Job 6:16
Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
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Job 6:16. Which are blackish, &c. — Which in winter, when the traveller neither needs nor desires it, are full of water congealed by the frost. Wherein the snow is hid — Under which the water from snow, which formerly fell, and afterward was dissolved, lies hid. So he speaks not of those brooks which are fed by a constant spring, but of them which are filled by accidental falls of water or snow.6:14-30 In his prosperity Job formed great expectations from his friends, but now was disappointed. This he compares to the failing of brooks in summer. Those who rest their expectations on the creature, will find it fail when it should help them; whereas those who make God their confidence, have help in the time of need, Heb 4:16. Those who make gold their hope, sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their confidence in it. It is our wisdom to cease from man. Let us put all our confidence in the Rock of ages, not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in broken cisterns. The application is very close; for now ye are nothing. It were well for us, if we had always such convictions of the vanity of the creature, as we have had, or shall have, on a sick-bed, a death-bed, or in trouble of conscience. Job upbraids his friends with their hard usage. Though in want, he desired no more from them than a good look and a good word. It often happens that, even when we expect little from man, we have less; but from God, even when we expect much, we have more. Though Job differed from them, yet he was ready to yield as soon as it was made to appear that he was in error. Though Job had been in fault, yet they ought not to have given him such hard usage. His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let it go. He felt that there had not been such iniquity in him as they supposed. But it is best to commit our characters to Him who keeps our souls; in the great day every upright believer shall have praise of God.Which are blackish - Or, rather, which are turbid. The word used here (קדרים qoderı̂ym) means to be turbid, foul, or muddy, spoken of a torrent, and then to be of a dusky color, to be dark-colored, as e. g. the skin scorched by the sun, Job 30:28; or to be dark - as when the sun is obscured; Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15. Jerome renders it, Qui timent pruinam - "which fear the frost, when the snow comes upon them." The Septuagint renders it, "they who had venerated me now rushed upon me like snow or hoar frost, which melting at the approach of heat, it was not known whence it was." The expression in the Hebrew means that they were rendered dark and turbid by the accumulated torrents caused by the dissolving snow and ice.

By reason of the ice - When it melts and swells the streams.

And wherein the snow is hid - That is, says Noyes, melts and flows into them. It refers to the melting of the snow in the spring, when the streams are swelled as a consequence of it. Snow, by melting in the spring and summer, would swell the streams, which at other times were dry. Lucretius mentions the melting of the snows on the mountains of Ethiopia, as one of the causes of the overflowing of the Nile:

Forsitan Aethiopum pentrue de montibus altis

Crescat, ubi in campos albas descendere ningues

Tahificiss subigit radiis sol, omnia lustrans.

vi. 734.

Or, from the Ethiop-mountains, the bright sun,

Now full matured, with deep-dissolving ray,

May melt the agglomerate snows, and down the plains

Drive them, augmenting hence the incipient stream.


A similar description occurs in Homer, Iliad xi. 492:

Ὡς δ ̓ ὁπόε πλήφων ποταμός πεδίνδε κάτεισι


16. blackish—literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" (Ps 34:14). A vivid and poetic image to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from the mountains into the valley. In the [second] clause, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid" in the flood [Umbreit]. Which in winter, when the traveller neither needs nor desires it, are full of water, then congealed by the frost.

Wherein the snow is hid; either,

1. Under which the water, made of snow, which formerly fell, and afterwards was dissolved, lies hid. So he implies that he speaks not of those brooks which are fed by a constant spring, but of them which are filled by accidental and extraordinary falls of water, or snow melted, which run into them. Or,

2. Wherein there is abundance of snow mixed with or covered by the ice; or, in which the snow covers itself, i.e. where is snow upon snow; which gives the traveller hopes, that when he comes that way in summer, he shall find good store of water here for his refreshment. Which are blackish by reason of the ice,.... When frozen over, they look of a blackish colour, and is what is called a black frost; and these either describe Job and his domestics, as some (h) think whom Eliphaz and his two friends compared to the above streams water passed away from, or passed by and neglected, and showed no friendship to; who were in black, mournful and rueful circumstances, through the severe hand of God upon them. The word is rendered, "those which mourn", Job 5:11; or rather the friends of Job compared to foul and troubled waters frozen over which cannot be so well discerned, or which were black through being frozen, and which describes the inward frame of their minds the foulness of their spirits the blackness of their hearts, though they outwardly appeared otherwise, as follows:

and wherein the snow is hid; or "on whom the snow" falling, and lying on heaps, "hides" (i), or covers; so Job's friends, according to this account, were, though black within as a black frost yet white without as snow; they appeared, in their looks and words at first as candid, kind, and generous, but proved the reverse.

(h) So Michaelis. (i) "super quibus accumulatur nix", Beza, "tegit se, q. d. multa nive teguntur", Drusius; "the frost is hidden by the snow", so Sephorno; or rather "the black and frozen waters".

Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
16. are blackish] Rather, are black, that is, turbid.

is hid] lit. hides itself, that is, dissolves.

Pleasures are like poppies spread,

You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow-falls in the river—

A moment white, then melts for ever.Verse 16. - Which are blackish by reason of the ice. Job seems to have seen wadys where, in the winter-time, the water was actually frozen into hard black ice. This scarcely occurs now in the countries bordering on Palestine; but may have occurred in the region where Job dwelt, formerly. "Dark, turbid water" can scarcely be intended. And wherein the snow is hid. Some suppose melted snow to be meant; but the deep wadies in the Hauran and elsewhere would easily conceal snowdrifts. 8 Would that my request were fulfilled,

And that Eloah would grant my expectation,

9 That Eloah were willing and would crush me,

Let loose His hand and cut me off:

10 Then I should still have comfort -

(I should exult in unsparing pain) -

That I have not disowned the words of the Holy One.

His wish refers to the ending of his suffering by death. Hupfeld prefers to read ותאותי instead of ותקותי (Job 6:8); but death, which he desires, he even indeed expects. This is just the paradox, that not life, but death, is his expectation. "Cut me off," i.e., my soul or my life, my thread of life (Job 27:8; Isaiah 38:12). The optative יתּן מי (Ges. 136, 1) is followed by optative futt., partly of the so-called jussive form, as יאל, velit (Hiph. from ואל, velle), and יתּר, solvat (Hiph. from נתר). In the phrase יד התּיר, the stretching out of the hand is regarded as the loosening of what was hitherto bound. The conclusion begins with וּתהי, just like Job 13:5. But it is to be asked whether by consolation speedy death is to be understood, and the clause with כּי gives the ground of his claim for the granting of the wish, - or whether he means that just this: not having disowned the words of the Holy One (comp. Job 23:11., and אמרי־אל in the mouth of Balaam, the non-Israelitish prophet, Numbers 24:4, Numbers 24:16), would be his consolation in the midst of death. With Hupfeld we decide in favour of the latter, with Psalm 119:50 in view: this consciousness of innocence is indeed throughout the whole book Job's shield and defence. If, however, נחמתי (with Kametz impurum) points towards כּי, quod, etc., the clause ואסלּדה is parenthetical. The cohortative is found thus parenthetical with a conjunctive sense also elsewhere (Psalm 40:6; Psalm 51:18). Accordingly: my comfort - I would exult, etc. - would be that I, etc. The meaning of סלד, tripudiare, is confirmed by the lxx ἡλλόμην, in connection with the Arabic ṣalada (of a galloping horse which stamps hard with its fore-feet), according to which the Targ. also translates ואבוּע (I will rejoice).

(Note: The primary meaning of סלד, according to the Arabic, is to be hard, then, to tread hard, firm, as in pulsanda tellus; whereas the poetry of the synagogue (Pijut) uses סלּד in the signification to supplicate, and סלד, litany (not: hymn, as Zunz gives it); and the Mishna-talmudic סלד signifies to singe, burn one's self, and to draw back affrighted.)

For יחמל לא, comp. Isaiah 30:14. (break in pieces unsparingly). יחמל לא certainly appears as though it must be referred to God (Ew., Hahn, Schlottm., and others), since חילה sounds feminine; but one can either pronounce חילה equals חיל as Milel (Hitz.), or take יחמל לא adverbially, and not as an elliptical dependent clause (as Ges. 147, rem. 1), but as virtually an adjective: in pain unsparing.

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