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Job 4:1-21. FIRST SPEECH OF ELIPHAZ.
1. Eliphaz--the mildest of Job's three accusers. The greatness of Job's calamities, his complaints against God, and the opinion that calamities are proofs of guilt, led the three to doubt Job's integrity.
3. weak hands-- Isa 35:3; 2Sa 4:1.
6. Is not this thy fear, thy confidence, &c.--Does thy fear, thy confidence, come to nothing? Does it come only to this, that thou faintest now? Rather, by transposition, "Is not thy fear (of God) thy hope? and the uprightness of thy ways thy confidence? If so, bethink thee, who ever perished being innocent?" [UMBREIT]. But Lu 13:2, 3 shows that, though there is a retributive divine government even in this life, yet we cannot judge by the mere outward appearance. "One event is outwardly to the righteous and to the wicked" (Ec 9:2); but yet we must take it on trust, that God deals righteously even now (Ps 37:25; Isa 33:16). Judge not by a part, but by the whole of a godly man's life, and by his end, even here (Jas 5:11). The one and the same outward event is altogether a different thing in its inward bearings on the godly and on the ungodly even here. Even prosperity, much more calamity, is a punishment to the wicked (Pr 1:32). Trials are chastisements for their good (to the righteous) (Ps 119:67, 71, 75). See Preface on the DESIGN of this book (see Introduction).
8. they that plough iniquity . . . reap the same-- (Pr 22:8; Ho 8:7; 10:13; Ga 6:7, 8).
9. breath of his nostrils--God's anger; a figure from the fiery winds of the East (Job 1:16; Isa 5:25; Ps 18:8, 15).
10, 11. lion--that is, wicked men, upon whom Eliphaz wished to show that calamities come in spite of their various resources, just as destruction comes on the lion in spite of his strength (Ps 58:6; 2Ti 4:17). Five different Hebrew terms here occur for "lion." The raging of the lion (the tearer), and the roaring of the bellowing lion and the teeth of the young lions, not whelps, but grown up enough to hunt for prey. The strong lion, the whelps of the lioness (not the stout lion, as in English Version) [BARNES and UMBREIT]. The various phases of wickedness are expressed by this variety of terms: obliquely, Job, his wife, and children, may be hinted at by the lion, lioness, and whelps. The one verb, "are broken," does not suit both subjects; therefore, supply "the roaring of the bellowing lion is silenced." The strong lion dies of want at last, and the whelps, torn from the mother, are scattered, and the race becomes extinct.
12. a thing--Hebrew, a "word." Eliphaz confirms his view by a
divine declaration which was secretly and unexpectedly imparted to him.
13. In thoughts from the visions of the night--[So WINER]. While
revolving night visions previously made to him
Rather, "In my manifold (Hebrew, divided) thoughts,
before the visions of the night commenced"; therefore not a
16. It stood still--At first the apparition glides before Eliphaz, then stands still, but with that shadowy indistinctness of form which creates such an impression of awe; a gentle murmur: not (English Version): there was silence; for in 1Ki 19:12, the voice, as opposed to the previous storm, denotes a gentle, still murmur.
17. mortal man . . . a man--Two Hebrew words for "man" are used;
the first implying his feebleness; the second his strength. Whether
feeble or strong, man is not righteous before God.
18. folly--Imperfection is to be attributed to the angels, in comparison with Him. The holiness of some of them had given way (2Pe 2:4), and at best is but the holiness of a creature. Folly is the want of moral consideration [UMBREIT].
19. houses of clay--
Houses made of sun-dried clay bricks are common in the East; they are
easily washed away
Man's foundation is this dust
20. from morning to evening--unceasingly; or, better, between the
morning and evening of one short day (so
21. their excellency--
(Ps 39:11; 146:4;
But UMBREIT, by an Oriental image from a bow,
useless because unstrung: "Their nerve, or string would
be torn away." MICHAELIS, better in accordance with
makes the allusion be to the cords of a tabernacle taken down