Keil and Delitzsch OT Commentary
Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:
2 Doth a wise man utter vain knowledge,
And fill his breast with the east wind?
3 Contending with words, that profit not,
And speeches, by which no good is done?
4 Moreover, thou makest void the fear of God,
And thou restrainest devotion before God;
5 For thy mouth exposeth thy misdeeds,
And thou choosest the language of the crafty.
6 Thine own mouth condemneth thee and not I,
And thine own lips testify against thee.
The second course of the controversy is again opened by Eliphaz, the most respectable, most influential, and perhaps oldest of the friends. Job's detailed and bitter answers seem to him as empty words and impassioned tirades, which ill become a wise man, such as he claims to be in assertions like Job 12:3; Job 13:2. החלם with He interr., like העלה, Job 13:25. רוּח, wind, is the opposite of what is solid and sure; and קדים in the parallel (like Hosea 12:2) signifies what is worthless, with the additional notion of vehement action. If we translate בּטן by "belly," the meaning is apt to be misunderstood; it is not intended as the opposite of לב fo et (Ewald), but it means, especially in the book of Job, not only that which feels, but also thinks and wills, the spiritually receptive and active inner nature of man (Psychol. S. 266); as also in Arabic, el-battin signifies that which is within, in the deepest mystical sense. Hirz. and Renan translate the inf. abs. הוכח, which follows in Job 15:3, as verb. fin.: se dfend-il par des vaines paroles; but though the inf. abs. is so used in an historical clause (Job 15:35), it is not an interrogative. Ewald takes it as the subject: "to reprove with words-avails not, and speeches - whereby one does no good;" but though דּבר and מלּים might be used without any further defining, as in λογομαχεῖν (2 Timothy 2:14) and λογομαχία (1 Timothy 6:4), the form of Job 15:3 is opposed to such an explanation. The inf. abs. is connected as a gerund (redarguendo s. disputando) with the verbs in the question, Job 15:2; and the elliptical relative clause יסכּן לא is best, as referring to things, according to Job 35:3 : sermone (דּבד from דּבר, as sermo from serere) qui non prodest; בּם יועיל לא, on the other hand, to persons, verbis quibus nil utilitatis affert. Eliphaz does not censure Job for arguing, but for defending himself by such useless and purposeless utterances of his feeling. But still more than that: his speeches are not only unsatisfactory and unbecoming, אף, accedit quod (cumulative like Job 14:3), they are moreover irreligious, since by doubting the justice of God they deprive religion of its fundamental assumption, and diminish the reverence due to God. יראה in such an objective sense as Psalm 19:10 almost corresponds to the idea of religion. שׂיחה לפני־אל is to be understood, according to Psalm 102:1; Psalm 142:3 (comp. Psalm 64:2; Psalm 104:34): before God, and consequently customary devotional meditation, here of the disposition of mind indispensable to prayer, viz., devotion, and especially reverential awe, which Job depreciates (גּרע, detrahere). His speeches are mostly directed towards God; but they are violent and reproachful, therefore irreverent in form and substance.
Should a wise man utter vain knowledge, and fill his belly with the east wind?
Should he reason with unprofitable talk? or with speeches wherewith he can do no good?
Yea, thou castest off fear, and restrainest prayer before God.
For thy mouth uttereth thine iniquity, and thou choosest the tongue of the crafty.כּי is not affirmative: forsooth (Hirz.), but, confirmatory and explicative. This opinion respecting him, which is so sharply and definitely expressed by אתּה, thrusts itself irresistibly forward, for it is not necessary to know his life more exactly, his own mouth, whence such words escape, reveals his sad state: docet (אלּף only in the book of Job, from אלף, discere, a word which only occurs once in the Hebrew, Proverbs 22:25) culpam tuam os tuum, not as Schlottm. explains, with Raschi: docet culpa tua os tuum, which, to avoid being misunderstood, must have been חטאתך תאלף, and is a though unsuited to the connection. אלּף is certainly not directly equivalent to הגּיד, Isaiah 3:9; it signifies to teach, to explain, and this verb is just the one in the mouth of the censorious friend. What follows must not be translated: while thou choosest (Hirz.); ותבחר is not a circumstantial clause, but adds a second confirmatory clause to the first: he chooses the language of the crafty, since he pretends to be able to prove his innocence before God; and convinced that he is in the right, assumes the offensive (as Job 13:4.) against those who exhort him to humble himself. Thus by his evil words he becomes his own judge (ירשׁיעך) and accuser (יענו בך after the fem. שׂפתיך, like Proverbs 5:2; Proverbs 26:23). The knot of the controversy becomes constantly more entangled since Job strengthens the friends more and more in their false view by his speeches, which certainly are sinful in some parts (as Job 9:22).
Thine own mouth condemneth thee, and not I: yea, thine own lips testify against thee.
Art thou the first man that was born? or wast thou made before the hills?7 Wast thou as the first one born as a man,
And hast thou been brought forth before the hills?
8 Hast thou attended to the counsel of Eloah,
And hast thou kept wisdom to thyself?
9 What dost thou know that we have not known?
Doest thou understand what we have not been acquainted with?
10 Both grey-haired and aged are among us,
Older in days than thy father.
The question in Job 15:7 assumes that the first created man, because coming direct from the hand of God, had the most direct and profoundest insight into the mysteries of the world which came into existence at the same time as himself. Schlottman calls to mind an ironical proverbial expression of the Hindus: "Yea, indeed, he is the first man; no wonder that he is so wise" (Roberts, Orient. Illustr. p. 276). It is not to be translated: wast thou born as the first man, which is as inadmissible as the translation of אחת מעט, Haggai 2:6, by "a little" (vid., Khler in loc.); rather ראישׁון (i.e., ראישׁון, as Joshua 21:10, formed from ראשׁ, like the Arabic raı̂s, from ras, if it is not perhaps a mere incorrect amalgamation of the forms ראשׁון and רשׁון, Job 8:8) is in apposition with the subject, and אדם is to be regarded as predicate, according to Ges. 139, 2. Raschi's translation is also impossible: wast thou born before Adam? for this Greek form of expression, πρῶτος μον, John 1:15, John 1:30; John 15:18 (comp. Odyss. xi. 481f., σεῖο μακάρτατος), is strange to the Hebrew. In the parallel question, Job 15:7, Umbr., Schlottm., and Renan (following Ewald) see a play upon Proverbs 8:24.: art thou the demiurgic Wisdom itself? But the introductory proverbs (Proverbs 1-9) are more recent than the book of Job (vid., supra, p. 24), and indeed probably, as we shall show elsewhere, belong to the time of Jehoshaphat. Consequently the more probable relation is that the writer of Proverbs 8:24. has adopted words from the book of Job in describing the pre-existence of the Chokma. Was Job, a higher spirit-nature, brought forth, i.e., as it were amidst the pangs of travail (חוללת, Pulal from חול, חיל), before the hills? for the angels, according to Scripture, were created before man, and even before the visible universe (vid., Job 38:4.). Hirz., Ew., Schlottm., and others erroneously translate the futt. in the questions, Job 15:8, as praes. All the verbs in Job 15:7, Job 15:8, are under the control of the retrospective character which is given to the verses by ראישׁון; comp. Job 10:10., where זכר־נא has the same influence, and also Job 3:3, where the historical sense of אוּלד depends not upon the syntax, but upon logical necessity. Translate therefore: didst thou attend in the secret council (סוד, like Jeremiah 23:18, comp. Psalm 89:8) of Eloah (according to the correct form of writing in Codd. and in Kimchi, Michlol 54a, הבסוד, like Job 15:11 המעט and Job 22:13 הבעד, with Beth raph. and without Gaja),
(Note: As a rule, the interrogative He, when pointed with Pathach, has Gaja against the Pathach 2 Samuel 7:5; this, however, falls away (among other instances) when the syllable immediately following the He has the tone, as in the two examples given above (comp. also האל, Job 8:3; הלאל, Job 13:7), or the usual Gaja (Metheg) which stands in the antepenultima (Br, Metheg-Setzung, 23)
and didst then acquire for thyself (גרע, here attrahere, like the Arabic, sorbere, to suck in) wisdom? by which one is reminded of Prometheus' fire stolen from heaven. Nay, Job can boast of no extraordinary wisdom. The friends - as Eliphaz, Job 15:9, says in their name - are his contemporaries; and if he desires to appeal to the teaching of his father, and of his ancestors generally, let them know that there are hoary-headed men among themselves, whose discernment is deeper by reason of their more advanced age. גּם is inverted, like Job 2:10 (which see); and at the same time, since it is sued twice, it is correlative: etiam inter nos et cani et senes. Most modern expositors think that Eliphaz, "in modestly concealed language" (Ewald), refers to himself. But the reference would be obvious enough; and wherefore this modest concealing, which is so little suited to the character of Eliphaz? Moreover, Job 15:10 does not sound as if speaking merely of one, and in Job 15:10 Eliphaz would make himself older than he appears to be, for it is nowhere implied that Job is a young man in comparison with him. We therefore with Umbreit explain בּנוּ: in our generation. Thus it sounds more like the Arabic, both in words (kebı̂r Arab., usual in the signif. grandaevus) and in substance. Eliphaz appeals to the source of reliable tradition, since they have even among their races and districts mature old men, and since, indeed, according to Job's own admission (Job 12:12), there is "wisdom among the ancient ones."
Hast thou heard the secret of God? and dost thou restrain wisdom to thyself?
What knowest thou, that we know not? what understandest thou, which is not in us?
With us are both the grayheaded and very aged men, much elder than thy father.
Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee?11 Are the consolations of God too small for thee,
And a word thus tenderly spoken with thee?
12 What overpowers thy hearts?
And why do thine eyes wink,
13 That thou turnest thy snorting against God,
And sendest forth such words from thy mouth?
By the consolations of God, Eliphaz means the promises in accordance with the majesty and will of God, by which he and the other friends have sought to cheer him, of course presupposing a humble resignation to the just hand of God. By "a word (spoken) in gentleness to him," he means the gentle tone which they have maintained, while he has passionately opposed them. לאט, elsewhere לאט (e.g., Isaiah 8:6, of the softly murmuring and gently flowing Siloah), from אט (declined, אטּי), with the neutral, adverbial ל (as לבטה), signifies: with a soft step, gently, The word has no connection with לוּט, לאט, to cover over, and is not third praet. (as it is regarded by Raschi, after Chajug): which he has gently said to you, or that which has gently befallen you; in which, as in Frst's Handwrterbuch, the notions secrete (Judges 4:21, Targ. בּרז, in secret) and leniter are referred to one root. Are these divine consolations, and these so gentle addresses, too small for thee (מעט ממך, opp. 1 Kings 19:7), i.e., beneath thy dignity, and unworthy of they notice? What takes away (לקה, auferre, abripere, as frequently) thy heart (here of wounded pride), and why do thine eyes gleam, that thou turnest (השׁיב, not revertere, but vertere, as freq.) thy ill-humour towards God, and utterest מלּין (so here, not מלּים) words, which, because they are without meaning and intelligence, are nothing but words? רזם, ἅπ. γεγρ., is transposed from רמז, to wink, i.e., to make known by gestures and grimaces, - a word which does not occur in biblical, but is very common in post-biblical, Hebrew (e.g., חרשׁ רומז ונרמז, a deaf and dumb person expresses himself and is answered by a language of signs). Modern expositors arbitrarily understand a rolling of the eyes; it is more natural to think of the vibration of the eye-lashes or eye-brows. רוּח, Job 15:13, is as in Judges 8:3; Isaiah 25:4, comp. Job 13:11, and freq. used of passionate excitement, which is thus expressed because it manifests itself in πνέειν (Acts 9:1), and has its rise in the πνεῦμα (Ecclesiastes 7:9). Job ought to control this angry spirit, θυμός (Psychol. S. 198); but he allows it to burst forth, and makes even God the object on which he vents his anger in impetuous language. How much better it would be for him, if he would search within himself (Lamentations 3:39) for the reason of those sufferings which so deprive him of his self-control!
Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thy eyes wink at,
That thou turnest thy spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?
What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous?14 What is mortal man that he should be pure,
And that he who is born of woman should be righteous?
15 He trusteth not His holy ones,
And the heavens are not pure in His eyes:
16 How much less the abominable and corrupt,
Man, who drinketh iniquity as water!
The exclamation in Job 15:14 is like the utterance: mortal man and man born flesh of flesh cannot be entirely sinless. Even "the holy ones" and "the heavens" are not. The former are, as in Job 5:1, according to Job 4:18, the angels as beings of light (whether קדשׁ signifies to be light from the very first, spotlessly pure, or, vid., Psalter, i. 588f., to be separated, distinct, and hence exalted above what is common); the latter is not another expression for the אנגּלי מרומא (Targ.), the "angels of the heights," but שׁמים is the word used for the highest spheres in which they dwell (comp. Job 25:5); for the angels are certainly not corporeal, but, like all created things, in space, and the Scriptures everywhere speak of angels and the starry heavens together. Hence the angels are called the morning stars in Job 38:7, and hence both stars and angels are called צבא השׁמים and צבאות (vid., Genesis. S. 128). Even the angels and the heavens are finite, and consequently are not of a nature absolutely raised above the possibility of sin and contamination.
Eliphaz repeats here what he has already said, Job 4:18.; but he does it intentionally, since he wishes still more terribly to describe human uncleanness to Job (Oetinger). In that passage אף was merely the sign of an anti-climax, here כּי אף is quanto minus. Eliphaz refers to the hereditary infirmity and sin of human nature in Job 15:14, here (Job 15:16) to man's own free choice of that which works his destruction. He uses the strongest imaginable words to describe one actualiter and originaliter corrupted. נתעב denotes one who is become an abomination, or the abominated equals abominable (Ges. 134, 1); נאלח, one thoroughly corrupted (Arabic alacha, in the medial VIII conjugation: to become sour, which reminds one of ζύμη, Rabb. שׂאר שׁבּעסּה, as an image of evil, and especially of evil desire). It is further said of him (an expression which Elihu adopts, Job 34:7), that he drinks up evil like water. The figure is like Proverbs 26:6, comp. on Psalm 73:10, and implies that he lusts after sin, and that it is become a necessity of his nature, and is to his nature what water is to the thirsty. Even Job does not deny this corruption of man (Job 14:4), but the inferences which the friends draw in reference to him he cannot acknowledge. The continuation of Eliphaz' speech shows how they render this acknowledgment impossible to him.
Behold, he putteth no trust in his saints; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight.
How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water?
I will shew thee, hear me; and that which I have seen I will declare;17 I will inform thee, hear me!
And what I have myself seen that I will declare,
18 Things which wise men declare
Without concealment from their fathers -
19 To them alone was the land given over,
And no stranger had passed in their midst - :
Eliphaz, as in his first speech, introduces the dogma with which he confronts Job with a solemn preface: in the former case it had its rise in a revelation, here it is supported by his own experience and reliable tradition; for חזיתי is not intended as meaning ecstatic vision (Schlottm.). The poet uses חזה also of sensuous vision, Job 8:17; and of observation and knowledge by means of the senses, not only the more exalted, as Job 19:26., but of any kind (Job 23:9; Job 24:1; Job 27:12, comp. Job 36:25; Job 34:32), in the widest sense. זה is used as neuter, Genesis 6:15; Exodus 13:8; Exodus 30:13; Leviticus 11:4, and freq.
(comp. the neuter הוּא, Job 13:16, and often), and זה־חזיתי is a relative clause (Ges. 122, 2): quod conspexi, as Job 19:19 quos amo, and Psalm 74:2 in quo habitas, comp. Psalm 104:8, Psalm 104:26; Proverbs 23:22, where the punctuation throughout proceeds from the correct knowledge of the syntax. The waw of ואספרה is the waw apodosis, which is customary (Ngelsbach, 111, 1, b) after relative clauses (e.g., Numbers 23:3), or what is the same thing, participles (e.g., Proverbs 23:24): et narrabo equals ea narrabo. In Job 15:18 ולא כחדו is, logically at least, subordinate to יגידו, as in Isaiah 3:9,
(Note: Heidenheim refers to Hosea 8:2 for the position of the words, but there Israel may also be an apposition: we know thee, we Israel.)
as the Targum of the Antwerp Polyglott well translates: "what wise men declare, without concealing (ולא מכדבין), from the tradition of their fathers;" whereas all the other old translations, including Luther's, have missed the right meaning. These fathers to whom this doctrine respecting the fate of evil-doers is referred, lived, as Eliphaz says in Job 15:19, in the land of their birth, and did not mingle themselves with strangers, consequently their manner of viewing things, and their opinions, have in their favour the advantage of independence, of being derived from their own experience, and also of a healthy development undisturbed by any foreign influences, and their teaching may be accounted pure and unalloyed.
Eliphaz thus indirectly says, that the present is not free from such influences, and Ewald is consequently of opinion that the individuality of the Israelitish poet peeps out here, and a state of things is indicated like that which came about after the fall of Samaria in the reign of Manasseh. Hirzel also infers from Eliphaz' words, that at the time when the book was written the poet's fatherland was desecrated by some foreign rule, and considers it an indication for determining the time at which the book was composed. But how groundless and deceptive this is! The way in which Eliphaz commends ancient traditional lore is so genuinely Arabian, that there is but the faintest semblance of a reason for supposing the poet to have thrown his own history and national peculiarity so vividly into the working up of the rôle of another. Purity of race was, from the earliest times, considered by "the sons of the East" as a sign of highest nobility, and hence Eliphaz traces back his teaching to a time when his race could boast of the greatest freedom from intermixture with any other. Schlottmann prefers to interpret Job 15:19 as referring to the "nobler primeval races of man" (without, however, referring to Job 8:8), but הארץ does not signify the earth here, but: country, as in Job 30:8; Job 22:8, and elsewhere, and Job 15:19 seems to refer to nations: זר equals barbarus (perhaps Semitic: בּרבּר, ὁ ἔξω). Nevertheless it is unnecessary to suppose that Eliphaz' time was one of foreign domination, as the Assyrian-Chaldean time was for Israel: it is sufficient to imagine it as a time when the tribes of the desert were becoming intermixed, from migration, commerce, and feud.
Now follows the doctrine of the wise men, which springs from a venerable primitive age, an age as yet undisturbed by any strange way of thinking (modern enlightenment and free thinking, as we should say), and is supported by Eliphaz' own experience.
(Note: Communication from Consul Wetzstein: If this verse affirms that the freer a people is from intermixture with other races, the purer is its tradition, it gives expression to a principle derived from experience, which needs no proof. Even European races, especially the Scandinavians, furnish proof of this in their customs, language, and traditions, although in this case certain elements of their indigenous character have vanished with the introduction of Christianity. A more complete parallel is furnished by the wandering tribes of the 'Aneze and Sharrt of the Syrian deserts, people who have indeed had their struggles, and have even been weakened by emigration, but have certainly never lost their political and religious autonomy, and have preserved valuable traditions which may be traced to the earliest antiquity. It is unnecessary to prove this by special instance, when the whole outer and inner life of these peoples can be regarded as the best commentary on the biblical accounts of the patriarchal age. It is, however, not so much the fact that the evil-doer receives his punishment, in favour of which Eliphaz appeals to the teaching handed down from the fathers, as rather the belief in it, consequently in a certain degree the dogma of a moral order in the world. This dogma is an essential element of the ancient Abrahamic religion of the desert tribes - that primitive religion which formed the basis of the Mosaic, and side by side with it was continued among the nomads of the desert; which, shortly before the appearance of Christianity in the country east of Jordan, gave birth to mild doctrines, doctrines which tended to prepare the way for the teaching of the gospel; which at that very time, according to historical testimony, also prevailed in the towns of the Higz, and was first displaced again by the Jemanic idolatry, and limited to the desert, in the second century after Christ, during the repeated migrations of the southern Arabs; which gave the most powerful impulse to the rise of Islam, and furnished its best elements; which, towards the end of the last century, brought about the reform of Islamism in the province of Negd, and produced the Wahabee doctrine; and which, finally, is continued even to the present day by the name of Dn Ibrhm, "Religion of Abraham," as a faithful tradition of the fathers, among the vast Ishmaelitish tribes of the Syrian desert, "to whom alone the land is given over, and into whose midst no stranger has penetrated." Had this cultus spread among settled races with a higher education, it might have been taught also in writings: if, however, portions of writings in reference to it, which have been handed down to us by the Arabic, are to be regarded as unauthentic, it may also in 'Irk have been mixed with the Sabian worship of the stars; but among the nomads it will have always been only oral, taught by the poets in song, and contained in the fine traditions handed down uncorrupted from father to son, and practised in life.
It is a dogma of this religion (of which I shall speak more fully in the introduction to my Anthologie von Poesien der Wanderstmme), that the pious will be rewarded by God in his life and in his descendants, the wicked punished in his life and in his descendants; and it may also, in Job 15:19, be indirectly said that the land of Eliphaz has preserved this faith, in accordance with tradition, purer than Job's land. If Eliphaz was from the Petraean town of Tmn (which we merely suggest as possible here), he might indeed rightly assert that no strange race had become naturalized there; for that hot, sterile land, poorly supplied with water, had nothing inviting to the emigrant or marauder, and its natives remain there only by virtue of the proverb: lôlâ hhibb el-wattan quat.tâl, lakân dâr eṡsû' charâb, "Did not the love of one's country slay (him who is separated from it), the barren country would be uninhabited." Job certainly could not affirm the same of his native country, if this is, with the Syrian tradition, to be regarded as the Nukra (on this point, vid., the Appendix). As the richest province of Syria, it has, from the earliest time to the present, always been an apple of contention, and has not only frequently changed its rulers, but even its inhabitants.)
Which wise men have told from their fathers, and have not hid it:
Unto whom alone the earth was given, and no stranger passed among them.
The wicked man travaileth with pain all his days, and the number of years is hidden to the oppressor.20 So long as the ungodly liveth he suffereth,
And numbered years are reserved for the tyrant.
21 Terrors sound in his ears;
In time of peace the destroyer cometh upon him.
22 He believeth not in a return from darkness,
And he is selected for the sword.
23 He roameth about after bread: "Ah! where is it?"
He knoweth that a dark day is near at hand for him.
24 Trouble and anguish terrify him;
They seize him as a king ready to the battle.
All the days of the ungodly he (the ungodly) is sensible of pain. רשׁע stands, like Elohim in Genesis 9:6, by the closer definition; here however so, that this defining ends after the manner of a premiss, and is begun by הוּא after the manner of a conclusion. מתחולל, he writhes, i.e., suffers inward anxiety and distress in the midst of all outward appearance of happiness. Most expositors translate the next line: and throughout the number of the years, which are reserved to the tyrant. But (1) this parallel definition of time appended by waw makes the sense drawling; (2) the change of עריץ (oppressor, tyrant) for רשׁע leads one to expect a fresh affirmation, hence it is translated by the lxx: ἔτη δὲ ἀριθμητὰ δεδομένα δυνάστῃ. The predicate is, then, like Job 32:7, comp. Job 29:10; Job 2:4 (Ges. 148), per attractionem in the plur. instead of in the sing., and especially with מספּר followed by gen. plur.; this attraction is adopted by our author, Job 21:21; Job 38:21. The meaning is not, that numbered, i.e., few, years are secretly appointed to the tyrant, which must have been sh'nôth mispâr, a reversed position of the words, as Job 16:22; Numbers 9:20 (vid., Gesenius' Thes.); but a (limited, appointed) number of years is reserved to the tyrant (צפן as Job 24:1; Job 21:19, comp. טמן, Job 20:26; Mercerus: occulto decreto definiti), after the expiration of which his punishment begins. The thought expressed by the Targ., Syr., and Jerome would be suitable: and the number of the years (that he has to live unpunished) is hidden from the tyrant; but if this were the poet's meaning, he would have written שׁניו, and must have written מן־העריץ.
With regard to the following Job 15:21-24, it is doubtful whether only the evil-doer's anxiety of spirit is described in amplification of הוא מתחולל, or also how the terrible images from which he suffers in his conscience are realized, and how he at length helplessly succumbs to the destruction which his imagination had long foreboded. A satisfactory and decisive answer to this question is hardly possible; but considering that the real crisis is brought on by Eliphaz later, and fully described, it seems more probable that what has an objective tone in Job 15:21-24 is controlled by what has been affirmed respecting the evil conscience of the ungodly, and is to be understood accordingly. The sound of terrible things (startling dangers) rings in his ears; the devastator comes upon him (בוא seq. acc. as Job 20:22; Proverbs 28:22; comp. Isaiah 28:15) in the midst of his prosperity. He anticipates it ere it happens. From the darkness by which he feels himself menaced, he believes not (האמין seq. infin. as Psalm 27:13, לראות, of confident hope) to return; i.e., overwhelmed with a consciousness of his guilt, he cannot, in the presence of this darkness which threatens him, raise to the hope of rescue from it, and he is really - as his consciousness tells him - צפוּ (like עשׂוּ, Job 41:25; Ges. 75, rem. 5; Keri צפוי, which is omitted in our printed copies, contrary to the testimony of the Masora and the authority of correct MSS), spied out for, appointed to the sword, i.e., of God (Job 19:29; Isaiah 31:8), or decreed by God. In the midst of abundance he is harassed by the thought of becoming poor; he wanders about in search of bread, anxiously looking out and asking where? (abrupt, like הנה, Job 9:19), i.e., where is any to be found, whence can I obtain it? The lxx translates contrary to the connection, and with a strange misunderstanding of the passage: κατατέτακται δὲ δἰς σῖτα γυψίν (איּה לחם, food for the vulture). He sees himself in the mirror of the future thus reduced to beggary; he knows that a day of darkness stands in readiness (נכון, like Job 18:12), is at his hand, i.e., close upon him (בּידו, elsewhere in this sense ליד, Psalm 140:6; 1 Samuel 19:3, and על־ידי, Job 1:14).
In accordance with the previous exposition, we shall now interpret וּמצוּקה צר, Job 15:24, not of need and distress, but subjectively of fear and oppression. They come upon him suddenly and irresistibly; it seizes or overpowers him (תּתקפהוּ with neutral subject; an unknown something, a dismal power) as a king עתיד לכּידור. lxx ὥσπερ στρατηγὸς πρωτοστάτης πίπτων, like a leader falling in the first line of the battle, which is an imaginary interpretation of the text. The translation of the Targum also, sicut regem qui paratus est ad scabellum (to serve the conqueror as a footstool), furnishes no explanation. Another Targum translation (in Nachmani and elsewhere) is: sicut rex qui paratus est circumdare se legionibus. According to this, כידור comes from כּדר, to surround, be round (comp. כּתר, whence כּתר, Assyr. cudar, κίδαρις, perhaps also הזר, Syr. חדר, whence chedor, a circle, round about); and it is assumed, that as כּדּוּר signifies a ball (not only in Talmudic, but also in Isaiah 22:18, which is to be translated: rolling he rolleth thee into a ball, a ball in a spacious land), so כּידור, a round encampment, an army encamped in a circle, synon. of מעגּל. In the first signification the word certainly furnishes no suitable sense in connection with עתיד; but one may, with Kimchi, suppose that כידור, like the Italian torniamento, denotes the circle as well as the tournament, or the round of conflict, i.e., the conflict which moves round about, like tumult of battle, which last is a suitable meaning here. The same appropriate meaning is attained, however, if the root is taken, like the Arabic kdr, in the signification turbidum esse (comp. קדר, Job 6:16), which is adopted of misfortunes as troubled experiences of life (according to which Schultens translates: destinatus est ad turbulentissimas fortunas, beginning a new thought with עתיד, which is not possible, since כמלך by itself is no complete figure), and may perhaps also be referred to the tumult of battle, tumultus bellici conturbatio (Rosenm.); or of, with Fleischer, one starts from another turn of the idea of the root, viz., to be compressed, solid, thick, which is a more certain way gives the meaning of a dense crowd.
(Note: The Arab. verb kdr belongs to the root kd, to smite, thrust, quatere, percutere, tundere, trudere; a root that has many branches. It is I. transitive cadara (fut. jacduru, inf. cadr) - by the non-adoption of which from the original lexicons our lexicographers have deprived the whole etymological development of its groundwork - in the signification to pour, hurl down, pour out, e.g., cadara-l-ma, he has spilt, poured out, thrown down the water; hence in the medial VII. form incadara intransitive, to fall, fall down, chiefly of water and other fluids, as of the rain which pours down from heaven, of a cascade, and the like; then improperly of a bird of prey which shoots down from the air upon its prey (e.g., in the poetry in Beidhwi on Sur. 81, 2: "The hawk saw some bustards on the plain f'ancadara, and rushed down"); of a hostile host which rushes upon the enemy first possible signification for כידור]; of a man, horse, etc., which runs very swiftly, effuse currit, effuso curru ruit; of the stars that shall fall from heaven at the last day (Sur. 81, 2). Then also II. intransitive cadara (fut. jacdiru) with the secondary form cadira (fut. jacdaru) and cadura (fut. jacduru), prop. to be shaken and jolted; then also of fluid things, mixed and mingled, made turgid, unclean, i.e., by shaking, jolting, stirring, etc., with the dregs (the cudre or cudde); then gen. turbidum, non limpidum (opp. Arab. ṣf'), with a similar transition of meaning to that in turbare (comp. deturbare) and the German trben (comp. traben or trappen, treiben, treffen). The primary meaning of the root takes another III. turn in the derived adjectives cudur, cudurr, cundur, cundir, compressed, solid, thick; the last word with us (Germans) forms a transition from cadir, cadr, cadr, dull, slimy, yeasty, etc., inasmuch as we speak of dickes Bier (thick beer), etc., cerevisia spissa, de la bire paisse. Here the point of contact of the word כידור, tumult of battle, κλόνος ἀνδρῶν, seems indicated: a dense crowd and tumult, where one is close upon another; as also נלחם, מלחמה, signify not reciprocal destruction, slaughter, but to press firmly and closely upon one another, a dense crowd. - Fl.)
Since, therefore, a suitable meaning is obtained in two ways, the natural conjecture, which is commended by Proverbs 6:11, עתיד לכּידון, paratus ad hastam equals peritus hastae (Hupf.), according to Job 3:8) where ערר equals לערר), may be abandoned. The signification circuitus has the most support, according to which Saadia and Parchon also explain, and we have preferred to translate round of battle rather than tumult of conflict; Jerome's translation, qui praeparatur ad praelium, seems also to be gained in the same manner.
A dreadful sound is in his ears: in prosperity the destroyer shall come upon him.
He believeth not that he shall return out of darkness, and he is waited for of the sword.
He wandereth abroad for bread, saying, Where is it? he knoweth that the day of darkness is ready at his hand.
Trouble and anguish shall make him afraid; they shall prevail against him, as a king ready to the battle.
For he stretcheth out his hand against God, and strengtheneth himself against the Almighty.25 Because he stretched out his hand against God,
And was insolent towards the Almighty;
26 He assailed Him with a stiff neck,
With the thick bosses of his shield;
27 Because he covered his face with his fatness,
And addeth fat to his loins,
28 And inhabited desolated cities,
Houses which should not be inhabited,
Which were appointed to be ruins.
29 He shall not be rich, and his substance shall not continue
And their substance boweth not to the ground.
30 He escapeth not darkness;
The flame withereth his shoots;
And he perisheth in the breath of His mouth.
This strophe has periodic members: Job 15:25-28 an antecedent clause with a double beginning (כּי־נטה because he has stretched out, כּי־כסּה because he has covered; whereas ירוּץ may be taken as more independent, but under the government of the כי that stands at the commencement of the sentence); Job 15:29, Job 15:30, is the conclusion. Two chief sins are mentioned as the cause of the final destiny that comes upon the evil-doer: (1) his arrogant opposition to God, and (2) his contentment on the ruins of another's prosperity. The first of these sins is described Job 15:25-27. The fut. consec. is once used instead of the perf., and the simple fut. is twice used with the signification of an imperf. (as Job 4:3 and freq.). The Hithpa. התגּבּר signifies here to maintain a heroic bearing, to play the hero; התעשּׁר to make one's self rich, to play the part of a rich man, Proverbs 13:7. And בּצוּאר expresses the special prominence of the neck in his assailing God אל רוּץ, as Daniel 8:6, comp. על, Job 16:14); it is equivalent to erecto collo (Vulg.), and in meaning equivalent to ὕβρει (lxx). Also in Psalm 75:6, בצואר (with Munach, which there represents a distinctive)
(Note: Vid., Dachselt's Biblia Accentuata, p. 816.))
is absolute, in the sense of stiff-necked or hard-headed; for the parallels, as Psalm 31:19; Psalm 94:4, and especially the primary passage, 1 Samuel 2:3, show that עתק is to be taken as an accusative of the object. The proud defiance with which he challengingly assails God, and renders himself insensible to the dispensations of God, which might bring him to a right way of thinking, is symbolized by the additional clause: with the thickness (עבי cognate form to עבי) of the bosses of his shields. גּב is the back (Arab. dhr) or boss (umbo) of the shield; the plurality of shields has reference to the diversified means by which he hardens himself. Job 15:27, similarly to Psalm 73:4-7, pictures this impregnable carnal security against all unrest and pain, to which, on account of his own sinfulness and the distress of others, the nobler-minded man is so sensitive: he has covered his face with his fat, so that by the accumulation of fat, for which he anxiously labours, it becomes a gross material lump of flesh, devoid of mind and soul, and made fat, i.e., added fat, caused it to accumulate, upon his loins (כּסל for כּסליו); עשׂה (which has nothing to do with Arab. gšâ, to cover) is used as in Job 14:9, and in the phrase corpus facere (in Justin), in the sense of producing outwardly something from within. פּימה reminds one of πιμ-ελή (as Aquila and Symmachus translate here), o-pim-us, and of the Sanscrit piai, to be fat (whence adj. pı̂van, pı̂vara, πιαρός, part. pı̂na, subst. according to Roth pı̂vas); the Arabic renders it probable that it is a contraction of פּאימה (Olsh. 171, b). The Jewish expositors explain it according to the misunderstood פּים, 1 Samuel 13:21, of the furrows or wrinkles which are formed in flabby flesh, as if the ah were paragogic.
Job 15:28 describes the second capital sin of the evil-doer. The desolated cities that he dwells in are not cities that he himself has laid waste; Job 15:28 distinctly refers to a divinely appointed punishment, for התעתּדוּ does not signify: which they (evil-doers) have made ruins (Hahn), which is neither probable from the change of number, nor accords with the meaning of the verb, which signifies "to appoint to something in the future." Hirzel, by referring to the law, Deuteronomy 13:13-18 (comp. 1 Kings 16:34), which forbids the rebuilding of such cities as are laid under the curse, explains it to a certain extent more correctly. But such a play upon the requirements of the Mosaic law is in itself not probable in the book of Job, and here, as Lwenthal rightly remarks, is the less indicated, since it is not the dwelling in such cities that is forbidden, but only the rebuilding of them, so far as they had been destroyed; here, however, the reference is only to dwelling, not to rebuilding. The expression must therefore be understood more generally thus, that the powerful man settles down carelessly and indolently, without any fear of the judgments of God or respect for the manifestations of His judicial authority, in places in which the marks of a just divine retribution are still visible, and which are appointed to be perpetual monuments of the execution of divine judgments.
(Note: For the elucidation of this interpretation of the passage, Consul Wetzstein has contributed the following: "As one who yields to inordinate passion is without sympathy cast from human society because he is called muqtal rabbuh, 'one who is beaten in the conflict against his God' (since he has sinned against the holy command of chastity), and as no one ventures to pronounce the name of Satan because God has cursed him (Genesis 3:14), without adding 'alh el-la'ne, 'God's curse upon him!' so a man may not presume to inhabit places which God has appointed to desolation. Such villages and cities, which, according to tradition, have perished and been frequently overthrown (maqlbe, muqlbe, munqualibe) by the visitation of divine judgment, are not uncommon on the borders of the desert. They are places, it is said, where the primary commandments of the religion of Abraham (Dn Ibrhim) have been impiously transgressed. Thus the city of Babylon will never be colonized by a Semitic tribe, because they hold the belief that it has been destroyed on account of Nimrod's apostasy from God, and his hostility to His favoured one, Abraham. The tradition which has even been transferred by the tribes of Arabia Petraea into Islamism of the desolation of the city of Higr (or Medin Slih) on account of disobedience to God, prevents any one from dwelling in that remarkable city, which consists of thousands of dwellings cut in the rock, some of which are richly ornamented; without looking round, and muttering prayers, the desert ranger hurries through, even as does the great procession of pilgrims to Mekka, from fear of incurring the punishment of God by the slightest delay in the accursed city. The destruction of Sodom, brought about by the violation of the right of hospitality (Genesis 19:5, comp. Job 31:32), is to be mentioned here, for this legend certainly belongs originally to the 'Din Ibrhm' rather than to the Mosaic. At the source of the Rakkd (the largest river of the Golan region) there are a number of erect and remarkably perforated jasper formations, which are called 'the bridal procession' (el-frida). This bridal procession was turned to stone, because a woman of the party cleaned her child that had made itself dirty with a bread-cake (qurss). Near it is its village (Ufne), which in spite of repeated attempts is no more to be inhabited. It remains forsaken, as an eternal witness that ingratitude (kufrn en-ni'ma), especially towards God, does not remain unpunished.)
Only by this rendering is the form of expression of the elliptical clause לא־ישׁבוּ למו explained. Hirz. refers למו to בּתּים: in which they do not dwell; but ל ישׁב does not signify: to dwell in a place, but: to settle down in a place; Schlottm. refers למו to the inhabitants: therein they dwell not themselves, i.e., where no one dwelt; but the אשׁר which would be required in this case as acc. localis could not be omitted. One might more readily, with Hahn, explain: those to whom they belong do not inhabit them; but it is linguistically impossible for למו to stand alone as the expression of this subject (the possessors). The most natural, and also an admissible explanation, is, that yshbw refers to the houses, and that למו, which can be used not only of persons, but also of things, is dat. ethicus. The meaning, however, is not: which are uninhabited, which would not be expressed as future, but rather by אין בהם יושׁב or similarly, but: which shall not inhabit, i.e., shall not be inhabited to them (ישׁב to dwell equals to have inhabitants, as Isaiah 13:10; Jeremiah 50:13, Jeremiah 50:39, and freq.), or, as we should express it, which ought to remain uninhabited.
Job 15:29 begins the conclusion: (because he has acted thus) he shall not be rich (with a personal subject as Hosea 12:9, and יעשּׁר to be written with a sharpened שׁ, like יעצר above, Job 12:15), and his substance shall not endure (קוּם, to take place, Isaiah 7:7; to endure, 1 Samuel 13:14; and hold fast, Job 41:18), and מנלם shall not incline itself to the earth. The interpretation of the older expositors, non extendet se in terra, is impossible - that must be בּארץ eb tsum taht - elbi ינּטה; whereas Kal is commonly used in the intransitive sense to bow down, bend one's self or incline (Ges. 53, 2). But what is the meaning of the subject מנלם? We may put out of consideration those interpretations that condemn themselves: לם מן, ex iis (Targ.), or לם מן, quod iis, what belongs to them (Saad.), or מלּם, their word (Syr. and Gecatilia), and such substitutions as σκιάν (צלם or צללם) of the lxx, and radicem of Jerome (which seems only to be a guess). Certainly that which throws most light on the signification of the word is כּנּלתך (for כּהנלתך with Dag. dirimens, as Job 17:2), which occurs in Isaiah 33:1. The oldest Jewish lexicographers take this הנלה (parall. התם .ll) as a synonym of כּלּה in the signification, to bring to an end; on the other hand, Ges., Knobel, and others, consider כּכלּתך to be the original reading, because the meaning perficere is not furnished for נלה from the Arab. nâl, and because נל, standing thus together, is in Arabic an incompatible root combination (Olsh. 9, 4). This union of consonants certainly does not occur in any Semitic root, but the Arab. nâla (the long a of which can in the inflection become a short changeable bowel) furnishes sufficient protection for this one exception; and the meaning consequi, which belongs to the Arab. nâla, fut. janı̂lu, is perfectly suited to Isaiah 33:1 : if thou hast fully attained (Hiph. as intensive of the transitive Kal, like הזעיק, הקנה) to plundering. If, however, the verb נלה is established, there is no need for any conjecture in the passage before us, especially since the improvement nearest at hand, מכלם (Hupf. מגּלה), produces a sentence (non figet in terra caulam) which could not be flatter and tamer; whereas the thought that is gained by Olshausen's more sensible conjecture, מגּלם (their sickle does not sink to the earth, is not pressed down by the richness of the produce of the field), goes to the other extreme.
(Note: Carey proposes to take מנלם equals נמלם, their cutting, layer for planting; but the verb-group מלל, מול, נמל (vid., supra, p. 224) is not favourable to the supposition of a substantive נמל in this signification, according to the usual application of the language.)
Juda b. Karisch (Kureisch) has explained the word correctly by Arab. mnâlhm: that which they have offered (from nâla, janûlu) or attained (nâla, janı̂lu), i.e., their possession
(Note: Freytag has erroneously placed the infinitives nail and manl under Arab. nl med. Wau, instead of under Arab. nl me. Je, where he only repeats nail, and erroneously gives manl the signification donum, citing in support of it a passage from Fkihat al-chulaf, where 'azz al-manl (a figure borrowed from places difficult of access, and rendered strong and impregnable by nature or art) signifies "one who was hard to get at" (i.e., whose position of power is made secure). The true connection is this: Arab. nl med. Wau signifies originally to extend, reach, to hand anything to any one with outstretched arm or hand, the correlatum Arab. nl med. Je: to attain, i.e., first to touch or reach anything with outstretched arm or hand, and then really to grasp and take it, gen. adipisci, consequi, assequi, impetrare, with the ordinary infinitives nail and manl. Therefore manl (from Arab. nl med. Je) signifies primarily as abstract, attainment; it may then, however, like nail and the infinitives generally, pass over to the concrete signification: what one attains to, or what one has attained, gotten, although I can give no special example in support of it. - Fl.)
(not: their perfection, as it is chiefly explained by the Jewish expositors, according to נלה equals כלה). When the poet says, "their prosperity inclines not to the ground," he denies to it the likeness to a field of corn, which from the weight of the ears bows itself towards the ground, or to a tree, whose richly laden branches bend to the ground. We may be satisfied with this explanation (Hirz., Ew., Stickel, and most others): מנלם from מנלה (with which Kimchi compares מכרם, Numbers 20:19, which however is derived not from מכרה, but from מכר), similar in meaning to the post-biblical ממון, μαμωνᾶς; the suff., according to the same change of number as in Job 15:35; Job 20:23, and freq., refers to רשׁעים.
In Job 15:30, also, a figure taken from a plant is interwoven with what is said of the person of the ungodly: the flame withers up his tender branch without its bearing fruit, and he himself does not escape darkness, but rather perishes by the breath of His mouth, i.e., God's mouth (Job 4:9, not of his own, after Isaiah 33:11). The repetition of יסוּר ("he escapes not," as Proverbs 13:14; "he must yield to," as 1 Kings 15:14, and freq.) is an impressive play upon words.
He runneth upon him, even on his neck, upon the thick bosses of his bucklers:
Because he covereth his face with his fatness, and maketh collops of fat on his flanks.
And he dwelleth in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.
He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.31 Let him not trust in evil-he is deceived,
For evil shall be his possession.
32 His day is not yet, then it is accomplished,
And his palm-branch loseth its freshness.
33 He teareth off as a vine his young grapes,
And He casteth down as an olive-tree his flower.
34 The company of the hypocrite is rigid,
And fire consumeth the tents of bribery.
35 They conceive sorrow and bring forth iniquity,
And their inward part worketh self-deceit.
אל does not merely introduce a declaration respecting the future (Luther: he will not continue, which moreover must have been expressed by the Niph.), but is admonitory: may he only not trust in vanity (Munach here instead of Dech, according to the rule of transformation, Psalter, ii. 504, 4) - he falls, so far as he does it, into error, or brings himself into error (נתעה, 3 praet., not part., and Niph. like Isaiah 19:14, where it signifies to be thrust backwards and forwards, or to reel about helplessly), - a thought one might expect after the admonition (Olsh. conjectures נתעב, one who is detestable): this trusting in evil is self-delusion, for evil becomes his exchange (תּמוּרה not compensatio, but permutatio, acquisitio). We have translated שׁוא by "evil" (Unheil), by which we have sought elsewhere to render און, in order that we might preserve the same word in both members of the verse. In Job 15:31, שׁוא (in form equals שׁוא from שׁוא, in the Chethib שוּ, the Aleph being cast away, like the Arabic sû', wickedness, form the v. cavum hamzatum s-'a equals sawu'a) is waste and empty in mind, in Job 15:31 (comp. Hosea 12:12) waste and empty in fortune; or, to go further from the primary root, in the former case apparent goodness, in the latter apparent prosperity - delusion, and being undeceived "evil" in the sense of wickedness, and of calamity. תּמּלא, which follows, refers to the exchange, or neutrally to the evil that is exchanged: the one or the other fulfils itself, i.e., either: is realized (passive of מלּא, 1 Kings 8:15), or: becomes complete, which means the measure of the punishment of his immorality becomes full, before his natural day, i.e., the day of death, is come (comp. for expression, Job 22:16; Ecclesiastes 7:17). The translation: then it is over with him (Ges., Schlottm., and others), is contrary to the usage of the language; and that given by the Jewish expositors, תּמּלא equals תּמּלל (abscinditur or conteritur), is a needlessly bold suggestion. - Job 15:32. It is to be observed that רעננה is Milel, and consequently 3 praet., not as in Sol 1:16 Milra, and consequently adj. כּפּה is not the branches generally (Luzzatto, with Raschi: branchage), but, as the proverbial expression for the high and low, Isaiah 9:13; Isaiah 19:15 (vid., Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Gramm. S. 209), shows, the palm-branch bent downwards (comp. Targ. Esther 1:5, where כּפּין signifies seats and walks covered with foliage). "His palm-branch does not become green, or does not remain green" (which Symm. well renders: οὐκ εὐθαλήσει), means that as he himself, the palm-trunk, so also his family, withers away. In Job 15:33 it is represented as בּסר ( equals בּסר), wild grapes, or even unripe grapes of a vine, and as נצּה, flowers of an olive.
(Note: In order to appreciate the point of the comparison, it is needful to know that the Syrian olive-tree bears fruit plentifully the first, third, and fifth years, but rests during the second, fourth, and sixth. It blossoms in these years also, but the blossoms fall off almost entirely without any berries being formed. The harvest of the olive is therefore in such years very scanty. With respect to the vine, every year an enormous quantity of grapes are used up before they are ripe. When the berries are only about the size of a pea, the acid from them is used in housekeeping, to prepare almost every kind of food. The people are exceedingly fond of things sour, a taste which is caused by the heat of the climate. During the months of June, July, and August, above six hundred horses and asses laden with unripe grapes come daily to the market in Damascus alone, and during this season no one uses vinegar; hence the word בסרא signifies in Syriac the acid (vinegar) κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν. In Arabic the unripe grapes are exclusively called hhossrum (Arab. htsrm), or, with a dialectic distinction, hissrim. - Wetzst.)
In Job 15:32 the godless man himself might be the subject: he casts down, like an olive-tree, his flowers, but in Job 15:32 this is inadmissible; if we interpret: "he shakes off (Targ. יתּר, excutiet), like a vine-stock, his young grapes," this (apart from the far-fetched meaning in יחמס) is a figure that is untrue to nature, since the grapes sit firmer the more unripe they are; and if one takes the first meaning of חמס, "he acts unjustly, as a vine, to his omphax" (e.g., Hupf.), whether it means that he does not let it ripen, or that he does not share with it any of the sweet sap, one has not only an indistinct figure, but also (since what God ordains for the godless is described as in operation) an awkward comparison. The subject of both verbs is therefore other than the vine and olive themselves. But why only an impersonal "one"? In Job 15:30 רוח פיו was referred to God, who is not expressly mentioned. God is also the subject here, and יחמס, which signifies to act with violence to one's self, is modified here to the sense of tearing away, as Lamentations 2:6 (which Aben-Ezra has compared), of tearing out; כגפן, כזית, prop. as a vine-stock, as an olive-tree, is equivalent to even as such an one.
Job 15:34 declares the lot of the family of the ungodly, which has been thus figuratively described, without figure: the congregation (i.e., here: family-circle) of the ungodly (חנף according to its etymon inclinans, propensus ad malum, vid., on Job 13:16) is (as it is expressed from the standpoint of the judgment that is executed) גּלמוּד, a hard, lifeless, stony mass (in the substantival sense of the Arabic galmûd instead of the adject. גלמודה, Isaiah 49:21), i.e., stark dead (lxx θάνατος; Aq., Symm., Theod., ἄκαρπος), and fire has devoured the tents of bribery (after Ralbag: those built by bribery; or even after the lxx: οἴκους δωροδεκτῶν). The ejaculatory conclusion, Job 15:35, gives the briefest expression to that which has been already described. The figurative language, Job 15:35, is like Psalm 7:15; Isaiah 59:4 (comp. supra, p. 257); in the latter passage similar vividly descriptive infinitives are found (Ges. 131, 4, b). They hatch the burdens or sorrow of others, and what comes from it is evil for themselves. What therefore their בּטן, i.e., their inward part, with the intermingled feelings, thoughts, and strugglings (Olympiodorus: κοιλίαν ὅλον τὸ ἐντὸς χωρίον φησὶ καὶ αὐτὴν τῆν ψυχήν), prepares or accomplishes (יכין similar to Job 27:17; Job 38:41), that on which it works, is מרמה, deceit, with which they deceive others, and before all, themselves (New Test. ἀπάτη).
With the speech of Eliphaz, the eldest among the friends, who gives a tone to their speeches, the controversy enters upon a second stage. In his last speech Job has turned from the friends and called upon them to be silent; he turned to God, and therein a sure confidence, but at the same time a challenging tone of irreverent defiance, is manifested. God does not enter into the controversy which Job desires; and the consequence is, that that flickering confidence is again extinguished, and the tone of defiance is changed into despair and complaint. Instead of listening to the voice of God, Job is obliged to content himself again with that of the friends, for they believe the continuance of the contest to be just as binding upon them as upon Job. They cannot consider themselves overcome, for their dogma has grown up in such inseparable connection with their idea of God, and therefore is so much raised above human contradiction, that nothing but a divine fact can break through it. And they are too closely connected with Job by their friendship to leave him to himself as a heretic; they regard Job as one who is self-deluded, and have really the good intention of converting their friend.
Eliphaz' speech, however, also shows that they become still more and more incapable of producing a salutary impression on Job. For, on the one hand, in this second stage of the controversy also they turn about everywhere only in the circle of their old syllogism: suffering is the punishment of sin, Job suffers, therefore he is a sinner who has to make atonement for his sin; on the other hand, instead of being disconcerted by an unconditioned acceptation of this maxim, they are strengthened in it. For while at the beginning the conclusio was urged upon them only by premises raised above any proof, so that they take for granted sins of Job which were not otherwise known to them; now, as they think, Job has himself furnished them with proof that he is a sinner who has merited such severe suffering. For whoever can speak so thoughtlessly and passionately, so vexatiously and irreverently, as Job has done, is, in their opinion, his own accuser and judge. It remains unperceived by them that Job's mind has lost its balance by reason of the fierceness of his temptation, and that in it nature and grace have fallen into a wild, confused conflict. In those speeches they see the true state of Job's spirit revealed. What, before his affliction, was the determining principle of his inner life, seems to them now to be brought to light in the words of the sufferer. Job is a godless one; and if he does affirm his innocence so solemnly and strongly, and challenges the decision of God, this assurance is only hypocritical, and put on against his better knowledge and conscience, in order to disconcert his accusers, and to evade their admonitions to repentance. It is לשׁון ערומים, a mere stratagem, like that of one who is guilty, who thinks he can overthrow the accusations brought against him by assuming the bold bearing of the accuser. Seb. Schmid counts up quinque vitia, with which Eliphaz in the introduction to his speech (Job 15:1-13) reproaches Job: vexatious impious words, a crafty perversion of the matter, blind assumption of wisdom, contempt of the divine word, and defiance against God. Of these reproaches the first and last are well-grounded; Job does really sin in his language and attitude towards God. With respect to the reproach of assumed wisdom, Eliphaz pays Job in the same coin; and when he reproaches Job with despising the divine consolations and gentle admonitions they have addressed to him, we must not blame the friends, since their intention is good. If, however, Eliphaz reproaches Job with calculating craftiness, and thus regards his affirmation of his innocence as a mere artifice, the charge cannot be more unjust, and must certainly produce the extremest alienation between them. It is indeed hard that Eliphaz regards the testimony of Job's conscience as self-delusion; he goes still further, and pronounces it a fine-spun lie, and denies not only its objective but also its subjective truth. Thus the breach between Job and the friends widens, the entanglement of the controversy becomes more complicated, and the poet allows the solution of the enigma to ripen, by its becoming increasingly enigmatical and entangled.
In this second round of the friends' speeches we meet with no new thoughts whatever; only "in the second circle of the dispute everything is more fiery than in the first" (Oetinger): the only new thing is the harsher and more decided tone of their maintenance of the doctrine of punishment, with which they confront Job. They cannot go beyond the narrow limits of their dogma of retribution, and confine themselves now to even the half of that narrowness; for since Job contemns the consolations of God with which they have hitherto closed their speeches, they now exclusively bring forward the terrible and gloomy phase of their dogma in opposition to him. After Eliphaz has again given prominence to the universal sinfulness of mankind, which Job does not at all deny, he sketches from his own experience and the tradition of his ancestors, which demands respect by reason of their freedom from all foreign influence, with brilliant lines, a picture of the evil-doer, who, being tortured by the horrors of an evil conscience, is overwhelmed by the wrath of God in the midst of his prosperity; and his possessions, children, and whole household are involved in his ruin. The picture is so drawn, that in it, as in a mirror, Job shall behold himself and his fate, both what he has already endured and what yet awaits him. מרמה is the final word of the admonitory conclusion of his speech: Job is to know that that which satisfies his inward nature is a fearful lie.
But what Job affirms of himself as the righteous one, is not מרמה. He knows that he is טמא מטמא (Job 14:4), but he also knows that he is as צדיק תמים (Job 12:4). He is conscious of the righteousness of his endeavour, which rests on the groundwork of a mind turned to the God of salvation, therefore a believing mind, - a righteousness which is also accepted of God. The friends know nothing whatever of this righteousness which is available before God. Fateor quidem, says Calvin in his Institutiones, iii. 12, in libro Iob mentionem fieri justitiae, quae excelsior est observatione legis; et hanc distinctionem tenere operae pretium est, quia etiamsi quis legi satisfaceret, ne sic quidem staret ad examen illius justitiae, quae sensus omnes exsuperat. Mercier rightly observes: Eliphas perstringit hominis naturam, quae tamen per fidem pura redditur. In man Eliphaz sees only the life of nature and not the life of grace, which, because it is the word of God, makes man irreproachable before God. He sees in Job only the rough shell, and not the kernel; only the hard shell, and not the pearl. We know, however, from the prologue, that Jehovah acknowledged Job as His servant when he decreed suffering for him; and this sufferer, whom the friends regard as one smitten of God, is and remains, as this truly evangelical book will show to us, the servant of Jehovah.
It shall be accomplished before his time, and his branch shall not be green.
He shall shake off his unripe grape as the vine, and shall cast off his flower as the olive.
For the congregation of hypocrites shall be desolate, and fire shall consume the tabernacles of bribery.
They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit.