And he, as a rotten thing, consumes, as a garment that is moth eaten.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 13:28. And he, as a rotten thing — That is, man, as some commentators suppose, thinking that Job speaks of himself in the third person, and that the sense is, this poor frail creature, this carcass, or body of mine; consumeth — Or wasteth away, and is destroyed; as a garment eaten by moths — Others, however, interpret the words thus: He, that is, God, consumeth me (understanding the verb יבלה, jiblee, actively) as rottenness consumeth that in which it is, or, as a rotten thing is consumed, &c. Houbigant’s translation of the verse is, So that I am become like a thing consumed with rottenness; like a garment eaten up by the moth.
"Man, the offspring of a woman,
Is short-lived, and is full of trouble."
As a rotten thing, - כרקב kerâqâb. The word רקב râqab means rottenness, or caries of bones; Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 14:30; Hosea 5:12. Here it means anything that is going to decay, and the comparison is that of man to anything that is thus constantly decaying, and that will soon be wholly gone.
Consumeth. - Or rather "decays," יבלה yı̂bâlâh. The word בלה bâlâh is applied to that which falls away or decays, which is worn out and waxes old - as a garment; Deuteronomy 8:4; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:6.
As a garment that is moth-eaten - "As a garment the moth consumes it." Hebrew On the word moth, and the sentiment here expressed, see the notes at Job 4:19.He; either,
1. Man, or Job, supposed to be God’s adversary in this contest. So he speaks of himself in the third person, as is usual in this and other sacred books. So the sense is, he, i.e. this poor frail creature, this carcass or body of mine, which possibly he pointed at with his finger,
consumeth or pineth away, &c. So he mentions here the effect of God’s severe proceedings against him, to wit, his consumption and utter destruction, which was making haste towards him. Or,
2. God, of whom he hitherto spoke in the second person, and now in the third person; such changes of persons being very frequent in poetical writings, such as this is. So he continueth the former discourse; and as before he mentioned God’s severe inquiry into his ways, and sentence against him, so here he describes the consequence and dreadful execution of it upon him; he, i.e. God, consumeth (for the verb is active) me as rottenness consumeth that in which it is, or as a rotten thing is consumed, and as a moth which eateth a garment. Job 13:25; and so the sense is, that his body, which, for its frailty and weakness, is compared to such things, is like any rotten thing, a rotten tree, as Ben Melech; or any thing else that is rotten, that is consuming and wasting away, as Job's body was, being clothed with worms and clods of dust:
as a garment that is moth eaten; a woollen garment, which gathers dust, out of which motifs arise; for dust, in wool and woollen garments produces moths, as Aristotle (a) and Pliny (b) observe; and a garment eaten by them, slowly, gradually, and insensibly, yet certainly, decays, falls to pieces, becomes useless, and not to be recovered; such was Job's body, labouring under the diseases it did, and was every day more and more decaying, crumbling into dust, and just ready to drop into the grave; so that there was no need, and it might seem cruel, to lay greater and heavier afflictions on it: some interpreters make this "he" to be God himself who sometimes is as rottenness and a moth to men, in their persons, families, and estates; see Hosea 5:12.And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)28. And he as a rotten thing] Or, one who as a rotten thing. Job no more speaks of himself in the first person, but in the third, because he thinks of himself as one of the human race in general, which is feeble and short-lived.Verse 28. - And he. The change of person is very strange, but not unknown to the Hebrew idiom. It is impossible that any one but Job himself can be meant. As a rotten thing consumeth, as a garment that is moth-eaten. An allusion to the character of the disease from which he is suffering.
Then will I not hide myself from Thy countenance:
21 Withdraw Thy hand from me,
And let Thy fear not terrify me -
22 Call then and I will answer,
Or I will speak and answer Thou me!
He makes only two conditions in his prayer, as he has already expressed it in Job 9:34 : (1) That God would grant him a cessation of his troubles; (2) That He would not overwhelm him with His majesty. The chastening hand of God is generally called יד elsewhere; but in spite of this prevalent usage of the language, כּף cannot be understood here (comp. on the contrary Job 33:7) otherwise than of the hand (Job 9:34 : the rod) of God, which lies heavily on Job. The painful pressure of that hand would prevent the collecting and ordering of his thoughts required for meeting with God, and the אימה (Codd. defectively אמתך) of God would completely crush and confound him. But if God grants these two things: to remove His hand for a time, and not to turn the terrible side of His majesty to him, then he is ready whether God should himself open the cause or permit him to have the first word. Correctly Mercerus: optionem ei dat ut aut actoris aut rei personam deligat, sua fretus innocentia, sed interim sui oblitus et immodicus. In contrast with God he feels himself to be a poor worm, but his consciousness of innocence makes him a Titan.
He now says what he would ask God; or rather, he now asks Him, since he vividly pictures to himself the action with God which he desires. His imagination anticipates the reality of that which is longed for. Modern expositors begin a new division at Job 13:23. But Job's speech does not yet take a new turn; it goes on further continually uno tenore.
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