You shall be hid from the whip of the tongue: neither shall you be afraid of destruction when it comes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Shalt thou be afraid.—Comp. the expression in Job 5:15.Job 5:21-22. Thou shalt be hid — Protected, as in some secret and safe place; from the scourge of the tongue — From false accusations, and virulent slanders and reproaches. Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction — Thou shalt have no cause to fear it, because God will secure thee in it and from it: when it cometh — Namely, upon others, near or round about thee. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase on the verse is, “False accusers shall not be able to hurt thee; and when whole countries are depopulated, thou shalt be secure.” At destruction, &c., thou shalt laugh — With a laughter of joy and triumph; arising from a just security and confidence in God’s watchful and gracious providence. Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the field — The wild beasts, which were numerous and mischievous in those parts. As no apprehensions of fear shall possess thee in other heavy calamities, so neither shalt thou be under any dreadful consternation, should even the most fierce and savage beasts of the earth rise up against and be ready to devour thee. Perhaps it is not possible for that peace of mind, which arises from a good conscience and a confidence in the divine care and protection, to be expressed more elegantly or poetically than it is in this verse. Thus, leviathan, so far from being terrified, is said to laugh at the shaking of a spear, Job 41:29. And God himself, in the same beautiful style, is represented as disdaining the politic intrigues of kings, and the crafty counsels of the rulers of the earth against his church. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision, Psalm 2:4.Isaiah 10:26; Job 9:23. See the use of the verb שׁוּט shûṭ in Job 2:7. Here it is used to denote a slanderous tongue, as being that which inflicts a severe wound upon the reputation and peace of an individual. The idea is, that God would guard the reputation of those who commit themselves to him, and that they shall be secure from slander, "whose breath," Shakespeare says, "outvenoms all the worms of Nile."
Neither shalt thou be afraid when destruction cometh - That is, your mind shall be calm in those calamities which threaten destruction. When war rages, when the tempest howls, when the pestilence breathes upon a community, then your mind shall be at peace. A similar thought occurs in Isaiah 26:3 : "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;" and the same sentiment is beautifully illustrated at length in Psalm 91. The Chaldee Paraphrase applies all this to events which had occurred in the history of the Hebrews. Thus, Job 5:20 : "In the famine in Egypt, he redeemed thee from death; and in the war with Amalek, from being slain by the sword;" Job 5:21 : "In the injury inflicted by the tongue of Balaam thou wert hid among the clouds, and thou didst not fear from the desolation of the Midianites when it came;" Job 5:22 : "In the desolation of Sihon, and in the famine of the desert, thou didst laugh; and of the camps of Og, who was like a wild beast of the earth, thou wert not afraid."Hid, i.e. protected, as in some secret and safe place.
From the scourge of the tongue, i.e. from false accusations and virulent slanders and reproaches, either by diverting their tongues to other persons or things, or by clearing thy integrity.
Neither shalt thou be afraid; thou shalt have no cause to fear it, because God will secure thee in it and from it.
When it cometh, to wit, upon others; near thee, or round about thee. Jeremiah 18:18; and a sad thing it is to be under the lash of some men's tongues, and a great mercy it is to be delivered from them: God does sometimes hide his people, and keeps them secretly, as in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues; Psalm 31:20; he either restrains the tongues of men, lays an embargo on them, and will not suffer them to say that evil of his people which Satan and their wicked hearts prompt them to; or, if they are suffered to defame and speak evil of good men, yet they do it in such a romantic way, and so overcharge and load it, that it is not credited by any what they say, even by those of their own party; so that the characters of God's people suffer not by their lies and calumnies: some render it, "when the tongue wanders about" (g); walks through the earth, and spares none, all ranks and degrees of men; God hides his people from being hurt by it, see Psalm 73:9; Aben Ezra interprets the word rendered "tongue" of a nation or people; and so it may be understood of one nation entering into another, passing through it, and making desolations in it; as the Scythians, Gauls, Goths, Huns, and Vandals, have done in different ages; and that, in such a time of calamity, God has his hiding places in Providence for the protection and safety of his people: but the Targum interprets it of an evil tongue, and particularly of the tongue of Balaam:
neither shall thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh: meaning either of pestilence, which is the destruction that wastes at noonday, Psalm 91:6; which, when it comes into a nation or neighbourhood, shall not come nigh the good man, and infect him; or if it does, shall not carry him off; and if it does that, it carries him home to heaven and happiness, and therefore he has no reason to be afraid of it: or of a general calamity; as when there is a complication of judgments in a nation, or in the world in general, as war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, &c. as if all were just falling to pieces and into ruin; and yet even then the saints have no cause to fear; see Psalm 46:1; or the destruction of the whole world at the last day, when the heavens and earth, and all therein, shall be burnt up: for then good and righteous men will be safe with Christ, and dwell with him in the new heavens and the new earth, which shall be prepared for them; see 2 Peter 3:10; the Targum refers this to the destruction of the Midianites.Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 21. - Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue (comp. Psalm 31:20). God will also protect his own from "the scourge of the tongue," i.e. from calumny, from abuse, from bitter words (see the comment on ver. 15). Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh; rather, of devastation. "Shod (שׁור) populationes, praedationes, calamitosas tempestates, terrae motus, ruinas, incendia, mala omnia vasti-tatem inducentia, amplectitur" (Schultens).
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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