Job 15:30
He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(30) He shall not depart out of darkness.—See Job 15:22. “By the breath of his mouth shall he go away.” What this means is not very clear: probably as in Job 11:20; or, “When he expires it shall be the end of him; he shall leave nothing permanent that is destined to last;” or, “He shall pass away suddenly and completely, like his own breath.”

Job 15:30. He shall not depart out of darkness — His misery shall have no end. The flame — God’s anger and judgment upon him. Shall dry up his branches — His wealth, and power, and glory, wherewith he was encompassed, as trees are with their branches. By the breath of his mouth, &c. — This expression intimates, with how much ease God subdueth his enemies: his word, his blast, one act of his will, is sufficient. Shall he go away — Hebrew, go back: that is, run away from God faster than he ran upon him, Job 15:26. So it is a continuation of the former metaphor of a conflict between two persons.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 depart out of darkness - He shall not escape from calamity; see Job 15:22. He shall not be able to rise again, but shall be continually poor.

The flame shall dry up his branches - As the fire consumes the green branches of a tree, so shall punishment do to him. This comparison is very forcible, and the idea is, that the man who has been prospered as a tree shall be consumed - as the fire consumes a tree when it passes through the branches. The comparison of a prosperous man with a tree is very common, and very beautiful. Thus, the Psalmist says,

I have seen the wicked in great power,

And spreading himself like a green bay tree. Psalm 37:35.

Compare Psalm 92:12-13. The aged Skenandoah - a chief of the Oneida tribe of Indians, said," I am an aged hemlock. The winds of an hundred winters have whistled through my branches. I am dead at the top. My branches are falling," etc.

And by the breath of his mouth shall he go away - That is, by the breath of the mouth of God. God is not indeed specified, but it is not unusual to speak of him in this manner. The image here seems to be that of the destruction of a man by a burning wind or by lightning. As a tree is dried up, or is rent by lightning, or is torn up from the roots by a tempest sent by the Deity, so the wicked will be destroyed.

30. depart—that is, escape (Job 15:22, 23).

branches—namely, his offspring (Job 1:18, 19; Ps 37:35).

dry up—The "flame" is the sultry wind in the East by which plants most full of sap are suddenly shrivelled.

his mouth—that is, God's wrath (Isa 11:4).

He shall not depart out of darkness; his misery shall have no end.

The flame; God’s anger and judgment upon him.

His branches; either,

1. His children; or,

2. Wealth, and power, and glory, wherewith he was encompassed, and adorned, and secured, as trees are with their branches.

Of his mouth, i.e. of God’s mouth, as appears both by comparing this with Job 15:25, where God is expressed as the adversary with whom this wicked wretch contendeth; and by the nature of the thing, and the whole context, all this man’s calamities being manifestly the effects of God’s anger; and by other places of Scripture, where the breath of God’s mouth or lips are mentioned as that whereby he destroyeth wicked men; as Job 4:9 Isaiah 11:4 2 Thessalonians 2:8. And this expression intimates to us with how much facility God subdueth his enemies; he needs no arms or instruments; his word, his blast, one act of his will, is more than sufficient to do it.

Shall he go away, Heb. go back, i.e. retreat and run away from God faster than he did run towards and upon him, Job 15:26. So it is a continuation of the former metaphor of a battle or conflict between two persons. He shall not depart out of darkness,.... Out of the darkness of poverty, calamity, and distress he comes into, and, indeed, he despairs of it himself, as in Job 15:22; and in a spiritual sense he departs not out of the darkness of sin, out of the dark state of unregeneracy; nor will he depart out of the blackness and darkness reserved for him hereafter, when he is once come into it:

the flame shall dry up his branches; alluding either to a violent drought and heat, which dries up pastures, herbs, and trees, and the branches of them; or to a wind, as the Septuagint, a burning wind, in the eastern countries, which consumed all green things; or to a flash of lightning, which shatters, strips, and destroys branches of trees: here it may signify the wrath of God, like a flame of fire consuming the wealth and substance, and families, of wicked men; whose children particularly may be compared to branches, and so respect may be had to Job's children, who were suddenly destroyed by a violent wind, which threw down the house in which they were:

and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away; out of the world, a phrase expressive of death; either because of the breath of his own mouth, as some in Jarchi, because of his blasphemies against God and his people, because of his cursing and swearing his mouth is full of, and the many vain, foolish, and idle words which come out of it, and for which he will be condemned; or rather

"by the breath of the mouth of God,''

as the Targum; either according to his purpose and decree, and by his order, and the word that goes out of his mouth; the wicked man shall be obliged to depart out of the world at once, being struck dead by him, as Ananias and Sapphira were; or by his powerful wrath and vengeance, whose breath is as a stream of brimstone, and with which he will slay the wicked of the earth, and particularly will consume the wicked one, antichrist, even with the spirit of his mouth, and with the brightness of his coming, Isaiah 11:4.

He shall not depart out of darkness; the flame shall dry up his branches, and by the breath of his mouth shall he go away.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
30. Advance on Job 15:29, describing the sinner’s actual destruction. The figures are common; on darkness, cf. Job 15:22-23; the flame is the scorching sun or glowing wind; breath of his mouth, i. e., God’s mouth, cf. ch. Job 4:9.Verse 30. - He shall not depart out of darkness (comp. ver. 23, where the wicked man is threatened with "a day of darkness"). When the darkness once falls, it shall continue; there shall be no escaping out of it The flame shall dry up his branches; rather, a flame. The "flame" intended seems to be the wrath of God. ' And by the breath of his mouth; i.e. "of God's mouth" (comp. Job 4:9). Shall he go away; or, pass away; i.e. disappear, be consumed, perish. 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.)

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