Job 30:3
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"From want and famine they are gaunt Who gnaw the dry ground by night in waste and desolation,

King James Bible
For want and famine they were solitary; fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste.

Darby Bible Translation
Withered up through want and hunger, they flee into waste places long since desolate and desert:

World English Bible
They are gaunt from lack and famine. They gnaw the dry ground, in the gloom of waste and desolation.

Young's Literal Translation
With want and with famine gloomy, Those fleeing to a dry place, Formerly a desolation and waste,

Job 30:3 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

For want and famine - By hunger and poverty their strength is wholly exhausted, and they are among the miserable outcasts of society. In order to show the depth to which he himself was sunk in public estimation, Job goes into a description of the state of these miserable wretches, and says that he was treated with contempt by the very scum of society, by those who were reduced to the most abject wretchedness, and who wandered in the deserts, subsisting on roots, without clothing, shelter, or home, and who were chased away by the respectable portion of the community as if they were thieves and robbers. The description is one of great power, and presents a sad picture of his own condition.

They were solitary - Margin, or, "dark as the night." Hebrew גלמוד galmûd. This word properly means "hard," and is applied to a dry, stony, barren soil. In Arabic it means a hard rock. "Umbreit." In Job 3:7, it is applied to a night in which none are born. Here it seems to denote a countenance, dry, hard, emaciated with hunger. Jerome renders it, "steriles." The Septuagint, ἄγονος agonos - "sterile." Prof. Lee, "Hardly beset." The meaning is, that they were greatly reduced - or dried up - by hunger and want. So Umbreit renders it, "gantz ausgedorrt - altogether dried up."

Fleeing into the wilderness - Into the desert or lonely wastes. That is, they "fled" there to obtain, on what the desert produced, a scanty subsistence. Such is the usual explanation of the word rendered "flee" - ערק ‛âraq. But the Vulgate, the Syriac, and the Arabic, render it "gnawinq," and this is followed by Umbreit, Noyes, Schultens, and Good. According to this the meaning is, that they were "gnawers of the desert;" that is, that they lived by gnawing the roots and shrubs which they found in the desert. This idea is much more expressive, and agrees with the connection. The word occurs in Hebrew only in this verse and in Job 30:17, where it is rendered "My sinews," but which may more appropriately be rendered "My gnawing pains." In the Syriac and Arabic the word means to "gnaw," or "corrode," as the leading signification, and as the sense of the word cannot be determined by its usage in the Hebrew, it is better to depend on the ancient versions, and on its use in the cognate languages. According to this, the idea is, that they picked up a scanty subsistence as they could find it, by gnawing roots and shrubs in the deserts.

In the former time - Margin, "yesternight." The Hebrew word (אמשׁ 'emesh) means properly last night; the latter part of the preceding day, and then it is used to denote night or darkness in general. Gesenius supposes that this refers to "the night of desolation," the pathless desert being strikingly compared by the Orientals with darkness. According to this, the idea is not that they had gone but yesterday into the desert, but that they went into the shades and solitudes of the wilderness, far from the homes of men. The sense then is, "They fled into the night of desolate wastes."

Desolate and waste - In Hebrew the same word occurs in different forms, designed to give emphasis, and to describe the gloom and solitariness of the desert in the most impressive manner. We should express the same idea by saying that they hid themselves in the "shades" of the wilderness.

Job 30:3 Parallel Commentaries

Whether the Limbo of Hell is the Same as Abraham's Bosom?
Objection 1: It would seem that the limbo of hell is not the same as Abraham's bosom. For according to Augustine (Gen. ad lit. xxxiii): "I have not yet found Scripture mentioning hell in a favorable sense." Now Abraham's bosom is taken in a favorable sense, as Augustine goes on to say (Gen. ad lit. xxxiii): "Surely no one would be allowed to give an unfavorable signification to Abraham's bosom and the place of rest whither the godly poor man was carried by the angels." Therefore Abraham's bosom is
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Messiah Unpitied, and Without a Comforter
Reproach [Rebuke] hath broken my heart; and I am full of heaviness: and I looked for some to take pity, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none. T he greatness of suffering cannot be certainly estimated by the single consideration of the immediate, apparent cause; the impression it actually makes upon the mind of the sufferer, must likewise be taken into the account. That which is a heavy trial to one person, may be much lighter to another, and, perhaps, no trial at all. And a state
John Newton—Messiah Vol. 1

Cross References
Job 30:2
"Indeed, what good was the strength of their hands to me? Vigor had perished from them.

Job 30:4
Who pluck mallow by the bushes, And whose food is the root of the broom shrub.

Daniel 5:21
"He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.

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