Job 6:3
For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(3) Swallowed up.—That is. words are useless and powerless to express it. (See the margin.)

Job 6:3. For now it — That is, my grief or calamity; would be heavier than the sand of the sea — Which is much heavier than dry sand. Therefore my words are swallowed up — My voice and spirit fail me. I cannot find or utter words sufficient to express my sorrow or misery.6:1-7 Job still justifies himself in his complaints. In addition to outward troubles, the inward sense of God's wrath took away all his courage and resolution. The feeling sense of the wrath of God is harder to bear than any outward afflictions. What then did the Saviour endure in the garden and on the cross, when he bare our sins, and his soul was made a sacrifice to Divine justice for us! Whatever burden of affliction, in body or estate, God is pleased to lay upon us, we may well submit to it as long as he continues to us the use of our reason, and the peace of our conscience; but if either of these is disturbed, our case is very pitiable. Job reflects upon his friends for their censures. He complains he had nothing offered for his relief, but what was in itself tasteless, loathsome, and burdensome.Heavier than the sand of the sea - That is, they would be found to be insupportable. Who could bear up the sands of the sea? So Job says of his sorrows. A comparison somewhat similar is found in Proverbs 27:3.

Heavy is a stone, and weighty the sand of the Sea,

But a fool's wrath is heavier than them both.

My words are swallowed up - Margin, "I want words to express my grief." This expresses the true sense - but not with the same poetic beauty. We express the same idea when we say that we are choked with grief; we are so overwhelmed with sorrow that we cannot speak. Any very deep emotion prevents the power of utterance. So in Psalm 77:4 :

Thou holdest mine eyes waking:

I am so troubled that I cannot speak.

So the well-known expressions in Virgil,

Obstupui, steteruntque comae, et vox faucibus haesit.

There has been, however, considerable variety in the interpretation of the word here rendered swallowed up - לוּע lûa‛. Gesenius supposes that it means to speak rashly, to talk at random, and that the idea is, that Job now admits that his remarks had been unguarded - "therefore were my words rash." The same sense Castell gives to the Arabic word. Schultens renders it, "therefore are my words tempestuous or fretful." Rosenmuller, "my words exceed due moderation." Castellio, "my words fail." Luther, "therefore it is vain that I speak." The Septuagint, "but my words seem to be evil." Jerome, "my words are full of grief." In this variety it is difficult to determine the meaning; but probably the old interpretation is to be retained, by which the word is derived from לוּע lûa‛, to absorb, to swallow up; compare Proverbs 20:25; Obadiah 1:16; Job 39:30; Proverbs 23:2. The word does not elsewhere occur.

3. the sand—(Pr 27:3).

are swallowed up—See Margin [that is, "I want words to express my grief"]. But Job plainly is apologizing, not for not having had words enough, but for having spoken too much and too boldly; and the Hebrew is, "to speak rashly" [Umbreit, Gesenius, Rosenmuller]. "Therefore were my words so rash."

It would be heavier, i.e. my grief or calamity,

than the sand of the sea, which is heavier than dry sand.

Swallowed up, as this verb is used, Proverbs 20:25 Obadiah 1:16. My voice and spirit faileth me. So far am I from speaking too liberally of it, for which I am now accused, that I cannot find nor utter words sufficient to express my sorrow or misery; but my groanings are such as cannot be uttered, as is said in another case, Romans 8:26. When I would express it, the words stick in my throat, and I am forced, as it were, to swallow them up. For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea,.... Or "seas" (z); all sand is heavy in its own nature, Proverbs 27:3; especially the sand of the sea, that which is immediately taken out of it; for that on the shore is lighter, being dried by the winds and heat of the sun, but the other is heavier, through the additional weight of water; and much more especially how heavy must all the sand of the sea be, and of all the seas that are in the world: yet Job suggests by this hyperbolical expression, exaggerating his case, that his affliction was heavier than it all, a most intolerable and insupportable burden; the afflictions of God's people are but light when compared with what their sins deserve, with the torments of the damned in hell, with the sufferings of Christ in their room and stead, and with everlasting, happiness, the eternal weight of glory, 2 Corinthians 4:17; but in themselves they are heavy, and press hard; they are so to flesh and blood, and especially unless everlasting arms are put under men, and they are supported and upheld with the right hand of God's righteousness; they are heavy when attended with the hidings of God's face, and a sense of his wrath and displeasure, which was Job's case, see Job 13:24; some render "it more copious", or "numerous" (a), and indeed the word has this signification, as in Numbers 20:20; and the metaphor is more frequently used to express a multitude, even what is innumerable, Hosea 1:10; yet the notion of heaviness best agrees with the preceding figure of weighing in balances, and therefore at least is not to be excluded some learned men take in both, as the sense of the word, the number of afflictions, and the bulk and weight of them:

therefore my words are swallowed up; either by his friends, as Kimchi, who heard them, and put a wrong construction on them, without thoroughly examining the true sense of them; as men that swallow down their food greedily, do not chew it, nor take the true taste of it, and so are no judges whether it is good or bad; but this sense seems to have no connection with what goes before; rather they were swallowed up by himself, and the meaning either is, that such was the weight and pressure of his afflictions, that he wanted words to express it; his words "failed" him, as the Targum: or they "come short", as Mr. Broughton renders it; they were not sufficient to set forth and declare the greatness of his troubles; or he faltered in his speech, he could not speak out plainly and distinctly, because of his grief and sorrow, see Psalm 77:4; what he had said was delivered amidst sighs and sobs, through the heaviness of the calamity on him; they were but half words, attended with groanings that could not be uttered; by which he would signify, that though his friends had charged him with speaking too much and too freely, he had not spoken enough, nor could he, by reason of the greatness of his affliction; and also to excuse his present answer, if it was not delivered with that politeness and fulness of expression, with that eloquence and strength of reasoning and discoursing he at other times was capable of: or rather the words may be rendered, "therefore my words break out with heat" (b); in a vehement manner, in a hot and passionate way I am blamed for; but this is to be imputed to the burden of affliction and sorrow upon me, which, if considered, some allowances would be made, and the charge be alleviated.

(z) "marium", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Piscator, Michaelis, Schultens. (a) "copiosior et gravior est", Michaelis; so Schultens. (b) "propterea verba mea aestuantia sunt", Schultens.

For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea: therefore my words are {b} swallowed up.

(b) My grief is so great that I lack words to express it.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
3. the sand of the sea] A frequent figure for that which is infinite in weight, Proverbs 27:3, or number, Genesis 32:12, or measure, Jeremiah 33:22.

are swallowed up] Rather, have been wild, or perhaps vain or idle. Probably the word is allied to an Arabic root that signifies to speak, and also, to speak wrongly and foolishly. Job with transparent simplicity concedes a certain extravagance in his language, although he excuses it (Job 6:4 seq.). Elsewhere he says in reference to himself that the words of one that is desperate go into the wind (Job 6:26).Verse 3. - For now it would be heavier than the sand of the sea (comp. Proverbs 27:3, "A stone is heavy, and the sand weighty; but a fool's wrath is heavier than them both;" see also Ecclus. 22:15). Therefore my words are swallowed up; rather, as in the Revised Version, therefore have my words been rash. Job here excuses without justifying himself. The excessive character of his sufferings has, he declares, forced him to utter rash and violent words, as these wherein he cursed his day and wished that he had never been born (Job 3:1, 3-11). Some allowance ought to be made for rash speech uttered under such circumstances. 22 At destruction and famine thou shalt laugh,

And from the beasts of the earth thou hast nothing to fear.

23 For thou art in league with the stones of the field,

And the beasts of the field are at peace with thee.

24 And thou knowest that peace is thy pavilion;

And thou searchest thy household, and findest nothing wanting.

25 Thou knowest also that thy seed shall be numerous,

And thy offspring as the herb of the ground.

26 Thou shalt come to thy grave in a ripe age,

As shocks of corn are brought in in their season.

27 Lo! this we have searched out, so it is:

Hear it, and give thou heed to it.

The verb שׂחק is construed (Job 5:22) with ל of that which is despised, as Job 39:7, Job 39:18; Job 41:21 [Hebr.]. על־תּירא is the form of subjective negation [vid. Ges. 152, 1: Tr.]: only fear thou not equals thou hast no occasion. In Job 5:23, בּריתך is the shortest substantive form for לך בּרית. The whole of nature will be at peace with thee: the stones of the field, that they do not injure the fertility of thy fields; the wild beasts of the field, that they do not hurt thee and thy herds. The same promise that Hosea (Hosea 2:20) utters in reference to the last days is here used individually. From this we see how deeply the Chokma had searched into the history of Paradise and the Fall. Since man, the appointed lord of the earth, has been tempted by a reptile, and has fallen by a tree, his relation to nature, and its relation to him, has been reversed: it is an incongruity, which is again as a whole put right (שׁלום), as the false relation of man to God is put right. In Job 5:24, שׁלום (which might also be adj.) is predicate: thou wilt learn (וידעתּ, praet. consec. with accented ultima, as e.g., Deuteronomy 4:39, here with Tiphcha initiale s. anterius, which does not indicate the grammatical tone-syllable) that thy tent is peace, i.e., in a condition of contentment and peace on all sides. Job 5:24 is to be arranged: And when thou examinest thy household, then thou lackest nothing, goest not astray, i.e., thou findest everything, without missing anything, in the place where thou seekest it.

Job 5:25 reminds one of the Salomonic Psalm 72:16. צאצאים in the Old Testament is found only in Isaiah and the book of Job. The meaning of the noun כּלח, which occurs only here and Job 30:2, is clear. Referring to the verb כּלח, Arabic qahila (qalhama), to be shrivelled up, very aged, it signifies the maturity of old age, - an idea which may be gained more easily if we connect כּלח with כּלה (to be completed), like קשׁח with קשׁה (to be hard).

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