Job 5:22
At destruction and famine you shall laugh: neither shall you be afraid of the beasts of the earth.
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(22) Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.—Literally, and of the beasts of the earth be not thou afraid.

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!At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh - That is thou shalt be perfectly safe and happy. They shall not come upon thee; and when they approach with threatening aspect, thou shalt smile with conscious security. The word here rendered famine (כפן kâphân) is an unusual word, and differs from that occurring in Job 5:20, רעב râ‛âb. This word is derived from כפן kâphan - to languish, to pine from hunger and thirst. It then means the languid and feeble state which exists where there is a lack of proper nutriment. A sentiment similar to that which is here expressed occurs in Martial, iv. 19, 4. Ridebis ventos line munere tectus, et imbres. "Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth." Wild beasts in new countries are always objects of dread, and in the fastnesses and deserts of Arabia, they were especially so. They abounded there; and one of the highest images of happiness there would be, that there would be perfect safety from them. A similar promise occurs in Psalm 91:13 :

Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder;

The young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under foot.

And a promise similar to this was made by the Savior to his disciples: "They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them." The sentiment of Eliphaz is, that they who put their trust in God would find protection, and have the consciousness that they were secure wherever they were.

22. famine thou shalt laugh—Not, in spite of destruction and famine, which is true (Hab 3:17, 18), though not the truth meant by Eliphaz, but because those calamities shall not come upon thee. A different Hebrew word from that in Job 5:20; there, famine in general; here, the languid state of those wanting proper nutriment [Barnes]. Thou shalt not only be redeemed from famine, Job 5:20, and not fear destruction, Job 5:21, but thou shalt laugh at them; not with a laughter of scorn and contempt, as this word is used, Job 39:18 Psalm 2:4 37:13; (for God’s judgments are to be entertained with reverence and godly fear;) but with a laughter of joy and triumph, arising from his just security and confidence in God’s watchful and gracious providence, which will either keep him from it or in it, or do him much good by it.

The beasts, i.e. the wild beasts, which were numerous and mischievous in those parts. See Deu 28:26 1 Samuel 17:34 Jeremiah 7:33. At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,.... Not deride and despise them, and make a jest of them; for good men have a reverence and awe of the righteous judgments of God upon them, when they are in the world, Psalm 119:120; but the sense is, that such shall reckon themselves safe and secure amidst such calamities, provision being made for their protection and sustenance; and be cheerful and comfortable, putting their trust and confidence in the Lord, as Habakkuk was, in a time of great distress, when all the necessaries of life were cut off from the stall, the herds, the flocks, and the fields; Habakkuk 3:17; just as a man that is in a good harbour, or has a good house over his head, laughs at blustering storms and winds (h), or thinks himself secure, and so is cheerful and pleasant amidst all the noise that is about him, see Habakkuk 1:10,

neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth; either, literally taken, beasts of prey, that wander about in the earth, noisome and pernicious ones; which are one of God's sore judgments which he threatens the disobedient with, and promises the obedient he will rid them of; and therefore they have no reason to be afraid of them, see Ezekiel 14:21; some think serpents are particularly designed, which creep upon the earth, and whose, food is the dust of the earth, with all other poisonous animals, between which and men there is an antipathy; and yet good men need not be afraid of these; see Mark 16:18; or figuratively, cruel and barbarous men, thieves and robbers, as Jarchi; or rather fierce and furious persecutors, and particularly the beasts of Rome, Pagan and Papal; though the literal sense is to be preferred; the Targum interprets this of the camp of Og, comparable to the beasts of the earth.

(h) "Ridebis ventos hoc munere teetus et imbres", Martial.

At destruction and famine thou shalt {t} laugh: neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth.

(t) While the wicked lament in their troubles, you will have occasion to rejoice.

Verse 22. - At destruction (rather, devastation) and famine; rather, dearth. The word is not the same as that used in ver. 20, but a weaker cue. Thou shalt laugh; "Thou shalt smile" (Lee). Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the earth. "The beasts of the earth" - i.e. destructive and ferocious wild beasts, like the Indian "man-eaters" - are enumerated among God's "four sore plagues" (Ezekiel 14:21; comp. 2 Kings 17:25). In ancient times they were sometimes so numerous in a country that men were afraid to occupy it. 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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