|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
20:23-29 Zophar, having described the vexations which attend wicked practices, shows their ruin from God's wrath. There is no fence against this, but in Christ, who is the only Covert from the storm and tempest, Isa 32:2. Zophar concludes, This is the portion of a wicked man from God; it is allotted him. Never was any doctrine better explained, or worse applied, than this by Zophar, who intended to prove Job a hypocrite. Let us receive the good explanation, and make a better application, for warning to ourselves, to stand in awe and sin not. One view of Jesus, directed by the Holy Spirit, and by him suitably impressed upon our souls, will quell a thousand carnal reasonings about the suffering of the faithful.
Verse 24. - He shall flee from the iron weapon. This is no indication of the late authorship of Job. Iron was in use in Egypt at a very early date. A thin plate of it was found by Colonel Howard Vyse embedded in the masonry of the great pyramid; and iron implements and ornaments, iron spear-heads, iron sickles, iron gimlets, iron keys, iron bracelets, iron wire, have been found in the early tombs not infrequently (see the author's 'History of Ancient Egypt,' vol. 1. p. 505). That they are not more common is accounted for by the rapid oxidization of iron by exposure to the air, and its rapid decay in the nitrous soil of Egypt. The inhabitants of South-Western Asia were at no time much behind the Egyptians in their knowledge of the useful arts: and iron appears as a well-known metal in the Jewish Scriptures from the time of the Exodus (see Numbers 35:16; Deuteronomy 3:11; Deuteronomy 4:20; Deuteronomy 8:9; Deuteronomy 28:23; Joshua 8:31). It is true that the principal weapons of war continued to be made ordinarily of bronze, both in South-Western Asia and in Egypt, till a comparatively late period; but Zophar may mean to assign to the slayer of the wicked man weapons of a superior character. And the bow of steel shall strike him through. It is uncertain whether steel was known in the ancient world. But, whether or no, "steel" is not meant here. The word used in the original is nehushtah, which undoubtedly means either "copper" or "bronze." As copper would be too soft a material for a bow, we may assume bronze to be intended. The bronze used in Egypt was extremely elastic, and there would have been little difficulty in fashioning bows of it (on the existence of such bows, see 2 Samuel 26:5; Psalm 18:34).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
He shall flee from the iron weapon,.... The sword, for fear of being thrust through with it; the flaming sword of justice God sometimes threatens to take, and whet, and make use of against ungodly men; the sword of God, as Bar Tzemach observes, is hereby figuratively expressed; fleeing from it, or an attempt to flee from it, shows guilt in the conscience, danger, and a sense of it, and a fear of falling into it, and yet there is no escaping the hand of God, or fleeing from his presence:
and the bow of steel shall strike him through; that is, an arrow out of a bow, made of steel or brass, of which bows were formerly made, and reckoned the strongest and most forcible, see Psalm 18:34; signifying, that if he should escape the dint of a weapon, a sword or spear used near at hand, yet, as he fled, he would be reached by one that strikes at a distance, an arrow shot from a bow; the sense is, that, if a wicked man escapes one judgment, another will be sure to follow him, and overtake him and destroy him, see Isaiah 24:17.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
24. steel—rather, "brass." While the wicked flees from one danger, he falls into a greater one from an opposite quarter [Umbreit].
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