Does not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Doth not he.—The “He” is emphatic, obviously meaning God. His appeal is to the All-seeing knowledge of God, whom nothing escapes, and who is judge of the hearts and reins (Psalm 7:9; Psalm 44:21; Jeremiah 17:10; Jeremiah 20:12). (Comp. Acts 25:11.)Job 31:3. Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)4. Here “ways” and “steps” are said of things so slight as the glance of the eye. These are “seen” and “counted” by God. The thought of God in these verses is as lofty as the conception of morality is close and inward.Verse 4. - Doth not he see my ways, and count all my steps? (see above, Job 7:18-20; and below, Job 34:21. Comp. also Psalm 139:3; Proverbs 5:21; Proverbs 15:3, etc.).
I rose in the assembly, I gave free course to my complaint.
29 I am become a brother of the jackals
And a companion of ostriches.
30 My skin having become black, peels off from me,
And my bones are parched with dryness.
31 My harp was turned to mourning,
And my pipe to tones of sorrow.
Several expositors (Umbr., Vaih., Hlgst.) understand קדר of the dirty-black skin of the leper, but contrary to the usage of the language, according to which, in similar utterances (Psalm 35:14; Psalm 38:7; Psalm 42:10; Psalm 43:2, comp. supra, Job 5:11), it rather denotes the dirty-black dress of mourners (comp. Arab. qḏḏr, conspurcare vestem); to understand it of the dirty-black skin as quasi sordida veste (Welte) is inadmissible, since this distortion of the skin which Job bewails in Job 30:30 would hardly be spoken of thus tautologically. קדר therefore means in the black of the שׂק, or mourning-linen, Job 16:15, by which, however, also the interpretation of בּלא חמּה, "without sunburn" (Ew., Hirz.), which has gained ground since Raschi's day (לא שׁשׁזפתני השׁמשׁ), is disposed of; for "one can perhaps say of the blackness of the skin that it does not proceed from the sun, but not of the blackness of mourning attire" (Hahn). קדר also refutes the reading בלא חמה in lxx Complut. (ἄνευ θυμοῦ),
(Note: Whereas Codd. Alex., Vat., and Sinait., ἄνευ φιμοῦ, which is correctly explained by κημοῦ in Zwingli's Aldine, but gives no sense.)
Syr., Jer. (sine furore), which ought to be understood of the deposition of the gall-pigment on the skin, and therefore of jaundice, which turns it (especially in tropical regions) not merely yellow, but a dark-brown. Hahn and a few others render בלא חמה correctly in the sense of בחשׁך, "without the sun having shone on him." Bereft of all his possessions, and finally also of his children, he wanders about in mourning (הלּך as Job 24:10; Psalm 38:7), and even the sun had clothed itself in black to him (which is what קדר השׁמשׁ means, Joel 2:10 and freq.); the celestial light, which otherwise brightened his path, Job 29:3, was become invisible. We must not forget that Job here reviews the whole chain of afflictions which have come upon him, so that by Job 30:28 we have not to think exclusively, and also not prominently, of the leprosy, since הלכתי indeed represents him as still able to move about freely.
In Job 30:28 the accentuation wavers between Dech, Munach, Silluk, according to which בּקּהל אשׁוּע belong together, which is favoured by the Dagesh in the Beth, and Tarcha, Munach, Silluk, according to which (because Munach, according to Psalter ii. 503, 2, is a transformation of Rebia mugrasch) קמתּי בּקּהל belong together. The latter mode of accentuation, according to which בקהל must be written without the Dag. instead of בּקהל (vid., Norzi), is the only correct one (because Dech cannot come in the last member of the sentence before Silluk), and is also more pleasing as to matter: I rose (and stood) in the assembly, crying for help, or more generally: wailing. The assembly is not to be thought of as an assembly of the people, or even tribunal (Ew.: "before the tribunal seeking a judge, with lamentations"), but as the public; for the thought that Job sought help against his unmerited sufferings before a human tribunal is absurd; and, moreover, the thought that he cried for help before an assembly of the people called together to take counsel and pronounce decisions is equally absurd. Welte, however, who interprets: I was as one who, before an assembled tribunal, etc., introduces a quasi of which there is no trace in the text. בּקּהל must therefore, without pressing it further, be taken in the sense of publice, before all the world (Hirz.: comp. בקהל, ἐν φανερῷ, Proverbs 26:26); אשׁוּע, however, is a circumstantial clause declaring the purpose (Ew. 337, b; comp. De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe ii. 357), as is frequently the case after קום, Job 16:8; Psalm 88:11; Psalm 102:14 : surrexi in publico ut lamentarer, or lamentaturus, or lamentando. In this lament, extorted by the most intense pain, which he cannot hold back, however many may surround him, he is become a brother of those תּנּים, jackals (canes aurei), whose dolorous howling produces dejection and shuddering in all who hear it, and a companion of בּנות יענה, whose shrill cry is varied by wailing tones of deep melancholy.
(Note: It is worth while to cite a passage from Shaw's Travels in Barbary, ii. 348 (transl.), here: "When the ostriches are running and fighting, they sometimes make a wild, hideous, hissing noise with their throats distended and beaks open; at another time, if they meet with a slight opposition, they have a clucking or cackling voice like our domestic fowls: they seem to rejoice and laugh at the terror of their adversary. During the loneliness of the night however, as if their voice had a totally different tone, they often set up a dolorous, hideous moan, which at one time resembles the roar of the lion, and at another is more like the hoarser voice of other quadrupeds, especially the bull and cow. I have often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies." In General Doumas' book on the Horse of the Sahara, I have read that the male ostrich (delı̂m), when it is killed, especially if its young ones are near, sends forth a dolorous note, wile the female (remda), on the other hand, does not utter a sound; and so, when the ostrich digs out its nest, one hears a languishing and dolorous tone all day long, and when it has laid its egg, its usual cry is again heard, only about three o'clock in the afternoon.)
The point of comparison is not the insensibility of the hearers (Sforno), but the fellowship of wailing and howling together with the accompanying idea of the desert in which it is heard, which is connected with the idea itself (comp. Micah 1:8).
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