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1. younger--not the three friends
(Job 15:10; 32:4, 6, 7).
A general description:
the lowness of the persons who derided him;
the derision itself. Formerly old men rose to me
Now not only my juniors, who are bound to reverence me
but even the mean and base-born actually deride me;
opposed to, "smiled upon"
This goes farther than even the "mockery" of Job by relations
(Job 12:4; 16:10, 20; 17:2, 6; 19:22).
Orientals feel keenly any indignity shown by the young. Job speaks as a
rich Arabian emir, proud of his descent.
2. If their fathers could be of no profit to me, much less the sons, who are feebler than their sires; and in whose case the hope of attaining old age is utterly gone, so puny are they (Job 5:26) [MAURER]. Even if they had "strength of hands," that could be now of no use to me, as all I want in my present affliction is sympathy.
3. solitary--literally, "hard as a rock"; so translate,
rather, "dried up," emaciated with hunger. Job describes the rudest
race of Bedouins of the desert [UMBREIT].
4. mallows--rather, "salt-wort," which grows in deserts and is eaten
as a salad by the poor [MAURER].
5. they cried--that is, "a cry is raised." Expressing the contempt felt for this race by civilized and well-born Arabs. When these wild vagabonds make an incursion on villages, they are driven away, as thieves would be.
6. They are forced "to dwell."
7. brayed--like the wild ass
for food). The inarticulate tones of this uncivilized rabble are but
little above those of the beast of the field.
8. fools--that is, the impious and abandoned
10. in my face--rather, refrain not to spit in deliberate contempt before my face. To spit at all in presence of another is thought in the East insulting, much more so when done to mark "abhorrence." Compare the further insult to Jesus Christ (Isa 50:6; Mt 26:67).
11. He--that is, "God"; antithetical to "they"; English Version here follows the marginal reading (Keri).
12. youth--rather, a (low) brood. To rise on the right hand is to
accuse, as that was the position of the accuser in court
13. Image of an assailed fortress continued. They tear up the path
by which succor might reach me.
But it is better to retain the image of
Job 30:12, 13.
"They came [upon me] as through a wide breach," namely, made by
the besiegers in the wall of a fortress
17. In the Hebrew, night is poetically personified, as in
"night pierceth my bones (so that they fall) from me" (not as
English Version, "in me"; see
18. of my disease--rather, "of God"
20. stand up--the reverential attitude of a suppliant before a
22. liftest . . . to wind--as a "leaf" or "stubble"
The moving pillars of sand, raised by the wind to the clouds, as
described by travellers, would happily depict Job's agitated spirit, if
it be to them that he alludes.
24. Expressing Job's faith as to the state after death. Though one must go to the grave, yet He will no more afflict in the ruin of the body (so Hebrew for "grave") there, if one has cried to Him when being destroyed. The "stretching of His hand" to punish after death answers antithetically to the raising "the cry" of prayer in the second clause. MAURER gives another translation which accords with the scope of Job 30:24-31; if it be natural for one in affliction to ask aid, why should it be considered (by the friends) wrong in my case? "Nevertheless does not a man in ruin stretch out his hand" (imploring help, Job 30:20; La 1:17)? If one be in his calamity (destruction) is there not therefore a "cry" (for aid)? Thus in the parallelism "cry" answers to "stretch--hand"; "in his calamity," to "in ruin." The negative of the first clause is to be supplied in the second, as in Job 30:25 (Job 28:17).
28. mourning--rather, I move about blackened, though not by the
sun; that is, whereas many are blackened by the sun, I am, by the heat
of God's wrath (so "boiled,"
the elephantiasis covering me with blackness of skin
as with the garb of mourning
This striking enigmatic form of Hebrew expression occurs,
29. dragons . . . owls--rather, "jackals," "ostriches," both of which utter dismal screams (Mic 1:8); in which respect, as also in their living amidst solitudes (the emblem of desolation), Job is their brother and companion; that is, resembles them. "Dragon," Hebrew, tannim, usually means the crocodile; so perhaps here, its open jaws lifted towards heaven, and its noise making it seem as if it mourned over its fate [BOCHART].
31. organ--rather, "pipe" (Job 21:12). "My joy is turned into the voice of weeping" (La 5:15). These instruments are properly appropriated to joy (Isa 30:29, 32), which makes their use now in sorrow the sadder by contrast.