Job 19:15
They that dwell in my house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 19:15-16. They that dwell in my house — Hebrew, גרי ביתי, garei beethei, peregrini domus meæ, the sojourners of my house, that is, those that formerly were kindly entertained at my house, whether strangers, widows, or the fatherless; nay, the people of my family, even my maids, who, by reason of their sex, have commonly more tender and compassionate hearts than men, count me for a stranger — Have forgotten the respect they owe, and were wont to pay to me, and regard my commands and concerns no more than if I were a stranger to whom they had no relation. I called my servant — To do some servile office; and he gave me no answer — He regarded not what I said; no, not when I besought him, as if he had been my master. 19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.They that dwell in mine house - The trials came to his very dwelling, and produced a sad estrangement there. The word used here גרי gārēy from גוּר gûr means properly those who "sojourn" in a house for a little time. It may refer to guests, strangers, servants, clients, or tenants. The essential idea is, that they were not "permanent" residents, though for a time they were inmates of the family. Jerome renders the place, "Inquilini domus meoe - the tenants of my house." The Septuagint, Γείτονες οἰχιάς Geitones oikias - neighbors. Schultens supposes it means "clients," or those who were taken under the protection of a great man. He quotes from the Arabian poets to show that the word is used in that sense, and particularly a passage from the "Hamasa," which he thus translates:

Descendite sub alas meas, alasque gentis meae.

Ut sim praesidium vobis quum pugna con seritur.

Namque testamento injunxit mihi pater, ut reciperem vos hospites.

Omnemque oppressorem a vobis propulsarem.

There can be no doubt that Job refers to "dependents," but whether in the capacity of servants, tenants, or clients, it is not easy to determine, and is not material. Dr. Good renders it "sojourners," and this is a correct rendering of the word. This would be clearly the sense if the corresponding member of the parallelism were not "maids." or female servants. "That" requires us to understand here persons who were "somehow" engaged in the service of Job. Perhaps his clients, or those who came for protection, were under obligation to some sort of service as the return of his patronage.

And my maids - Female domestics. The Chaldee, however, renders this לחינתי - "my concubines;" but the correct reference is to female female servants.

I am an alien - That is, to them. They cease to treat me as the head of the family.

15. They that dwell, &c.—rather, "sojourn": male servants, sojourning in his house. Mark the contrast. The stranger admitted to sojourn as a dependent treats the master as a stranger in his own house. They that dwell in mine house, Heb. the sojourners of my house, i.e. such as had formerly sojourned with me, whether strangers. widows, and fatherless, whom by the law of charity and hospitality he entertained; or hired servants, who had for a good while their habitation and subsistence in his family.

My maids; who, by reason of their sex, commonly have and should have more tender and compassionate hearts than men. And therefore this is God’s doing, who hath hardened their hearts against me.

Count me for a stranger; regard my commands and concerns no more than a stranger.

I am an alien in their sight; the same thing repeated, through vehemency of passion, because this lay very heavy upon him. They that dwell in mine house,.... Not his neighbours, as the Septuagint; for though they dwelt near his house, they did not dwell in it; nor inmates and sojourners, lodgers with him, to whom he let out apartments in his house; this cannot be supposed to have been his case, who was the greatest man in all the east; nor even tenants, that hired houses and lands of him; for the phrase is not applicable to them; it designs such who were inhabitants in his house. Job amidst all his calamities had an house to dwell in; it is a tradition mentioned by Jerom (c), that Job's house was in Carnea, a large village in his time, in a corner of Batanea, beyond the floods of Jordan; and he had people dwelling with him in it, who are distinct from his wife, children, and servants after mentioned; and are either "strangers" (d) as the word sometimes signifies, he had taken into his house in a way of hospitality, and had given them lodging, and food, and raiment, as the light of nature and law of God required, Deuteronomy 10:18; or else proselytes, of whom this word (e) is sometimes used, whom he had been the instrument of converting from idolatry, superstition, and profaneness, and of gaining them over to the true religion; and whom he had taken into his house, to instruct them more and more in the ways of God, such as were the trained servants in Abraham's family: these, says he,

and my maids, count me for a stranger; both the one and the other, the strangers he took out of the streets, and the travellers he opened his doors unto, and entertained in a very generous and hospitable manner; the proselytes he had made, and with whom he had taken so much pains, and to whom he had shown so much kindness and goodness, and been the means of saving their souls from death; and his maidens he had hired into his house, to do the business of it, and who ought to have been obedient and respectful to him, and whose cause he had not despised, but had treated them with great humanity and concern; the Targum wrongly renders the word, "my concubines"; yet these one and another looked upon him with an air of the utmost indifference, not as if he was the master of the house, but a stranger in it, as one that did not belong unto it, and they had scarce ever seen with their eyes before; which was very ungrateful, and disrespectful to the last degree; and if they reckoned him a stranger to God, to his grace, to true religion and godliness, this was worse still; and especially in the proselytes of his house, who owed their conversion, their light and knowledge in divine things, to him as an instrument:

I am an alien in their sight; as a foreigner, one of another kingdom and nation, of a different habit, speech, religion, and manners; they stared at him as if they had never seen him before, as some strange object to be looked at, an uncommon spectacle, that had something in him or about him unusual and frightful; at least contemptible and to be disdained, and not to be spoke to and familiarly conversed with, but to be shunned and despised.

(c) De loc. Heb. fol. 89. M. (d) "peregrini", Schmidt, Schultens. (e) Apud Rabbinos, passim.

{h} They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.

(h) My household servants by all these losses Job shows that touching the flesh he had great opportunity to be moved.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15–16. Then those unrelated to him within his house, the menials and slaves. Those who, as Oriental servants, used to be subservient and observant of the slightest sign from their master (Psalm 123:2)—these “ducking observants” now refuse to answer when he calls, and must be besought for their service. Very soon the reflection of one’s fall is thrown from the countenances of those higher in rank down upon the faces of the servants, where it shows itself without any delicacy or reserve. Job 19:16 reads, I call my servant and he giveth me no answer: I must entreat him with my mouth.Verse 15. - They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger. Even the inmates of his house, male and female, his servants, guards, retainers, handmaids, and the like, looked on him and treated him as if unknown to them. l am an alien in their sight. Nay, not only as if unknown, but "as an alien," i.e. a foreigner. 7 Behold I cry violence, and I am not heard;

I cry for help, and there is no justice.

8 My way He hath fenced round, that I cannot pass over,

And He hath set darkness on my paths.

9 He hath stripped me of mine honour,

And taken away the crown from my head.

10 He destroyed me on every side, then Iperished,

And lifted out as a tree my hope.

11 He kindled His wrath against me,

And He regarded me as one of His foes.

He cries aloud חמס (that which is called out regarded as accusa. or as an interjection, vid., on Habakkuk 1:2), i.e., that illegal force is exercised over him. He finds, however, neither with God nor among men any response of sympathy and help; he cries for help (which שׁוּע, perhaps connected with ישׁע, Arab. s‛t, from ישׁע, Arab. ws‛, seems to signify), without justice, i.e., the right of an impartial hearing and verdict, being attainable by him. He is like a prisoner who is confined to a narrow space (comp. Job 3:23; Job 13:27) and has no way out, since darkness is laid upon him wherever he may go. One is here reminded of Lamentations 3:7-9; and, in fact, this speech generally stands in no accidental mutual relation to the lamentations of Jeremiah. The "crown of my head" has also its parallel in Lamentations 5:16; that which was Job's greatest ornament and most costly jewel is meant. According to Job 29:14, צדק and משׁפט were his robe and diadem. These robes of honour God has stripped from him, this adornment more precious than a regal diadem He has taken from him since, i.e., his affliction puts him down as a transgressor, and abandons him to the insult of those around him. God destroyed him roundabout (destruxit), as a house that is broken down on all sides, and lifted out as a tree his hope. הסּיע does not in itself signify to root out, but only to lift out (Job 4:21, of the tent-cord, and with it the tent-pin) of a plant: to remove it from the ground in which it has grown, either to plant it elsewhere, as Psalm 80:9, or as here, to put it aside. The ground was taken away from his hope, so that its greenness faded away like that of a tree that is rooted up. The fut. consec. is here to be translated: then I perished (different from Job 14:20 : and consequently he perishes); he is now already one who is passed away, his existence is only the shadow of life. God has caused, fut. Hiph. apoc. ויּחר, His wrath to kindle against him, and regarded him in relation to Himself as His opponents, therefore as one of them. Perhaps, however, the expression is intentionally intensified here, in contrast with Job 13:24 : he, the one, is accounted by God as the host of His foes; He treats him as if all hostility to God were concentrated in him.

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