Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Swifter than a post.—The runner, with his messages and dispatches. He now turns away from the contemplation of God and His dealings to that of his own misery.Job 9:25. Now my days — The days of my life; are swifter than a post — Who rides upon swift horses; they see no good — I enjoy no good in them; seeing being often put for experiencing either good or evil. Thus Job now exemplifies in himself what he had said of the calamities which God frequently inflicts on good men.Esther 3:13, Esther 3:15; Esther 8:14, and to the body-guard and royal messengers of Saul and of David, 1 Samuel 22:17; 2 Kings 10:25. The common rate of traveling in the East is exceedingly slow. The caravans move little more than two miles an hour. Couriers are however, employed who go either on dromedaries, on horses, or on foot, and who travel with great rapidity. Lady Montague says that "after the defeat; at Peterwaradin, they (the couriers on dromedaries) far outran the fleetest horses, and brought the first news of the battle at Belgrade." The messengers in Barbary who carry despatches, it is said, will run one hundred and fifty miles in twenty-four hours (Harmer's Observa. ii. 200, ed. 1808), and it has been said that the messengers among the American savages would run an hundred and twenty miles in the twenty-four hours. In Egypt, it is a common thing for an Arab on foot to accompany a rider, and to keep up with the horse when at full gallop, and to do this for a long time without apparent fatigue. The meaning of Job here is, that his life was short, and that his days were passing swiftly away, not like the slow caravan, but like the most fleet messenger compare the note at Job 7:6.
My days; the days, either of my prosperity; for the time of affliction is commonly described by the night; or rather, of my life, as the last clause showeth; for it were an absurd and contradictious speech to say that his prosperous days saw no good.
A post; who runs or rides upon swift horses.
They see no good; I enjoy no good in them. Seeing is oft put for experiencing either good or evil, Job 7:7 Psalm 34:12 John 3:36 John 8:51.
they flee away; like a shadow, or a dream, or a tale that is told:
they see no good; or he saw, perceived, or enjoyed no good in them; not but that he did see and enjoy much good, even much temporal good, which is what is intended; but this was no sooner had than it was taken away, that it was as if it had never been; the evil days of trouble and sorrow, in which he had no pleasure, came so quick upon him.Now my days are swifter than a post: they flee away, they see no good.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)25. Now my days] Better, and my days—under the weight of this unjust and oppressive Force (Job 9:5-24).
than a post] i. e. a courier, 2 Samuel 18:22; 2 Samuel 18:24.Verse 25. - Now my days are swifter than a post. Life slips away so fast that before it is well begun, it is ended. Job compares it to the swift passage of the trained runner, or messenger, who carried despatches for kings and other great personages in the olden times (see 2 Chronicles 30:6; Esther 3:13; Esther 8:10, 14). Herodotus says of the trained runners employed by the Persians, "Nothing mortal travels so fast as these Persian messengers" (Herod., 8:98). There is abundant evidence of the employment of such persons in ancient Egypt. They flee away, they see no good. It seems to Job that his prosperity (Job 1:2-5) was only for a moment. He scarcely could look on it before it was gone.
I could not believe that He would hearken to me;
17 He would rather crush me in a tempest,
And only multiply my wounds without cause;
18 He would not suffer me to take my breath,
But would fill me with bitter things.
19 If it is a question of the strength of the strong - : "Behold here!"
And if of right - : "Who will challenge me?"
20 Where I in the right, my mouth must condemn me;
Were I innocent, He would declare me guilty.
The answer of God when called upon, i.e., summoned, is represented in Job 9:16 as an actual result (praet. followed by fut. consec.), therefore Job 9:16 cannot be intended to express: I could not believe that He answers me, but: I could not believe that He, the answerer, would hearken to me; His infinite exaltation would not permit such condescension. The אשׁר which follows, Job 9:17, signifies either quippe qui or quoniam; both shades of meaning are after all blended, as in Job 9:15. The question arises here whether שׁוף signifies conterere, or as cognate form with שׁאף, inhiare, - a question also of importance in the exposition of the Protevangelium. There are in all only three passages in which it occurs: here, Genesis 3:15, and Psalm 139:11. In Psalm 139:11 the meaning conterere is unsuitable, but even the signification inhiare can only be adopted for want of a better: perhaps it may be explained by comparison with צעף, in the sense of obvelare, or as a denominative from נשׁף (the verb of which, נשׁף, is kindred to נשׁב, נשׁם, flare) in the signification obtenebrare. In Genesis 3:15, if regarded superficially, the meaning inhiare and conterere are alike suitable, but the meaning inhiare deprives that utterance of God of its prophetic character, which has been recognised from the beginning; and the meaning conterere, contundere, is strongly supported by the translations. We decide in favour of this meaning also in the present passage, with the ancient translations (lxx ἐκτρίψῃ, Targ. מדקדּק, comminuens). Moreover, it is the meaning most generally supported by a comparison with the dialects, whereas the signification inhiare can only be sustained by comparison with שׁאף and the Arabic sâfa (to sniff, track by scent, to smell); besides, "to assail angrily" (Hirz., Ewald) is an inadmissible contortion of inhiare, which signifies in a hostile sense "to seize abruptly" (Schlottm.), properly to snatch, to desire to seize.
Translate therefore: He would crush me in a tempest and multiply (multiplicaret), etc., would not let me take breath (respirare), but (כּי, Ges. 155, 1, e. a.) fill me (ישׂבּיענּי, with Pathach with Rebia mugrasch) with bitter things (ממּררים, with Dag. dirimens, which gives the word a more pathetic expression). The meaning of Job 9:19 is that God stifles the attempt to maintain one's right in the very beginning by His being superior to the creature in strength, and not entering into a dispute with him concerning the right. הנּה (for הנּני as איּה, Job 15:23, for איּו): see, here I am, ready for the contest, is the word of God, similar to quis citare possit me (in Jeremiah 49:19; Jeremiah 50:44), which sounds as an echo of this passage. The creature must always be in the wrong, - a thought true in itself, in connection with which Job forgets that God's right in opposition to the creature is also always the true objective right. פּי, with suffix, accented to indicate its logical connection, as Job 15:6 : my own mouth.
(Note: Olshausen's conjecture, פּיו, lessens the difficulty in Isaiah 34:16, but here it destroys the strong expression of the violence done to the moral consciousness.)
In ויּעקשׁני the Chirek of the Hiphil is shortened to a Sheva, as 1 Samuel 17:25; vid., Ges. 53, rem. 4. The subject is God, not "my mouth" (Schlottm.): supposing that I were innocent, He would put me down as one morally wrong and to be rejected.
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