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Job 5:1-27. ELIPHAZ' CONCLUSION FROM THE VISION.
1. if there be any, &c.--Rather, "will He (God) reply to thee?" Job, after the revelation just given, cannot be so presumptuous as to think God or any of the holy ones (Da 4:17, "angels") round His throne, will vouchsafe a reply (a judicial expression) to his rebellious complaint.
3. the foolish--the wicked. I have seen the sinner spread his "root" wide in prosperity, yet circumstances "suddenly" occurred which gave occasion for his once prosperous dwelling being "cursed" as desolate (Ps 37:35, 36; Jer 17:8).
4. His children . . . crushed in the gate--A judicial formula. The gate was the place of judgment and of other public proceedings (Ps 127:5; Pr 22:22; Ge 23:10; De 21:19). Such propylæa have been found in the Assyrian remains. Eliphaz obliquely alludes to the calamity which cut off Job's children.
5. even out of the thorns--Even when part of the grain remains hanging
on the thorn bushes (or, "is growing among thorns,"
the hungry gleaner does not grudge the trouble of even taking it away,
so clean swept away is the harvest of the wicked.
7. Yet--rather, "Truly," or, But affliction does not come from chance, but is the appointment of God for sin; that is, the original birth-sin of man. Eliphaz passes from the particular sin and consequent suffering of Job to the universal sin and suffering of mankind. Troubles spring from man's common sin by as necessary a law of natural consequences as sparks (Hebrew, "sons of coal") fly upward. Troubles are many and fiery, as sparks (1Pe 4:12; Isa 43:2). UMBREIT for "sparks" has "birds of prey;" literally, "sons of lightning," not so well.
12. enterprise--literally, "realization." The Hebrew combines in the one word the two ideas, wisdom and happiness, "enduring existence" being the etymological and philosophical root of the combined notion [UMBREIT].
quoted this clause with the formula establishing its inspiration, "it
is written." He cites the exact Hebrew words, not as he usually
does the Septuagint, Greek version
Haman was hanged on the gallows he prepared for Mordecai
(Es 5:14; 7:10).
15. "From the sword" which proceedeth "from their mouth" (Ps 59:7; 57:4).
16. the poor hath hope--of the interposition of God.
17. happy--not that the actual suffering is joyous; but the consideration of the righteousness of Him who sends it, and the end for which it is sent, make it a cause for thankfulness, not for complaints, such as Job had uttered (Heb 12:11). Eliphaz implies that the end in this case is to call back Job from the particular sin of which he takes for granted that Job is guilty. Paul seems to allude to this passage in Heb 12:5; so Jas 1:12; Pr 3:12. Eliphaz does not give due prominence to this truth, but rather to Job's sin. It is Elihu alone (Job 32:1-37:24) who fully dwells upon the truth, that affliction is mercy and justice in disguise, for the good of the sufferer.
19. in six . . . yea, in seven-- (Pr 6:16; Am 1:3). The Hebrew idiom fixes on a certain number (here "six"), in order to call attention as to a thing of importance; then increases the force by adding, with a "yea, nay seven," the next higher number; here "seven," the sacred and perfect number. In all possible troubles; not merely in the precise number "seven."
22. famine thou shalt laugh--Not, in spite of destruction and famine, which is true (Hab 3:17, 18), though not the truth meant by Eliphaz, but because those calamities shall not come upon thee. A different Hebrew word from that in Job 5:20; there, famine in general; here, the languid state of those wanting proper nutriment [BARNES].
23. in league with the stones of the field--They shall not hurt the fertility of thy soil; nor the wild beasts thy fruits; spoken in Arabia-Deserta, where stones abounded. Arabia, derived from Arabah--a desert plain. The first clause of this verse answers to the first clause of Job 5:22; and the last of this verse to the last of that verse. The full realization of this is yet future (Isa 65:23, 25; Ho 2:18).
24. know--"Thou shalt rest in the assurance, that thine habitation is the abode of peace; and (if) thou numberest thine herd, thine expectations prove not fallacious" [UMBREIT]. "Sin" does not agree with the context. The Hebrew word--"to miss" a mark, said of archers (Jud 20:16). The Hebrew for "habitation" primarily means "the fold for cattle"; and for "visit," often to "take an account of, to number." "Peace" is the common Eastern salutation; including inward and outward prosperity.
26. in a full age--So "full of days"
Not mere length of years, but ripeness for death, one's inward and
outward full development not being prematurely cut short, is denoted
27. searched it . . . for thy good--literally, "for thyself" (Ps 111:2; Pr 2:4; 9:12).