Job 16:13
His archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall upon the ground.
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Job 16:13-14. His archers compass me round about — His plagues or judgments, elsewhere compared to arrows, and here to archers, surround me on all sides, and assault me from every quarter. Whoever are our enemies, we must look on them as God’s archers, and see him directing the arrow. He cleaveth my reins asunder — He wounds me inwardly, mortally, and incurably; which is also signified by pouring out the gall; such wounds being deadly. “The metaphor,” says Heath, “is here taken from huntsmen. First they surround the beast; then he is shot dead; his entrails are next taken out; and then his body is divided limb from limb.” He breaketh me with breach upon breach — My indignities and miseries have no interruption, but one immediately succeeds another; he runneth upon me like a giant — Who falls upon his enemy with all his might, that he may overthrow and kill him. He assaults me in so violent and powerful a manner, that I can make no more resistance than a dwarf against a giant.

16:6-16 Here is a doleful representation of Job's grievances. What reason we have to bless God, that we are not making such complaints! Even good men, when in great troubles, have much ado not to entertain hard thoughts of God. Eliphaz had represented Job as unhumbled under his affliction: No, says Job, I know better things; the dust is now the fittest place for me. In this he reminds us of Christ, who was a man of sorrows, and pronounced those blessed that mourn, for they shall be comforted.His archers - He does not come alone to shoot at me; he has employed a company of bowmen, who also direct "their" arrows against me. The word used here רב rab means properly "much, large," great; and is applied to that which is powerful or mighty. It is nowhere else used in the sense of "archers," and might be rendered "his many;" that is, his bands, hosts, or armies. But as all the ancient versions render it "arrows," or "archers," probably that sense is to be retained. Allusion is here made to those who claimed to be the friends of Job, but who now showed to his apprehension that they were merely sharp-shooters under the control of God, to deepen his woes.

He cleaveth my reins asunder - With his arrows. They penetrate quite through me.

He poureth out my gall - The word "gall" means the "bile" - the yellowish green bitter fluid secreted in the liver. A similar figure occcurs in Lamentations 2:11, "My liver is poured upon the earth." Among the pagan poets, also, the "liver" is represented as pierced, and as pouring out gore. Thus, Aesch. Agam. 442: θιγγάνει πρὸς ἧπαρ thinganei pros hēpar. So also 801: Δῆγμα λύπης ἐφ ̓ ἧπαρ προσικνεἴται Dēgma lupēs eph' hēpar prosikneitai. So in the Iliad, xiii. 412, xx. 469, 470. The meaning here is, "I am transfixed with a deadly wound, and must die. God has come upon me as an armed man, and has pierced my vitals."

13. his archers—The image of Job 16:12 is continued. God, in making me His "mark," is accompanied by the three friends, whose words wound like sharp arrows.

gall—put for a vital part; so the liver (La 2:11).

His archers, i.e. his plagues or judgments, elsewhere compared to arrows, and here to archers.

He cleaveth my reins asunder with his arrows, i.e. he wounds me inwardly, and mortally, and incurably; which also is noted by pouring out the gall; such wounds being deadly.

His archers compass me round about,.... Satan and his principalities and powers casting their fiery darts at him; or rather, his friends shooting their arrows, even bitter words, reproaches, and calumnies; or the various diseases of his body, his boils and ulcers, which were so many arrows shot into him, in every part of him all around, and gave him exquisite pain and anguish; besides the arrows of the Almighty, or that painful sensation he had of the wrath of God. This also is true of Christ, the antitype of Job and of Joseph; of the latter of which it is said, "the archers sorely grieved him, and shot at him, but his bow abode in strength", Genesis 49:23; so Satan and his ministers threw their fiery darts at Christ when on the cross, and the scribes and priests, his emissaries, surrounded him there, and shot out their reproachful and blasphemous words at him, and the justice of God smote him, and the law of God cast its curses on him. Gussetius renders the words, "his great ones" (g); and such Job's friends were, men of great substance, and lived in great credit and honour; some have supposed them to be kings, and such were those that opposed Christ, and distressed him, the rulers of the people, civil and ecclesiastic:

he cleaveth my reins asunder; by causing his arrows to enter into them, Lamentations 3:13; the consequence of which must be death; a man cannot live, at least long, after this is his case; though some think this is to be understood of the disorder of the stone in his reins or kidneys, which was very distressing to him:

and doth not spare; shows no mercy or pity, though in such sad circumstances and dreadful agonies; thus God spared not his own son, Romans 8:32;

he poureth out my gall upon the ground; which is done by piercing the gall bladder with the sword, or any such instrument, see Job 20:25; which must issue in death; and the design of both these clauses is to show, that Job looked upon his case irretrievable, and he here makes use of hyperbolical expressions to set it forth by.

(g) "Ejus magnates", Comment. Ebr. p. 773. "ejus magni", Montanus.

His {n} archers compass me round about, he cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare; he poureth out my gall {o} upon the ground.

(n) His manifold afflictions.

(o) I am wounded to the heart.

13. The second figure—Job has been set up by God as a mark for His arrows.

his archers] Rather, his arrows, cf. ch. Job 6:4. These arrows fly about him and cleave his vital parts and pour out his life to the ground. The Oriental speaks of the gall and gall-bladder where we might refer to the blood and the heart.

Verse 13. - His archers compass me round about. God is represented, not as himself the shooter of the arrows, but as surrounding Job with a body of archers, who are under his command and carry out his will. So, generally, Scripture represents the judgments of God as carried out by interior agents (see 2 Samuel 24:16; 1 Chronicles 21:15; 2 Kings 19:35, etc.). He cleaveth my reins asunder, and doth not spare. The allusion is probably to Job's physical sufferings, which included severe pains in the lumbar region. He poureth out my gall upon the ground. The rupture of the gallbladder causes the contents to be sprit upon the ground. Job 16:1312 I was at ease, but He hath broken me in pieces;

And He hath taken me by the neck and shaken me to pieces,

And set me up for a mark for himself.

13 His arrows whistled about me;

He pierced my reins without sparing;

He poured out my gall upon the ground.

14 He brake through me breach upon breach,

He ran upon me like a mighty warrior.

He was prosperous and contented, when all at once God began to be enraged against him; the intensive form פּרפּר (Arab. farfara) signifies to break up entirely, crush, crumble in pieces (Hithpo. to become fragile, Isaiah 24:19); the corresponding intensive form פּצפּץ (from פּצץ, Arab. fḍḍ, cogn. נפץ), to beat in pieces (Polel of a hammer, Jeremiah 23:29), to dash to pieces: taking him by the neck, God raised him on high in order to dash him to the ground with all His might. מטּרה (from נטר, τηρεῖν, like σκοπός from σκέπτισθαι) is the target, as in the similar passage, Lamentations 3:12, distinct from מפגּע, Job 7:20, object of attack and point of attack: God has set me up for a target for himself, in order as it were to try what He and His arrows can do. Accordingly רבּיו (from רבב equals רבה, רמה, jacere) signifies not: His archers (although this figure would be admissible after Job 10:17; Job 19:12, and the form after the analogy of רב, רע, etc., is naturally taken as a substantival adj.), but, especially since God appears directly as the actor: His arrows ( equals הצּיו, Job 6:4), from רב, formed after the analogy of בּז, מס, etc., according to which it is translated by lxx, Targ., Jer., while most of the Jewish expositors, referring to Jeremiah 50:29 (where we need not, with Bttch., point רבים, and here רביו), interpret by מורי החצים. On all sides, whichever way he might turn himself, the arrows of God flew about him, mercilessly piercing his reins, so that his gall-bladder became empty (comp. Lamentations 2:11, and vid., Psychol. S. 268). It is difficult to conceive what is here said;

(Note: The emptying of the gall takes place if the gall-bladder or any of its ducts are torn; but how the gall itself (without assuming some morbid condition) can flow outwardly, even with a severe wound, is a difficult question, with which only those who have no appreciation of the standpoint of imagery and poetry will distress themselves. [On the "spilling of the gall" or "bursting of the gall-bladder" among the Arabs, as the working of violent and painful emotions, vid., Zeitschr. der deutschen morgenlnd. Gesellsch. Bd. xvi. S. 586, Z. 16ff. - Fl.])

it is, moreover, not meant to be understood strictly according to the sense: the divine arrows, which are only an image for divinely decreed sufferings, pressed into his inward parts, and wounded the noblest organs of his nature. In Job 16:14 follows another figure. He was as a wall which was again and again broken through by the missiles or battering-rams of God, and against which He ran after the manner of besiegers when storming. פּרץ is the proper word for such breaches and holes in a wall generally; here it is connected as obj. with its own verb, according to Ges. 138, rem. 1. The second פרץ (פּרץ with Kametz) has Ssade minusculum, for some reason unknown to us.

The next strophe says what change took place in his own conduct in consequence of this incomprehensible wrathful disposition of God which had vented itself on him.

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