Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 15:1. Then answered Eliphaz — Eliphaz, not a little incensed that Job should pay no regard to his advice, and should dare to challenge the Almighty to argue the point with him, charges him home with self-conceit in entertaining too high an opinion of his own knowledge; with arrogance in undervaluing the arguments drawn from their experience, whose age was a sufficient voucher for their wisdom; and with impiety, in thus rudely challenging the Almighty to answer for his conduct in afflicting him. He presses home the same argument upon him a second time, to which he adds that of universal tradition; insinuating, that he had yet worse to expect unless he prevented it by a contrary conduct: and then presents him with a picture of the final state of a wicked man; in which he so works up the circumstances as to make it resemble Job and his condition as much as possible; intimating thereby, that he imagined him to be that very wicked man he had been describing, and that he had by that means drawn down God’s judgments on himself: that, therefore, his imaginations of innocence were an illusion; but one, however, of the worst kind; he had deceived himself. — Heath.
And his soul within him shall mourn - The soul that is within him shall be sad; that is, in the land of shades. So Virgil, speaking of the death of Lausus, says,
Tum vita per auras
Concessit moesta ad manes, corpusque reliquit.
Aeneid x. 819.
The idea of Job is, that it would leave all the comforts of this life; it would be separate from family and friends; it would go lonely and sad to the land of shades and of night. Job dreaded it. He loved life; and in the future world, as it was presented to his view, there was nothing to charm and attract. There he expected to wander in darkness and sadness; and from that gloomy world he expected to return no more forever. Eichhorn, however, has rendered this verse so as to give a different signification, which may perhaps be the true one.
Nur uber sich ist er betrubt;
Nur sich betrauert er.
"His troubles pertain only to himself; his grief relates to himself alone." According to this, the idea is that he must bear all his sorrows alone, and for himself. He is cut off from the living, and is not permitted to share in the joys and sorrows of his posterity, nor they in his. He has no knowledge of anything that pertains to them, nor do they participate in his griefs. What a flood of light and joy would have been poured on his soul by the Christian hope, and by the revelation of the truth that there is a world of perfect light and joy for the righteous - in heaven! And what thanks do we owe to the Great Author of our religion - to him who is "the Resurrection and the Life " - that we are permitted to look upon the grave with hearts full of peace and joy!
Job 15:1-35. Second Speech of Eliphaz.Eliphaz’s reproof: Job’s knowledge and talk vain; he feareth not God, nor prayeth to him; but his own mouth uttered his iniquity, and should condemn him, Job 15:1-6. Job not the wisest of men, Job 15:7,8; nor wiser than they, who were elder than he, Job 15:9,10. He despised the consolations of God, and turned away his spirit against him, Job 15:11-13. The angels not clean in God’s sight, much less man, Job 15:14-16. A description of the ancients; their wisdom, and reports concerning destruction, and terrors on the wicked, and the causes of it, Job 15:17-35.
and said,Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said,
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
First, starting with Job’s claim to a wisdom beyond that of his friends (ch. Job 12:3; Job 12:7 seq., Job 13:2), Eliphaz asks if it be in the manner of a wise man to use loud and empty words as arguments (Job 15:2-3). But in truth Job was more than unwise, he was impious. His demeanour and sentiments did away with all devoutness and religion. Such language as he uttered could be inspired only by deep evil in his heart; and was proof enough without anything more of his wickedness (Job 15:4-6).
Second, then coming back upon these two points, Job’s claim to wisdom and his irreverence, Eliphaz developes each of them separately.
(1) This claim to wisdom, which he puts forth, whence has he it? Was he the first man born? Did he come straight from God’s hand? Did he sit in the council of heaven and appropriate wisdom to himself? And how came he, a man not yet old, to have such preeminence in wisdom over them, some of whom were old enough to be his father, that he thought himself entitled to put away from him admonitions which were consoling truths of God’s revelation and spoken to him in gentleness and temperance? (Job 15:7-11).
(2) And why did he allow his passion to carry him away into making charges of unrighteousness against God? For how can a man be pure in God’s sight? In His eyes the heavens are not clean, much less man, whose avidity for evil is like that of a thirsty man for water (Job 15:12-16).Verses 1, 2. - Then answered Eliphaz the Temanite, and said, Should a wise man utter vain knowledge! literally, knowledge of wind - knowledge, i.e. which is vain, idle, inflated, without solidity or substance. Job, as setting up to be "a wise man," should not have indulged in such empty and foolish speaking. It is observable that Eliphaz does not point out what part of Job's discourses he considers objectionable, but condemns the whole of them under this broad and general description, which even he could not have regarded as applicable to more than a portion of what Job had said. And fill his belly with the east wind? The east wind was regarded as the worst of winds. In Palestine it blew from the great Syrian and North Arabian desert, and was of the nature of a sirocco. (On its deleterious effects, see Genesis 41:6, 23; Jeremiah 18:17; Ezekiel 17:10; Ezekiel 19:12; Ezekiel 27:26; Hosea 13:15, etc.)
And Thou hast devised additions to my iniquity.
18 But a falling mountain moveth indeed,
And a rock falleth from its place.
19 Water holloweth out stone,
Its overflowings carry away the dust of the earth,
And the hope of man - Thou destroyest.
The meaning of Job 14:17 is, not that the judgment which pronounces him guilty lies in the sealed-up bag of the judge, so that it requires only to be handed over for execution (Hirz., Ew., Renan), for although פּשׁע (though not exactly the punishment of sin, which it does not signify even in Daniel 9:24) can denote wickedness, as proved and recorded, and therefore metonomically the penal sentence, the figure is, however, taken not from the mode of preserving important documents, but from the mode of preserving collected articles of value in a sealed bag. The passage must be explained according to Hosea 13:12; Deuteronomy 32:34; Romans 2:5, comp. Jeremiah 17:1. The evil Job had formerly (Job 13:26) committed according to the sentence of God, God has gathered together as in a money bag, and carefully preserved, in order now to bring them home to him. And not this alone, however; He has devised still more against him than his actual misdeeds. Ewald translates: Thou hast sewed up my punishment; but טפל (vid., on Job 13:4) signifies, not to sew up, but: to sew on, patch on, and gen. to add (טפל, Rabb. accidens, a subordinate matter, opp. עקּר), after which the lxx translates ἐπεσημήνω (noted in addition), and Gecatilia Arab. ḥftṣt (added to in collecting). It is used here just as in the Aramaic phrase טפל שׁקרא (to patch on falsehood, to invent scandal).
The idea of the figures which follow is questionable. Hahn maintains that they do not describe destruction, but change, and that consequently the relation of Job 14:19 to what precedes is not similarity, but contrast: stones are not so hard, that they are not at length hollowed out, and the firm land is not so firm that it cannot be carried away by the flood; but man's prospect is for ever a hopeless one, and only for him is there no prospect of his lot ever being changed. Thus I thought formerly it should be explained: considering the waw, Job 14:19, as indicative not of comparison, but of contrast. But the assumption that the point of comparison is change, not destruction, cannot be maintained: the figures represent the slow but inevitable destruction wrought by the elements on the greatest mountains, on rocks, and on the solid earth. And if the poet had intended to contrast the slow but certain changes of nature with the hopelessness of man's lot, how many more appropriate illustrations, in which nature seems to come forth as with new life from the dead, were at his command! Raschi, who also considers the relation of the clauses to be antithetical, is guided by the right perception when he interprets: even a mountain that is cast down still brings forth fruit, and a rock removed from its place, even these are not without some signs of vitality in them, יבּול equals (יבוּל) יעשׂהבוּל, which is indeed a linguistic impossibility. The majority of expositors are therefore right when they take the waw, Job 14:19, similarly to Job 5:7; Job 11:12; Job 12:11, as waw adaequationis. With this interpretation also, the connection of the clause with what precedes by ואוּלם (which is used exactly as in Job 1:11; Job 11:5; Job 12:7, where it signifies verum enim vero or attamen) is unconstrained. The course of thought is as follows: With unsparing severity, and even beyond the measure of my guilt, hast Thou caused me to suffer punishment for my sins, but (nevertheless) Thou shouldst rather be gentle and forbearing towards me, since even that which is firmest, strongest, and most durable cannot withstand ultimate destruction; and entirely in accordance with the same law, weak, frail man (אנושׁ) meets an early certain end, and at the same time Thou cuttest off from him every ground of hope of a continued existence. The waw, Job 14:19, is consequently, according to the sense, more quanto magis than sic, placing the things to be contrasted over against each other. הר־נופL is a falling, not a fallen (Ralbag) mountain; and having once received the impetus, it continues gradually to give way; Renan: s'effondre peu peu. Carey, better: "will decay," for נבל (cogn. נבל) signifies, decrease from external loses; specially of the falling off of leaves, Isaiah 34:4. The second figure, like Job 18:4, is to be explained according to Job 9:5 : a rock removes (not as Jerome translates, transfertur, which would be יעתק, and also not as lxx παλαιωθήσεται, Schlottm.: becomes old and crumbles away, although in itself admissible both as to language and fact; comp. on Job 21:7) from its place; it does not stand absolutely, immovably fast. In the third figure אבנים is a prominent object, as the accentuation with Mehupach legarmeh or (as it is found in correct Codd.) with Asla legarmeh rightly indicates שׁחק signifies exactly the same as Arab. sḥq, attere, conterere. In the fourth figure, ספיח must not be interpreted as meaning that which grows up spontaneously without re-sowing, although the Targum translates accordingly: it (the water) washes away its (i.e., the dust of the earth's) after-growth (כּתהא), which Symm. follows (τὰ παραλελειμνένα). It is also impossible according to the expression; for it must have been עפר הארץ. Jerome is essentially correct: et alluvione paullatim terra consumitur. It is true that ספח in Hebrew does not mean effundere in any other passage (on this point, vid., on Habakkuk 2:15), but here the meaning effusio or alluvio may be supposed without much hesitation; and in a book whose language is so closely connected with the Arabic, we may even refer to ספח equals Arab. sfḥ (kindred to Arab. sfk, שׁפך), although the word may also (as Ralbag suggests), by comparison with מטר סחף, Proverbs 28:3, and Arab. sḥı̂qt, a storm of rain, be regarded as transposed from חיפיה, from סחף in Arab. to tear off, sweep away, Targ. to thrust away ( equals רחף), Syr., Talm. to overthrow, subvertere (whence s'chifto, a cancer or cancerous ulcer). The suffix refers to מים, and תּשׁטף before a plural subject is quite according to rule, Ges. 146, 3. ספיחיה is mostly marked with Mercha, but according to our interpretation Dech, which is found here and there in the Codd., would be more correct.
The point of the four illustrations is not that not one of them is restored to its former condition (Oetinger, Hirz.), but that in spite of their stability they are overwhelmed by destruction, and that irrecoverably. Even the most durable things cannot defy decay, and now even as to mortal man - Thou hast brought his hope utterly to nought (האבדת with Pathach in pause as frequently; vid., Psalter ii. 468). The perf. is praegnans: all at once, suddenly - death, the germ of which he carries in him even from his birth, is to him an end without one ray of hope, - it is also the death of his hope.
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