Job 15:29
He shall not be rich, neither shall his substance continue, neither shall he prolong the perfection thereof upon the earth.
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(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.

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. Job 15:2925 Because he stretched out his hand against God,

And was insolent towards the Almighty;

26 He assailed Him with a stiff neck,

With the thick bosses of his shield;

27 Because he covered his face with his fatness,

And addeth fat to his loins,

28 And inhabited desolated cities,

Houses which should not be inhabited,

Which were appointed to be ruins.

29 He shall not be rich, and his substance shall not continue

And their substance boweth not to the ground.

30 He escapeth not darkness;

The flame withereth his shoots;

And he perisheth in the breath of His mouth.


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