Job 8:11
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
"Can the papyrus grow up without a marsh? Can the rushes grow without water?

King James Bible
Can the rush grow up without mire? can the flag grow without water?

Darby Bible Translation
Doth the papyrus shoot up without mire? doth the reed-grass grow without water?

World English Bible
"Can the papyrus grow up without mire? Can the rushes grow without water?

Young's Literal Translation
'Doth a rush wise without mire? A reed increase without water?

Job 8:11 Parallel
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Can the rush - This passage has all the appearance of being a fragment of a poem handed down from ancient times. It is adduced by Bildad as an example of the views of the ancients, and, as the connection would seem to imply, as a specimen of the sentiments of those who lived before the life of man had been abridged. It was customary in the early ages of the world to communicate knowledge of all kinds by maxims, moral sayings, and proverbs; by apothegms and by poetry handed down from generation to generation. Wisdom consisted much in the amount of maxims and proverbs which were thus treasured up; as it now consists much in the knowledge which we have of the lessons taught by the past, and in the ability to apply that knowledge to the various transactions of life. The records of past ages constitute a vast storehouse of wisdom, and the present generation is more wise than those which have gone before, only because the results of their observations have been treasured up, and we can act on their experience, and because we can begin where they left off, and, taught by their experience, can avoid the mistakes which they made. The word "rush" here גמא gôme' denotes properly a bulrush, and especially the Egyptian papyrus - papyrus Nilotica; see the notes at Isaiah 18:2. It is derived from the verb גמא gâmâ', to absorb, to drink up, and is given to this plant because it absorbs or drinks up moisture. The Egyptians used it to make garments, shoes, baskets, and especially boats or skiffs; Pithy, Nat. His. 13. 21-26; see the notes at Isaiah 18:2. They also derived from it materials for writing - and hence, our word paper. The Septuagint renders it here, πάπυρος papuros.

Without mire - Without moisture. It grew in the marshy places along the Nile.

Can the flag - Another plant of a similar character. The word אחוּ 'âchû, flag, says Gesenius, is an Egyptian word, signifying marsh-grass, reeds, bulrushes, sedge, everything which grows in wet grounds. The word was adopted not only into the Hebrew, but also into the Greek idiom of Alexandria, where it is written, ἄχι achi, ἄχει achei. Jerome says of it, "When I inquired of the learned what this word meant, I heard from the Egyptians, that by this name everything was intended in their language which grew up in a pool." The word is synonymous with rush, or bulrush, and denotes a plant which absorbs a great quantity of water. What is the exact idea which this figure is designed to convey, is not very clear. I think it probable that the whole description is intended to represent a hypocrite, and that the meaning is, that he had in his growth a strong resemblance to such a rush or reed. There was nothing solid or substantial in his piety. It was like the soft, spongy texture of the water-reed, and would wilt under trial, as the papyrus would when deprived of water.

Job 8:11 Parallel Commentaries

Whether all Merits and Demerits, One's Own as Well as those of Others, Will be Seen by Anyone at a Single Glance?
Objection 1: It would seem that not all merits and demerits, one's own as well as those of others, will be seen by anyone at a single glance. For things considered singly are not seen at one glance. Now the damned will consider their sins singly and will bewail them, wherefore they say (Wis. 5:8): "What hath pride profited us?" Therefore they will not see them all at a glance. Objection 2: Further, the Philosopher says (Topic. ii) that "we do not arrive at understanding several things at the same
Saint Thomas Aquinas—Summa Theologica

Instruction for the Ignorant:
BEING A SALVE TO CURE THAT GREAT WANT OF KNOWLEDGE, WHICH SO MUCH REIGNS BOTH IN YOUNG AND OLD. PREPARED AND PRESENTED TO THEM IN A PLAIN AND EASY DIALOGUE, FITTED TO THE CAPACITY OF THE WEAKEST. 'My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.'--Hosea 4:6 ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR. This little catechism is upon a plan perfectly new and unique. It was first published as a pocket volume in 1675, and has been republished in every collection of the author's works; and recently in a separate tract.
John Bunyan—The Works of John Bunyan Volumes 1-3

Cross References
Genesis 41:2
And lo, from the Nile there came up seven cows, sleek and fat; and they grazed in the marsh grass.

Job 8:10
"Will they not teach you and tell you, And bring forth words from their minds?

Job 8:12
"While it is still green and not cut down, Yet it withers before any other plant.

Isaiah 19:6
The canals will emit a stench, The streams of Egypt will thin out and dry up; The reeds and rushes will rot away.

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