Job 29:10
The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
29:7-17 All sorts of people paid respect to Job, not only for the dignity of his rank, but for his personal merit, his prudence, integrity, and good management. Happy the men who are blessed with such gifts as these! They have great opportunities of honouring God and doing good, but have great need to watch against pride. Happy the people who are blessed with such men! it is a token for good to them. Here we see what Job valued himself by, in the day of his prosperity. It was by his usefulness. He valued himself by the check he gave to the violence of proud and evil men. Good magistrates must thus be a restraint to evil-doers, and protect the innocent; in order to this, they should arm themselves with zeal and resolution. Such men are public blessings, and resemble Him who rescues poor sinners from Satan. How many who were ready to perish, now are blessing Him! But who can show forth His praises? May we trust in His mercy, and seek to imitate His truth, justice, and love.The nobles - Margin, "The voice of the nobles was hid." Literally, this may be rendered, "as to the voice the nobles hid themselves;" or the phrase here employed (נגידים קול נחבאו nechâbâ'û qôl nāgı̂ydiym) may be rendered, "the voice of the nobles was hid" - it being common in the Hebrew when two nouns come together, of different numbers and gender, for the verb to conform to the latter. Rosenmuller. The word "nobles" here is to be understood in the sense of "counsellors," or men of rank. They would now be called "Emirs," or "Sheiks."

And their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth - They were so awed by my presence that they could not speak.

10. Margin, "voice—hid," that is, "hushed" (Eze 3:26).

Tongue cleaved, &c.—that is, awed by my presence, the emirs or sheiks were silent.

It lay as still as if it had done so, and they could not have spoken.

The nobles held their peace,.... These may be in some respects inferior to the others; not princes of the blood, or sons of kings, who were properly princes, and yet great personages, of a noble extraction, and of considerable families: some think the leaders and generals of armies are meant, commanders and captains, and such like military officers, those sons of Mars, who are generally bold and daring, boisterous and blustering, and full of talk; and yet even these held their peace in the presence of Job:, or their "voice was hid" (r); it could not be heard:

and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth; so that they had no use of it, and it was as if they had none, see Ezekiel 3:26. Here are various expressions made use of, signifying the profound silence of great personages while Job was present; and this silence was owing either to a consciousness of their own weakness, and lest they should, by speaking before him, betray it, and he should expose them; or to the desire they had of hearing Job's opinion first, which was as an oracle to them, and usually determined matters in debate before them; such high sentiments did they entertain of Job's good sense and abilities.

(r) "occultabatur", Drusius; "occultabat se", Piscator.

The nobles held their peace, and their tongue cleaved to the roof of their mouth.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
Verse 10. - The nobles held their peace. The other leading men followed the example of the "princes," and equally kept silence till Job had spoken. And their tongue cleaved to the roof of their month. A pleonastic repetition. The meaning is simply they said nothing, they stood in rapt attention. Job 29:10When Job came hither to the meeting of the tribunal, or the council of the elders of the city, within which he had a seat and a voice, the young men hid themselves, conscious of his presence (which εἰρομένῃ λέξει, or, is expressed paratactically instead of as a period), i.e., they retired into the background, since they feared his look of salutation;

(Note: Comp. jer. Schekalim ii. 5 (in Pinner's Compendium des Thalmud, S. 58): "R. Jochanan was walking and leaning upon R. Chija bar-Abba, R. Eliezer perceived him and hid himself from him (ומטמר לח מקמי). Then said R. Jochanan: This Babylonian insulted him (R. Chija) by two things; first that he did not salute him, and then that he hid himself. But R. Jakob bar-Idi answered him, it is the custom with them for the less not to salute the greater, - a custom which confirms Job's words: Young men saw me and his themselves.")

and old men (hoary heads) stood up, remained standing (ἀσυνδέτως, as Job 20:19; Job 28:4). קוּם signifies to stand up, עמד to advance towards any one and remain standing. They rose in order not to seat themselves until he was seated. שׂרים are magnates (proceres) of the city. These עצרוּ בּמלּים, cohibebant verba (עצר with Beth of the obj., as Job 4:2; Job 12:15), and keeping a respectful silence, they laid their hand on their mouth (comp. Job 21:5). All stepped back and desisted from speaking before him: The speech of illustrious men (נגידים from נגד, Arab. njd, to be visible, pleasant to the sight, comp. supra, p. 510) hid itself (not daring to be heard), and the tongue of the same clave (motionless) to their palate. We do not translate: as to the voice illustrious men hid themselves, for it is only the appearance produced by the attractional construction Ges. 148, 1 that has led to the rendering of קול־נגידים as an acc. of closer definition (Schult., Hahn: quod ad vocem eminentium, comprimebantur). The verb is construed with the second member of the genitival expression instead of with the first, as with מספר, Job 15:20; Job 21:21; Job 38:21, and with ראשׁ, Job 22:12; a construction which occurs with קול not merely in such exclamatory sentences as Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 52:8, but also under other conditions, 1 Kings 1:41, comp. Job 14:6. This may be best called an attraction of the predicate by the second member of the compound subject, like the reverse instance, Isaiah 2:11; and it is sometimes found even where this second member is not logically the more important. Thus Ew. transl.: "the voice of the nobles hides itself;" whereas Olsh., wrongly denying that the partt. in passages like Genesis 4:10; 1 Kings 1:41, are to be taken as predicative, wishes to read נחבא, which is the more inadmissible, as even the choice of the verb is determined by the attractional construction.

The strophe which follows tells how it came to pass that those in authority among the citizens submitted to him, and that on all sides the people were zealous to show him tokens of respect.

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