Job 5:20
In famine he shall redeem you from death: and in war from the power of the sword.
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(20) He shall redeem thee.—It is rather, he hath redeemed thee, as though the speaker could appeal to Job’s own experience in the matter which itself became a ground of confident hope for the future.

Job 5:20. In famine he shall redeem thee from death — From that terrible kind of death. Eliphaz might think that Job feared perishing by want, as being so poor, that he needed the contributions of his friends for his relief. And in war from the sword — These things he utters with more confidence, because the rewards or punishments of this life were more constantly distributed to men in the Old Testament, according to their good or bad behaviour, than they are now: and, because it was his opinion, that great afflictions were the certain evidences of wickedness; and, consequently, that great deliverances would infallibly follow upon true repentance.5:17-27 Eliphaz gives to Job a word of caution and exhortation: Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a chastening, which comes from the Father's love, and is for the child's good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Eliphaz also encourages Job to submit to his condition. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for he has not lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven; nay, he is happy because he is afflicted. Correction mortifies his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees. Though God wounds, yet he supports his people under afflictions, and in due time delivers them. Making a wound is sometimes part of a cure. Eliphaz gives Job precious promises of what God would do for him, if he humbled himself. Whatever troubles good men may be in, they shall do them no real harm. Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of trouble. And if the servants of Christ are not delivered from outward troubles, they are delivered by them, and while overcome by one trouble, they conquer all. Whatever is maliciously said against them shall not hurt them. They shall have wisdom and grace to manage their concerns. The greatest blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept from sin. They shall finish their course with joy and honour. That man lives long enough who has done his work, and is fit for another world. It is a mercy to die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when fully ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand any longer. Our times are in God's hands; it is well they are so. Believers are not to expect great wealth, long life, or to be free from trials. But all will be ordered for the best. And remark from Job's history, that steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace him, this is the patience of the saints. Blessed Saviour! how sweet it is to look unto thee, the Author and Finisher of faith, in such moments!In famine he shall redeem thee - That is, will deliver thee from death. On the meaning of the word "redeem," see the notes at Isaiah 43:1, Isaiah 43:3.

From the power of the sword - Margin, as in Hebrew "hands." That is, he should not be slain by armed men. A mouth is often attributed to the sword in the Scriptures, because it devours; "hands" are attributed to it here, because it is by the hand that we perform an undertaking, and the sword is personified, and represented as acting as a conscious agent; compare Ezekiel 35:5, margin. The meaning is that God would protect those who put their trust in him, in times of calamity and war. Doubtless Eliphaz had seen instances enough of this kind to lead him to this general conclusion, where the pious poor had been protected in a remarkable manner, and where signal deliverances had been vouchsafed to the righteous in danger.

20. power—(Jer 5:12). Hebrew, "hands."

of the sword—(Eze 35:5, Margin). Hands are given to the sword personified as a living agent.

In famine; which Job might be thought to fear, as being so poor that he needed his friends’ contributions for his relief.

From death; from that terrible kind of death.

These things he utters with more confidence, partly because the rewards or punishments of this life were more constantly distributed to men in the Old Testament according to their good or bad behaviour than now they are; and partly because it was his particular opinion, that great afflictions were the constant fruits and certain evidences of a man’s wickedness; and consequently, that great mercies and deliverances should infallibly follow upon true repentance and godliness. In famine he shall redeem thee from death,.... In a time of extreme want of provisions, God so cares for his own dear people, that they shall not be starved to death by the famine; so in the famine in Egypt, which the Targum takes notice of, in the times of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, and the patriarchs, there was food provided for them, so that they and their families were sustained, and perished not for lack of the necessaries of life: God sometimes goes out of his ordinary way, and works wonders for his poor and needy in distress, when they cry unto him; see Isaiah 41:17,

and in war from the power of the sword; or, "from the hands of the sword" (f): from swords in hand, when drawn, and men are ready to push with them with all their force; as he delivered and preserved Abraham from the sword of the four kings, when he waged war with them, Genesis 14:20; and the Israelites, in the war of Amalek, in the times of Moses, Exodus 17:8, which the Targum here refers to; and David from the harmful sword of Goliath, 1 Samuel 17:46, and others with whom he was concerned in war: and so the Lord covers the heads of his people in the day of battle oftentimes, when multitudes fall on their right hand and on their left.

(f) "de manu gladii", V. L. "e manibus gladii", Pagninus & Montanus, &c.

In famine he shall redeem thee from death: and in war from the power of the sword.
Verse 20. - In famine he shall redeem thee from death. Famine appears throughout the whole of Scripture as one of God's severest chastisements (see Leviticus 26:19, 20; Deuteronomy 28:22-24; 2 Samuel 21:1; 2 Samuel 24:13; 2 Kings 8:1; Psalm 105:16; Isaiah 14:30; Jeremiah 24:10; Revelation 18:8). Ezekiel speaks of "the sword, the famine the noisome beast, and the pestilence," as God's "four sore judgments" (Ezekiel 14:21). Miraculous deliverances from famine are related in Genesis 41:29-36; 1 Kings 17:10-16; 2 Kings 7:1-16. And in war from the power of the sword. In war God protects whom he will, and they seem to have charmed lives. They are covered with his feathers, and safe under his wings (Psalm 91:4). 12 Who bringeth to nought the devices of the crafty,

So that their hands cannot accomplish anything;

13 Who catcheth the wise in their craftiness;

And the counsel of the cunning is thrown down.

14 By day they run into darkness,

And grope in the noon-day as in the night.

15 He rescueth from the sword, that from their mouth,

And from the hand of the strong, the needy.

16 Hope ariseth for the weak,

And folly shall close its mouth.

All these attributes are chosen designedly: God brings down all haughtiness, and takes compassion on those who need it. The noun תּוּשׁיּה, coined by the Chokma, and out of Job and Proverbs found only in Micah 6:9; Isaiah 28:29, and even there in gnomical connection, is formed from ישׁ, essentia, and signifies as it were essentialitas, realitas: it denotes, in relation to all visible things, the truly existing, the real, the objective; true wisdom (i.e., knowledge resting on an objective actual basis), true prosperity, real profiting and accomplishing. It is meant that they accomplish nothing that has actual duration and advantage. Job 5:13 cannot be better translated than by Paul, 1 Corinthians 3:19, who here deviates from the lxx. With נמהרה, God's seizure, which prevents the contemplated achievement, is to be thought of. He pours forth over the worldly wise what the prophets call the spirit of deep sleep (תּרדּמה) and of dizziness (עועים). On the other hand, He helps the poor. In מפיהם מחרב the second מן is local: from the sword which proceeds from their mouth (comp. Psalm 64:4; Psalm 57:5, and other passages). Bttch. translates: without sword, i.e., instrument of power (comp. Job 9:15; Job 21:9); but מן with חרב leads one to expect that that from which one is rescued is to be described (comp. Job 5:20). Ewald corrects מחרב, which Olsh. thinks acute: it is, however, unhebraic, according to our present knowledge of the usage of the language; for the passives of חרב are used of cities, countries, and peoples, but not of individual men. Olsh., in his hesitancy, arrives at no opinion. But the text is sound and beautiful. עלתה with pathetic unaccented ah (Ges. 80, rem. 2, f), from עולה equals עולה, as Psalm 92:16 Chethib.

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