Verse 22. "But his flesh upon him shall have pain " - The sum of the life of man is this, pain of body and distress of soul; and he is seldom without the one or the other, and often oppressed by both. Thus ends Job's discourse on the miserable state and condition of man. THE last verse of the preceding chapter has been differently translated and explained. Mr. Good's version is the following, which he vindicates in a learned note: - For his flesh shall drop away from him; And his soul shall become a waste from him.
The Chaldee thus: "Nevertheless his flesh, on account of the worms, shall grieve over him; and his soul, in the house of judgment, shall wail over him." In another copy of this version it is thus: "Nevertheless his flesh, before the window is closed over him, shall grieve; and his soul, for seven days of mourning, shall bewail him in the house of his burial." I shall give the Hebrew: - baky wyl[ wrb ûa Ach besaro alaiv yichab, :lbat wyl[ wpnw Venaphsho alaiv teebal.
Which Mr. Stock translates thus, both to the spirit and letter: - But over him his flesh shall grieve; And over him his breath shall mourn.
"In the daring spirit of oriental poetry," says he, "the flesh, or body, and the breath, are made conscious beings; the former lamenting its putrefaction in the grave, the latter mourning over the mouldering clay which it once enlivened." This version is, in my opinion, the most natural yet offered. The Syriac and Arabic present nearly the same sense: "But his body shall grieve over him; and his soul be astonished over him." Coverdale follows the Vulgate: Whyle he lyveth his flesh must have travayle; and whyle the soul is in him, he must be in sorowe. On ver. 2.
I have referred to the following beautiful lines, which illustrate these finely figurative texts: - He cometh forth as a FLOWER, and is CUT Down; he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. All flesh is GRASS, and all the goodliness thereof is as the FLOWER of the field. The GRASS withereth, the FLOWER fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand for ever.
The morning flowers display their sweets, And gay their silken leaves unfold; As careless of the noonday heats, As fearless of the evening cold.
Nipp'd by the wind's untimely blast, Parch'd by the sun's directer ray, The momentary glories waste, The short-lived beauties die away.
So blooms the human face divine, When youth its pride of beauty shows; Fairer than spring the colours shine, And sweeter than the virgin rose.
Or worn by slowly-rolling years, Or broke by sickness in a day, The fading glory disappears, The short-lived beauties die away.
Yet these, new rising from the tomb, With lustre brighter far shall shine; Revive with ever-during bloom, Safe from diseases and decline.
Let sickness blast, let death devour, If heaven must recompense our pains: Perish the grass and fade the flower, If firm the word of God remains. See a Collection of Poems on Sundry Occasions, by the Rev. Samuel Wesley, Master of Blundell's School, Tiverton.