Job 14:9
Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
14:7-15 Though a tree is cut down, yet, in a moist situation, shoots come forth, and grow up as a newly planted tree. But when man is cut off by death, he is for ever removed from his place in this world. The life of man may fitly be compared to the waters of a land flood, which spread far, but soon dry up. All Job's expressions here show his belief in the great doctrine of the resurrection. Job's friends proving miserable comforters, he pleases himself with the expectation of a change. If our sins are forgiven, and our hearts renewed to holiness, heaven will be the rest of our souls, while our bodies are hidden in the grave from the malice of our enemies, feeling no more pain from our corruptions, or our corrections.Yet through the scent of water - The word here rendered "scent" (ריח rêyach) means properly the odor or fragrance which anything exhales or emits; Sol 2:13; Sol 7:13; Genesis 27:27. The idea is very delicate and poetic. It is designed to denote a gentle and pleasant contact - not a rush of water - by which the tree is made to live. It inhales, so to speak, the vital influence from the water - as we are refreshed and revived by grateful odorifles when we are ready to faint.

It will bud - Or, rather, it will germinate, or spring up again - יפרח yapârach; see the notes at Isaiah 55:10.

And bring forth boughs - קציר qâtsı̂yr. This word usually means a harvest; Genesis 8:22; Genesis 30:14; Genesis 45:6. It also means, as here, a bough, or branch; compare Psalm 80:11; Job 18:16; Job 29:19.

Like a plant - Like a young plant - as fresh and vigorous as a plant that is set out.

9. scent—exhalation, which, rather than the humidity of water, causes the tree to germinate. In the antithesis to man the tree is personified, and volition is poetically ascribed to it.

like a plant—"as if newly planted" [Umbreit]; not as if trees and plants were a different species.

Through the scent of water, i.e. by means of water. Scent or smell is figuratively ascribed to a tree.

Like a plant; like a tree newly planted.

Yet through the scent of water it will bud,.... As soon as it smells it, or perceives it, is sensible of it, or partakes of its efficacy; denoting both how speedily, and how easily, at once as it were, it buds forth through the virtue either of rain water that descends upon it, or river water by which it is planted, or by any means conveyed unto it; particularly this is true of the willow, which delights in watery places; and, when it is in the circumstances before described, will by the benefit of water bud out again, even when its stock has been seemingly dead:

and bring forth boughs like a plant; as if it was a new plant, or just planted; so the Vulgate Latin version, as "when it was first planted"; or as a plant that sends forth many branches: the design of this simile is to show that man's case is worse than that of trees, which when cut down sprout out again, and are in the place where they were before; but man, when he is cut down by death, rises up no more in the same place; he is seen no more in it, and the place that knew him knows him no more; where he falls he lies until the general resurrection; he rises not before without a miracle, and such instances are very rare, and never either before or at the resurrection, but by the omnipotence of God; whereas a tree, in the above circumstances, sprouts out of itself, according to its nature, and in virtue of a natural power which God has put into it; not so man (y).

(y) "Mutat terra vices-----nos ubi decidimus", Horat. Carmin. l. 4. Ode 7.

Yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
9. like a plant] i. e. a fresh and new plant; it begins a new life again.

Job 14:9 7 For there is hope for a tree:

If it is hewn down, it sprouts again,

And its shoot ceaseth not.

8 If its root becometh old in the ground,

And its trunk dieth off in the dust:

9 At the scent of water it buddeth,

And bringeth forth branches like a young plant.

As the tree falleth so it lieth, says a cheerless proverb. Job, a true child of his age, has a still sadder conception of the destiny of man in death; and the conflict through which he is passing makes this sad conception still sadder than it otherwise is. The fate of the tree is far from being so hopeless as that of man; for (1) if a tree is hewn down, it (the stump left in the ground) puts forth new shoots (on החליף, vid., on Psalm 90:6), and young branches (יונקת, the tender juicy sucker μόσχος) do not cease. This is a fact, which is used by Isaiah (Isaiah 6:1-13) as an emblem of a fundamental law in operation in the history of Israel: the terebinth and oak there symbolize Israel; the stump (מצבת) is the remnant that survives the judgment, and this remnant becomes the seed from which a new sanctified Israel springs up after the old is destroyed. Carey is certainly not wrong when he remarks that Job thinks specially of the palm (the date), which is propagated by such suckers; Shaw's expression corresponds exactly to לא תחדל: "when the old trunk dies, there is never wanting one or other of these offsprings to succeed it." Then (2) if the root of a tree becomes old (חזקין inchoative Hiphil: senescere, Ew. 122, c) in the earth, and its trunk (גּזע also of the stem of an undecayed tree, Isaiah 40:24) dies away in the dust, it can nevertheless regain its vitality which had succumbed to the weakness of old age: revived by the scent (ריח always of scent, which anything exhales, not, perhaps Sol 1:3 only excepted, odor equals odoratus) of water, it puts forth buds for both leaves and flowers, and brings forth branches (קציר, prop. cuttings, twigs) again, כמו נטע, like a plant, or a young plant (the form of נטע in pause), therefore, as if fresh planted, lxx ὥσπερ νεόφυτον. One is here at once reminded of the palm which, on the one hand, is pre-eminently a φιλυδρον φυτόν,

(Note: When the English army landed in Egypt in 1801, Sir Sydney Smith gave the troops the sure sign, that wherever date-trees grew there must be water; and this is supported by the fact of people digging after it generally, within a certain range round the tree within which the roots of the tree could obtain moisture from the fluid. - Vid., R. Wilson's History of the Expedition to Egypt, p. 18.)

on the other hand possesses a wonderful vitality, whence it is become a figure for youthful vigour. The palm and the phoenix have one name, and not without reason. The tree reviving as from the dead at the scent of water, which Job describes, is like that wondrous bird rising again from its own ashes (vid., on Job 29:18). Even when centuries have at last destroyed the palm - says Masius, in his beautiful and thoughtful studies of nature - thousands of inextricable fibres of parasites cling about the stem, and delude the traveller with an appearance of life.

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