I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I entreated him with my mouth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
mouth—that is, "calling aloud"; formerly a nod was enough. Now I no longer look for obedience, I try entreaty.I called my servant, to do some servile office about me, for my case or relief, and he passed by as if he had been deaf, because he loathed and feared to come near to me; although to my commands I added humble and earnest desires.
With my mouth: either,
1. With gentle and moving speeches; or rather,
2. With my own mouth, and not by a proxy.
and he gave me no answer; whether he would or would not do what he ordered him to do; he took no notice of him, he turned a deaf ear to him, and his back upon him; he came not near him, but kept his place where he was, or walked off without showing any regard to what he said to him; he neither answered him by words, nor by deeds; neither signified his readiness to do what he was ordered, nor did it. In some cases it is criminal in servants to answer again, when they thwart and contradict their masters, or reply in a saucy, surly, and impudent manner; but when they are spoke to about their master's business, it becomes them to answer in a decent, humble, and respectable way, declaring their readiness to do their master's will and pleasure:
I entreated him with my mouth; which is an aggravation of his insolence and disobedience; such was the low condition Job was reduced unto, and such the humility of his mind under his present circumstances, that he laid aside the authority of a master, and only entreated his servant, and begged it as if it was a favour, to do this or the other for him; nor did he signify this by a look and cast of his eye, or by a nod of his head, or by the direction of his hand; but with his mouth he spake unto him, and let him know what he would have done; and this not in an authoritative, haughty, and imperious manner; but with good words, and in submissive language, as it was something he was beholden to his servant for, rather than obedience to be performed.I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 16. - I called my servant, and he gave me no answer. Astounding insolence in an Oriental servant or rather slave (עבד), who should have hung upon his master's words, and striven to anticipate his wishes. I intreated him with my mouth. Begging him probably for some service which was distasteful, and which he declined to render.
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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