Job 15:29
He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof on the earth.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(29) He shall not be rich.—Now comes the destiny which awaits him in the judgment of the speaker. “Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.” The word rendered “perfection thereof” occurs nowhere else, so that it is very doubtful what it means. Some render, “Neither shall their produce (that of the wicked) bend (luxuriantly) to the earth;” or, “their possessions or their achievements extend on the earth.”

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?He shall not be rich - That is, he shall not continue rich; or he shall not again become rich. He shall be permanently poor.

Neither shall his substance continue - His property.

Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof - Noyes renders this, "And his possessions shall not be extended upon the earth." Wemyss, "Nor shall he be master of his own desires." Good, "Nor their success spread abroad in the land." Luther, Und sein Gluck wird sich nicht ausbreiten im Lande - " And his fortune shall not spread itself abroad in the land." Vulgate, "Neither shall he send his root in the earth " - nec mittet in terra radicem suam. The Septuagint, οὐ μὴ βάλῃ ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν σκιὰν ou mē balē epi tēn gōn skian - "and shall not cast a shadow upon the earth." The word rendered "perfection" (מנלם mı̂nlām) is commonly supposed to be from מנלה mı̂nleh, from נלה nâlâh to finish, to procure, and hence, the noun may be applied to that which is procured - and thus may denote possessions. According to this the correct rendering is, "and he does not extend their possessions abroad in the land;" that is, his possessions do not extend abroad. Gesenius supposes, however, that the word is a corruption for מבלם - "their flocks." I see no objection, however, to its being regarded as meaning possessions - and then the sense is, that he would fail in that which is so much the object of ambition with every avaricious man - that his possessions should extend through the land; compare the notes at Isaiah 5:8.

29. Rather, he shall not increase his riches; he has reached his highest point; his prosperity shall not continue.

perfection—rather, "His acquired wealth—what he possesses—shall not be extended," &c.

He shall not be rich, i. e not abide rich, but shall become poor.

Neither shall his substance continue; what he had gotten shall be taken from him.

The perfection thereof, i.e. the perfection of his substance, or that complete estate and glory which he hath attained, shall not be continued to him and to his posterity. Or, neither shall their perfection (i.e. that prosperity, and wealth, and power wherein they placed their perfection or happiness) spread itself, or be propagated or spread abroad, but shall be diminished and taken away. It is a metaphor from a tree. Compare Job 8:16. He shall not be rich,.... Though his heart is set upon it, he is determined at any rate to be rich; he labours for it with all his might and main, and yet shall not attain what he is so desirous of; many, who take a great deal of pains to be rich, and even in a lawful way, and are men of understanding in trade and business, and yet riches are not their portion; and some who got a great deal, yet do not grow rich; what they get, they put into a bag of holes, and it drops through as fast as they put in; what they get in one sinful way they consume in another, and so are always poor; and others, though they have amassed together a vast substance, yet still are but poor men, not using what they have either for their own good, or the good of others; and not being content with what they have, but always craving more, and so are even poor in their own account, not having what they would have: however, such a man is not rich towards God; for in godly and spiritual things he is destitute of the true riches of grace, and has no title to the riches of glory; and as for his earthly riches, these shall not endure; though he may be rich for the present, he will not be always so; And this sense the next clause confirms:

neither shall his substance continue; or "his strength" (b) his power and might, a rich man's wealth being his strong city, in which he places his trust and confidence; riches are called "substance", though their are but a shadow, yea, mere nonentities, things that are not, in comparison of heavenly things; see Proverbs 23:5; at least they are not an enduring substance; they are uncertain things, here today, and gone tomorrow; that make themselves wings, and fly away from the owners of them; or they are taken away front them, and are not like the riches of grace, which are durable riches; or like those of glory; but by one means or another are taken out of the hands of the possessors of them, and they are reduced to poverty: and this "their substance shall not rise"; or rather, "not rise again" (c), as the word may be rendered; notwithstanding all the pains they may take, their substance shall not rise, grow, and increase; or not rise up to the former heights it did, but being fallen into poverty there they lie:

neither shall he prolong the perfection of it upon the earth; though, indeed, there is no perfection in the creature, nor in creature enjoyments, nor in outward riches and substance; such as have had the largest share of them, as David and Solomon, have declared they have seen an end of all perfection, and that all things, the highest enjoyments, are vanity and vexation of spirit; yet when men are got to the summit, and height, and perfection of outward happiness, as they or others may think, this is not prolonged, or continued long in the earth, or they continued in it; but often are suddenly cast down from the pinnacle of honour, wealth, and riches; hence some render the words, "and their prosperity shall not be fixed into the earth" (d); shall not take root, though it may seem to do, Jeremiah 12:2; and so shall not spread itself as a tree well rooted does; and as does the spiritual prosperity, perfection, and fullness of good men, which they have in and by Christ; being rooted in the love of God, in the grace of Christ, and having the root of the matter in them, they cast forth their roots as Lebanon, and their branches spread, and they are full of the fruits and blessings of grace, Hosea 14:5.

(b) "ejus robur", Mercerus; "potentia ejus", Drusius. (c) "neque resurgent opes ejus", Schmidt. (d) "nec mittet in terra radicem suam", V. L. "et non pangetur in terram prosperitas eorum", Schultens.

He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the {s} perfection thereof upon the earth.

(s) Meaning, that his sumptuous buildings would never come to perfection.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
29. neither shall he prolong the perfection] Perhaps, neither shall their produce bend down to the ground; the figure being that of heavy grain, or branches thickly laden with fruit, bending down to the earth. The word rendered produce or gain is not found again and is of somewhat uncertain meaning.

29–35. The disastrous end of the wicked man.Verse 29. - He shall not be rich; i.e. he shall not increase, or maintain, his riches. Neither shall his substance continue, His riches shall make themselves wings, and take their departure. Neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth; rather, neither shall their possessions be extended upon the earth. (So Rosenmuller, Professor Lee, and Renan.) The transition from the singular to the plural is not unusual, when it is a class, and not an individual, that is really spoken of. 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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