Job 13:28
And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 13:28. And he, as a rotten thing — That is, man, as some commentators suppose, thinking that Job speaks of himself in the third person, and that the sense is, this poor frail creature, this carcass, or body of mine; consumeth — Or wasteth away, and is destroyed; as a garment eaten by moths — Others, however, interpret the words thus: He, that is, God, consumeth me (understanding the verb יבלה, jiblee, actively) as rottenness consumeth that in which it is, or, as a rotten thing is consumed, &c. Houbigant’s translation of the verse is, So that I am become like a thing consumed with rottenness; like a garment eaten up by the moth.

13:23-28 Job begs to have his sins discovered to him. A true penitent is willing to know the worst of himself; and we should all desire to know what our transgressions are, that we may confess them, and guard against them for the future. Job complains sorrowfully of God's severe dealings with him. Time does not wear out the guilt of sin. When God writes bitter things against us, his design is to make us bring forgotten sins to mind, and so to bring us to repent of them, as to break us off from them. Let young persons beware of indulging in sin. Even in this world they may so possess the sins of their youth, as to have months of sorrow for moments of pleasure. Their wisdom is to remember their Creator in their early days, that they may have assured hope, and sweet peace of conscience, as the solace of their declining years. Job also complains that his present mistakes are strictly noticed. So far from this, God deals not with us according to our deserts. This was the language of Job's melancholy views. If God marks our steps, and narrowly examines our paths, in judgment, both body and soul feel his righteous vengeance. This will be the awful case of unbelievers, yet there is salvation devised, provided, and made known in Christ.And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth - Noyes renders this, "And I, like an abandoned thing, shall waste away." Dr. Good translates it, "Well may he dissolve as corrupttion." Rosenmuller supposes that Job refers to himself by the word הוּא hû' - he, and that having spoken of himself in the previous verses, he now changes the mode of speech, and speaks in the third person. In illustration of this, he refers to a passage in Euripides, "Alcestes," verse 690. The Vulgate renders it in the first person, "Qui quasi putredo consumendus sum." The design seems to be, to represent himself as an object not worthy such consent surveillance on the part of God. God set his mark upon him; watched him with a close vigilance and a steady eye - and yet he was watching one who was turning fast to corruption, and who would soon be gone. He regarded it as unworthy of God, to be so attentive in watching over so worthless an object. This is closely connected with the following chapter, and there should have been no interruption here. The allusion to himself as feeble and decaying, leads him into the beautiful description in the following chapter of the state of man in general. The connection is something like this: - "I am afflicted and tried in various ways. My feet are in the stocks; my way is hedged up. I am weak, frail, and dying. But so it is with man universally. My condition is like that of the man at large, for

"Man, the offspring of a woman,

Is short-lived, and is full of trouble."

As a rotten thing, - כרקב kerâqâb. The word רקב râqab means rottenness, or caries of bones; Proverbs 12:4; Proverbs 14:30; Hosea 5:12. Here it means anything that is going to decay, and the comparison is that of man to anything that is thus constantly decaying, and that will soon be wholly gone.

Consumeth. - Or rather "decays," יבלה yı̂bâlâh. The word בלה bâlâh is applied to that which falls away or decays, which is worn out and waxes old - as a garment; Deuteronomy 8:4; Isaiah 50:9; Isaiah 51:6.

As a garment that is moth-eaten - "As a garment the moth consumes it." Hebrew On the word moth, and the sentiment here expressed, see the notes at Job 4:19.

28. Job speaks of himself in the third person, thus forming the transition to the general lot of man (Job 14:1; Ps 39:11; Ho 5:12). He; either,

1. Man, or Job, supposed to be God’s adversary in this contest. So he speaks of himself in the third person, as is usual in this and other sacred books. So the sense is, he, i.e. this poor frail creature, this carcass or body of mine, which possibly he pointed at with his finger,

consumeth or pineth away, &c. So he mentions here the effect of God’s severe proceedings against him, to wit, his consumption and utter destruction, which was making haste towards him. Or,

2. God, of whom he hitherto spoke in the second person, and now in the third person; such changes of persons being very frequent in poetical writings, such as this is. So he continueth the former discourse; and as before he mentioned God’s severe inquiry into his ways, and sentence against him, so here he describes the consequence and dreadful execution of it upon him; he, i.e. God, consumeth (for the verb is active) me as rottenness consumeth that in which it is, or as a rotten thing is consumed, and as a moth which eateth a garment.

And he as a rotten thing consumeth,.... This by some Jewish writers (z) is referred to and connected with the driven leaf and dry stubble Job compares himself to, Job 13:25; and so the sense is, that his body, which, for its frailty and weakness, is compared to such things, is like any rotten thing, a rotten tree, as Ben Melech; or any thing else that is rotten, that is consuming and wasting away, as Job's body was, being clothed with worms and clods of dust:

as a garment that is moth eaten; a woollen garment, which gathers dust, out of which motifs arise; for dust, in wool and woollen garments produces moths, as Aristotle (a) and Pliny (b) observe; and a garment eaten by them, slowly, gradually, and insensibly, yet certainly, decays, falls to pieces, becomes useless, and not to be recovered; such was Job's body, labouring under the diseases it did, and was every day more and more decaying, crumbling into dust, and just ready to drop into the grave; so that there was no need, and it might seem cruel, to lay greater and heavier afflictions on it: some interpreters make this "he" to be God himself who sometimes is as rottenness and a moth to men, in their persons, families, and estates; see Hosea 5:12.

(z) R. Levi, Ben Gersom, & Bar Tzemach. (a) Hist. Animal. l. 5. c. 32. (b) Nat. Hist. l. 11. c. 35.

And he, as a rotten thing, consumeth, as a garment that is moth eaten.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. And he as a rotten thing] Or, one who as a rotten thing. Job no more speaks of himself in the first person, but in the third, because he thinks of himself as one of the human race in general, which is feeble and short-lived.

Verse 28. - And he. The change of person is very strange, but not unknown to the Hebrew idiom. It is impossible that any one but Job himself can be meant. As a rotten thing consumeth, as a garment that is moth-eaten. An allusion to the character of the disease from which he is suffering.



Job 13:2826 For Thou decreest bitter things against me,

And causest me to possess the iniquities of my youth,

27 And puttest my feet in the stocks,

And observest all my ways.

Thou makest for thyself a circle round the soles of my feet,

28 Round one who moulders away as worm-eaten,

As a garment that the moth gnaweth.

He is conscious of having often prayed: "Remember not the sins of my youth, and my transgressions: according to Thy mercy remember Thou me," Psalm 25:7; and still he can only regard his affliction as the inheritance (i.e., entailed upon him by sins not repented of) of the sins of his youth, since he has no sins of his mature years that would incur wrath, to reproach himself with. He does not know how to reconcile with the justice of God the fact that He again records against him sins, the forgiveness of which he implores soon after their commission, and decrees (כּתב, as Psalm 149:9, and as used elsewhere in the book of Job with reference to the recording of judgment) for him on account of them such bitter punishment (מררות, amara, bitter calamities; comp. Deuteronomy 32:32, "bitter" grapes). And the two could not indeed be harmonized, if it really were thus. So long as a man remains an object of the divine mercy, his sins that have been once forgiven are no more the object of divine judgment. But Job can understand his affliction only as an additional punishment. The conflict of temptation through which he is passing has made God's loving-kindness obscure to him. He appears to himself to be like a prisoner whose feet are forced into the holes of a סד, i.e., the block or log of wood in which the feet of a criminal are fastened, and which he must shuffle about with him when he moves; perhaps connected with Arab. sadda, occludere, opplere (foramen), elsewhere מהפּכת (from the forcible twisting or fastening), Chald. סדיא, סדנא, Syr. sado, by which Acts 16:24, ξύλον equals ποδοκάκη, is rendered; Lat. cippus (which Ralbag compares), codex (in Plautus an instrument of punishment for slaves), or also nervus. The verb תּשׂם which belongs to it, and is found also in Job 33:11 in the same connection, is of the jussive form, but is neither jussive nor optative in meaning, as also the future with shortened vowel (e.g., Job 27:22; Job 40:19) or apocopated (Job 18:12; Job 23:9, Job 23:11) is used elsewhere from the preference of poetry for a short pregnant form. He seems to himself like a criminal whose steps are closely watched (שׁמר, as Job 10:14), in order that he may not have the undeserved enjoyment of freedom, and may not avoid the execution for which he is reserved by effecting an escape by flight. Instead of ארחתי, the reading adopted by Ben-Ascher, Ben-Naphtali writes ארחתי, with Cholem in the first syllable; both modes of punctuation change without any fixed law also in other respects in the inflexion of ארח, as of ארחה, a caravan, the construct is both ארחות, Job 6:19, and ארחות. It is scarcely necessary to remark that the verbs in Job 13:27 are addressed to God, and are not intended as the third pers. fem. in reference to the stocks (Ralbag). The roots of the feet are undoubtedly their undermost parts, therefore the soles. But what is the meaning of תּתחקּה? The Vulg., Syr., and Parchon explain: Thou fixest thine attention upon ... , but certainly according to mere conjecture; Ewald, by the help of the Arabic tahhakkaka ala: Thou securest thyself ... , but there is not the least necessity to depart from the ordinary use of the word, as those also do who explain: Thou makest a law or boundary (Aben-Ezra, Ges., Hahn, Schlottm.). The verb חקה is the usual word (certainly cognate and interchangeable with חקק) for carved-out work (intaglio), and perhaps with colour rubbed in, or filled up with metal (vid., Job 19:23, comp. Ezekiel 23:14); it signifies to hew into, to carve, to dig a trench. Stickel is in some measure true to this meaning when he explains: Thou scratchest, pressest (producing blood); by which rendering, however, the Hithpa. is not duly recognised. Raschi is better, tu t'affiches, according to which Mercerus: velut affixus vestigiis pedum meorum adhaeres, ne qu elabi possim aut effugere. But a closer connection with the ordinary use of the word is possible. Accordingly Rosenm., Umbreit, and others render: Thou markest a line round my feet (drawest a circle round); Hirz., however, in the strictest sense of the Hithpa.: Thou diggest thyself in (layest thyself as a circular line about my feet). But the Hithpa. does not necessarily mean se insculpere, but, as התפשׁט sibi exuere, התפתח sibi solvere, התחנן sibi propitium facere, it may also mean sibi insculpere, which does not give so strange a representation: Thou makest to thyself furrows (or also: lines) round the soles of my feet, so that they cannot move beyond the narrow boundaries marked out by thee. With והוּא, Job 13:28, a circumstantial clause begins: While he whom Thou thus fastenest in as a criminal, etc. Observe the fine rhythmical accentuation achālo ‛asch. Since God whom he calls upon does not appear, Job's defiance is changed to timidity. The elegiac tone, into which his bold tone has passed, is continued in Job 14.

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