Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
CONCLUSION FROM THE
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
"angels") round His throne, will vouchsafe a reply (a judicial
expression) to his rebellious complaint.
2. wrath . . . envy--fretful and passionate complaints, such as
Eliphaz charged Job with
Not, the wrath of God killeth the foolish, and His envy,
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;
4. His children . . . crushed in the gate--A judicial formula. The gate
was the place of judgment and of other public proceedings
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.
the robber--as the Sabeans, who robbed Job. Rather, translate "the
thirsty," as the antithesis in the parallelism, "the hungry," proves.
6. Although--rather, "for truly" [UMBREIT].
affliction cometh not forth of the dust--like a weed, of its own
accord. Eliphaz hints that the cause of it lay with Job himself.
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
UMBREIT for "sparks" has "birds of prey;"
literally, "sons of lightning," not so well.
8. Therefore (as affliction is ordered by God, on account of sin),
"I would" have you to "seek unto God"
11. Connected with
His "unsearchable" dealings are with a view to raise the humble and
abase the proud
Therefore Job ought to turn humbly to Him.
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).
the wise--that is, "the cunning."
is carried headlong--Their scheme is precipitated before it is ripe.
14. Judicial blindness often is sent upon keen men of the world
15. "From the sword" which proceedeth "from their mouth"
(Ps 59:7; 57:4).
16. the poor hath hope--of the interposition of God.
iniquity stoppeth her mouth--
Mic 7:9, 10;
Especially at the last day, through shame
The "mouth" was the offender
and the mouth shall then be stopped
at the end.
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
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
Eliphaz does not give due prominence to this truth, but rather to
Job's sin. It is Elihu alone
who fully dwells upon the truth, that affliction is mercy and justice
in disguise, for the good of the sufferer.
18. he maketh sore, and bindeth up--
An image from binding up a wound. The healing art consisted much at
that time in external applications.
19. in six . . . yea, in seven--
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."
of the sword--
Hands are given to the sword personified as a living agent.
(Psalm 73. 9).
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
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
and the last of this verse to the last of that verse. The full
realization of this is yet future
(Isa 65:23, 25;
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
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
25. as the grass--
Properly, "herb-bearing seed"
(Ge 1:11, 12).
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
Thou shalt come--not literally, but expressing willingness to die.
Eliphaz speaks from the Old Testament point of view, which made full
years a reward of the righteous
and premature death the lot of the wicked
The righteous are immortal till their work is done. To keep them longer
would be to render them less fit to die. God takes them at their best
The good are compared to wheat
cometh in--literally, "ascends." The corn is lifted up off the earth
and carried home; so the good man "is raised into the heap of sheaves"
27. searched it . . . for thy good--literally, "for thyself"
Pr 2:4; 9:12).