Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
It clamor coelo.
Sublimi feriam sidera vertice.
Attingit solium Joyis.
Compare Genesis 11:4, "Let us build us a tower whose top may reach unto heaven." In Homer the expression not unfrequently occurs, τοῦ γὰρ κλέος οὐρανὸν ἵκει tou gar kleos ouranon hikei. In Seneca (Thyest. Act. v. ver. 1, 2,4,) similar expressions occur:
Aequalis astris gradior, et cunctos super
Altum superbo vertice attingens polum,
Dimitto superos: summa votorum attigi.
The "language" of Zophar would also well express the condition of many a hypocrite whose piety seems to be of the most exalted character, and who appears to have made most eminent attainments in religion. Such a man may "seem" to be a man of uncommon excellence. He may attract attention as having extraordinary sanctity. He may seem to have a remarkable spirit of prayer, and yet all may be false and hollow. Men who design to be hypocrites, aim usually to be "eminent" hypocrites; they who have true piety often, alas, aim at a much lower standard. A hypocrite cannot keep himself in countenance, or accomplish his purpose of imposing on the world, without the appearance of extraordinary devotedness to God; many a sincere believer is satisfied with much less of the appearance of religion. He is sincere and honest. He is conscious of true piety, and he attempts to impose on none. At the same time he makes no attempt scarcely "to be" what the hypocrite wishes "to appear" to be; and hence, the man that shall appear to be the most eminently devoted to God "may" be a hypocrite - yet usually not long. His zeal dies away, or he is suffered to fall into open sin, and to show that he had no true religion at heart.Like his own dung; which men cast away with contempt and abhorrency. Compare 1 Kings 14:10 2 Kings 9:37.
They which have seen him, with admiration at his felicity.
Where is he? i.e. he is no where to be found; he is utterly lost and gone.
they which have seen him shall say, where is he? such as formerly gazed at him, in his prosperity, with wonder and amazement at his grandeur and greatness, now being removed from his outward splendour, or from the world, by death, ask where he is, not being able to see him in his former lustre, nor in the land of the living; see Job 14:10.Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung: they which have seen him shall say, Where is he?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. like his own dung] Zophar is not the most refined of the three, cf. 2 Kings 9:37. On the last words of the verse cf. ch. Job 14:10.Verse 7.- Yet he shall perish for ever like his own dung. Some understand "his own dung-heap," regarding the "ashes" of Job 2:8 as, in reality, a heap of refuse of all kinds; but it is simple
2 Therefore do my thoughts furnish me with a reply,
And indeed by reason of my feeling within me.
3 The correction of my reproach I must hear,
Nevertheless the spirit of my understanding informeth me.
4 Knowest thou this which is from everlasting,
Since man was placed upon the earth:
5 That the triumphing of the evil-doer is not long,
And the joy of the godless is but for a moment?
All modern expositors take Job 20:2 as an apology for the opposition which follows, and the majority of them consider בּעבוּר as elliptical for בעבור זאת, as Tremell., Piscator, and others have done, partly (but wrongly) by referring to the Rebia mugrasch. Ewald observes: "בעבור stands without addition, because this is easily understood from the כן in לכן." But although this ellipsis is not inadmissible (comp. לכן equals לכן אשׁר, Job 34:25; כעל, Isaiah 59:18), in spite of it Job 20:2 furnishes no meaning that can be accepted. Most expositors translate: "and hence the storm within me" (thus e.g., Ewald); but the signification perturbatio animi, proposed by Schultens for חוּשׁי, after the Arab. ḥâš, is too remote from the usage of Hebrew. Moreover, this Arab. ḥâš signifies prop. to scare, hunt, of game; not, however: to be agitated, to storm, - a signification which even the corresponding Hebr. חוּשׁ, properare, does not support. Only a few expositors (as Umbreit, who translates: because of my storm within me) take בעבור (which occurs only this once in the book of Job) as praepos., as it must be taken in consideration of the infin. which follows (comp. Exodus 9:16; Exodus 20:20; 1 Samuel 1:6; 2 Samuel 10:3). Further, לכן (only by Umbreit translated by "yet," after the Arab. lâkin, lâkinna, which it never signifies in Hebr., where ל is not equals לא, but equals ל with Kametz before the tone) with that which follows is referred by several expositors to the preceding speech of Job, e.g., Hahn: "under such circumstances, if thou behavest thus;" by most, however, it is referred to Job 20:3, e.g., Ew.: "On this account he feels called upon by his thoughts to answer, and hence his inward impulse leaves him no rest: because he hears from Job a contemptuous wounding reproof of himself." In other words: in consequence of the reproach which Job casts upon him, especially with his threat of judgment, Zophar's mind and feelings fall into a state of excitement, and give him an answer to which he now gives utterance. This prospective sense of לכן may at any rate be retained, though בעבור is taken as a preposition (wherefore ... and indeed on account of my inward commotion); but it is far more natural that the beginning of Zophar's speech should be connected with the last word of Job's. Job 20:2 may really be so understood if we connect חושׁי, not with Arab. ḥâš, חושׁ, to excite, to make haste (after which also Saad. and Aben-Ezra: on account of my inward hastening or urging), but with Arab. ḥs, to feel; in this meaning chsh is usual in all the Semitic dialects, and is even biblical also; for Ecclesiastes 2:25 is to be translated: who hath feeling (pleasure) except from Him (read ממנו)? i.e., even in pleasure man is not free, but has conditions fixed by God.
With לכן (used as in Job 42:3) Zophar draws an inference from Job's conduct, esp. from the turn which his last speech has taken, which, as ישׁיבוּני שׂעיפּי
(Note: Thus it is to be read according to the Masoretic note, ומלא לית (i.e., plene, as nowhere else), which occurs in Codd., as is also attested by Kimchi in his Gramm., Moznajim, p. 8; Aben-Ezra in his Gramm., Zachoth 1, b; and the punctuator Jekuthil, in his Darche ha-Nikkud (chapter on the letters יהוא).)
affirms, urges him involuntarily and irresistibly forward, and indeed, as he adds with Waw explic.: on account of the power of feeling dwelling in him, by which he means both his sense of truth and his moral feeling, in general the capacity of direct perception, not perception that is only attained after long reflection. On שׂעיפי, of thoughts which, as it were, branch out, vid., on Job 4:13, and Psychol. S. 181. השׁיב signifies, as everywhere, to answer, not causative, to compel to answer. חוּשׁי is n. actionis in the sense of רגישׁתּי (Targ.), or הרגישׁי (Ralbag), which also signifies "my feeling (αἴσθησις)," and the combination חושׁי בי is like Job 4:21; Job 6:13. Wherein the inference consists in self-evident, and proceeds from Job 20:4. In Job 20:3 expression is given to the ground of the conclusion intended in לכן: the chastisement of my dishonour, i.e., which tends to my dishonour (comp. Isaiah 53:5, chastisement which conduces to our peace), I must hear (comp. on this modal signification of the future, e.g., Job 17:2); and in Job 20:3 Zophar repeats what he has said in Job 20:2, only somewhat differently applied: the spirit, this inner light (vid., Job 32:8; Psychol. S. 154, f), answers him from the perception which is peculiar to himself, i.e., out of the fulness of this perception it furnishes him with information as to what is to be thought of Job with his insulting attacks, viz., (this is the substance of the השׁיב of the thoughts, and of the ענות of the spirit), that in this conduct of Job only his godlessness is manifest. This is what he warningly brings against him, Job 20:4 : knowest thou indeed (which, according to Job 41:1; 1 Kings 21:19, sarcastically is equivalent to: thou surely knowest, or in astonishment: what dost thou not know?!) this from the beginning, i.e., this law, which has been in operation from time immemorial (or as Ew.: hoccine scis aeternum esse, so that מני־עד is not a virtual adj., but virtual predicate-acc.), since man was placed (שׂים infin., therefore prop., since one has placed man) upon the earth (comp. the model passage, Deuteronomy 4:32), that the exulting of the wicked is מקּרוב, from near, i.e., not extending far, enduring only a short time (Arab. qrı̂b often directly signifies brevis); and the joy of the godless עדי־רגע, only for a moment, and continuing no longer?
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