Job 30:29
I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) Dragons and owls are, according to some moderns, jackals and ostriches.

Job 30:29. I am a brother — By imitation of their cries; to dragons — Which howl and wail mournfully in the deserts, (Micah 1:8,) either through hunger and thirst, or when they fight with, and are beaten by, the elephant. Persons of like qualities are often called brethren. And a companion to owls — Whose doleful noises are well known: or, ostriches, as Dr. Waterland renders the word; the females of which are also remarkable for their mournful cry, and which have their habitation in desolate places.30:15-31 Job complains a great deal. Harbouring hard thoughts of God was the sin which did, at this time, most easily beset Job. When inward temptations join with outward calamities, the soul is hurried as in a tempest, and is filled with confusion. But woe be to those who really have God for an enemy! Compared with the awful state of ungodly men, what are all outward, or even inward temporal afflictions? There is something with which Job comforts himself, yet it is but a little. He foresees that death will be the end of all his troubles. God's wrath might bring him to death; but his soul would be safe and happy in the world of spirits. If none pity us, yet our God, who corrects, pities us, even as a father pitieth his own children. And let us look more to the things of eternity: then the believer will cease from mourning, and joyfully praise redeeming love.I am a brother to dragons - That is, my loud complaints and cries resemble the doleful screams of wild animals, or of the most frightful monsters. The word "brother" is often used in this sense, to denote similarity in any respect. The word "dragons" here (תנין tannı̂yn), denotes properly a sea-monster, a great fish, a crocodile; or the fancied animal with wings called a dragon; see the notes at Isaiah 13:22. Gesenius, Umbreit, and Noyes, render this word here jackals - an animal between a dog and a fox, or a wolf and a fox; an animal that abounds in deserts and solitudes, and that makes a doleful cry in the night. So the Syriac renders it an animal resembling a dog; a wild dog. Castell. This idea agrees with the scope of the passage better than the common reference to a sea-monster or a crocodile. "The Deeb, or Jackal," says Shaw, "is of a darker color than the fox, and about the same bigness. It yelps every night about the gardens and villages, feeding upon roots, fruit, and carrion." Travels, p. 247, Ed. Oxford, 1738. That some wild animal, distinguished for a mournful noise, or howl, is meant, is evident; and the passage better agrees with the description of a jackal than the hissing of a serpent or the noise of the crocodile. Bochart supposes that the allusion is to dragons, because they erect their heads, and their jaws are drawn open, and they seem to be complaining against God on account of their humble and miserable condition. Taylor (Concord.) supposes it means jackals or thoes, and refers to the following places where the word may be so used; Psalm 44:19; Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 43:20; Jeremiah 11:11; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 51:37; Lamentations 4:3; Micah 1:8; Malachi 1:3.

And a companion to owls - Margin, ostriches. The word companion here is used in a sense similar to brother in the other member of the parallelism, to denote resemblance. The Hebrew, here rendered owls, is, literally, daughters of answering, or clamor - יענה בנות benôth ya‛ănâh. The name is given on account of the plaintive and mournful cry which is made. Bochart. Gesenius supposes, however, that it is on account of its greediness and gluttony. The name "daughters of the ostrich." denotes properly the female ostrich. The phrase is, however, put for the ostrich of both sexes in many places; see Gesenius on the word יענה ya‛ănâh; compare the notes at Isaiah 13:21. For a full examination of the meaning of the phrase, see Bochart, Hieroz. P. ii. L. 2. cap. xiv. pp. 218-231; see also Job 39:13-17. There can be little doubt that the ostrich is here intended, and Job means to say that his mourning resembled the doleful noise made by the ostrich in the lonely desert. Shaw, in his Travels, says that during the night "they (the ostriches) make very doleful and hideous noises; which would sometimes be like the roaring of a lion; at other times it would bear a nearer resemblance to the hoarser voice of other quadrupeds, particularly of the bull and the ox. I have often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies."

29. dragons … owls—rather, "jackals," "ostriches," both of which utter dismal screams (Mic 1:8); in which respect, as also in their living amidst solitudes (the emblem of desolation), Job is their brother and companion; that is, resembles them. "Dragon," Hebrew, tannim, usually means the crocodile; so perhaps here, its open jaws lifted towards heaven, and its noise making it seem as if it mourned over its fate [Bochart]. A brother, to wit, by imitation of their cries: persons of like qualities are oft called brethren, as Genesis 49:5 Proverbs 18:9.

To dragons; which howl and wail mournfully in the deserts, Micah 1:8, either through hunger or thirst, or when he fights with and is beaten by the elephant. To owls; whose sad and mournful noises are known. Or, ostriches; which also is noted to make lamentable outcries. I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. Or ostriches, as the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; either he was obliged to dwell with such persons as were comparable to these creatures for their devouring words, hissing noise, and venomous speeches, or for want of compassion, and for their cruelty, as David is said to be among lions, Psalm 57:4; or also, he was like unto them, being solitary and alone, all his friends and acquaintance standing at a distance from him, as these creatures love lonesome and desolate places; or because of the wailing and howling noise they make, to which his mournful notes bore some resemblance; see Gill on Micah 1:8; or because, when these creatures cry and howl, and make a noise, no mercy is shown to them, none pities or regards them; and so it was with him; though he stood and cried in ever so public a manner, none had any compassion on him. I am a brother to {u} dragons, and a companion to owls.

(u) I am like the wild beasts that desire solitary places.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. The verse expands the words “I cry” in Job 30:28,

I am a brother to the jackals,

And a companion to the ostriches.

The mournful howl of the jackals is elsewhere referred to, Micah 1:8; the ostrich also sends forth a weird, melancholy cry, particularly by night; hence in ch. Job 39:13 the female ostrich receives the name of “wailer.”20 I cry to Thee for help, and Thou answerest not;

I stand there, and Thou lookest fixedly at me.

21 Thou changest Thyself to a cruel being towards me,

With the strength of Thy hand Thou makest war upon me.

22 Thou raisest me upon the stormy wind,

Thou causest me to drive along And vanish in the roaring of the storm.

23 For I:know: Thou wilt bring me back to death,

Into the house of assembly for all living.

If he cries for help, his cry remains unanswered; if he stands there looking up reverentially to God (perhaps עמד, with משּׁוּע to be supplied, has the sense of desisting or restraining, as Genesis 29:35; Genesis 30:9), the troubling, fixed look of God, who looks fixedly and hostilely upon him, anything but ready to help (comp. Job 7:20; Job 16:9), meets his upturned eye. התבּנן, to look consideringly upon anything, is elsewhere joined with אל, על, עד, or even with the acc; here, where a motionless fixed look is intended, with בּ ( equals fi). It is impossible to draw the לא, Job 30:20, over to ותּתבּנן (Jer., Saad., Umbr., Welte, and others), both on account of the Waw consec. (Ew. 351a), and on account of the separation by the new antecedent עמדתּי. On the reading of two Codd. ותתכנן ("Thou settest Thyself against me"), which Houbigant and Ew. prefer, Rosenm. has correctly pronounced judgment: est potius pro mendo habenda. Instead of consolingly answering his prayer, and instead of showing Himself willing to help, God, who was formerly so kind towards him, changes towards him, His creature, into a cruel being, saevum (אכזר in the book of Job only here and Job 41:2, where it signifies "foolhardy;" comp. לאויב in the dependent passage, Isaiah 63:10), and makes war upon him (שׂטם as Job 16:9) by causing him to feel the strength of His omnipotent hand (עצם יד as Deuteronomy 8:17, synon. חזק).

It is not necessary in Job 30:22 to forsake the accentuation, and to translate: Thou raisest me up, Thou causest me go in the wind (Ew., Hirz., and others); the accentuation of רוח is indeed not a disjunctive Dech, but a conjunctive Tarcha, but preceded by Munach, which, according to the rule, Psalter ii. 500, 5, here, where two conjunctives come together, has a smaller conjunctive value. Therefore: elevas me in ventum, equitare facis me, viz., super ventum (Dachselt), for one does not only say הרכּיב על, 1 Chronicles 13:7, or ל, Psalm 66:12, but also אל, 2 Samuel 6:3; and accordingly תּשּׂאני אל־רוּח is also not to be translated: Thou snatchest me into the wind or storm (Hahn, Schlottm.), but: Thou raisest me up to the wind or storm, as upon an animal for riding (Umbr., Olsh.). According to Oriental tradition, Solomon rode upon the east wind, and in Arabic they say of one who hurried rapidly by, racab al-genâhai er-rih, he rides upon the wings of the wind; in the present passage, the point of comparison is the being absolutely passively hurried forth from the enjoyment of a healthy and happy life to a dizzy height, whence a sudden overthrow threatens him who is unwillingly removed (comp. Psalm 102:11, Thou hast lifted me up and hurled me forth).

The lot which threatens him from this painful suspense Job expresses (Job 30:22) in the puzzling words: וּתמגגני תשׁיּה. Thus the Keri, after which lxx transl. (if it has not read מישׁוּעה), καὶ ἀπέῤῥηιψάς με ἀπὸ σωτηρίας. The modern expositors who follow the Keri, by taking ותמגגני for ותמגג לי (according to Ges. 121, 4), translate: Thou causest counsel and understanding (Welte), happiness (Blumenf.), and the like, to vanish from me; continuance, existence, duration would be better (vid., Job 6:13, and especially on Job 26:3). The thought it appropriate, but the expression is halting. Jerome, who translates valide, points to the correct thing, and Buxtorf (Lex. col. 2342f.) by interpreting the not less puzzling Targum translation in fundamento equals funditus or in essentia equals essentialiter, has, without intending it, hit upon the idea of the Hebr. Keri; תשׁיּה is intended as a closer defining, or adverbial, accusative: Thou causest me to vanish as to existence, ita ut tota essentia pereat h.e. totaliter et omnino. Perhaps this was really the meaning of the poet: most completely, most thoroughly, altogether, like the Arab. ḥaqqan. But it is unfavourable to this Keri, that תושׁיה (from the verb ושׁי), as might be expected, is always written plene elsewhere; the correction of the תשׁוה is violent, and moreover this form, correctly read, gives a sense far more consistent with the figure, Job 30:22. Ges., Umbr., and Carey falsely read תּשׁוּה, terres me; this verb is unknown in Hebr., and even in Chaldee is only used in Ithpeal, אשׁתּוי ( equals Hebr. חרד); for a similar reason Bttcher's תּשׁוה (which is intended to mean: in despair) is also not to be used. Even Stuhlmann perceived that תשׁוה is equivalent to תּשׁוּאה; it is, with Ew. and Olsh., to be read תּשׁוּה (not with Pareau and Hirz. תּשׁוה without the Dag.), and this form signifies, as תשׁואה, Job 36:29, from שׁוא equals שׁאה, from which it is derived by change of consonants, the crash of thunder, or even the rumbling or roar as of a storm or a falling in (procellae sive ruinae). The meaning is hardly, that he who rides away upon the stormy wind melts and trickles down like drops of rain among the pealing of the thunder, when the thunder-storm, whose harbinger is the stormy wind, gathers; but that in the storm itself, which increases in fury to the howling of a tempest, he dissolves away. תּשׁוּה for בּתּשׁוּה, comp. Psalm 107:26 : their soul melted away (dissolved) בּרעה. The compulsory journey in the air, therefore, passes into nothing or nearly nothing, as Job is well aware, Job 30:23 : "for I:know: (without כּי, as Job 19:25; Psalm 9:21) Thou wilt bring me back to death" (acc. of the goal, or locative without any sign). If תּשׁיבני is taken in its most natural signification reduces, death is represented as essentially one with the dust of death (comp. Job 1:21 with Genesis 3:19), or even with non-existence, out of which man is come into being; nevertheless השׁיב can also, by obliterating the notion of return, like redigere, have only the signification of the turn of destiny and change of condition that is effected. The assertion that שׁוּב always includes an "again," and retains it inexorably (vid., Khler on Zechariah 13:7, S. 239), is untenable. In post-biblical Hebrew, at least, it is certain that שׁוּב signifies not only "to become again," but also "to become," as Arab. ‛âd is used as synon. of jâ'in, devenir.

(Note: Vid., my Anekdota der mittelalterlichen Scholastik unter Juden und Moslemen, S. 347.)

With מות, the designation of the condition, is coupled the designation of the place: Hades (under the notion of which that of the grave is included) is the great involuntary rendezvous of all who live in this world.

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