Job 11:16
Because you shall forget your misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 11:16. Because thou shalt forget thy misery — Thy happiness shall be so great that it shall blot out the remembrance of thy past miseries; and remember it as waters that pass away — Thou shalt remember it no more than men remember either a land-flood, which, as it comes, so it goes away suddenly, and leaves few or no marks or memorials behind it; or the waters of a river, which pass by in constant succession.11:13-20 Zophar exhorts Job to repentance, and gives him encouragement, yet mixed with hard thoughts of him. He thought that worldly prosperity was always the lot of the righteous, and that Job was to be deemed a hypocrite unless his prosperity was restored. Then shalt thou lift up thy face without spot; that is, thou mayst come boldly to the throne of grace, and not with the terror and amazement expressed in ch. 9:34. If we are looked upon in the face of the Anointed, our faces that were cast down may be lifted up; though polluted, being now washed with the blood of Christ, they may be lifted up without spot. We may draw near in full assurance of faith, when we are sprinkled from an evil conscience, Heb 10:22.And remember it as waters that pass away - As calamity that has completely gone by, or that has rolled on and will return no more. The comparison is beautiful. The water of the river is borne by us, and returns no more. The rough, the swollen, the turbid stream, we remember as it foamed and dashed along, threatening to sweep everything away; but it went swiftly by, and will never come back. So with afflictions. They are soon gone. The most intense pain soon subsides. The days of sorrow pass quickly away. There is an outer limit of suffering, and even ingenuity cannot prolong it far. The man disgraced, and whose life is a burden, will soon die. On the checks of the solitary prisoner doomed to the dungeon for life, a "mortal paleness" will soon settle down, and the comforts of approaching death will soothe the anguish of his sad heart. The rack of torture cheats itself of its own purpose, and the exhausted sufferer is released. "The excess (of grief) makes it soon mortal." "No sorrow but killed itself much sooner." Shakespeare. When we look back upon our sorrows, it is like thinking of the stream that was so much swollen, and was so impetuous. Its waters rolled on, and they come not back again; and there is a kind of pleasure in thinking of that time of danger, of that flood that was then so fearful, and that has now swept on to come back no more. So there is a kind of peaceful joy in thinking of the days of sorrow that are now fled forever; in the assurance that those sad times will never, never recur again. 16. Just as when the stream runs dry (Job 6:17), the danger threatened by its wild waves is forgotten (Isa 65:16) [Umbreit]. Thou shalt be free from fear, because thy great and settled prosperity shall banish out of thy mind all those sad and irksome thoughts of thy former calamities, which naturally engender fears of the continuance or return of them. Persons blessed with eminent deliverances, and a happy settlement, are frequently said in Scripture to

forget their former sorrows, as Genesis 41:51 Isaiah 54:4 John 16:21; not that they simply forget them, but because they have no sad or frightful remembrance of them; for remembering and forgetting in Scripture do not simply note acts of the mind, but also affections and practices suitable to them, as is well known.

Remember it as waters that pass away; thou shalt remember them no more than men remember either a land-flood, which as it comes, so it goes away, suddenly, and leaves few or no footsteps or memorials behind it; or the waters of a river, which as soon as they are out of sight are out of mind, because of the new waters which immediately come in their stead. Because thou shall forget thy misery,.... Former afflictions and distresses; having an abundance of prosperity and happiness, and long continued; and so, in process of time, the miseries and distresses before endured are forgotten; thus it was with Joseph in his advanced state, and therefore he called one of his sons Manasseh, Genesis 41:51; and as it is with convinced and converted persons and believers in Christ, who, under first convictions and awakenings, are filled with sorrow and distress, on a view of their miserable estate by nature; but when Christ is revealed to them as their Saviour and Redeemer, and the love of God is shed abroad in their hearts, and they have faith and hope in Jesus, and a comfortable view of heaven and happiness, and eternal life, by him, they forget their spiritual poverty, and remember their misery no more, unless it be to magnify the riches of the grace of God; see Proverbs 31:6;

and remember it as waters that pass away; either the waters of the stream in a river, which, when gone, are seen and remembered no more or as waters occasioned by floods in the winter season, which when over, and summer is come, are gone and are no more discerned; and as they pass from the places where they were, so from the minds of men: or it may be respect is had to the waters of Noah's flood, which, according to the divine promise and oath, should no more go over the earth, Genesis 9:15; and being past and gone, and no fear or danger of their returning, are forgotten.

Because thou shalt forget thy misery, and remember it as waters that pass away:
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. because thou shalt forget] Or, for thou shalt forget trouble.

that pass away] that are passed away.Verse 16. - Because thou shalt forget thy misery. All thy past misery shall be clean swept away from thy remembrance, because of the happy condition whereto thou shalt be raised (see vers. 18, 19). "Sorrow's memory" is not always "a sorrow still." And remember it as waters that pass away; i.e. remember it no more than a man remembers the shower that has passed away or the pool that is dried up. 10 When He passes by and arrests

And calls to judgment, who will oppose Him?

11 For He knoweth the men devoid of principle,

And seeth wickedness without observing it.

12 But before an empty head gaineth understanding,

A wild ass would become a man.

In יחלף God is conceived as one who manifests himself by passing to and fro in the powers of nature (in the whirlwind, Isaiah 21:1). Should He meet with one who is guilty, and seize and bring him to judgment, who then (waw apod.) will turn Him back, i.e., restrain Him? הקהיל is used of bringing to judgment, with reference to the ancient form of trial which was in public, and in which the carrying out of the sentence was partly incumbent on the people (1 Kings 21:9; Ezekiel 16:40; Ezekiel 23:46). One might almost imagine that Zophar looks upon himself and the other two friends as forming such an "assembly:" they cannot justify him in opposition to God, since He accounts him guilty. God's mode of trial is summary, because infallible: He knows altogether שׁוא מתי, people who hypocritically disguise their moral nothingness (on this idea, vid., on Psalm 26:4); and sees (looks through) און (from the root n, to breathe), otherwise grief, with which one pants, in a moral sense worthlessness, without any trace whatever of worth or substance. He knows and sees this moral wretchedness at once, and need not first of all reflect upon it: non opus habet, as Abenezra has correctly explained, ut diu consideret (comp. the like thought, Job 34:23).

Job 11:12 has been variously misinterpreted. Gesenius in his Handwrterbuch

(Note: Vid., Lexicon, Engl. edition, s.v. לבב Niphal. - Tr.)

translates: but man is empty and void of understanding; but this is contrary to the accentuation, according to which נבוב אישׁ together form the subject. Olshausen translates better: an empty man, on the other hand, is without heart; but the fut. cannot be exactly so used, and if we consider that Piel has never properly a privative meaning, though sometimes a privative idea (as e.g., סקּל, operam consumere in lapidos, scil. ejiciendos), we must regard a privative Niphal as likewise inadmissible. Stickel translates peculiarly: the man devoid of understanding is enraged against God; but this is opposed to the manifest correlation of נבוב and ילּבב, which does not indicate the antithesis of an empty and sulky person (Bttcher): the former rather signifies empty, and the latter to acquire heart or marrow (Heidenheim, לב יקנה), so that לב fills up the hollow space. Hirzel's rendering partly bears out the requirement of this correlation: man has understanding like a hollow pate; but this explanation, like that of Gesenius, violates the accentuation, and produces an affected witticism. The explanation which regards Job 11:12 as descriptive of the wholesome effect of the discipline of the divine judgments (comp. Isaiah 26:9) is far better; it does not violate the accent, and moreover is more in accordance with the future form: the empty one becomes discerning thereby, the rough, humane (thus recently Ewald, Heiligst., Schlottm.); but according to this explanation, Job 11:12 is not connected with what immediately precedes, nor is the peculiarity of the expression fully brought out. Hupfeld opens up another way of interpreting the passage when he remarks, nil dicto facilius et simplicius; he understands Job 11:12 according to Job 11:12: But man is furnished with an empty heart, i.e., receives at his birth an empty undiscerning heart, and man is born as a wild ass's colt, i.e., as stupid and obstinate. This thought is satisfactorily connected with the preceding; but here also נבוב is taken as predicate in violation of the accentuation, nor is justice done to the correlation above referred to, and the whole sentence is referred to the portion of man at his birth, in opposition to the impression conveyed by the use of the fut. Oehler appears to us to have recognised the right sense: But an empty man is as little endowed with sense, as that a wild ass should ever be born as man - be, so to speak, born again and become a man.

(Note: Wetzstein explains: "But a man that barks like a dog (i.e., rages shamelessly) can become sensible, and a young wild ass (i.e., the wildest and roughest creature) be born again as a man (i.e., become gentle and civilised)," from נבב equals נבח, since נבח is the commoner word for "barking" in the Syrian towns and villages, and נבב, on the other hand, is used among those who dwelt in tents. But we must then point it נבּוּב, and the antithesis ילּבב is more favourable the Hebrew meaning, "hollowed out, empty.")

The waw in ועיר is just like Job 5:7; Job 12:11, and brings into close connection the things that are to be compared, as in the form of emblematic proverbs (vid., Herzog's Real Encyklopdie, xiv. 696): the one will happen not earlier than, and as little as, the other. The Niphal נולד, which in Proverbs 17:17 signifies to become manifest, here borders on the notion of regenerari; a regeneration would be necessary if the wild ass should become human, - a regeneration which is inconceivable. It is by nature refractory, and especially when young (ועיר from Arab. ‛âr, fut. i in the signification vagari, huc illuc discurrere, of a young, restless, wild, frisking animal). Just so, says Zophar, the vacuum in an empty man is incapable of being filled up, - a side hit at Job, which rebounds on Zophar himself; for the dogma of the friends, which forms the sole contents of their hollowness, can indeed not fill with brightness and peace a heart that is passing through conflict. The peculiarity of the expression is no longer unintelligible; Zophar is the most impassioned of the three friends.

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