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FIRST SERIES CONTINUED.
Job 6:1-30. REPLY OF JOB TO ELIPHAZ.
2. throughly weighed--Oh, that instead of censuring my complaints when thou oughtest rather to have sympathized with me, thou wouldst accurately compare my sorrow, and my misfortunes; these latter "outweigh in the balance" the former.
3. the sand--
4. arrows . . . within me--have pierced me. A poetic image
representing the avenging Almighty armed with bow and arrows
(Ps 38:2, 3).
Here the arrows are poisoned. Peculiarly appropriate, in reference to
the burning pains which penetrated, like poison, into the
inmost parts--("spirit"; as contrasted with mere surface flesh
wounds) of Job's body.
5. Neither wild animals, as the wild ass, nor tame, as the ox, are dissatisfied when well-supplied with food. The braying of the one and the lowing of the other prove distress and want of palatable food. So, Job argues, if he complains, it is not without cause; namely, his pains, which are, as it were, disgusting food, which God feeds him with (end of Job 6:7). But he should have remembered a rational being should evince a better spirit than the brute.
6. unsavoury--tasteless, insipid. Salt is a chief necessary of
life to an Easterner, whose food is mostly vegetable.
7. To "touch" is contrasted with "meat." "My taste refused even to touch it, and yet am I fed with such meat of sickness." The second clause literally, is, "Such is like the sickness of my food." The natural taste abhors even to touch insipid food, and such forms my nourishment. For my sickness is like such nauseous food [UMBREIT]. (Ps 42:3; 80:5; 102:9). No wonder, then, I complain.
8. To desire death is no necessary proof of fitness for death. The ungodly sometimes desire it, so as to escape troubles, without thought of the hereafter. The godly desire it, in order to be with the Lord; but they patiently wait God's will.
9. destroy--literally, "grind" or "crush"
10. I would harden myself in sorrow--rather, "I would exult in the
pain," if I knew that that pain would hasten my death
translates the Hebrew of "Let Him not spare," as "unsparing"; and
joins it with "pain."
11. What strength have I, so as to warrant the hope of restoration to health? a hope which Eliphaz had suggested. "And what" but a miserable "end" of life is before me, "that I should" desire to "prolong life"? [UMBREIT]. UMBREIT and ROSENMULLER not so well translate the last words "to be patient."
12. Disease had so attacked him that his strength would need to be hard as a stone, and his flesh like brass, not to sink under it. But he has only flesh, like other men. It must, therefore, give way; so that the hope of restoration suggested by Eliphaz is vain (see on Job 5:11).
13. Is not my help in me?--The interrogation is better omitted. "There is no help in me!" For "wisdom," "deliverance" is a better rendering. "And deliverance is driven quite from me."
14. pity--a proverb. Charity is the love which judges indulgently of our fellow men: it is put on a par with truth in Pr 3:3, for they together form the essence of moral perfection [UMBREIT]. It is the spirit of Christianity (1Pe 4:8; 1Co 13:7; Pr 10:12; 17:17). If it ought to be used towards all men, much more towards friends. But he who does not use it forsaketh (renounceth) the fear of the Almighty (Jas 2:13).
15. Those whom I regarded as "my brethren," from whom I looked for
faithfulness in my adversity, have disappointed me, as the streams
failing from drought--wadies of Arabia, filled in the winter, but dry
in the summer, which disappoint the caravans expecting to find water
there. The fulness and noise of these temporary streams answer to the
past large and loud professions of my friends; their dryness in summer,
to the failure of the friendship when needed. The Arab proverb says of
a treacherous friend, "I trust not in thy torrent"
16. blackish--literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" (Ps 34:14). A vivid and poetic image to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from the mountains into the valley. In the [second] clause, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid" in the flood [UMBREIT].
17. wax warm--rather, "At the time when." ("But they soon wax") [UMBREIT]. "they become narrower (flow in a narrower bed), they are silent (cease to flow noisily); in the heat (of the sun) they are consumed or vanish out of their place. First the stream flows more narrowly--then it becomes silent and still; at length every trace of water disappears by evaporation under the hot sun" [UMBREIT].
18. turned aside--rather, "caravans" (Hebrew, "travellers") turn aside from their way, by circuitous routes, to obtain water. They had seen the brook in spring full of water: and now in the summer heat, on their weary journey, they turn off their road by a devious route to reach the living waters, which they remembered with such pleasure. But, when "they go," it is "into a desert" [NOYES and UMBREIT]. Not as English Version, "They go to nothing," which would be a tame repetition of the drying up of the waters in Job 6:17; instead of waters, they find an "empty wilderness"; and, not having strength to regain their road, bitterly disappointed, they "perish." The terse brevity is most expressive.
19. the troops--that is, "caravans."
20. literally, "each had hoped"; namely, that their companions would
find water. The greater had been their hopes the more bitter now their
21. As the dried-up brook is to the caravan, so are ye to me,
namely, a nothing; ye might as well not be in existence
Margin "like to them," or "to it" (namely, the waters of the
brook), is not so good a reading.
22. And yet I did not ask you to "bring me" a gift; or to "pay for me out of your substance a reward" (to the Judge, to redeem me from my punishment); all I asked from you was affectionate treatment.
23. the mighty--the oppressor, or creditor, in whose power the debtor was [UMBREIT].
24, 25. Irony. If you can "teach me" the right view, I am willing to be set right, and "hold my tongue"; and to be made to see my error. But then if your words be really the right words, how is it that they are so feeble? "Yet how feeble are the words of what you call the right view." So the Hebrew is used (in Mic 2:10; 1:9). The English Version, "How powerful," &c., does not agree so well with the last clause of the verse.
25. And what will your arguings reprove?--literally, "the reproofs which proceed from you"; the emphasis is on you; you may find fault, who are not in my situation [UMBREIT].
26. Do you imagine--or, "mean."
27. literally, "ye cause" (supply, "your anger")
[UMBREIT], a net,
namely, of sophistry [NOYES and
SCHUTTENS], to fall upon the desolate (one
bereft of help, like the fatherless orphan);
28. be content--rather, "be pleased to"--look. Since you have so falsely judged my words, look upon me, that is, upon my countenance: for (it is evident before your faces) if I lie; my countenance will betray me, if I be the hypocrite that you suppose.
29. Return--rather, "retract" your charges:
30. Will you say that my guilt lies in the organ of speech, and will you call it to account? or, Is it that my taste (palate) or discernment is not capable to form a judgment of perverse things? Is it thus you will explain the fact of my having no consciousness of guilt? [UMBREIT].