And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell you.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 1:19. And behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness — From the further part of, or across the wilderness, whence the fiercest winds came, as having most power in such open places: see Jeremiah 4:11; Jeremiah 13:24. By this it appears that Job’s situation was on the northerly side of the Arabian desert; and smote the four corners of the house — In which the chief strength of the house consisted. The wind smote these either all together, or rather successively, one corner immediately after another, being possibly a whirlwind, which came violently and suddenly whirling about in a circle; and it fell upon the young men — Upon his sons in their youth, and his daughters also, as appears from the sequel. This was the greatest of all Job’s losses, his ten children being, undoubtedly, by far the dearest and most valuable of his possessions; and it could not but go nearest to him, and, therefore, Satan reserved it to the last; that, if the other provocations failed, this might make him curse God. Our children are parts of ourselves, and it touches a good man in a most tender part to be deprived of any of them. What then must Job have felt, when he learned that he had lost his whole ten at once, and that in one moment he was written childless! It was also an aggravation of the calamity that they had been taken away so suddenly, without any previous warning. Had they died by some lingering disease, and he had had notice to expect their death, and prepare for the breach, the affliction would have been more tolerable. And that they had died when they were feasting and making merry, was another and still more distressing circumstance. Had they died suddenly when they were praying, he might have better borne it; for. in that case, he would have hoped that death had found them in a state of preparation for another world, which he had great reason to fear now it had not. They died, indeed, by a wind of the devil’s raising, but which seemed to come from the immediate hand of God, and to be sent as a judgment of God upon them for the punishment of their sins: and they were taken away when Job had most need of them to comfort him under all his other losses.
From the wilderness - Margin, "From aside." That is, from aside the wilderness. The word here rendered "from aside" in the margin (מדבר mı̂dbâr ) means properly "from across," and is so rendered by Dr. Good. The word עבר ‛âbar means literally a region or country beyond, or on the other side, sc. of a river or a sea, which one must "pass;" Judges 11:18; Genesis 2:10-11; Deuteronomy 1:1, Deuteronomy 1:5. Then it means on the other side, or beyond; see the notes at Isaiah 18:1. Here it means that the tornado came sweeping across the desert. On the ample plains of Arabia it would have the opportunity of accumulating its desolating power, and would sweep everything before it. The Hebrew word here rendered "wilderness," מדבר mı̂dbâr, does not express exactly what is denoted by our word. We mean by it usually, a region wholly uncultivated, covered with forests, and the habitation of wild beasts. The Hebrew word more properly denotes a "desert;" an uninhabited region, a sterile, sandy country, though sometimes adapted to pasture. In many places the word would be well translated by the phrases "open fields," or "open plains;" compare Joel 2:22; Psalm 65:13; Jeremiah 23:10; Isaiah 42:11; Genesis 14:6; Genesis 16:7; Exodus 3:1; Exodus 13:18; Deuteronomy 11:24; compare Isaiah 32:15; Isaiah 35:1-2.
And smote the four corners of the house - Came as a tornado usually does, or like a whirlwind. It seemed to come from all points of the compass, and prostrated everything before it.
And it fell upon the young men - The word here rendered" young men" is the same which is rendered in Job 1:15, Job 1:17, servants הנערים hana‛arı̂ym. There can be no reasonable doubt, however, that the messenger by the word here refers to the children of Job. It is remarkable that his daughters are not particularly specified, but they may be included in the word used here נערים na‛arı̂ym, which may be the same in signification as our phrase "young people," including both sexes. So it is rendered by Etchhorn: Es sturtzo tiber den jungen Leuten zusammen.
the young men—rather, "the young people"; including the daughters (so in Ru 2:21).From the wilderness; whence the fiercest winds came, as having most power in such open places. See Jeremiah 4:11 13:24.
Smote the four corners; in which the chief strength of the house did consist. It smote these either all together, or rather successively, one immediately after another, being possibly a whirlwind, which comes violently and suddenly, whirling about in a circle, and being driven about by the power of the devil, which is very great.
The young men; his sons in their youth, and his daughters also, as appears from the sequel. Jeremiah 4:11 as this was, and is called a "great one", a very strong and blustering one; and being so, and because of the effects of it, and being an uncommon and extraordinary one, as what follows shows, a "behold" is prefixed to the account, exciting attention and wonder:
and smote the four corners of the house; which shows it to be an unusual wind, it blowing from all parts and on all sides; and was either a whirlwind, which whirled about this house; or Satan, with his posse of devils with him, took the advantage of the sweep of it, as it came by this house, and with all their force and strength, might and main, whirled it about it; otherwise Satan has no power to raise winds, and allay them at pleasure; God only creates them, holds them in his fists, and brings them out of his treasures; and this wind blowing from the desert, the devil and his angels took the opportunity, and with such violence whirled it about the house that it fell, as follows:
and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; not upon Job's sons only, but upon his daughters also, the word used takes in both; and Mr. Broughton renders it, "and it fell upon the young folk"; this was the sorest affliction of all, and which Satan reserved to the last, that if the others did not succeed to his wish, this might; and a very trying, grievous one it was, to lose all his children at once in such a manner, and at such a time; his children, which were parts of himself, whom he had taken so much care of in their education, who had been as olive plants about his table, and now brought up to men's and women's estates, comfortably settled in the world, and living in great peace and harmony among themselves, and not one of them left to comfort him under his other afflictions; and these taken away not by any distemper of body, which would have prepared him for the stroke, but by a violent death; and which had the appearance of the hand and judgment, wrath and vengeance of God; and while they were feasting together in mirth and gaiety, however innocent, and not in a serious frame of spirit, or having any serious turn upon their minds for death and eternity, of which they had no thought; had they been in the house of God attending religious worship, or though in their own houses, yet either in their closets praying, or else conversing about spiritual things, with one another, it would have greatly taken off of the affliction; but to be snatched into eternity at once, and in this manner, must be cutting to Job; though there is no reason to think that this was for any sin of theirs, or through any displeasure of God to them, but was permitted purely on Job's account, for the trial of his faith, patience, sincerity, and integrity; and here, as in the former instances, only one servant was spared to bring the sad tidings:
and I only am escaped alone to tell thee; so that all the servants in the house, excepting this, perished in the ruins of it, as well as Job's sons and daughters; see Gill on Job 1:15. It is a notion of some Jewish writers, as Simeon bar Tzemach observes, that each of these messengers, as soon as they had delivered their message, died, and so all that Job had was delivered into the hands of Satan, and nothing left; but this seems contrary to Job 19:16. It may be observed that Aristeas, an Heathen writer, as quoted by Alexander Polyhistor (i), another Heathen writer, gives an account of each of these calamities of Job, just in the same order in which they are here. It may be observed from all this, that no character ever so great and high can secure persons from afflictions, even grievous ones; Job had an high and honourable character given and confirmed by God himself, yet so sorely afflicted; and let men be the beloved of God, his chosen and precious, his covenant people, the redeemed of the Lamb, righteous and godly persons, the sons and heirs of God, yet neither nor all of these exempt them from afflictions; and those that befall them are many, frequent, and continued, and come from different quarters, from men good and bad, and from devils, and all by the permission and according to the will of God. And this shows us the uncertainty of all outward enjoyments, gold, silver, cattle, houses, lands, children, friends and relations, all perishing, and sometimes suddenly taken away: and it may be observed, among all Job's losses, he did not lose anything of a spiritual nature, not one spiritual blessing; though he lost all his outward mercies, yet not the God of his mercies; not his covenant interest in him, nor his share in his love, favour, and acceptance, which all still continued; he did not lose his interest in a living Redeemer; his children were all dead, but his Redeemer lived, and he knew it; he did not lose the principle of grace in him, the root of the matter was still with him; nor anyone particular grace, not his faith and confidence in God, nor his hope of eternal life, nor his love and affection to God, and desire after him; nor his patience and humility; nor his integrity, faithfulness, and honesty, which he retained and held fast; nor any of his spiritual riches, which are durable; he had riches in heaven, where thieves cannot break through and steal, a better and a more enduring substance there, an inheritance incorruptible, reserved in the heavens his conduct under all this follows.And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness, and smote the four corners of the house, and it fell upon the young men, and they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 19. - And, behold, there came a great wind from the wilderness; rather, from across the wilderness - a wind which began in the region lying on the other side of the wilderness, and sweeping across it, came with full force upon the inhabited tract where Job and his sons were dwelling. The desert winds are often very violent. Generally they are Laden with heavy clouds of fine sand, which cause intolerable discomfort and thirst; but when they sweep over a rocky and gravelly region, they are simply of extreme violence, without other distressing feature. They then resemble the hurricanes or tornadoes of the West Indies. We may reasonably connect this hurricane with the thunderstorm of ver. 16. And smote the four corners of the house, and it fell. The "houses" of the East are not the solid structures of heavy timber, brick, and stone to which we of the West are accustomed, but light fabrics of planks and palisades, thatched mostly with reeds. Houses of this kind, when the rain descends, and the winds blow and beat against them (Matthew 7:6), readily fall. Upon the young men; rather, the young persons. Na'ar (נער) is of both genders in early Hebrew (see Genesis 24:14, etc.). And they are dead; and I only am escaped alone to tell thee. Again, the calamity has a completeness which marks it as supernatural. The fall of a house does not usually destroy all the inmates.
The principal clause, היּום ויהי, in which the art. of היּום has no more reference to anything preceding than in Job 1:6, is immediately followed by an adverbial clause, which may be expressed by participles, Lat. filiis ejus filiabusque convivantibus. The details which follow are important. Job had celebrated the usual weekly worship early in the morning with his children, and knew that they were met together in the house of his eldest son, with whom the order of mutual entertainment came round again, when the messengers of misfortune began to break in upon him: it is therefore on the very day when, by reason of the sacrifice offered, he was quite sure of Jehovah's favour. The participial construction, the oxen were ploughing (vid., Ges. 134, 2, c), describes the condition which was disturbed by the calamity that befell them. The verb היוּ stands here because the clause is a principal one, not as Job 1:13, adverbial. על־ידי, properly "at hand," losing its radical meaning, signifies (as Judges 11:26) "close by." The interpretation "in their places," after Numbers 2:17, is untenable, as this signification of יד is only supported in the sing. שׁבא is construed as fem., since the name of the country is used as the name of the people. In Genesis three races of this name are mentioned: Cushite (Genesis 10:7), Joktanish (Genesis 10:28), and Abrahamic (Genesis 25:3). Here the nomadic portion of this mixed race in North Arabia from the Persian Gulf to Idumaea is intended. Luther, for the sake of clearness, translates here, and 1 Kings 10:1, Arabia. In ואמּלטה, the waw, as is seen from the Kametz, is waw convertens, and the paragogic ah, which otherwise indicates the cohortative, is either without significance, or simply adds intensity to the verbal idea: I have saved myself with great difficulty. For this common form of the 1 fut. consec., occurring four times in the Pentateuch, vid., Ges. 49, 2. The clause לך להגּיד is objective: in order that - so it was intended by the calamity - I might tell thee.
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