Job 29:24
Parallel Verses
English Standard Version
I smiled on them when they had no confidence, and the light of my face they did not cast down.

King James Bible
If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

American Standard Version
I smiled on them, when they had no confidence; And the light of my countenance they cast not down.

Douay-Rheims Bible
If at any time I laughed on them, they believed not, and the light of my countenance fell not on earth.

English Revised Version
If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

Webster's Bible Translation
If I laughed on them, they believed it not; and the light of my countenance they cast not down.

Job 29:24 Parallel
Commentary
Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament

18 Then I:thought: With my nest I shall expire,

And like the phoenix, have a long life.

19 My root will be open for water,

And the dew will lodge in my branches.

20 Mine honour will remain ever fresh to me,

And my bow will become young in my hand.

In itself, Job 29:18 might be translated: "and like to the sand I shall live many days" (Targ., Syr., Arab., Saad., Gecat., Luther, and, among moderns, Umbr., Stick., Vaih., Hahn, and others), so that the abundance of days is compared to the multitude of the grains of sand. The calculation of the immense total of grains of sand (atoms) in the world was, as is known, a favourite problem of antiquity; and in the Old Testament Scriptures, the comprehensive knowledge of Solomon is compared to "the sand upon the sea-shore," 1 Kings 5:9, - how much more readily a long life reduced to days! comp. Ovid, Metam. xiv. 136-138; quot haberet corpora pulvis, tot mihi natales contingere vana rogavi. We would willingly decide in favour of this rendering, which is admissible in itself, although a closer definition like היּם is wanting by כחול, if an extensive Jewish tradition did not secure the signification of an immortal bird, or rather one rising ever anew from the dead. The testimony is as follows: (1) b. Sanhedrin 108b, according to which חול is only another name for the bird אורשׁינא,

(Note: The name is a puzzle, and does not accord with any of the mythical birds mentioned in the Zendavesta (vid., Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, 1863, S. 93). What Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, S. 353, brings forward from the Greek by way of explanation is untenable. The name of the bird, Vresha, in an obscure passage of the Bundehesch in Windischmann, ib. S. 80, is similar in sound. Probably, however, אורשׁינא is one and the same word as Simurg, which is composed of si ( equals sin) and murg, a bird (Pehlvi and Parsi mru). This si (sin) corresponds to the Vedic jena, a falcon, and in the Zend form, ana (na), is the name of a miraculous bird; so that consequently Simurg equals Sinmurg, Parsi Cnamru, signifies the Si- or Cna-bird (comp. Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers, 1859, S. 125). In אורשינא the two parts of the composition seem to be reversed, and אור to be corrupted from מור. Moreover, the Simurg is like the phoenix only in the length of its life; another mythological bird, Kuknus, on the other hand (vid., the art. Phnix in Ersch u. Gruber), resembles it also in rising out of its own ashes.)

of which the fable is there recorded, that when Noah fed the beasts in the ark, it sat quite still in its compartment, that it might not give more trouble to the patriarch, who had otherwise plenty to do, and that Noah wished it on this account the reward of immortality (יהא רעוא דלא תמות). (2) That this bird חול is none other than the phoenix, is put beyond all doubt by the Midrashim (collected in the Jalkut on Job, 517). There it is said that Eve gave all the beasts to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and that only one bird, the חול by name, avoided this death-food: "it lives a thousand years, at the expiration of which time fire springs up in its nest, and burns it up to about the size of an egg;" or even: that of itself it diminishes to that size, from which it then grows up again and continues to live (וחוזר ומתגדל איברים וחיה). (3) The Masora observes, that כחול occurs in two different significations (בתרי לישׁני), since in the present passage it does not, as elsewhere, signify sand. (4) Kimchi, in his Lex., says: "in a correct Jerusalem MS I found the observation: בשׁורק לנהרדעי ובחלם למערבאי, i.e., וכחוּל according to the Nehardean (Babylonian) reading, וכחול according to the western (Palestine) reading;" according to which, therefore, the Babylonian Masoretic school distinguished וכחול in the present passage from וכחול, Genesis 22:17, even in the pronunciation. A conclusion respecting the great antiquity of this lexical tradition may be drawn (5) from the lxx, which translates ὥσπερ στέλεχος φοίνικος, whence the Italic sicut arbor palmae, Jerome sicut palma.

If we did not know from the testimonies quoted that חול is the name of the phoenix, one might suppose that the lxx has explained וכחול according to the Arab. nachl, the palm, as Schultens does; but by a comparison of those testimonies, it is more probable that the translation was ὥσπερ φοῖνιξ originally, and that ὥσπερ στέλεχος φοίνικος is an interpolation, for φοῖνιξ signifies both the immortal miraculous bird and the inexhaustibly youthful palm.

(Note: According to Ovid, Metam. xv. 396, the phoenix makes its nest in the palm, and according to Pliny, h. n. xiii. 42, it has its name from the palm: Phoenix putatur ex hujus palmae argumento nomen accepisse, iterum mori ac renasci ex se ipsa; vid., A. Hahmann, Die Dattelpalme, ihre Namen und ihre Verehrung in der alten Welt, in the periodical Bonplandia, 1859, Nr. 15, 16. Masius, in his studies of nature, has very beautifully described on what ground "the intelligent Greek gave a like name to the fabulous immortal bird that rises again out of its own ashes, and the palm which ever renews its youth." Also comp. (Heimsdrfer's) Christliche Kunstsymbolik, S. 26, and Augusti, Beitrge zur christl. Kunst-Geschichte und Liturgik, Bd. i. S. 106-108, but especially Piper, Mythologie der christl. Kunst (1847), i.446f.)

We have the reverse case in Tertullian, de resurrectione carnis, c. xiii., which explains the passage in Ps; Psalm 92:13, δίκαιος ὡς φοῖνιξ ἀντηήσει, according to the translation justus velut phoenix florebit, of the ales orientis or avis Arabiae, which symbolizes man's immortality.

(Note: Not without reference to Clemens Romanus, in his I. Ep. ad Corinth. c. xxv., according to which the phoenix is an Arabian bird, which lives five hundred years, then dies in a nest which it builds of incense, myrrh, and spices, and leaves behind it the larva of a young bird, which, when grown up, brings the nest with the bones of its father and places it upon the altar of the sun at the Egyptian Heliopolis. The source of this is Herodotus ii. 73) who, however, has an egg of myrrh instead of a nest of myrrh); and Tacitus, Ann. vi. 28, gives a similar narrative. Lactantius gives a different version in his poem on the phoenix, according to which this, the only one of its race, "built its nest in a country that remained untouched by the deluge." The Jewish tragedy writer, Ezekilos, agrees more nearly with the statement of Arabia being the home of the phoenix. In his drama Ἐξαγωγή, a spy sent forward before the pilgrim band of Israel, he states that among other things the phoenix was also seen; vid., my Gesch. der jd. Poesie, S. 219.)

continued...

Job 29:24 Parallel Commentaries

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

they believed

Genesis 45:26 And told him, saying, Joseph is yet alive, and he is governor over all the land of Egypt. And Jacob's heart fainted...

Psalm 126:1 When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream.

Luke 24:41 And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, he said to them, Have you here any meat?

the light

Psalm 4:6 There be many that say, Who will show us any good? LORD, lift you up the light of your countenance on us.

Psalm 89:15 Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound: they shall walk, O LORD, in the light of your countenance.

Cross References
Job 29:23
They waited for me as for the rain, and they opened their mouths as for the spring rain.

Job 29:25
I chose their way and sat as chief, and I lived like a king among his troops, like one who comforts mourners.

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