Job 18:20
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
They of the west are appalled at his day, and horror seizes them of the east.

King James Bible
They that come after him shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.

American Standard Version
They that come after shall be astonished at his day, As they that went before were affrighted.

Douay-Rheims Bible
They that come after him shall be astonished at his day, and horror shall fall upon them that went before.

English Revised Version
They that come after shall be astonied at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.

Webster's Bible Translation
They that come after him shall be astonished at his day, as they that went before were affrighted.

Job 18:20 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

12 His calamity looketh hunger-bitten,

And misfortune is ready for his fall.

13 It devoureth the members of his skin;

The first-born of death devoureth his members.

14 That in which he trusted is torn away out of his tent,

And he must march on to the king of terrors.

15 Beings strange to him dwell in his tent;

Brimstone is strewn over his habitation.

The description of the actual and total destruction of the evil-doer now begins with יהי (as Job 24:14, after the manner of the voluntative forms already used in Job 24:9). Step by step it traces his course to the total destruction, which leaves no trace of him, but still bears evident marks of being the fulfilment of the curse pronounced upon him. In opposition to this explanation, Targ., Raschi, and others, explain אנו according to Genesis 49:3 : the son of his manhood's strength becomes hungry, which sounds comical rather than tragic; another Targ. transl.: he becomes hungry in his mourning, which is indeed inadmissible, because the signif. planctus, luctus, belongs to the derivatives of אנה, אנן, but not to און. But even the translation recently adopted by Ew., Stick., and Schlottm., "his strength becomes hungry," is unsatisfactory; for it is in itself no misfortune to be hungry, and רעב does not in itself signify "exhausted with hunger." It is also an odd metaphor, that strength becomes hungry; we would then rather read with Reiske, רעב באנו, famelicus in media potentia sua. But as און signifies strength (Job 18:7), so און (root אן, to breathe and pant) signifies both wickedness and evil (the latter either as evil equals calamity, or as anhelitus, sorrow, Arab. ain); and the thought that his (i.e., appointed to the evil-doer) calamity is hungry to swallow him up (Syr., Hirz., Hahn, and others), suits the parallelism perfectly: "and misfortune stands ready for his fall."

(Note: If רעב elsewhere corresponds to the Arabic rugb, to be voraciously hungry, the Arab. ra‛b, to be paralyzed with fright, might correspond to it in the present passage: "from all sides spectres alarm him (בעתהו from בעת equals Arab. bgt, to fall suddenly upon any one; or better: equals b‛ṯ, to hunt up, excitare, to cause to rise, to fill with alarm) and urge him forward, seizing on his heels; then his strength becomes a paralyzing fright (רעב), and destruction is ready to overwhelm him." The ro‛b (רעב, thus in Damascus) or ra‛b (רעב, thus in Hauran and among the Beduins) is a state of mind which only occurs among us in a lower degree, but among the Arabs it is worthy of note as a psychological fact. If the wahm (Arab. 'l-whm), or idea of some great and inevitable danger or misfortune, overpowers the Arab, all strength of mind and body suddenly forsakes him, so that he breaks down powerless and defenceless. Thus on July 8, 1860, in Damascus, in a few hours, about 6000 Christian men were slain, without any one raising a hand or uttering a cry for mercy. Both European and native doctors have assured me the ro‛b in Arabia kills, and I have witnessed instances myself. Since it often produces a stiffness of the limbs with chronic paralysis, all kinds of paralysis are called ro‛b, and the paralytics mar‛ûb. - Wetzst.)

איד signifies prop. a weight, burden, then a load of suffering, and gen. calamity (root אד, Arab. âda, e.g., Sur. 2, 256, la jaâduhu, it is not difficult for him, and adda, comp. on Psalm 31:12); and לצלעו not: at his side (Ges., Ew., Schlottm., Hahn), but, according to Psalm 35:15; Psalm 38:18 : for his fall (lxx freely, but correctly: ἐξαίσιοϚ); for instead of "at the side" (Arab. ila ganbi), they no more say in Hebrew than in Germ. "at the ribs."

Job 18:13 figuratively describes how calamity takes possession of him. The members, which are called יצרים in Job 17:7, as parts of the form of the body, are here called בּדּים, as the parts into which the body branches out, or rather, since the word originally signifies a part, as that which is actually split off (vid., on Job 17:16, where it denotes "cross-bars"), or according to appearance that which rises up, and from this primary signification applied to the body and plants, the members (not merely as Farisol interprets: the veins) of which the body consists and into which it is distributed. עור (distinct from גּלד, Job 16:15, similar in meaning to Arab. baschar, but also to the Arab. gild, of which the former signifies rather the epidermis, the latter the skin in the widest sense) is the soluble surface of the naked animal body. בּכור מות devours this, and indeed, as the repetition implies, gradually, but surely and entirely. "The first-born of the poor," Isaiah 14:30, are those not merely who belong (בּני) to the race of the poor, but the poor in the highest sense and first rank. So here diseases are conceived of as children of death, as in the Arabic malignant fevers are called benât el-menı̂jeh, daughters of fate or death; that disease which Bildad has in his mind, as the one more terrible and dangerous than all others, he calls the "first-born of death," as that in which the whole destroying power of death is contained, as in the first-born the whole strength of his parent.

(Note: In Arabic the positive is expressed in the same metonymies with abu, e.g., abû 'l-chêr, the benevolent; on the other hand, e.g., ibn el̇hhâge is much stronger than abu 'l-hhâge: the person who is called ibn is conceived of as a child of these conditions; they belong to his inmost nature, and have not merely affected him slightly and passed off. The Hebrew בכור represents the superlative, because among Semites the power and dignity of the father is transmitted to the first-born. So far as I know, the Arab does not use this superlative; for what is terrible and revolting he uses "mother," e.g., umm el-fâritt, mother of death, a name for the plague (in one of the modern popular poets of Damascus), umm el-quashshâsh, mother of the sweeping death, a name for war (in the same); for that which awakens the emotions of joy and grief he frequently uses "daughter." In an Arabian song of victory the fatal arrows are called benât el-môt, and the heroes (slayers) in the battle benı̂ el-môt, which is similar to the figure used in the book of Job. Moreover, that disease which eats up the limbs could not be described by a more appropriate epithet than בכור מות. Its proper name is shunned in common life; and if it is necessary to mention those who are affected with it, they always say sâdât el-gudhamâ to avoid offending the company, or to escape the curse of the thing mentioned. - Wetzst.)

The Targ. understands the figure similarly, since it transl. מלאך מותא (angel of death); another Targ. has instead שׁרוּי מותא, the firstling of death, which is intended in the sense of the primogenita ( equals praematura) mors of Jerome. Least of all is it to be understood with Ewald as an intensive expression for בן־מות, 1 Samuel 20:31, of the evil-doer as liable to death. While now disease in the most fearful form consumes the body of the evil-doer, מבטחו (with Dag.f. impl., as Job 8:14; Job 31:24, Olsh. 198, b) (a collective word, which signifies everything in which he trusted) is torn away out of his tent; thus also Rosenm., Ew., and Umbr. explain, while Hirz., Hlgst., Schlottm., and Hahn regard מבטחו as in apposition to אהלו, in favour of which Job 8:14 is only a seemingly suitable parallel. It means everything that made the ungodly man happy as head of a household, and gave him the brightest hopes of the future. This is torn away (evellitur) from his household, so that he, who is dying off, alone survives. Thus, therefore, Job 18:14 describes how he also himself dies at last. Several modern expositors, especially Stickel, after the example of Jerome (et calcet super eum quasi rex interitus), and of the Syr. (praecipitem eum reddent terrores regis), take בּלּהות as subj., which is syntactically possible (vid., Job 27:20; Job 30:15): and destruction causes him to march towards itself (Ges.: fugant eum) like a military leader; but since הצעיד signifies to cause to approach, and since no אליו (to itself) stands with it, למלך is to be considered as denoting the goal, especially as ל never directly signifies instar. In the passage advanced in its favour it denotes that which anything becomes, that which one makes a thing by the mode of treatment (Job 39:16), or whither anything extends (e.g., in Schultens on Job 13:12 : they had claws li-machlbi, i.e., "approaching to the claws" of wild beasts).

continued...

Job 18:20 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

astonied

Deuteronomy 29:23,24 And that the whole land thereof is brimstone, and salt, and burning, that it is not sown, nor bears, nor any grass grows therein...

1 Kings 9:8 And at this house, which is high, every one that passes by it shall be astonished, and shall hiss; and they shall say...

Jeremiah 18:16 To make their land desolate, and a perpetual hissing; every one that passes thereby shall be astonished, and wag his head.

his day

Psalm 37:13 The LORD shall laugh at him: for he sees that his day is coming.

Psalm 137:7 Remember, O LORD, the children of Edom in the day of Jerusalem; who said, Raze it, raze it, even to the foundation thereof.

Ezekiel 21:25 And you, profane wicked prince of Israel, whose day is come, when iniquity shall have an end,

Obadiah 1:11-15 In the day that you stood on the other side, in the day that the strangers carried away captive his forces...

Luke 19:42,44 Saying, If you had known, even you, at least in this your day...

went. or, lived with him. were affrighted. Heb. laid hold on horror

Job 2:12,13 And when they lifted up their eyes afar off, and knew him not, they lifted up their voice, and wept; and they rent every one his mantle...

Job 19:13-19 He has put my brothers far from me, and my acquaintance are truly estranged from me...

Cross References
Job 24:22
Yet God prolongs the life of the mighty by his power; they rise up when they despair of life.

Psalm 37:13
but the Lord laughs at the wicked, for he sees that his day is coming.

Jeremiah 50:27
Kill all her bulls; let them go down to the slaughter. Woe to them, for their day has come, the time of their punishment.

Obadiah 1:12
But do not gloat over the day of your brother in the day of his misfortune; do not rejoice over the people of Judah in the day of their ruin; do not boast in the day of distress.

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