|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
30:1-14 Job contrasts his present condition with his former honour and authority. What little cause have men to be ambitious or proud of that which may be so easily lost, and what little confidence is to be put in it! We should not be cast down if we are despised, reviled, and hated by wicked men. We should look to Jesus, who endured the contradiction of sinners.
Verse 3. - For want and famine they were solitary; rather, they were gaunt (see the Revised Version). Compare the descriptions given to us of the native races of Central Africa by Sir S. Baker, Speke, Grant, Stanley, and others. Fleeing into the wilderness; rather, gnawing the wilderness; i.e. feeding on such dry and sapless roots and fruits as the wilderness produces. In former time desolate and waste; or, on the eve of wasteness and desolation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
For want and famine they were solitary,.... The Targum interprets it, without children; but then this cannot be understood of the fathers; rather through famine and want they were reduced to the utmost extremity, and were as destitute of food as a rock, or hard flint, from whence nothing is to be had, as the word signifies, see Job 3:7;
fleeing into the wilderness in former time desolate and waste: to search and try what they could get there for their sustenance and relief, fleeing through fear of being taken up for some crimes committed, or through shame, on account of their miserable condition, not caring to be seen by men, and therefore fled into the wilderness to get what they could there: but since men in want and famine usually make to cities, and places of resort, where provision may be expected; this may be interpreted not of their flying into the wilderness, though of their being there, perhaps banished thither, see Job 30:5; but of their "gnawing" (q), or biting the dry and barren wilderness, and what they could find there; where having short commons, and hunger bitten, they bit close; which, though extremely desolate, they were glad to feed upon what they could light on there; such miserable beggarly creatures were they: and with this agrees what follows.
(q) "qui rodebant in solitudine", V. L. "rodentes siccitatem", Schultens.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
3. solitary—literally, "hard as a rock"; so translate, rather, "dried up," emaciated with hunger. Job describes the rudest race of Bedouins of the desert [Umbreit].
fleeing—So the Septuagint. Better, as Syriac, Arabic, and Vulgate, "gnawers of the wilderness." What they gnaw follows in Job 30:4.
in former time—literally, the "yesternight of desolation and waste" (the most utter desolation; Eze 6:14); that is, those deserts frightful as night to man, and even there from time immemorial. I think both ideas are in the words darkness [Gesenius] and antiquity [Umbreit]. (Isa 30:33, Margin).
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