Job 15:31
Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(31) Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity.—Or, Let him not trust in vanity deceiving himself. (Comp. James 1:26; 1Samuel 12:21.)

Job 15:31. Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity — That is, in the vain and deceitful things of this world, such as power, riches, honour, &c., of which, and of the loss of them, he had been discoursing largely; and now he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief with the fore-mentioned persons: and, withal, he secretly intimates what, he judged, had been Job’s great sin, and the cause of his ruin, namely, his carnal confidence in those vain things, his wealth and glory, and the children which God had given him: from which crime Job, therefore, vindicates himself hereafter. For vanity — Disappointment, dissatisfaction, and the loss of all his imaginary felicity; the same word vanity being elegantly repeated in another sense, as is usual in the Scripture, and all authors. Shall be his recompense — Hebrew, תמורתו, temuratho, permutatio vel commutatio ejus; his exchange, Leviticus 27:33; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity. This verse however may be rendered otherwise, thus: He that is deceived with vanity (that is, with the vain things of this world, wherewith most men are deceived and bewitched) will not believe that vanity (namely, emptiness, disappointment, and misery) shall be his recompense. And thus this is an aggravation of his calamity, that it surprised him when he was confident, and secure from all fears of such an event.

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?Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity - The sense is, "Let him not trust in vanity. He will be deceived. Vanity will be his recompense." The idea is, that a man should not confide in that which will furnish no support. He should not rely on his wealth and rank; his houses and lands; his servants, his armies, or his power, if he is wicked, for all this is vain. He needs some better reliance, and that can be found only in a righteous life. The word vanity here means that which is unsubstantial; which cannot uphold or sustain; which will certainly give way.

For vanity will be his recompense - He will find only vanity. He will be stripped of all his honors and possessions.

31. Rather, "let him not trust in vanity or he will be deceived," &c.

vanity—that which is unsubstantial. Sin is its own punishment (Pr 1:31; Jer 2:19).

In vanity, i.e. in the vain and deceitful things of this world, such as power, riches, honour, &c., of which, and of the loss of them, he had been largely discoursing; and now he subjoins a general caution to all men to take heed of running into the same error and mischief with the forementioned persons; and withal he secretly intimates Job’s great sin, which was the cause of his ruin, to wit, his carnal confidence in those vain things, the wealth, and glory, and children which God had given him; from which crime he therefore vindicates himself hereafter. For vanity, i.e. disappointment and dissatisfaction, and the vanishing or loss of all their imaginary felicity; the same word vanity being elegantly repeated in another sense, as is usual in Scripture and all authors.

His recompence, Heb. his exchange; he shall exchange one vanity for another, a pleasing vanity for a vexatious vanity. But this verse is and may be rendered otherwise; the Hebrew particle al being here, as it is elsewhere, taken for a simple negation. Thus, He that is deceived with vanity, (i.e. with the vain things of this world, wherewith most men are deceived and bewitched,) will not believe that vanity (i.e. emptiness, and disappointment, and misery) shall be his recompence. And so this is an aggravation of his calamity, that it surprised him when he was confident and secure from all fears of such an event.

Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity,.... Every wicked man is deceived, either by Satan, who deceives the whole world, deceived our first parents, and deceives all their posterity, not only profane sinners, but many professors of religion also; or by their own hearts, which are deceitful and desperately wicked; or through the deceitfulness of sin, which promises profit, pleasure, and liberty, and issues in ruin, pain, and bondage; and through the deceitfulness of riches, which promise that satisfaction they do not give: and such as are deceived in this manner are prone to trust in vanity; in men, who in every state, high or low, are altogether vanity; and in creature enjoyments, in outward riches and wealth, which are all vanity and vexation of spirit; and in their own hearts, and the vanity of their minds, which to do is extreme folly; and in their righteousness and external privileges, which will be of no service to them, as to their acceptance with God, and eternal happiness; and therefore trust in whatsoever is vain and empty, and affords no solid satisfaction, real pleasure, and advantage, is here dehorted from; unless the words will be allowed to be justly rendered, as I think they may, "trust not in him that is deceived by vanity" (e); by any of the above vain things, since he must himself be a vain man, and therefore not to be confided in; to which sense the Targum inclines;

"he will not (or should not) believe in a son of man (or in a man), who errs through falsehood;''

the reason dissuading from it follows:

for vanity shall be his recompence; all that a man gets by trusting in vanity, or by trusting in a man deceived, is nothing but emptiness and vanity; he gets nothing solid and substantial, that will be of any advantage to him here or hereafter; and yet this he will not easily believe; and so Beza reads the words, "he that is deceived by vanity will not believe that vanity shall be his recompence".

(e) "per vanitatem deceptus", Beza; so Tigurine version.

Let not him that is {t} deceived trust in vanity: for vanity shall be his recompence.

(t) He stands in his own conceit, that he will give no place to good counsel, therefore his own pride will bring him to destruction.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
31. The verse reads,

Let him not trust in vanity: he is deceived:

For vanity shall be his recompence.

Similarly, “they that plow iniquity reap the same,” ch. Job 4:8; Job 5:13. Eliphaz returns as in other passages to his former speech. “Vanity” or evil means both wickedness (first clause) and calamity or trouble (second clause). The word “recompence” means exchange, that received in barter or return.

Verse 31. - Let not him that is deceived trust in vanity; rather, let him not trust in vanity (or, in falsehood)' deceiving himself (see the Revised Version). All the supports and stays of the wicked are vanity - unsubstantial, futile, utterly vain and useless. It is only a man who "deceives himself" that can trust in them. For vanity shall be his recompense. Such as do so trust gain nothing by it; they sow vanity and reap vanity. Job 15:3131 Let him not trust in evil-he is deceived,

For evil shall be his possession.

32 His day is not yet, then it is accomplished,

And his palm-branch loseth its freshness.

33 He teareth off as a vine his young grapes,

And He casteth down as an olive-tree his flower.

34 The company of the hypocrite is rigid,

And fire consumeth the tents of bribery.

35 They conceive sorrow and bring forth iniquity,

And their inward part worketh self-deceit.

אל does not merely introduce a declaration respecting the future (Luther: he will not continue, which moreover must have been expressed by the Niph.), but is admonitory: may he only not trust in vanity (Munach here instead of Dech, according to the rule of transformation, Psalter, ii. 504, 4) - he falls, so far as he does it, into error, or brings himself into error (נתעה, 3 praet., not part., and Niph. like Isaiah 19:14, where it signifies to be thrust backwards and forwards, or to reel about helplessly), - a thought one might expect after the admonition (Olsh. conjectures נתעב, one who is detestable): this trusting in evil is self-delusion, for evil becomes his exchange (תּמוּרה not compensatio, but permutatio, acquisitio). We have translated שׁוא by "evil" (Unheil), by which we have sought elsewhere to render און, in order that we might preserve the same word in both members of the verse. In Job 15:31, שׁוא (in form equals שׁוא from שׁוא, in the Chethib שוּ, the Aleph being cast away, like the Arabic sû', wickedness, form the v. cavum hamzatum s-'a equals sawu'a) is waste and empty in mind, in Job 15:31 (comp. Hosea 12:12) waste and empty in fortune; or, to go further from the primary root, in the former case apparent goodness, in the latter apparent prosperity - delusion, and being undeceived "evil" in the sense of wickedness, and of calamity. תּמּלא, which follows, refers to the exchange, or neutrally to the evil that is exchanged: the one or the other fulfils itself, i.e., either: is realized (passive of מלּא, 1 Kings 8:15), or: becomes complete, which means the measure of the punishment of his immorality becomes full, before his natural day, i.e., the day of death, is come (comp. for expression, Job 22:16; Ecclesiastes 7:17). The translation: then it is over with him (Ges., Schlottm., and others), is contrary to the usage of the language; and that given by the Jewish expositors, תּמּלא equals תּמּלל (abscinditur or conteritur), is a needlessly bold suggestion. - Job 15:32. It is to be observed that רעננה is Milel, and consequently 3 praet., not as in Sol 1:16 Milra, and consequently adj. כּפּה is not the branches generally (Luzzatto, with Raschi: branchage), but, as the proverbial expression for the high and low, Isaiah 9:13; Isaiah 19:15 (vid., Dietrich, Abhandlung zur hebr. Gramm. S. 209), shows, the palm-branch bent downwards (comp. Targ. Esther 1:5, where כּפּין signifies seats and walks covered with foliage). "His palm-branch does not become green, or does not remain green" (which Symm. well renders: οὐκ εὐθαλήσει), means that as he himself, the palm-trunk, so also his family, withers away. In Job 15:33 it is represented as בּסר ( equals בּסר), wild grapes, or even unripe grapes of a vine, and as נצּה, flowers of an olive.

(Note: In order to appreciate the point of the comparison, it is needful to know that the Syrian olive-tree bears fruit plentifully the first, third, and fifth years, but rests during the second, fourth, and sixth. It blossoms in these years also, but the blossoms fall off almost entirely without any berries being formed. The harvest of the olive is therefore in such years very scanty. With respect to the vine, every year an enormous quantity of grapes are used up before they are ripe. When the berries are only about the size of a pea, the acid from them is used in housekeeping, to prepare almost every kind of food. The people are exceedingly fond of things sour, a taste which is caused by the heat of the climate. During the months of June, July, and August, above six hundred horses and asses laden with unripe grapes come daily to the market in Damascus alone, and during this season no one uses vinegar; hence the word בסרא signifies in Syriac the acid (vinegar) κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν. In Arabic the unripe grapes are exclusively called hhossrum (Arab. htsrm), or, with a dialectic distinction, hissrim. - Wetzst.)

In Job 15:32 the godless man himself might be the subject: he casts down, like an olive-tree, his flowers, but in Job 15:32 this is inadmissible; if we interpret: "he shakes off (Targ. יתּר, excutiet), like a vine-stock, his young grapes," this (apart from the far-fetched meaning in יחמס) is a figure that is untrue to nature, since the grapes sit firmer the more unripe they are; and if one takes the first meaning of חמס, "he acts unjustly, as a vine, to his omphax" (e.g., Hupf.), whether it means that he does not let it ripen, or that he does not share with it any of the sweet sap, one has not only an indistinct figure, but also (since what God ordains for the godless is described as in operation) an awkward comparison. The subject of both verbs is therefore other than the vine and olive themselves. But why only an impersonal "one"? In Job 15:30 רוח פיו was referred to God, who is not expressly mentioned. God is also the subject here, and יחמס, which signifies to act with violence to one's self, is modified here to the sense of tearing away, as Lamentations 2:6 (which Aben-Ezra has compared), of tearing out; כגפן, כזית, prop. as a vine-stock, as an olive-tree, is equivalent to even as such an one.

Job 15:34 declares the lot of the family of the ungodly, which has been thus figuratively described, without figure: the congregation (i.e., here: family-circle) of the ungodly (חנף according to its etymon inclinans, propensus ad malum, vid., on Job 13:16) is (as it is expressed from the standpoint of the judgment that is executed) גּלמוּד, a hard, lifeless, stony mass (in the substantival sense of the Arabic galmûd instead of the adject. גלמודה, Isaiah 49:21), i.e., stark dead (lxx θάνατος; Aq., Symm., Theod., ἄκαρπος), and fire has devoured the tents of bribery (after Ralbag: those built by bribery; or even after the lxx: οἴκους δωροδεκτῶν). The ejaculatory conclusion, Job 15:35, gives the briefest expression to that which has been already described. The figurative language, Job 15:35, is like Psalm 7:15; Isaiah 59:4 (comp. supra, p. 257); in the latter passage similar vividly descriptive infinitives are found (Ges. 131, 4, b). They hatch the burdens or sorrow of others, and what comes from it is evil for themselves. What therefore their בּטן, i.e., their inward part, with the intermingled feelings, thoughts, and strugglings (Olympiodorus: κοιλίαν ὅλον τὸ ἐντὸς χωρίον φησὶ καὶ αὐτὴν τῆν ψυχήν), prepares or accomplishes (יכין similar to Job 27:17; Job 38:41), that on which it works, is מרמה, deceit, with which they deceive others, and before all, themselves (New Test. ἀπάτη).

continued...

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