris insinuat.

Chap. 19 Edit

Verses 1-6 Edit

Job 19:1-6 1 Then began Job, and said: 2 How long will ye vex my soul,
And crush me with your words? 3 These ten times have ye reproached me;
Without being ashamed ye astound me. 4 And if I have really erred,
My error rests with myself. 5 If ye will really magnify yourselves against me,
And prove my reproach to me: 6 Know then that Eloah hath wronged me,
And hath compassed me with His net.
This controversy is torture to Job's spirit; enduring in himself unutterable agony, both bodily and spiritually, and in addition stretched upon the rack by the three friends with their united strength, he begins his answer with a well-justified quousque tandem. תּגיוּן (Norzi: תּוגיוּן) is fut. energicum from הוּגה (יגה), with the retention of the third radical., Ges. §75, rem. 16. And in וּתדכּאוּנני (Norzi: וּתדכּוּנני with quiescent Aleph) the suff. is attached to the ûn of the fut. energicum, Ges. §60, rem. 3; the connecting vowel is a, and the suff. is ani, without epenthesis, not anni or aneni, Ges. §58, 5. In Job 19:3 Job establishes his How long? Ten times is not to be taken strictly (Saad.), but it is a round number; ten, from being the number of the fingers on the human hand, is the number of human possibility, and from its position at the end of the row of numbers (in the decimal system) is the number of that which is perfected (vid., Genesis, S. 640f.); as not only the Sanskrit daçan is traceable to the radical notion “to seize, embrace,” but also the Semitic עשר is traceable to the radical notion “to bind, gather together” (cogn. קשׁר). They have already exhausted what is possible in reproaches, they have done their utmost. Renan, in accordance with the Hebr. expression, transl.: Voilà (זה, as e.g., Gen 27:36) la dixième fois que vous m'insultez. The ἅπ. γεγρ. תּהכּרוּ is connected by the Targ. with הכּיר (of respect of persons = partiality), by the Syr. with כּרא (to pain, of crêvecoeur), by Raschi and Parchon with נכּר (to mistake) or התנכּר (to alienate one's self), by Saadia (vid., Ewald's Beitr. S. 99) with עכר (to dim, grieve);[144] he, however, compares the Arab. hkr, stupere (which he erroneously regards as differing only in sound from Arab. qhr, to overpower, oppress); and Abulwalid (vid., Rödiger in Thes. p. 84 suppl.) explains Arab. thkrûn mn-nı̂, ye gaze at me, since at the same time he mentions as possible that הכר may be = Arab. khr, to treat indignantly, insultingly (which is only a different shade in sound of Arab. hkr,[145] and therefore refers to Saadia's interpretation). David Kimchi interprets according to Abulwalid, תתמהו לו; he however remarks at the same time, that his father Jos. Kimchi interprets after the Arab. הכר, which also signifies “shamelessness,” תעיזו פניכם לי. Since the idea of dark wild looks is connected with Arab. hkr, he has undoubtedly this verb in his mind, not that compared by Ewald (who translates, “ye are devoid of feeling towards me”), and especially Arab. hkr, to deal unfairly, used of usurious trade in corn (which may also have been thought of by the lxx ἐπίκεισθέ μοι, and Jerome opprimentes), which signifies as intrans. to be obstinate about anything, pertinacious. Gesenius also, Thes. p. 84, suppl., suggests whether תּחכּרוּ may not perhaps be the reading. But the comparison with Arab. hkr is certainly safer, and gives a perfectly satisfactory meaning, only תּהכּרוּ must not be regarded as fut. Kal (as יהלם, Psa 74:6, according to the received text), but as fut. Hiph. for תּהכּירוּ, according to Ges. §53, rem. 4, 5, after which Schultens transl.: quod me ad stuporem redigatis. The connection of the two verbs in Job 19:3 is to be judged of according to Ges. §142, 3, a: ye shamelessly cause me astonishment (by the assurance of your accusations). One need not hesitate because it is תהכרו־לי instead of תהכרוני; this indication of the obj. by ל, which is become a rule in Arabic with the inf. and part.) whence e.g., it would here be muhkerina li), and is still more extended in Aramaic, is also frequent in Hebrew (e.g., Isa 53:11; Psa 116:16; Psa 129:3, and 2Ch 32:17, cheereep, after which Olsh. proposes to read תחרפו־לי in the passage before us).
Much depends upon the correct perception of the structure of the clauses in Job 19:4. The rendering, e.g., of Olshausen, gained by taking the two halves of the verse as independent clauses, “yea certainly I have erred, I am fully conscious of my error,” puts a confession into Job's mouth, which is at present neither mature nor valid. Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., rightly take Job 19:4 as a hypothetical antecedent clause (comp. Job 7:20; Job 11:18): and if I have really erred (אף־אמנם, as Job 34:12, yea truly; Gen 18:13, and if I should really), my error remains with me, i.e., I shall have to expiate it, without your having on this account any right to take upon yourselves the office of God and to treat me uncharitably; or what still better corresponds with תּלין אתּי: my transgression remains with me, without being communicated to another, i.e., without having any influence over you or others to lead you astray or involve you in participation of the guilt. Job 19:6 stands in a similar relation to Job 19:5. Hirz., Ew., and Hahn take Job 19:5 as a double question: “or will ye really boast against me, and prove to me my fault?” Schlottm., on the contrary, takes אם conditionally, and begins the conclusion with Job 19:5: “if ye will really look proudly down upon me, it rests with you at least, to prove to me by valid reasons, the contempt which ye attach to me.” But by both of these interpretations, especially by the latter, Job 19:6 comes in abruptly. Even אפו (written thus in three other passages besides this) indicates in Job 19:5 the conditional antecedent clause (comp. Job 9:24; Job 24:25) of the expressive γνῶστε οὖν (δή): if ye really boast yourselves against me (vid., Psa 55:13., comp. Psa 35:26; Psa 38:17), and prove upon me, i.e., in a way of punishment (as ye think), my shame, i.e., the sins which put me to shame (not: the right of shame, which has come upon me on account of my sins, an interpretation which the conclusion does not justify), therefore: if ye really continue (which is implied by the futt.) to do this, then know, etc. If they really maintain that he is suffering on account of flagrant sins, he meets them on the ground of this assumption with the assertion that God has wronged him (עוּתני short for עוּת משׁפּטי, Job 8:3; Job 34:12, as Lam 3:36), and has cast His net (מצוּדו, with the change of the ô of מצוד from צוּד, to search, hunt, into the deeper û in inflexion, as מנוּסי from מנוס, מצוּרך, Eze 4:8, from מצור) over him, together with his right and his freedom, so that he is indeed obliged to endure punishment. In other words: if his suffering is really not to be regarded otherwise than as the punishment of sin, as they would uncharitably and censoriously persuade him, it urges on his self-consciousness, which rebels against it, to the conclusion which he hurls into their face as one which they themselves have provoked.

Verses 7-11 Edit

Job 19:7-11 7 Behold I cry violence, and I am not heard;
I cry for help, and there is no justice. 8 My way He hath fenced round, that I cannot pass over,
And He hath set darkness on my paths. 9 He hath stripped me of mine honour,
And taken away the crown from my head. 10 He destroyed me on every side, then I perished,
And lifted out as a tree my hope. 11 He kindled His wrath against me,
And He regarded me as one of His foes.
He cries aloud חמס (that which is called out regarded as accusa. or as an interjection, vid., on Hab 1:2), i.e., that illegal force is exercised over him. He finds, however, neither with God nor among men any response of sympathy and help; he cries for help (which שׁוּע, perhaps connected with ישׁע, Arab. s‛t, from ישׁע, Arab. ws‛, seems to signify), without justice, i.e., the right of an impartial hearing and verdict, being attainable by him. He is like a prisoner who is confined to a narrow space (comp. Job 3:23; Job 13:27) and has no way out, since darkness is laid upon him wherever he may go. One is here reminded of Lam 3:7-9; and, in fact, this speech generally stands in no accidental mutual relation to the lamentations of Jeremiah. The “crown of my head” has also its parallel in Lam 5:16; that which was Job's greatest ornament and most costly jewel is meant. According to Job 29:14, צדק and משׁפט were his robe and diadem. These robes of honour God has stripped from him, this adornment more precious than a regal diadem He has taken from him since, i.e., his affliction puts him down as a transgressor, and abandons him to the insult of those around him. God destroyed him roundabout (destruxit), as a house that is broken down on all sides, and lifted out as a tree his hope. הסּיע does not in itself signify to root out, but only to lift out (Job 4:21, of the tent-cord, and with it the tent-pin) of a plant: to remove it from the ground in which it has grown, either to plant it elsewhere, as Psa 80:9, or as here, to put it aside. The ground was taken away from his hope, so that its greenness faded away like that of a tree that is rooted up. The fut. consec. is here to be translated: then I perished (different from Job 14:20 : and consequently he perishes); he is now already one who is passed away, his existence is only the shadow of life. God has caused, fut. Hiph. apoc. ויּחר, His wrath to kindle against him, and regarded him in relation to Himself as His opponents, therefore as one of them. Perhaps, however, the expression is intentionally intensified here, in contrast with Job 13:24 : he, the one, is accounted by God as the host of His foes; He treats him as if all hostility to God were concentrated in him.

Verses 12-15 Edit

Job 19:12-15 12 His troops came together,
And threw up their way against me,
And encamped round about my tent. 13 My brethren hath He removed far from me,
And my acquaintance are quite estranged from me. 14 My kinsfolk fail,
And those that knew me have forgotten me. 15 The slaves of my house and my maidens,
They regard me as a stranger,
I am become a perfect stranger in their eyes.
It may seem strange that we do not connect Job 19:12 with the preceding strophe or group of verses; but between Job 19:7 and Job 19:21 there are thirty στίχοι, which, in connection with the arrangement of the rest of this speech in decastichs (accidentally coinciding remarkably with the prominence given to the number ten in Job 19:3), seem intended to be divided into three decastichs, and can be so divided without doing violence to the connection. While in Job 19:12, in connection with Job 19:11, Job describes the course of the wrath, which he has to withstand as if he were an enemy of God, in Job 19:13. he refers back to the degradation complained of in Job 19:9. In Job 19:12 he compares himself to a besieged (perhaps on account of revolt) city. God's גדוּדים (not: bands of marauders, as Dietr. interprets, but: troops, i.e., of regular soldiers, synon. of צבא, Job 10:17, comp. Job 25:3; Job 29:25, from the root גד, to unite, join, therefore prop. the assembled, a heap; vid., Fürst's Handwörterbuch) are the bands of outwards and inward sufferings sent forth against him for a combined attack (יחד). Heaping up a way, i.e., by filling up the ramparts, is for the purpose of making the attack upon the city with battering-rams (Job 16:14) and javelins, and then the storm, more effective (on this erection of offensive ramparts (approches), called elsewhere שׁפך סללה, vid., Keil's Archäologie, §159). One result of this condition of siege in which God's wrath has placed him is that he is avoided and despised as one smitten of God: neither love and fidelity, nor obedience and dependence, meet him from any quarter. What he has said in Job 17:6, that he is become a byword and an abomination (an object to spit upon), he here describes in detail. There is no ground for understanding אחי in the wider sense of relations; brethren is meant here, as in Psa 69:9. He calls his relations קרובי, as Psa 38:12. ידעי are (in accordance with the pregnant biblical use of this word in the sense of nosse cum affectu et effectu) those who know him intimately (with objective suff. as Psa 87:4), and מידּעי, as Psa 31:12, and freq., those intimately known to him; both, therefore, so-called heart-or bosom-friends. בּיתי גּרי Jer. well translates inquilinin domus meae; they are, in distinction from those who by birth belong to the nearer and wider circle of the family, persons who are received into this circle as servants, as vassals (comp. Exo 3:22, and Arabic jâr, an associate, one sojourning in a strange country under the protection of its government, a neighbour), here espec. the domestics. The verb תּחשׁבוּני (Ges. §60) is construed with the nearest feminine subject. These people, who ought to thank him for taking them into his house, regard him as one who does not belong to it (זר); he is looked upon by them as a perfect stranger (נכרי), as an intruder from another country.

Verses 16-20 Edit

Job 19:16-20 16 I call to my servant and he answereth not,
I am obliged to entreat him with my mouth. 17 My breath is offensive to my wife,
And my stench to my own brethren. 18 Even boys act contemptuously towards me;
If I will rise up, they speak against me. 19 All my confidential friends abhor me,
And those whom I loved have turned against me. 20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and flesh,
And I am escaped only with the skin of my teeth.
His servant, who otherwise saw every command in his eyes, and was attent upon his wink, now not only does not come at his call, but does not return him any answer. The one of the home-born slaves (vid., on Gen 14:14),[146] who stood in the same near connection to Job as Eliezer to Abraham, is intended here, in distinction from גרי ביתי, Job 19:15. If he, his master, now in such need of assistance, desires any service from him, he is obliged (fut. with the sense of being compelled, as e.g., Job 15:30, Job 17:2) to entreat him with his mouth. התחנּן, to beg חן of any one for one's self (vid., supra, p. 365), therefore to implore, supplicare; and בּמו־פּי here (as Psa 89:2; Psa 109:30) as a more significant expression of that which is loud and intentional (not as Job 16:5, in contrast to that which proceeds from the heart). In Job 19:17, רוּחי signifies neither my vexation (Hirz.) nor my spirit = I (Umbr., Hahn, with the Syr.), for רוח in the sense of angry humour (as Job 15:13) does not properly suit the predicate, and Arab. rûḥy in the signification ipse may certainly be used in Arabic, where rûḥ (perhaps under the influence of the philosophical usage of the language) signifies the animal spirit-life (Psychol. S. 154), not however in Hebrew, where נפשׁי is the stereotype form in that sense. If one considers that the elephantiasis, although its proper pathological symptom consists in an enormous hypertrophy of the cellular tissue of single distinct portions of the body, still easily, if the bronchia are drawn into sympathy, or if (what is still more natural) putrefaction of the blood with a scorbutic ulcerous formation in the mouth comes on, has difficulty of breathing (Job 7:15) and stinking breath as its result, as also a stinking exhalation and the discharge of a stinking fluid from the decaying limbs is connected with it (vid., the testimony of the Arabian physicians in Stickel, S. 169f.), it cannot be doubted that Jer. has lighted upon the correct thing when he transl. halitum meum exhorruit uxor mea. רוחי is intended as in Job 17:1, and it is unnecessary to derive זרה from a special verb זיר, although in Arab. the notions which are united in the Hebr. זוּר .r, deflectere and abhorrere (to turn one's self away from what is disgusting or horrible), are divided between Arab. zâr med. Wau and Arab. ḏâr med. Je (vid., Fürst's Handwörterbuch).
In Job 19:17 the meaning of חנּותי is specially questionable. In Psa 77:10, חנּות is, like שׁמּות, Eze 36:3, an infinitive from חנן, formed after the manner of the Lamed He verbs. Ges. and Olsh. indeed prefer to regard these forms as plurals of substantives (חנּה, שׁמּה), but the respective passages, regarded syntactically and logically, require infinitives. As regards the accentuation, according to which וחנותי is accented by Rebia mugrasch on the ultima, this does not necessarily decide in favour of its being infin., since in the 1 praet. סבּתי, which, according to rule, has the tone on the penultima, the ultima is also sometimes (apart from the perf. consec.) found accented (on this, vid., on Psa 17:3, and Ew. §197, a), as סבּוּ, קוּמה, קוּמי, also admit of both accentuations.[147]
If וחנותי is infin., the clause is a nominal clause, or a verbal one, that is to be supplemented by the v. fin. זרה; if it is first pers. praet., we have a verbal clause. It must be determined from the matter and the connection which of these explanations, both of which are in form and syntax possible, is the correct one.
The translation, “I entreat (groan to) the sons of my body,” is not a thought that accords with the context, as would be obtained by the infin. explanation: my entreating (is offensive); this signif. (prop. to Hithp. as above) assigned to Kal by von Hofmann (Schriftbew. ii. 2, 612) is at least not to be derived from the derivative חן; it might be more easily deduced from נחנתּ, Jer 22:23, which appears to be a Niph. like נחם, נאנח, from חנן, but might also be derived from ננחתּ = נאנחתּ by means of a transposition (vid., Hitz.). In the present passage one might certainly compare Arab. ḥnn, the usual word for the utterance and emotion of longing and sympathy, or also Arab. chnn, fut. i (with the infin. noun chanı̂n), which occurs in the signifn. of weeping, and transl.: my imploring, groaning, weeping, is offensive, etc. Since, however, the X. form of the Arab. chnn (istachanna) signifies to give forth an offensive smell (esp. of the stinking refuse of a well that is dried up); and besides, since the significatn. foetere is supported for the root חן (comp. צחן) by the Syriac chanı̂no (e.g., meshcho chanı̂no, rancid oil), we may also translate: “My stinking is offensive,” etc., or: “I stink to the children of my body” (Rosenm., Ew., Hahn, Schlottm.); and this translation is not only not hazardous in a book that so abounds in derivations from the dialects, but it furnishes a thought that is as closely as possible connected with Job 19:17.[148]
The further question now arises, who are meant by בטני לבני. Perhaps his children? But in the prologue these have utterly perished. Are we to suppose, with Eichhorn and Olshausen, that the poet, in the heat of discourse, forgets what he has laid down in the prologue? When we consider that this poet, within the compass of his work, - a work into which he has thrown his whole soul, - has allowed no anachronism, and no reference to anything Israelitish that is contradictory to its extra-Israelitish character, to escape him, such forgetfulness is very improbable; and when we, moreover, bear in mind that he often makes the friends refer to the destruction of Job's children (as Job 8:4; Job 15:30; Job 18:16), it is altogether inconceivable. Hence Schröring has proposed the following explanation: “My soul a substitution of which Hahn is also guilty is strange to my wife; my entreaty does not even penetrate to the sons of my body, it cannot reach their ear, for they are long since in Sheôl.” But he himself thinks this interpretation very hazardous and insecure; and, in fact, it is improbable that in the division, Job 19:13, where Job complains of the neglect and indifference which he now experiences from those around him, בטני בני should be the only dead ones among the living, in which case it would moreover be better, after the Arabic version, to translate: “My longing is for, or: I yearn after, the children of my body.” Grandchildren (Hirz., Ew., Hlgst. Hahn) might be more readily thought of; but it is not even probable, that after having introduced the ruin of all of Job's children, the poet would represent their children as still living, some mention of whom might then at least be expected in the epilogue. Others, again (Rosenm. Justi, Gleiss), after the precedent of the lxx (υἱοὶ παλλακίδων μου), understand the sons of concubines (slaves). Where, however, should a trace be found of the poet having conceived of his hero as a polygamist, - a hero who is even a model of chastity and continence (Job 31:1)?
But must בטני בני really signify his sons or grandsons? Children certainly are frequently called, in relation to