Job 15:28
And he dwells in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabits, which are ready to become heaps.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(28) Which are ready to become heaps.—This completes the description of the haughty tyrant. He dwelt in cities that are to be desolate, or that are desolate, which are ready to become heaps. This may point either to what they were in his intention, or to what he had made them, or to what, in the opinion of the speaker, they were likely to become, notwithstanding his having fortified and dwelt in them.

Job 15:28-29. And he dwelleth — It should rather be translated, But he dwelleth in desolate places. This is fitly opposed to the prosperity last mentioned, and is the beginning of the description of his misery, which is continued in the following verses. Which are ready to become heaps — Which are ready to fall, and to be turned into heaps of stones. He shall not be rich — He shall not remain rich, but shall become poor. Neither shall his substance continue — He shall lose what he had gotten. Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof — The perfection of his substance, or that complete estate and glory which he had attained, shall not be continued to him and his posterity. Or, neither shall their perfection (that is, that prosperity, wealth, and power, wherein they placed their perfection or happiness) spread itself, or be spread abroad; but shall be diminished and taken away. It is a metaphor from a tree. See Job 8:16.15:17-35 Eliphaz maintains that the wicked are certainly miserable: whence he would infer, that the miserable are certainly wicked, and therefore Job was so. But because many of God's people have prospered in this world, it does not therefore follow that those who are crossed and made poor, as Job, are not God's people. Eliphaz shows also that wicked people, particularly oppressors, are subject to continual terror, live very uncomfortably, and perish very miserably. Will the prosperity of presumptuous sinners end miserably as here described? Then let the mischiefs which befal others, be our warnings. Though no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous, nevertheless, afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness to them that are exercised thereby. No calamity, no trouble, however heavy, however severe, can rob a follower of the Lord of his favour. What shall separate him from the love of Christ?And he dwelleth - Or rather, "therefore he shall dwell." As a consequence of his opposing God, and devoting himself to a life of sensuality and ease, he shall dwell in a desolate place. Instead of living in affluence and in a splendid city, he shall be compelled to take up his abode in places that have been deserted and abandoned. Such places - like Petra or Babylon now - became the temporary lodgings of caravans and travelers, or the abodes of outcasts and robbers. The meaning here is, that the proud and wicked man shall be ejected from his palace, and compelled to seek a refuge far away from the usual haunts of men.

Which are ready to become heaps - Which are just ready to tumble into ruin.

28. The class of wicked here described is that of robbers who plunder "cities," and seize on the houses of the banished citizens (Isa 13:20). Eliphaz chooses this class because Job had chosen the same (Job 12:6).

heaps—of ruins.

He dwelleth in desolate cities: these words may note either,

1. His tyranny and cruelty, whereby he makes the places of his abode and dominion desolate by his frequent murders, spoils, and oppressions, wherewith he destroyeth great numbers of his people, and forceth others to flee out of his reach. Or,

2. His pride, and power, and wealth; which enabled and engaged him to build desolate houses and cities for his own glory, and safety, and conveniency; of which See Poole "Job 3:14". Or,

3. His punishment and misery; that for his impiety towards God, and oppression of men, he was driven out of his dominions and possessions, and forced to flee into desolate places for safety and a habitation. This seems best to agree with the Hebrew words, which run thus, But (for so the particle and is commonly used, as hath been oft said) he shall dwell, &c. And so this is fitly opposed to this last-mentioned prosperity, and is the beginning of the description of his misery, which is continued in the following verses.

Which are ready to become heaps; which were ready to fall, and to be turned into a heap of stones. And he dwelleth in desolate cities,.... This is either a continuation of the account of the wicked man's prosperity, which makes him haughty; such is his might and power, that he destroys cities and palaces, built and enjoyed by others, and then out of the ruins of them builds greater cities and more noble palaces, to perpetuate his name to posterity; which sense agrees with Job 3:14; and with the Targum,

"and he makes tabernacles in desert cities, that he may dwelt in houses which were not inhabited;''

and so Ben Gersom: and hence because of his success among men, and the grandeur he lives in, his heart is lifted up, and his hand is stretched out against God; or else this may express the sinful course of life such a man lives, who chooses to dwell in desolate places, and deserts, to do harm to others, to seize upon travellers as they pass by, and rob and plunder them of their substance, sitting and waiting for them in such places, as the Arabians in the wilderness, Jeremiah 3:2; which is the sense of some, as Aben Ezra observes; or rather this points at the punishment of the wicked man, who though for the present may be in great prosperity, possessed of large cities and stately palaces, "yet" or "but" (a), for so the particle may be rendered, "he dwelleth in desolate cities"; in such as shall become desolate, being destroyed by a superior enemy, that shall come upon him; or through his subjects forsaking him, not being able to bear his tyranny and cruelty; or he shall be driven from his dominions by them, and be obliged to fly, and dwell in desert places; or he shall choose to dwell there, through the horrors of a guilty conscience; or, best of all, he shall be reduced to such distress and poverty, that he shall not have a house fit to dwell in; but "shall inhabit the parched places in the wilderness, in a salt land, and not inhabited", Jeremiah 17:6; as follows:

and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps; such as have been deserted by their former inhabitants, because come to decay, and ready to fall down upon them, and become heaps of stones and rubbish.

(a) So the Annotator of the Assembly of Divines.

And he dwelleth {r} in desolate cities, and in houses which no man inhabiteth, which are ready to become heaps.

(r) Though he build and repair ruinous places to gain fame, yet God will bring all to nothing, and turn his great prosperity into extreme misery.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
28. and he dwelleth] and he dwelt.

which no man inhabiteth] which should not be inhabited.

are ready to become] which were destined to be heaps. The idea seems to be that the wicked man settled in and rebuilt places that were under the curse of God, and destined by Him for perpetual desolation. Such places in the East are those on which God’s judgment has fallen because of some great wickedness perpetrated there. To settle in and rebuild such ruins indicates the extreme of impiety, cf. Deuteronomy 13:13 seq.; Joshua 6:26; 1 Kings 16:34.Verse 28. - And he dwelleth in desolate cities. Blot only was he sensual and gluttenous, but he was covetous and rapacious also. He dwelt in cities which his hand had desolated - in houses which no man inhabiteth - since he had driven their owners from them - and which were ready to become heaps, i.e. were in a ruinous condition. 20 So long as the ungodly liveth he suffereth,

And numbered years are reserved for the tyrant.

21 Terrors sound in his ears;

In time of peace the destroyer cometh upon him.

22 He believeth not in a return from darkness,

And he is selected for the sword.

23 He roameth about after bread: "Ah! where is it?"

He knoweth that a dark day is near at hand for him.

24 Trouble and anguish terrify him;

They seize him as a king ready to the battle.

All the days of the ungodly he (the ungodly) is sensible of pain. רשׁע stands, like Elohim in Genesis 9:6, by the closer definition; here however so, that this defining ends after the manner of a premiss, and is begun by הוּא after the manner of a conclusion. מתחולל, he writhes, i.e., suffers inward anxiety and distress in the midst of all outward appearance of happiness. Most expositors translate the next line: and throughout the number of the years, which are reserved to the tyrant. But (1) this parallel definition of time appended by waw makes the sense drawling; (2) the change of עריץ (oppressor, tyrant) for רשׁע leads one to expect a fresh affirmation, hence it is translated by the lxx: ἔτη δὲ ἀριθμητὰ δεδομένα δυνάστῃ. The predicate is, then, like Job 32:7, comp. Job 29:10; Job 2:4 (Ges. 148), per attractionem in the plur. instead of in the sing., and especially with מספּר followed by gen. plur.; this attraction is adopted by our author, Job 21:21; Job 38:21. The meaning is not, that numbered, i.e., few, years are secretly appointed to the tyrant, which must have been sh'nôth mispâr, a reversed position of the words, as Job 16:22; Numbers 9:20 (vid., Gesenius' Thes.); but a (limited, appointed) number of years is reserved to the tyrant (צפן as Job 24:1; Job 21:19, comp. טמן, Job 20:26; Mercerus: occulto decreto definiti), after the expiration of which his punishment begins. The thought expressed by the Targ., Syr., and Jerome would be suitable: and the number of the years (that he has to live unpunished) is hidden from the tyrant; but if this were the poet's meaning, he would have written שׁניו, and must have written מן־העריץ.

With regard to the following Job 15:21-24, it is doubtful whether only the evil-doer's anxiety of spirit is described in amplification of הוא מתחולל, or also how the terrible images from which he suffers in his conscience are realized, and how he at length helplessly succumbs to the destruction which his imagination had long foreboded. A satisfactory and decisive answer to this question is hardly possible; but considering that the real crisis is brought on by Eliphaz later, and fully described, it seems more probable that what has an objective tone in Job 15:21-24 is controlled by what has been affirmed respecting the evil conscience of the ungodly, and is to be understood accordingly. The sound of terrible things (startling dangers) rings in his ears; the devastator comes upon him (בוא seq. acc. as Job 20:22; Proverbs 28:22; comp. Isaiah 28:15) in the midst of his prosperity. He anticipates it ere it happens. From the darkness by which he feels himself menaced, he believes not (האמין seq. infin. as Psalm 27:13, לראות, of confident hope) to return; i.e., overwhelmed with a consciousness of his guilt, he cannot, in the presence of this darkness which threatens him, raise to the hope of rescue from it, and he is really - as his consciousness tells him - צפוּ (like עשׂוּ, Job 41:25; Ges. 75, rem. 5; Keri צפוי, which is omitted in our printed copies, contrary to the testimony of the Masora and the authority of correct MSS), spied out for, appointed to the sword, i.e., of God (Job 19:29; Isaiah 31:8), or decreed by God. In the midst of abundance he is harassed by the thought of becoming poor; he wanders about in search of bread, anxiously looking out and asking where? (abrupt, like הנה, Job 9:19), i.e., where is any to be found, whence can I obtain it? The lxx translates contrary to the connection, and with a strange misunderstanding of the passage: κατατέτακται δὲ δἰς σῖτα γυψίν (איּה לחם, food for the vulture). He sees himself in the mirror of the future thus reduced to beggary; he knows that a day of darkness stands in readiness (נכון, like Job 18:12), is at his hand, i.e., close upon him (בּידו, elsewhere in this sense ליד, Psalm 140:6; 1 Samuel 19:3, and על־ידי, Job 1:14).

In accordance with the previous exposition, we shall now interpret וּמצוּקה צר, Job 15:24, not of need and distress, but subjectively of fear and oppression. They come upon him suddenly and irresistibly; it seizes or overpowers him (תּתקפהוּ with neutral subject; an unknown something, a dismal power) as a king עתיד לכּידור. lxx ὥσπερ στρατηγὸς πρωτοστάτης πίπτων, like a leader falling in the first line of the battle, which is an imaginary interpretation of the text. The translation of the Targum also, sicut regem qui paratus est ad scabellum (to serve the conqueror as a footstool), furnishes no explanation. Another Targum translation (in Nachmani and elsewhere) is: sicut rex qui paratus est circumdare se legionibus. According to this, כידור comes from כּדר, to surround, be round (comp. כּתר, whence כּתר, Assyr. cudar, κίδαρις, perhaps also הזר, Syr. חדר, whence chedor, a circle, round about); and it is assumed, that as כּדּוּר signifies a ball (not only in Talmudic, but also in Isaiah 22:18, which is to be translated: rolling he rolleth thee into a ball, a ball in a spacious land), so כּידור, a round encampment, an army encamped in a circle, synon. of מעגּל. In the first signification the word certainly furnishes no suitable sense in connection with עתיד; but one may, with Kimchi, suppose that כידור, like the Italian torniamento, denotes the circle as well as the tournament, or the round of conflict, i.e., the conflict which moves round about, like tumult of battle, which last is a suitable meaning here. The same appropriate meaning is attained, however, if the root is taken, like the Arabic kdr, in the signification turbidum esse (comp. קדר, Job 6:16), which is adopted of misfortunes as troubled experiences of life (according to which Schultens translates: destinatus est ad turbulentissimas fortunas, beginning a new thought with עתיד, which is not possible, since כמלך by itself is no complete figure), and may perhaps also be referred to the tumult of battle, tumultus bellici conturbatio (Rosenm.); or of, with Fleischer, one starts from another turn of the idea of the root, viz., to be compressed, solid, thick, which is a more certain way gives the meaning of a dense crowd.

(Note: The Arab. verb kdr belongs to the root kd, to smite, thrust, quatere, percutere, tundere, trudere; a root that has many branches. It is I. transitive cadara (fut. jacduru, inf. cadr) - by the non-adoption of which from the original lexicons our lexicographers have deprived the whole etymological development of its groundwork - in the signification to pour, hurl down, pour out, e.g., cadara-l-ma, he has spilt, poured out, thrown down the water; hence in the medial VII. form incadara intransitive, to fall, fall down, chiefly of water and other fluids, as of the rain which pours down from heaven, of a cascade, and the like; then improperly of a bird of prey which shoots down from the air upon its prey (e.g., in the poetry in Beidhwi on Sur. 81, 2: "The hawk saw some bustards on the plain f'ancadara, and rushed down"); of a hostile host which rushes upon the enemy first possible signification for כידור]; of a man, horse, etc., which runs very swiftly, effuse currit, effuso curru ruit; of the stars that shall fall from heaven at the last day (Sur. 81, 2). Then also II. intransitive cadara (fut. jacdiru) with the secondary form cadira (fut. jacdaru) and cadura (fut. jacduru), prop. to be shaken and jolted; then also of fluid things, mixed and mingled, made turgid, unclean, i.e., by shaking, jolting, stirring, etc., with the dregs (the cudre or cudde); then gen. turbidum, non limpidum (opp. Arab. ṣf'), with a similar transition of meaning to that in turbare (comp. deturbare) and the German trben (comp. traben or trappen, treiben, treffen). The primary meaning of the root takes another III. turn in the derived adjectives cudur, cudurr, cundur, cundir, compressed, solid, thick; the last word with us (Germans) forms a transition from cadir, cadr, cadr, dull, slimy, yeasty, etc., inasmuch as we speak of dickes Bier (thick beer), etc., cerevisia spissa, de la bire paisse. Here the point of contact of the word כידור, tumult of battle, κλόνος ἀνδρῶν, seems indicated: a dense crowd and tumult, where one is close upon another; as also נלחם, מלחמה, signify not reciprocal destruction, slaughter, but to press firmly and closely upon one another, a dense crowd. - Fl.)

continued...

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