And you shall be secure, because there is hope; yes, you shall dig about you, and you shall take your rest in safety.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou shalt dig about thee.—Rather, thou shalt look around or search about thee, and see that thou canst lie down in safety. (Comp. Joshua 2:2, and Job 39:29.) The same word means, indeed, to dig and to blush; but both meanings are incongruous and inadmissible here.Job 11:18-19. Thou shalt be secure, because there is hope — Thy mind shall be quiet and free from terrors, because thou shalt have a firm and well-grounded confidence in God. Thou shalt dig — Either to fix thy tents, which, after the manner of the Arabians, were removed from place to place; or, to plough thy ground, as he had done, Job 1:14, or to make a fence about thy dwelling Thou shalt take thy rest in safety — Free from dangers and the fear of them; because of God’s fatherly providence watching over thee, when thou canst not watch over thyself. And none shall make thee afraid — Thou shalt be in perfect peace, and none shall disquiet thee; yea, many shall make suit unto thee — Desiring thy favour and friendship, because of thy great power and riches, and eminent felicity.
Thou shalt dig about thee - The Chaldee renders this, "thou shalt prepare for thyself a sepulchre, and shalt lie down in safety." The word used here (חפר châphar) has two significations. It means,
(1) "to dig" - as, e. g. a well, and under this signification to search out, to explore; and,
(2.) to be ashamed, to blush, Isaiah 1:29.
According to Gesenius, the latter here is the signification. "Now thou art ashamed, then thou shalt dwell in quiet," Lexicon. So Noyes renders it. Dr. Good translates it, "yea, thou shalt look around;" Rosenmuller, "thou art suffused with shame." This is, probably, the true sense; and the idea is, that though he was now covered with shame, yet he would lie down in peace and safety if he would return to the Lord.
dig—namely, wells; the chief necessity in the East. Better, "though now ashamed (Ro 5:5, opposed to the previous 'hope'), thou shalt then rest safely" [Gesenius];thou shalt be confident that thou shalt have what thou hopest for, the act, hope, being put for the object, as is very usual, i.e. thou shalt have assurance in and from God, that thy hopes shall not be disappointed, but fulfilled. This is opposed to that fear, Job 11:15.
Thou shalt dig about thee; either to fix thy tents, which after the manner of the Arabians were removed from place to place for conveniency of pasturage for their cattle; or to find out water for thy cattle, as they did, Ge 26; or to plough the ground, as he had done, Job 1:14; or to make a fence about thy dwelling; for both the foregoing and following passages express his secure and safe condition.
In safety; free from dangers and the fear of them, because of God’s fatherly providence watching over thee when thou canst not watch over thyself.
because there is hope; of the mercy of God, of salvation by Christ, and of eternal glory and happiness, as well as of a continuance of outward prosperity; faith and hope mutually assist each other; faith is the substance of things hoped for, and hope of better and future things on a good foundation encourages faith and confidence:
yea, thou shalt dig about thee; to let in stakes for the pitching and fixing of tents to dwell in, and for more commodious pasturage; or for wells of water, for the supply both of the family and the flocks; or rather, for ditches and trenches to secure from thieves and robbers, or for drains to carry off floods of water:
and thou shalt take thy rest in safety; lie down on the bed and sleep in the night season in peace and quietness, having nothing to fear; being well entrenched, and secure from depredations and inundations; and, more especially being hedged about and protected by the power and providence of God; see Psalm 3:5; the Targum is,
"thou shall prepare a grave, and lie down, and sleep secure.''And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope; yea, thou shalt dig about thee, and thou shalt take thy rest in safety.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)18. because there is hope] In opposition to Job’s desponding pictures of his life, ch. Job 7:6 seq., Job 9:25 seq., Job 10:20 seq.
thou shalt dig about thee] Rather, thou shalt look, or search, about thee, cf. ch. Job 39:29; Deuteronomy 1:22. Job, as one naturally does before retiring to rest, will look around to see if there be any danger near or cause of disquietude, and seeing none will take his rest in safety.Verse 18. - And thou shalt be secure, because there is hope. Job, entering on this second period of prosperity, would be and feel secure; safe, i.e. from any return of calamity, because hope would once more animate him and be his predominant feeling. No doubt "hope springs eternal in the human breast;" and when Job's prosperity was actually restored (Job 42:12-16), these anticipations had their fulfilment; but, as uttered by Zophar, there is a ring of insincerity about them, and we cannot but feel that his object in expatiating at length on the details of Job's coming happiness is not to console and encourage his friend, but rather to annoy and exasperate him, since the entire basis on which he builds is the assumption of Job's heinous guilt (vers. 3, 6, 11, 14), and the prosperity which he promises is to follow upon an acknowledgment of guilt and a putting sway of iniquity (vers. 13, 14), which he knew that Job wholly repudiated. Yea, thou shalt dig about thee. So Schultens, who understands it to mean that Job shall dig a moat around his habitation, to make himself perfectly secure. The verb has, however, two other meanings - "to investigate" or "search out," and "to blush;" and it is taken here in each of these meanings by some critics. Our Revisers translate, "Yea, thou shalt search about thee;" and so Canon Cook and Professor Stanley Loathes. Rosenmuller, on the other hand, and Professor Lee render the words by "Though thou shouldst blush," or "be ashamed." It is difficult to decide between such high authorities; but the fast that Job uses the verb in the sense of "search," "look after," in Job 39:29, and does not elsewhere use it in either of the other senses, should incline us to accept the rendering of the Revised Version. And thou shalt take thy rest in safety; or, securely; i.e. with a sense of being in perfect security.
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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