Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
2. ye--the other two friends of Job, whom Bildad charges with having
spoken mere "words," that is, empty speeches; opposed to "mark," that is,
come to reason, consider the question intelligently; and then let
3. beasts--alluding to what Job said
vile--rather from a Hebrew root, "to stop up." "Stubborn,"
answering to the stupidity implied in the parallel first clause
[UMBREIT]. Why should we give occasion by your empty speeches for our
being mutually reputed, in the sight of Job and one another, as
(Job 17:4, 10).
4. Rather, turning to Job, "thou that tearest thyself in anger"
be forsaken?--become desolate. He alludes here to Job's words as to
the "rock," crumbling away
(Job 14:18, 19);
but in a different application. He says bitterly "for thee." Wert thou
not punished as thou art, and as thou art unwilling to bear, the
eternal order of the universe would be disturbed and the earth become
desolate through unavenged wickedness [UMBREIT].
Bildad takes it for granted Job is a great sinner
Isa 24:5, 6).
"Shall that which stands fast as a rock be removed for your special
cannot be. The decree of God is unalterable, the light (prosperity) of
the wicked shall at length be put out.
his fire--alluding to Arabian hospitality, which prided itself on
welcoming the stranger to the fire in the tent, and even lit fires to
direct him to it. The ungodly shall be deprived of the means to show
hospitality. His dwelling shall be dark and desolate!
6. candle--the lamp which in the East is usually fastened to the
ceiling. Oil abounds in those regions, and the lamp was kept burning
all night, as now in Egypt, where the poorest would rather dispense
with food than the night lamp
To put out the lamp was an image of utter desolation.
7. steps of his strength--Hebrew, for "His strong steps." A firm
step marks health. To be straitened in steps is to be no longer able to
move about at will
his own counsel--Plans shall be the means of his fall
8. he walketh upon--rather, "he lets himself go into the net"
[UMBREIT]. If the English Version be retained, then understand
"snare" to be the pitfall, covered over with branches and earth, which
when walked upon give way
(Ps 9:15; 35:8).
9. robber--rather answering to "gin" in the parallel clause, "the
noose shall hold him fast" [UMBREIT].
11. Terrors--often mentioned in this book
(Job 18:14; 24:17;
&c.). The terrors excited through an evil conscience are here
drive . . . to his feet--rather, "shall pursue"
him close "at his heels" (literally, "immediately after his feet,"
Hebrew). The image is that of a pursuing conqueror who scatters
the enemy [UMBREIT].
12. The Hebrew is brief and bold, "his strength is hungry."
destruction--that is, a great calamity
ready at his side--close at hand to destroy him
13. UMBREIT has "he" for "it," that is, "in the rage of hunger he
shall devour his own body"; or, "his own children"
Rather, "destruction" from
is nominative to "devour."
strength--rather, "members" (literally, the "branches" of a tree).
the first-born of death--a personification full of poetical horror.
The first-born son held the chief place
so here the chiefest (most deadly) disease that death has ever
"first-born of the poor"--the poorest). The Arabs call fever, "daughter
14. confidence--all that the father trusted in for domestic happiness,
children, fortune, &c., referring to Job's losses.
rooted out--suddenly torn away, it shall bring--that is, he shall
be brought; or, as UMBREIT better has, "Thou (God) shalt bring him
slowly." The Hebrew expresses, "to stride slowly and solemnly." The
godless has a fearful death for long before his eyes, and is at last
taken by it. Alluding to Job's case. The King of terrors, not like the
heathen Pluto, the tabled ruler of the dead, but Death, with all its
terrors to the ungodly, personified.
15. It--"Terror" shall haunt, &c., and not as UMBREIT, "another,"
which the last clause of the verse disproves.
none of his--It is his no longer.
brimstone--probably comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of
to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone
(Job 8:12; 15:30;
17. street--Men shall not speak of him in meeting in the highways;
rather, "in the field" or "meadow"; the shepherds shall no more mention
his name--a picture from nomadic life [UMBREIT].
18. light . . . darkness--existence--nonexistence.
But it is translated "grandson"
20. after . . . before--rather, "those in the
West--those in the East"; that is, all people; literally, "those
behind--those before"; for Orientals in geography turn with their faces
to the east (not to the north as we), and back to the west; so that
before--east; behind--north (so
affrighted--seized with terror