Yes, you overwhelm the fatherless, and you dig a pit for your friend.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless.—Rather, probably, Ye would cast lots upon the fatherless, and make merchandise of your friend. This is more
in accordance with the language, and preserves the parallelism.Job 6:27. Ye overwhelm the fatherless — Your words are not only vain, useless, and uncomfortable to me, but also grievous and pernicious. Hebrew, תפילו, tappilu, you rush, or throw yourselves upon him. You fall upon him with all your might, and say all that you can devise to charge and grieve him. You load him with censures and calumnies. The word יתום, jathom, here rendered fatherless, means a solitary person in distress, as well as an orphan; or one desolate. Job intends himself by the expression, being deprived of all his children, and of all his estate, and forsaken by his friends. And you dig a pit for your friend — You insult and triumph over me, whom once you owned for your friend. I spoke all I thought, as to my friends, and you from thence take occasion to cast me down. There is nothing in the Hebrew for the word pit: it is literally, You dig for your friend; or as Heath and Houbigant render it, make a mock of your friend.Exodus 22:22; Deuteronomy 10:18; Deuteronomy 14:29. But it is possible that it is not to be taken in this limited signification here. The word is still retained in the Arabic language - the language spoken in the country where Job 54ed, - where the word יתום yâthôm means to be lonely, bereaved, etc. It may be that this idea occurs under the form of the word used here, that Job was lonely and bereaved; that he was as desolate and helpless as a fatherless child; and especially that they manifested a spirit like that of those who would oppress an orphan. The word "overwhelm" תפילוּ tapı̂ylû means properly, "ye fall upon;" that is, you deal with him violently. Or, it may mean here, in the Hiphil, "you cause to fall upon," referring to a net, and meaning, that they sprung a net for the orphan. So Rosenmuller and Noyes understand it. To do this was, in Oriental countries, regarded as a crime of special enormity, and is often so spoken of in the Bible; see the notes at Isaiah 1:17.
And ye dig a pit for your friend - You act toward your friend as hunters do toward wild beasts. They dig a pit and cover it over with brushwood to conceal it, and the hunted animal, deceived, falls into it unawares. So you endeavor to entrap your friend. You lay a plan for it. You conceal your design. You contrive to drive him into the pit that you have made, and urge him on until you have caught him in the use of unguarded language, or driven him to vent expressions that cover him with confusion. Instead of throwing a mantle of charity over his frailties and infirmities, you make the most of every word, take it out of its proper connection, and attempt to overwhelm him in shame and disgrace. On the method of hunting in ancient times, see the notes at -Job 18:8-10.
and ye dig (a pit) for your friend—that is, try to ensnare him, to catch him in the use of unguarded language [Noyes]. (Ps 57:6); metaphor from hunters catching wild beasts in a pit covered with brushwood to conceal it. Umbreit from the Syriac, and answering to his interpretation of the first clause, has, "Would you be indignant against your friend?" The Hebrew in Job 41:6, means to "feast upon." As the first clause asks, "Would you catch him in a net?" so this follows up the image, "And would you next feast upon him, and his miseries?" So the Septuagint.Yea; your words are not only vain, and useless, and uncomfortable to me, but also grievous and pernicious.
Ye overwhelm, Heb. you rush or throw yourselves upon him. For words in hiphil are oft put reciprocally as Hebricians know. You fall upon him with all your might, and say all that you can devise to charge and grieve him. A metaphor from wild beasts, that fall upon their prey to hold it fast and devour it. You load him with censures and calumnies.
The fatherless, or, the desolate, i.e. me, who am deprived of all my dear children, and of all my estate; forsaken by my friends, and by my heavenly Father; which should have procured me your pity rather than your censure.
Ye dig a pit for your friend; or, you feed or feast (for so this Hebrew word is oft used, as 2 Samuel 3:35 2 Kings 6:23 Job 40:15) upon your friend, i.e. you insult and triumph over me whom sometimes you owned for your friend. Joel 3:3; or rather a net, or a snare to entrap him in, seeking to entangle him in talk, so Mr. Broughton, which agrees with what follows:
and ye dig a pit for your friend; contrive mischief against him; sought to bring him to ruin; and which is aggravated by his having been their old friend, with whom they lived in strict friendship, and had professed much unto, and still pretended to have respect for; the allusion is to digging of pits for the catching of wild beasts: some render it, "ye feast upon your friend" (e); so the word is used in 2 Kings 6:23; this sense is taken notice of by Aben Ezra and Bar Tzemach; and then the meaning is, you rejoice at the misery of your friend; you mock him and that, and insult him in his distress, with which the Septuagint version agrees; which was cruel usage.Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless, and ye dig a pit for your friend.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)27. This verse probably reads,
Yea, ye would cast lots upon the fatherless,
And bargain over your friend.
A strong invective against their unfeeling behaviour. The words are severe; the preceding passage, however, in which their refusal of sympathy (Job 6:22-23), and their petty faultfinding with Job’s language (Job 6:25-26), are referred to, naturally leads up to the idea. The same phrase to cast lots occurs 1 Samuel 14:42, and the phrase, bargain over or make merchandise of, occurs again, Job 41:6 (Heb. 40:30), “will the partners bargain over him?” The “fatherless” is probably the child of the debtor. After his death the ruthless creditors cast lots for possession of the child as a slave.Verse 27. - Yea, ye overwhelm the fatherless; rather, on the fatherless would ye east lots (comp. Joel 3:3; Obadiah 1:11; Nahum 3:10). Job means to say they are so pitiless that they would cast lots for the children of an insolvent debtor condemned to become slaves at his death (see 2 Kings 4:1; Nehemiah 5:5). And ye dig a pit for your friend; or, ye would make merchandise of your friend as in the Revised Version. Job does not speak of what his friends had done, but of what he deems them capable of doing.
You see misfortune, and are affrighted.
22 Have I then said, Give unto me,
And give a present for me from your substance,
23 And deliver me from the enemy's hand,
And redeem me from the hand of the tyrant?
In Job 6:21, the reading wavers between לו and לא, with the Keri לו; but לו, which is consequently the lectio recepta, gives no suitable meaning, only in a slight degree appropriate, as this: ye are become it, i.e., such a mountain brook; for הייתם is not to be translated, with Stickel and others, estis, but facti estis. The Targum, however, translates after the Chethib: ye are become as though ye had never been, i.e., nothingness. Now, since לא, Aramaic לה, can (as Daniel 4:32 shows) be used as a substantive (a not equals a null), and the thought: ye are become nothing, your friendship proves itself equal to null, suits the imagery just used, we decide in favour of the Chethib; then in the figure the בתּהוּ עלה corresponds most to this, and is also, therefore, not to be explained away. The lxx, Syr., Vulg., translate לי instead of לו: ye are become it (such deceitful brooks) to me. Ewald proposes to read לי הייתם עתה כן (comp. the explanation, Ges. 137, rem. 3), - a conjecture which puts aside all difficulty; but the sentence with לא commends itself as being bolder and more expressive. All the rest explains itself. It is remarkable that in Job 6:21 the reading תּירוּ is also found, instead of תּראוּ: ye dreaded misfortune, and ye were then affrighted. הבוּ is here, as an exception, properispomenon, according to Ges. 29, 3. כּח, as Proverbs 5:10; Leviticus 26:20, what one has obtained by putting forth one's strength, syn. חיל, outward strength.
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