|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
5:17-27 Eliphaz gives to Job a word of caution and exhortation: Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a chastening, which comes from the Father's love, and is for the child's good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Eliphaz also encourages Job to submit to his condition. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for he has not lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven; nay, he is happy because he is afflicted. Correction mortifies his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees. Though God wounds, yet he supports his people under afflictions, and in due time delivers them. Making a wound is sometimes part of a cure. Eliphaz gives Job precious promises of what God would do for him, if he humbled himself. Whatever troubles good men may be in, they shall do them no real harm. Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of trouble. And if the servants of Christ are not delivered from outward troubles, they are delivered by them, and while overcome by one trouble, they conquer all. Whatever is maliciously said against them shall not hurt them. They shall have wisdom and grace to manage their concerns. The greatest blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept from sin. They shall finish their course with joy and honour. That man lives long enough who has done his work, and is fit for another world. It is a mercy to die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when fully ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand any longer. Our times are in God's hands; it is well they are so. Believers are not to expect great wealth, long life, or to be free from trials. But all will be ordered for the best. And remark from Job's history, that steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace him, this is the patience of the saints. Blessed Saviour! how sweet it is to look unto thee, the Author and Finisher of faith, in such moments!
Verse 26. - Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age (comp. Genesis 15:15; Genesis 25:8; Genesis 35:29). Professor Lee translates, 'Thou shalt come to thy grave in honour." But, on the whole, the rendering of the Authorized Version may well stand. The expression used occurs only here and in Job 30:2. Like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season; literally, is lifted up. The shocks of corn were lifted up, and placed on a cart, for transfer to the barn or the threshing-floor. The emphasis, however, is on the closing words, "in his season." Eliphaz promises Job that he will reach a good ripe old age, and not die untimely. (For the result, see Job 42:17.)
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Thou shalt come to thy grave in a full age,.... Or, "go into thy grave" (o), which is represented as a house to enter into and dwell in; and so the wise man calls it man's long home, and Job his house, and which is appointed for all living, Ecclesiastes 12:5; for all men must die, and so come to the grave, good men as well as bad, the righteous and the wicked: this is not to be understood literally, for the dead cannot go or come to their graves, but are carried thither, as Stephen was, and all are; but it denotes their willingness to die, who choose to be absent from the body, that they may be present with the Lord, and are desirous to depart this world, and be with him, as the Apostle Paul was; and therefore cheerfully give up the ghost, and resign their souls into the hands of Christ, desiring him to receive them; and rejoice when they observe the grave is near, and ready for them; while others have their souls demanded and required of them, and are forced to death and the grave against their wills, and are driven away in their wickedness: now this, with respect to good men, is said to be "in a full age", not "in abundance", as the Vulgate Latin version, in an abundance or fulness of wealth and honour, and with great pomp and splendour, which is not the case of all good men, but of very few; nor in the full time which God has determined and appointed men should live, which may be called "the fulness of time"; for in this every man comes to the grave, good and bad, young and old; no man dies before or lives beyond it, see Job 14:5 but in the full age of men or the common term of man's life; the highest which he usually attains unto, which is threescore years and ten, and at most fourscore, Psalm 90:10; and such who die before this are said to die before their time, the usual term of life; who die before the midst of this, are said not to live out half their days, Ecclesiastes 7:17; but he that arrives to this dies in a good old age, and has filled up his days, which men, at most, ordinarily live: Mr. Broughton renders it, "in lusty old age", enjoying great health, strength, and vigour; and so Nachmanides takes the word to be compounded of "as", and "moist", lively, strong, and lusty; as if the sense was, that Job should die indeed in old age, but, when old, be as hearty as a young man in his full strength, and whose bones are moistened with marrow; as was the case of Moses, whose eyes were not dim, nor his natural force or radical moisture abated, Deuteronomy 34:7; but the word denotes extreme decrepit old age (p), coming from the root in the Arabic language, which signifies to be of an austere, rugged, wrinkled, contracted countenance (q), which is usually the case of old men: now this is to be understood, not as if every good than arrives to such an age, or that none but good men do; for certain it is, that some good persons, as Abijah, die in their youth, and many wicked men live to a great age, see Ecclesiastes 7:15; but Eliphaz here speaks suitably to the legal dispensation under which he was, in which temporal blessings were promised to good men, as shadows of spiritual things, and this of long life was a principal one, see Psalm 91:16; this is illustrated by the following simile:
like as a shock of corn cometh in in his season; there is a very great resemblance between ripe corn and old age; corn, when it is in its full ear, and ripe, its ears will hang down; the stalks, being dry and withered, are weak, and not able to bear the weight of them; so old men stoop, their knees bend, the strong men bow themselves, being unable to bear the weight of the body; fields of corn, ripe for the harvest, look white, and so the hairs of a man's head in old age; the almond tree flourishes, which, when in full bloom, is a lively emblem of the hoary head: and there is a great likeness between ripe corn, and shocks and sheaves of it, and a good old man; a good man is comparable to a corn of wheat that falls into the ground, to which Christ compares himself, John 12:24; and to wheat the compares his saints, Matthew 13:30; for their choiceness, excellency, purity, and solidity; and these, like a corn of wheat, grow up gradually in grace, in spiritual light, knowledge, faith, and experience, and at length come to maturity; the good work is performed and perfected in them, and they come to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ; and then they are cut down with the scythe or sickle of death, which is the proper time, like corn "in his season"; which, if cut before it is ripe, would not be fit for use, and, if it stood longer, would shed and come to nothing: and then, as corn, when cut down and reaped, is put up in shocks and sheaves, which are lifted up from the earth, and made to "ascend", as the word (r) signifies, and are laid in carts and wagons, and carried home with expressions of joy, (hence we read of the joy of harvest,) and are laid up in the barn or granary; so the saints are carried by angels, the reapers, into Abraham's bosom, as Lazarus was, into heaven, and as all the elect will be gathered by the angels at the harvest, the end of the world; attended with their shouts and acclamations, and with expressions of joy from Gospel ministers, who now go forth bearing the precious seed of the word, and sow it in tears, but then shall return with joy, bringing their sheaves with them, see Matthew 13:30.
(o) "ingredieris in sepulchrum", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Drusius, Michaelis; "intrabis ad tumulum", Schultens. (p) "in summa senectute", Michaelis; "in decrepita senectue", Schultens. (q) p. 232. "austero et tetrico (corrugato) vultu fuit", Golius, col. 2057. Castell. col. 1733. So Hinckelman. Praefat. ad Alcoran. p. 29. Hottinger. Smegina Oriental. l. 1. c. 7. p. 162. Thesaur. Philolog. l. 2. c. 1. p. 507, 508. (r) "sicut ascendere", Montanus, Bolducius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "sicut ascendit", Pagninus, Mercerus.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
26. in a full age—So "full of days" (Job 42:17; Ge 35:29). Not mere length of years, but ripeness for death, one's inward and outward full development not being prematurely cut short, is denoted (Isa 65:22).
Thou shalt come—not literally, but expressing willingness to die. Eliphaz speaks from the Old Testament point of view, which made full years a reward of the righteous (Ps 91:16; Ex 20:12), and premature death the lot of the wicked (Ps 55:23). The righteous are immortal till their work is done. To keep them longer would be to render them less fit to die. God takes them at their best (Isa 57:1). The good are compared to wheat (Mt 13:30).
cometh in—literally, "ascends." The corn is lifted up off the earth and carried home; so the good man "is raised into the heap of sheaves" [Umbreit].
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