Job 18:5
Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.
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Job 18:5-7. Yea — Depend upon it, the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition to it; the light of the wicked shall be put out — All their glory and felicity shall perish: and the spark of his fire shall not shine — His light is but a spark, which shines briskly for a moment, and is soon extinguished. The light shall be dark in his tabernacle — That is, in his family. Instead of his former splendour, both he and his children shall fall into extreme contempt and misery. And his candle shall be put out with him — His glory shall not descend to his posterity, as he designed and hoped it should, but die with him. The steps of his strength — His strong steps, by a vulgar Hebraism: his attempts and actions; such of them as seem to be contrived with the greatest strength of understanding, and carried on with the greatest resolution; shall be straitened — Shall be hindered and entangled. He shall be cast into difficulties and perplexities, so that he shall not be able to proceed, and to accomplish his enterprises. And his own counsel shall cast him down — He shall be undone by his own contrivances; either because God will give him up to dangerous and destructive mistakes, or because he will oppose him and turn his own devices against him.18:5-10 Bildad describes the miserable condition of a wicked man; in which there is much certain truth, if we consider that a sinful condition is a sad condition, and that sin will be men's ruin, if they do not repent. Though Bildad thought the application of it to Job was easy, yet it was not safe nor just. It is common for angry disputants to rank their opponents among God's enemies, and to draw wrong conclusions from important truths. The destruction of the wicked is foretold. That destruction is represented under the similitude of a beast or bird caught in a snare, or a malefactor taken into custody. Satan, as he was a murderer, so he was a robber, from the beginning. He, the tempter, lays snares for sinners wherever they go. If he makes them sinful like himself, he will make them miserable like himself. Satan hunts for the precious life. In the transgression of an evil man there is a snare for himself, and God is preparing for his destruction. See here how the sinner runs himself into the snare.Yea - Truly; or, behold. Bildad here commences his remarks on the certain destiny of the wicked, and strings together a number of apparently proverbial sayings, showing that calamity in various forms would certainly overtake the wicked. There is nothing particularly new in his argument, though the use of the various images which he employs shows how deep was the conviction of this doctrine at that time, and how extensively it prevailed.

The light of the wicked shall be put out - Light here is an emblem of prosperity.

The spark of his fire - Hebrew the flame of his fire. There may be an allusion here to the customs of Arabian hospitality. This was, and is, their national glory, and it is their boast that no one is ever refused it. The emblem of fire or flame here may refer to the custom of kindling a fire on an eminence, near a dwelling, to attract the stranger to share the hospitality of the owner of it; or it may refer to the fire in his tent, which the stranger was always at liberty to share. In the collection of the Arabian poems, called the Hamasa, this idea occurs almost in the words of Bildad. The extract was furnished me by the Rev. Eli Smith. It is a boast of Salamiel, a prince of Tema. In extolling the virtues of his tribe, he says, "No fire of ours was ever extinguished at night without a guest; and of our guests never did one disparage us." The idea here is, that the wicked would attempt to show hospitality, but the means would be taken away. He would not be permitted to enjoy the coveted reputation of showing it to the stranger, and the fire which might invite the traveler, or which might confer comfort on him, would be put out in his dwelling. The inability to extend the offer of a liberal hospitality would be equivalent to the deepest poverty or the most trying affliction.

5. That (Job 18:4) 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!

Yea; the thing is true and certain, notwithstanding thy dissatisfaction and opposition against it.

The light of the wicked shall be put out; all their glory and felicity shall perish.

The spark of his fire, i.e. their highest and brightest glory, which he calleth the spark, &c., because, like a spark, it shines briskly for a moment, but is quickly extinct. Yea, the light of the wicked shall be put out,.... Or "nevertheless" (m); notwithstanding all this disregard and inattention to us, and contempt of us, and all the rage, and wrath, and pride, and haughtiness discovered, as if the laws of nature, and stated methods of Providence, must all give way to justify a man in such circumstances as show him to be wicked; this will certainly be his case, his "light shall be put out"; meaning not the light of his eyes, or his corporeal light, which sometimes has been the case of wicked men, as was of the Sodomites, since this, through accident, or old age, is common to good and bad then; but rather moral light, the light of nature, with which every man is enlightened that comes into the world; by which he can discern things natural and civil, and in some degree things moral and religious, though in a very dim manner; and which, when it is abused, may be taken away, and men be given up to judicial blindness, and to a reprobate mind, a mind void of sense and judgment. Cocceius thinks light of doctrine may be intended, speculative and notional light and knowledge of divine things, as of God, and his perfections, which may be more clearly discerned by revelation than by the light of nature; and of Christ, his person, offices, and grace; and of the Gospel, and each of the doctrines of it, which men may be enlightened into, and yet be wicked men, as Balsam, and others; which knowledge may be lost, and light put out, as in the man that had but one talent, and neglected it, and in the idle shepherd, Matthew 25:29; to which may be added the light of joy, or a flash of natural affections that sometimes is to be observed in hypocritical persons, or notional professors, which in time is lost, and comes to nothing, as in Herod and the stony ground hearers, Mark 6:20; but as for the true spiritual light, and experimental knowledge, that can never be lost or put out, but shines more and more unto the perfect day: but it seems best by "light" here to understand outward prosperity, for as darkness is often put for adversity, so light for prosperity in civil things, see Esther 8:16; but then, though this in wicked men is often put out, and they are reduced to distressed circumstances, yet not always; and it sometimes is the case of good men, and was the case of Job, which Bildad had his eye upon, see Job 29:2;

and the spark of his fire shall not shine; all his carnal reasonings, the effects of the light of nature, and all his schemes, especially religious ones built upon them, shall all come to nothing, and be of no effect or use unto him, see Isaiah 50:11; or the sense is, that he shall be reduced to so low a condition in things civil, that he shall have no light nor heat, nor joy and comfort, in this sense; no, not so much as a spark of outward happiness shall be left him.

(m) "attamen, nihilominus", Cocceius, Schultens; so the Targum.

Yea, the light of the wicked shall be {e} put out, and the spark of his fire shall not shine.

(e) When the wicked is in his prosperity, then God changes his state: and this is his ordinary working for their sins.

5–21. The disastrous end of the wicked, in the moral order of the world, is certain

The last verse naturally led over to this idea, which is the theme of the speech. The idea is set out in a great variety of graphic figures, and the speech is studded with sententious and proverbial sayings in the manner of the speaker’s first discourse (ch. 8). The history of the wicked man’s downfall is followed through all its stages:—

Job 18:5-7.

  The principle—the sinner’s light goes out.

Job 18:8-11.

  The progress of his downfall.

Job 18:12-14.

  The final scenes.

Job 18:15-17.

  The extinction of his race and name.

Job 18:18-21.

  Men’s horror of his fate and memory.

5–7. The principle—the sinner’s light goes out. The word yea means “notwithstanding”—in spite of Job’s struggling against the law, the law remains and verifies itself universally. The bright beacon light on the sinner’s tent goes out, and the cheerful flame on his hearth shines no more. His home is desolate. The word “light” lends itself in all languages for such general use, as the Arab proverb says, Fate has put out my light—extinguished my prosperity. The picture here however is scarcely to be so generalized.Verses 5-21. - Bildad, from this point, turns wholly to denunciation. He strings together a long series of menaces - probably ancient saws, drawn from "the wisdom of the Beni Kedem" (1 Kings 4:30), and descriptive of the wretched fate of the wicked man, with whom he identifies Job. Verse 5. - Yes, the light of the wicked shall be put out. Whatever the wicked man may at any time have acquired of splendour, glory, honour, wealth, or prosperity, shall be taken from him, and as it were extinguished. And the spark of his fire shall not shine. Not a single trace of his splendour, not a spark, not a glimmer, shall remain. 13 If I hope, it is for Shel as my house,

In darkness I make my bed.

14 I cry to corruption: Thou art my father! -

To the worm: Thou art my mother and sister!

15 Where now therefore is my hope?

And my hope, who seeth it?

16 To the bars of Shel it descends,

When at the same time there is rest in the dust.

All modern expositors transl.: If I hope (wait) for Shel as my house, etc., since they regard Job 17:13. as a hypothetical antecedent clause to Job 17:15, consisting of four members, where the conclusion should begin with ואיּה, and should be indicated by Waw apodosis. There is no objection to this explanation so far as the syntax is concerned, but there will then be weighty thoughts which are also expressed in the form of fresh thoughts, for which independent clauses seem more appropriate, under the government of אם, as if they were presuppositions. The transition from the preceding strophe to this becomes also easier, if we take Job 17:13. as independent clauses from which, in Job 17:15, an inference is drawn, with Waw indicative of the train of thought (Ew. 348). Accordingly, we regard אם־אקוה in Job 17:13 as antecedent (denoted by Dech, i.e., Tiphcha anterius, just as Psalm 139:8) and ביתי שׁאול as conclusion; the Waw apod. is wanting, as e.g., Job 9:27., and the structure of the sentence is similar to Job 9:19. If I hope, says Job, "Shel is my house" equals this is the substance of my hope, that Shel will be my house. In darkness he has (i.e., in his consciousness, which anticipates that which is before him as near and inevitable) fixed his resting-place (poet. strata, as Psalm 132:3). To corruption and the worm he already cries, father! and, mother! sister! It is, as it seems, that bold figure which is indicated in the Job-like Psalm 88:19 ("my acquaintances are the realms of darkness"), which is here (comp. Job 30:29) worked out; and, differently applied, perhaps Proverbs 7:4 echoes it. Since the fem. רמּה is used as the object addressed by אמי and אחותי, which is besides, on account of its always collective meaning (in distinction from תילעת), well suited for this double apostrophe, we may assume that the poet will have used a masc. object for אבי; and there is really no reason against שׁחת here being, with Ramban, Rosenm., Schlottm., Bttcher (de inferis, 179), derived not from שׁוּח (as נחת, Job 17:16, from נוח), but from שׁחת (as נחת, Isaiah 30:30, from נחת), especially since the old versions transl. שׁחת also elsewhere διαφθορά (putredo), and thereby prove that both derivations accord with the structure of the language. Now already conscious of his belonging to corruption and the worm as by the closest ties of relationship, he asks: Itaque ubi tandem spes mea?

The accentuation connects אפו to the following word, instead of uniting it with איּה, just as in Isaiah 19:12; Luzzatto (on Isaiah 19:12) considers this as a mistake in the Codd., and certainly the accentuation Judges 9:38 (איה Kadma, אפוא Mercha) is not according to our model, and even in this passage another arrangement of the accents is found, e.g., in the edition of Brescia.

(Note: This accentuates ואיה with Munach, אפו with Munach, which accords with the matter, instead of which, according to Luzz., since the Athnach-word תקותי consists of three syllables, it should be more correctly accentuated ואיה with Munach, אפו with Dech. Both, also Munach Munach, are admissible; vid., Br, Thorath Emeth, S. 43, 7, comp. S. 71, not.)

No other hope, in Job's opinion, but speedy death is before him; no human eye is capable of seeing, i.e., of discovering (so e.g., Hahn), any other hope than just this. Somewhat differently Hirz. and others: and my hope, viz., of my recovery, who will it see in process of fulfilment? Certainly תקותי is in both instances equivalent to a hope which he dared to harbour; and the meaning is, that beside the one hope which he has, and which is a hope only per antiphrasin, there is no room for another hope; there is none such (Job 17:15), and no one will attain a sight of such, be it visible in the distance or experienced as near at hand (Job 17:15). The subj. of Job 17:16 is not the hope of recovery which the friends present to him (so e.g., Ew.), but his only real hope: this, avoiding human ken, descends to the lower world, for it is the hope of death, and consequently the death of hope. בּדּי signifies bars, bolts, which Hahn denies, although he says himself that בדים signifies beams of wood among other things; "bolts" is not here intended to imply such as are now used in locks, but the cross bars and beams of wood of any size that serve as a fastening to a door; vectis in exactly the same manner combines the meanings, a carrying-pole and a bar, in which signification בּד is the synon. of בּריח.

(Note: Accordingly we also explain Hosea 11:6 after Lamentations 2:9, and transl.: The sword moveth round in his (Ephraim's) cities, and destroyeth his (Ephraim's) bars (i.e., the bars of his gates), and devoureth round about, because of their counsels.)

The meanings assigned to the word, wastes (Schnurrer and others), bounds (Hahn), clefts (Bttch.), and the like, are fanciful and superfluous. On תּרדנה, instead of תּרד, vid., Caspari on Obad. Oba 1:13, Ges. 47, rem. 3. It is sing., not plur. (Bttch.), for Job 17:15 does not speak of two hopes, not even if, as it seems according to the ancient versions, another word of cognate meaning had stood in the place of the second תקותי originally. His hope goes down to the regions of the dead, when altogether there is rest in the dust. This "together, יחד," Hahn explains: to me and it, to this hope; but that would be pursuing the figure to an inadmissible length, extending far beyond Job 20:11, and must then be expressed יחד לנוּ. Others (e.g., Hirz., Ew.) explain: if at the same time, i.e., simultaneously with this descent of my hope, there is rest to me in the dust. Considering the use of יחד in itself, it might be explained: if altogether entirely there is rest in the dust; but this meaning integer, totus quantus, the word has elsewhere always in connection with a subj. or obj. to which it is referable, e.g., Job 10:8; Psalm 33:15; and, moreover, it may be rendered also in the like passages by "all together," as Job 3:18; Job 21:26; Job 40:13, instead of "altogether, entirely." Since, on the other hand, the signification "at the same time" can at least with probability be supported by Psalm 141:10, and since אם, which is certainly used temporally, brings contemporary things together, we prefer the translation: "when at the same time in the dust there is rest." The descent of his hope to the bars of Hades is at the same time his own, who hopes for nothing but this. When the death of his hope becomes a reality, then at the same time his turmoil of suffering will pass over to the rest of the grave.


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