The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The steps of his strength.—i.e., his giant strides. He shall be the victim of his own devices, and when they seem to hold out the hope of prosperity shall lead him to destruction. (Comp. Ps. 141:11.)
Shall be straitened - Shall be compressed, embarrassed, hindered. Instead of walking freely and at large, he shall be compressed and limited in his goings. "Large steps," "free movement," etc. are proverbial expressions among the Arabs, to denote freedom, prosperity, etc. RosenmulIer. Schultens quotes the following illustrations from the Arabic poets. From Ibn Doreid, "He who does not confine himself within human limits, his vast strides shall be straitened." And from Taurizius," After the battle of Bedrense, the steps were straitened." The meaning here is, that he would be greatly impeded in his movements, instead of going forth at large and in full vigor as he had formerly done.
his own counsel—Plans shall be the means of his fall (Job 5:13).The steps of his strength, i.e. his strong steps, by a vulgar Hebraism. By steps he means his counsels, as the next branch explains it, his attempts and actions; and by steps of strength, such of them as seem to be most firm and settled, contrived with greatest strength of understanding, and carried on with great resolution and might.
Shall be straitened, i. e shall be hindered and entangled. He shall be cast into great difficulties, and troubles, and perplexities, so that he shall not be able to proceed and to accomplish his enterprises, but shall find himself insnared by his own devices, as the next words declare it. This phrase is used also Proverbs 4:11,12, and it is opposed to the enlarging of a man’s way or steps, which signifies success and prosperity, as Psalm 4:1 31:8.
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 of his way, or because God will oppose him, and turn his own devices against him, which he can easily do by throwing in unexpected accidents.
and his own counsel shall cast him down; as Ahithophel's and Haman's did, which issued in their ruin, 2 Samuel 17:23; what wicked men sometimes plot and devise, with a view to their own good, and the injury of others, proves the destruction of themselves; when they have contrived to raise themselves upon the ruins of others, it has been the means of casting them down from the state and condition they were in, instead of raising to an higher, even down to desolation, and into the most miserable circumstances.The steps of his strength shall be straitened, and his own counsel shall cast him down.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. Another figure for the same thought. His firm, wide steps of prosperity and security, when he walked in a wide place (Psalm 4:1), become narrowed and hampered. Widening of the steps is a usual Oriental figure for the bold and free movements of one in prosperity, as straitening of them is for the constrained and timid action of one in adversity, cf. Proverbs 4:12 and Psalm 18:36. The figure hardly describes the consequences of the sinner’s light going out, it is rather independent and parallel to that figure. Cf. ch. Job 13:27.
his own counsel] The evil principles that guide his conduct, ch. Job 10:3, Psalm 1:1. These inevitably lead him into calamity, cf. ch. Job 4:8.Verse 7. - The steps of his strength shall he straitened. In the time of his prosperity the wicked man had a wide sphere within which to exercise his activity, and strode hither and thither at his pleasure. When punishment falls on him, his "steps will be straitened," i.e. his sphere narrowed, his activity cramped, his powers "cabined, cribbed, confined." And his own counsel shall cast him down (see Job 5:13; and comp. Psalm 7:14,-16; 9:16; 10:2; Hosea 10:6).
2 How long will ye hunt for words?!
Attend, and afterwards we will speak.
3 Wherefore are we accounted as beasts,
And narrow-minded in your eyes?
Job's speeches are long, and certainly are a trial of patience to the three, and the heaviest trial to Bildad, whose turn now comes on, because he is at pains throughout to be brief. Hence the reproach of endless babbling with which he begins here, as at Job 8:2, when he at last has an opportunity of speaking; in connection with which it must, however, not be forgotten that Job also, Job 16:3, satirically calls upon them to cease. He is indeed more entitled than his opponents to the entreaty not to weary him with long speeches. The question, Job 18:2, if קנצי six derived from קץ, furnishes no sense, unless perhaps it is, with Ralbag, explained: how long do you make close upon close in order, when you seem to have come to an end, to begin continually anew? For to give the thought: how long do you make no end of speaking, it must have been לא עד־אנה, as the lxx (μέχρι τίνος ου ̓ παύσῃ:) involuntarily inserts the negative. And what should the plur. mean by this rendering? The form קנצי equals קצּי would not cause doubt; for though קצּים does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, it is nevertheless sufficient that it is good Aramaic (קצּין), and that another Hebr. plural, as קצי, קצוי, קצוות, would have been hardly in accordance with the usage of the language. But the plural would not be suitable here generally, the over-delicate explanation of Ralbag perhaps excepted. Since the book of Job abounds in Arabisms, and in Arabic qanaṣa (as synon. of ṣâd) signifies venari, venando capere, and qanṣun (maqnaṣun) cassis, rete venatorium; since, further, שׂים קנצים (comp. שׂים ארב, Jeremiah 9:7) is an incontrovertible reading, and all the difficulties in connection with the reference to קץ lying in the עד־אנה for עד־אנה לא and in the plur. vanish, we translate with Castell., Schultens, J. D. Mich., and most modern expositors: how long (here not different from Job 8:2; Job 19:2) will ye lay snares (construction, as also by the other rendering, like Job 24:5; Job 36:16, according to Ges. 116, 1) for words; which, however, is not equivalent to hunt for words in order to contradict, but in order to talk on continually.
(Note: In post-bibl. Hebrew, קנצים has become common in the signification, proofs, arguments, as e.g., a Karaitic poet says, ויחוד שׁמך בקנצים הקימותי, the oneness of thy name have I upheld with proofs; vid., Pinsker, Likute Kadmoniot. Zur Gesch. des Karaismus und der karischen Literatur, 1860, S. קסו.)
Job is the person addressed, for Bildad agrees with the two others. It is remarkable, however, that he addresses Job with "you." Some say that he thinks of Job as one of a number; Ewald observes that the controversy becomes more wide and general; and Schlottm. conjectures that Bildad fixes his eye on individuals of his hearers, on whose countenances he believed he saw a certain inclination to side with Job. This conjecture we will leave to itself; but the remark which Schlottm. also makes, that Bildad regards Job as a type of a whole class, is correct, only one must also add, this address in the plur. is a reply to Job's sarcasm by a similar one. As Job has told the friends that they act as if they were mankind in general, and all wisdom were concentrated in them, so Bildad has taken it amiss that Job connects himself with the whole of the truly upright, righteous, and pure; and he addresses him in the plural, because he, the unit, has puffed himself up as such a collective whole. This wrangler - he means - with such a train behind him, cannot accomplish anything: Oh that you would understand (הבין, as e.g., Job 42:3, not causative, as Job 6:24), i.e., come to your senses, and afterward we will speak, i.e., it is only then possible to walk in the way of understanding. That is not now possible, when he, as one who plays the part of their many, treats them, the three who are agreed in opposition to him, as totally void of understanding, and each one of them unwise, in expressions like Job 17:4, Job 17:10. Looking to Psalm 49:13, 21, one might be tempted to regard נטמינוּ (on the vowel instead of , vid., Ges. 75, rem. 7) as an interchange of consonants from נדמינו: be silent, make an end, ye profligati; but the supposition of this interchange of consonants would be arbitrary. On the other hand, there is no suitable thought in "why are we accounted unclean?" (Vulg. sorduimus), from טמה equals טמא, Leviticus 11:43 (Ges. 75, vi.); the complaint would have no right connection, except it were a very slight one, with Job 17:9. On the contrary, if we suppose a verb טמה in the signification opplere, obturare, which is peculiar to this consonant-combination in the whole range of the Semitic languages (comp. א־טם, Arab. 'ṭm, obstruere, Aram. טמּם, טמטם, Arab. ṭmm, e.g., Talm.: transgression stoppeth up, מטמטמת, man's heart), and after which this טמה has been explained by the Jewish expositors (Raschi: נחשׁבנו טמומים), and is interpreted by סתם (Parchon: נסתמה דעתנו), we gain a sense which corresponds both with previous reproaches of Job and the parallelism, and we decide in its favour with the majority of modern expositors. With the interrogative Wherefore, Bildad appeals to Job's conscience. These invectives proceed from an impassioned self-delusion towards the truth, which he wards off from himself, but cannot however alter.
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