Verse 40. "Let thistles grow instead of wheat " - What the word jwj choach means, which we translate thistles, we cannot tell: but as jj chach seems to mean to hold, catch as a hook, to hitch, it must signify some kind of hooked thorn, like the brier; and this is possibly its meaning.
"And cockle " - hab bashah, some fetid plant, from ab baash, to stink.
In Isa. v. 2, 4, we translate it wild grapes; and Bishop Lowth, poisonous berries: but Hasselquist, a pupil of the famous Linnaeus, in his Voyages, p. 289, is inclined to believe that the solanum incanum, or hoary nightshade is meant, as this is common in Egypt, Palestine, and the East.
Others are of opinion that it means the aconite, which (Arabic) beesh, in Arabic, denotes: this is a poisonous herb, and grows luxuriantly on the sunny hills among the vineyards, according to Celsus in Hieroboticon.
(Arabic) beesh is not only the name of an Indian poisonous herb, called the napellus moysis, but (Arabic) beesh moosh, or (Arabic) farut al beesh, is the name of an animal, resembling a mouse, which lives among the roots of this very plant. "May I have a crop of this instead of barley, if I have acted improperly either by my land or my labourers!" The words of Job are ended. - That is, his defense of himself against the accusations of his friends, as they are called. He spoke afterwards, but never to them; he only addresses God, who came to determine the whole controversy. These words seem very much like an addition by a later hand. They are wanting in many of the MSS. of the Vulgate, two in my own possession; and in the Editio Princeps of this version. I suppose that at first they were inserted in rubric, by some scribe, and afterwards taken into the text. In a MS. of my own, of the twelfth or thirteenth century, these words stand in rubric, actually detached from the text; while in another MS., of the fourteenth century, they form a part of the text. In the Hebrew text they are also detached: the hemistichs are complete without them; nor indeed can they be incorporated with them. They appear to me an addition of no authority. In the first edition of our Bible, that by Coverdale, 1535, there is a white line between these words and the conclusion of the chapter; and they stand, forming no part of the text, thus: Here ende the wordes of Job.
Just as we say, in reading the Scriptures "Here ends such a chapter;" or, "Here ends the first lesson," &c. Or the subject of the transposition, mentioned above, I have referred to the reasons at the end of the chapter.
"Dr. Kennicott, on this subject, observes: "Chapters 29., 30., and 31., contain Job's animated self-defense, which was made necessary by the reiterated accusation of his friends. This defense now concludes with six lines (in the Hebrew text) which declare, that if he had enjoyed his estates covetously, or procured them unjustly, he wished them to prove barren and unprofitable. This part, therefore seems naturally to follow ver. 25, where he speaks of his gold, and how much his hand had gotten. The remainder of the chapter will then consist of these four regular parts, viz., "1. His piety to God, in his freedom from idolatry, chap. xxxi. 26-28. "2. His benevolence to men, in his charity both of temper and behaviour, ver. 29- 32. "3. His solemn assurance that he did not conceal his guilt, from fearing either the violence of the poor, or the contempt of the rich, ver. 33, 34. "4. (Which must have been the last article, because conclusive of the work) he infers that, being thus secured by his integrity, he may appeal safely to God himself. This appeal he therefore makes boldly, and in such words as, when rightly translated, form an image which perhaps has no parallel. For where is there an image so magnificent or so splendid as this? Job, thus conscious of innocence, wishing even God himself to draw up his indictment, [rather his adversary Eliphaz and companions to draw up this indictment, the Almighty to be judge," - that very indictment he would bind round his head; and with that indictment as his crown of glory, he would, with the dignity of a prince, advance to his trial! Of this wonderful passage I add a version more just and more intelligible than the present: -" Ver. 35.
O that one would grant me a hearing! Behold, my desire is that the Almighty would answer me; And, as plaintiff against me, draw up the indictment.
With what earnestness would I take it on my shoulders! I would bind it upon me as a diadem.
The number of my steps would I set forth unto Him; Even as a prince would I approach before Him!" I have already shown that Eliphaz and his companions, not GOD, are the adversary or plaintiff of whom Job speaks. This view makes the whole clear and consistent, and saves Job from the charge of presumptuous rashness. See also Kennicott's Remarks, p. 163. It would not be right to say that no other interpretation has been given of the first clause of ver. 10 than that given above. The manner in which Coverdale has translated the 9th and 10th verses is the way in which they are generally understood: Yf my hert hath lusted after my neghbour's wife, or yf I have layed wayte at his dore; O then let my wife be another man's harlot, and let other lye with her. In this sense the word grind is not unfrequently used by the ancients. Horace represents the divine Cato commending the young men whom he saw frequenting the stews, because they left other men's wives undefiled! Virtute esto, inquit sententia dia Catonis, Nam simul ac venas inflavit tetra libido, Hue juvenes aequum est descendere, non alienas Permolere uxores. SAT. lib. i., s. 2., ver. 32.
"When awful Cato saw a noted spark From a night cellar stealing in the dark: 'Well done, my friend, if lust thy heart inflame, Indulge it here, and spare the married dame.'" FRANCIS.
Such were the morals of the holiest state of heathen Rome; and even of Cato, the purest and severest censor of the public manners! O tempora! O mores! I may add from a scholiast: - Molere vetus verbum est pro adulterare, subagitare, quo verbo in deponenti significatione utitur alibi Ausonius, inquiens, Epigr. vii., ver. 6, de crispa impudica et detestabili: - Deglubit, fellat, molitur, per utramque cavernam.
Qui enim coit, quasi molere et terere videtur. Hinc etiam molitores dicti sunt, subactores, ut apud eundem, Epigr. xc., ver. 3.
Cum dabit uxori molitor tuus, et tibi adulter. Thus the rabbins understand what is spoken of Samson grinding in the prison-house: quod ad ipsum Palaestini certatim suas uxores adduxerunt, suscipiendae ex eo prolis causa, ob ipsius robur. In this sense St. Jerome understands Lam. v. 13: They took the young men to GRIND. Adolescentibus ad impudicitiam sunt abusi, ad concubitum scilicet nefandum. Concerning grinding of corn, by portable millstones, or querns, and that this was the work of females alone, and they the meanest slaves; see the note on Exod. xi. 5, and on Judg. xvi. 21. The Greeks use mullav to signify a harlot; and mullw, to grind, and also coeo, ineo, in the same sense in which Horace, as quoted above, alienas PERMOLERE uxores. So Theocritus, Idyll. iv., ver. 58.
eipĈ age moi korudwn, to gerontion h rĈ eti mullei thnan tan kuanofrun erwtida, tav potĈ eknisqh Dic age mihi, Corydon, senecio ille num adhuc molit, Illud nigro supercilio scortillum, quod olim deperibat? Hence the Greek paronomasia, mullada mullein, scortam molere. I need make no apology for leaving the principal part of this note in a foreign tongue. To those for whom it is designed it will be sufficiently plain. If the above were Job's meaning, how dreadful is the wish or imprecation in verse the tenth!