|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
8:8-19 Bildad discourses well of hypocrites and evil-doers, and the fatal end of all their hopes and joys. He proves this truth of the destruction of the hopes and joys of hypocrites, by an appeal to former times. Bildad refers to the testimony of the ancients. Those teach best that utter words out of their heart, that speak from an experience of spiritual and divine things. A rush growing in fenny ground, looking very green, but withering in dry weather, represents the hypocrite's profession, which is maintained only in times of prosperity. The spider's web, spun with great skill, but easily swept away, represents a man's pretensions to religion when without the grace of God in his heart. A formal professor flatters himself in his own eyes, doubts not of his salvation, is secure, and cheats the world with his vain confidences. The flourishing of the tree, planted in the garden, striking root to the rock, yet after a time cut down and thrown aside, represents wicked men, when most firmly established, suddenly thrown down and forgotten. This doctrine of the vanity of a hypocrite's confidence, or the prosperity of a wicked man, is sound; but it was not applicable to the case of Job, if confined to the present world.
Verse 12. - Whilst it is yet in his greenness, and not out down. It grows and flourishes in a rich greenness up to a certain point; no one touches it; but the water fails from the root, and it fades, collapses, and is gone. It withereth before any other herb. The ground may be all green around it with ordinary grass and other herbs, since they only need a little moisture - the water-plant will collapse unless it has its full supply.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Whilst it is yet in its greenness,.... Before it is come to its full height, or to a proper ripeness; when as yet it has not flowered, or is about it; before the time usual for it to turn and change; it being without moisture, water, or watery clay, will change:
and not cut down; by the scythe, or cropped by the hand of man:
it withereth before any other herb; of itself; rather sooner than such that do not require so much moisture; or in the sight and presence of them, they looking on as it were, and deriding it; a poetical representation, as Schultens observes: next follows the accommodation of these similes to wicked and hypocritical men.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
12. not cut down—Before it has ripened for the scythe, it withers more suddenly than any herb, having no self-sustaining power, once that the moisture is gone, which other herbs do not need in the same degree. So ruin seizes on the godless in the zenith of prosperity, more suddenly than on others who appear less firmly seated in their possessions [Umbreit] (Ps 112:10).
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