He mocks at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turns he back from the sword.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
goeth on—goeth forth (Nu 1:3; 21:23).At fear, i.e. at all instruments and objects of terror, as fear is oft used, as Proverbs 1:26 10:21. He despiseth what other creatures dread.
From the sword; or, because of the sword; or, for fear of the sword, as this phrase is used, Isaiah 21:15 31:8 Jeremiah 14:16 1:16.
neither turneth he back from the sword; the naked sword, when it is drawn against him, and ready to be thrust into him; the horse being so bold and courageous was with the Egyptians a symbol of courage and boldness (v).He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)22. from the sword] lit. because of, or, before the sword.Verse 22. - He mocketh at fear, and is not affrighted; neither turneth he back from the sword. "The cavalry of modern times will rush undismayed upon the line of opposing bayonets" (Professor Lee). "We do not believe that a body of infantry ever existed that, with the bayonet alone, unsupported by fire, could have checked the determined charge of good horsemen" (Denison, p. 510). Job 39:3, and comp. e.g., Isaiah 32:11.). Jer. translates correctly according to the sense: quasi non sint sui, but ל is not directly equivalent to כּ; what is meant is, that by the harshness of her conduct she treats her young as not belonging to her, so that they become strange to her, Ew. 217, d. In Job 39:16 the accentuation varies: in vain (לריק with Rebia mugrasch) is her labour that is devoid of anxiety; or: in vain is her labour (לריק( ruobal r with Tarcha, יגיעהּ with Munach vicarium) without anxiety (on her part); or: in vain is her labour (לריק with Mercha, יגיעה with Rebia mugrasch), yet she is without anxiety. The middle of these renderings (לריק in all of them, like Isaiah 49:4 equals לריק, Isaiah 65:23 and freq.) seems to us the most pleasing: the labour of birth and of the brooding undertaken in places where the eggs are put beyond the danger of being crushed, is without result, without the want of success distressing her, since she does not anticipate it, and therefore also takes no measures to prevent it. The eggs that are only just covered with earth, or that lie round about the nest, actually become a prey to the jackals, wild-cats, and other animals; and men can get them for themselves one by one, if they only take care to prevent their footprints being recognised; for if the ostrich observes that its nest is discovered, it tramples upon its own eggs, and makes its nest elsewhere (Schlottm., according to Lichtenstein's Sdafrik. Reise). That it thus abandons its eggs to the danger of being crushed and to plunder, arises, according to Job 39:17, from the fact that God has caused it to forget wisdom, i.e., as Job 39:17 explains, has extinguished in it, deprived it of, the share thereof (ב as Isaiah 53:12, lxx ἐν, as Acts 8:21) which it might have had. It is only one of the stupidities of the ostrich that is made prominent here; the proverbial ahmaq min en-na‛âme, "more foolish than the ostrich," has its origin in more such characteristics. But if the care with which other animals guard their young ones is denied to it, it has in its stead another remarkable characteristic: at the time when (כּעת here followed by an elliptical relative clause, which is clearly possible, just as with בּעת, Job 6:17) it stretches (itself) on high, i.e., it starts up with alacrity from its ease (on the radical signification of המריא equals המרה), and hurries forth with a powerful flapping of its wings, half running half flying, it derides the horse and its rider - they do not overtake it, it is the swiftest of all animals; wherefore Arab. '‛dâ mn 'l-dlı̂m ‛zalı̂m, equivalent to delı̂m according to a less exact pronunciation, supra, p. 582, note) and Arab. 'nfr mn 'l-n‛âmt, fleeter than the ostrich, is just as proverbial as the above Arab. 'ḥmq mn 'l-wa‛nat; and "on ostrich's wings" is equivalent to driving along with incomparable swiftness. Moreover, on תּמריא and תּשׂחק, which refer to the female, it is to be observed that she is very anxious, and deserts everything in her fright, while the male ostrich does not forsake his young, and flees no danger.
(Note: We take this remark from Doumas, Horse of the Sahara. The following contribution from Wetzstein only came to hand after the exposition was completed: "The female ostriches are called רננים not from the whirring of their wings when flapped about, but from their piercing screeching cry when defending their eggs against beasts of prey (chiefly hyaenas), or when searching for the male bird. Now they are called rubd, from sing. rubda (instead of rabdâ), from the black colour of their long wing-feathers; for only the male, which is called חיק (pronounce hêtsh), has white. The ostrich-tribe has the name of בּת יענה bat (Arab. bdt 'l-wa‛nat), 'inhabitant of the desert,' because it is only at home in the most lonely parts of the steppe, in perfectly barren deserts. Neshwn the Himjarite, in his 'Shems el-'olm' (MSS in the Royal Library at Berlin, sectio Wetzst. I No. 149, Bd. i.f. 110b), defines the word el-wa‛na by: ארץ ביצא לא תנבת שׁיא, a white (chalky or sandy) district, which brings forth nothing; and the Kms explains it by ארץ צלבּה, a hard (unfruitful) district. In perfect analogy with the Hebr. the Arabic calls the ostrich abu (and umm) es-sahârâ, 'possessor of the sterile deserts.' The name יענים, Lamentations 4:3, is perfectly correct, and corresponds to the form יעלים (steinbocks); the form פעל (Arab. f‛l) is frequently the Nisbe of פעל and פעלה, according to which יען equals בּת היענה and יעל equals בּת היּעלה, 'inhabitant of the inaccessible rocks.' Hence, says Neshwn (against the non-Semite Firzbdi), wa‛l (יעל and wa‛la) is exclusively the high place of the rocks, and wa‛il (יעל exclusively the steinbock. The most common Arabic name of the ostrich is na‛âme, נעמה, collective na‛âm, from the softness (nu‛ûma, נעוּמה) of its feathers, with which the Arab women (in Damascus frequently) stuff cushions and pillows. Umm thelâthin, 'mother of thirty,' is the name of the female ostrich, because as a rule she lays thirty eggs. The ostrich egg is called in the steppe dahwa, דּחוה (coll. dahû), a word that is certainly very ancient. Nevertheless the Hauranites prefer the word medha, מדחה. A place hollowed out in the ground serves as a nest, which the ostrich likes best to dig in the hot sand, on which account they are very common in the sandy tracts of Ard ed-Dehan (דהנא), between the Shemmar mountains and the Sawd (Chaldaea). Thence at the end of April come the ostrich hunters with their spoil, the hides of the birds together with the feathers, to Syria. Such an unplucked hide is called gizze (גזּה). The hunters inform us that the female sits alone on the nest from early in the day until evening, and from evening until early in the morning with the male, which wanders about throughout the day. The statement that the ostrich does not sit on its eggs, is perhaps based on the fact that the female frequently, and always before the hunters, forsakes the eggs during the first period of brooding. Even. Job 39:14 and Job 39:15 do not say more than this. But when the time of hatching (called el-faqs, פקץ) is near, the hen no longer leaves the eggs. The same observation is also made with regard to the partridge of Palestine (el-hagel, חגל), which has many other characteristics in common with the ostrich.
That the ostrich is accounted stupid (Job 39:17) may arise from the fact, that when the female has been frightened from the eggs she always seeks out the male with a loud cry; she then, as the hunters unanimously assert, brings him forcibly back to the nest (hence its Arabic name zalı̂m, 'the violent one'). During the interval the hunter has buried himself in the sand, and on their arrival, by a good shot often kills both together in the nest. It may also be accounted as stupidity, that, when the wind is calm, instead of flying before the riding hunters, the bird tries to hide itself behind a mound or in the hollows of the ground. But that, when escape is impossible, it is said to try to hide its head in the sand, the hunters regard as an absurdity. If the wind aids it, the fleeing ostrich spreads out the feathers of its tail like a sail, and by constantly steering itself with its extended wings, it escapes its pursuers with ease. The word המריא, Job 39:18, appears to be a hunting expression, and (without an accus. objecti) to describe this spreading out of the feathers, therefore to be perfectly synonymous with the תערישׁ (Arab. t'rı̂š) of the ostrich hunters of the present day. Thus sings the poet Rshid of the hunting race of the Sulubt: 'And the head (of the bride with its loosened locks) resembles the (soft and black) feathers of the ostrich-hen, when she spreads them out (‛arrashannâ). They saw the hunter coming upon them where there was no hiding-place, And stretched their legs as they fled.' The prohibition to eat the ostrich in the Thora (Leviticus 11:16; Deuteronomy 14:15) is perhaps based upon the cruelty of the hunt; for it is with the rarest exceptions always killed only on its eggs. The female, which, as has been said already, does not flee towards the end of the time of brooding, stoops on the approach of the hunter, inclines the head on one side and looks motionless at her enemy. Several Beduins have said to me, that a man must have a hard heart to fire under such circumstances. If the bird is killed, the hunter covers the blood with sand, puts the female again upon the eggs, buries himself at some distance in the sand, and waits till evening, when the male comes, which is now shot likewise, beside the female. The Mosaic law might accordingly have forbidden the hunting of the ostrich from the same feeling of humanity which unmistakeably regulated it in other decisions (as Exodus 23:19; Deuteronomy 22:6., Leviticus 22:28, and freq.).)
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