Job 16:6
Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6) Though I speak . . .—“I cannot but reply, though to reply gives me no relief.”

Job 16:6. Though I speak — To God by prayer, or to you in the way of discourse; my grief is not assuaged — I find no relief or comfort. Job, having reproved his friends for their unkind behaviour toward him, and aggravated it by contrasting therewith his resolutions to have acted in a more friendly manner toward them, if they had been in his case; now returns to his main business, namely, to describe his miseries, in order that, if possible, he might move his friends to pity and comfort him. Though I forbear, what am I eased? — What portion of my grief departs from me? I receive not one grain of ease or comfort. Neither speech nor silence does me any good.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.Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged - "But for me, it makes now no difference whether I speak or am silent. My sufferings continue. If I attempt to vindicate myself before people, I am reproached; and equally so if I am silent. If I maintain my cause before God, it avails me nothing, for my sufferings continue. If I am silent, and submit without a complaint, they are the same. Neither silence, nor argument, nor entreaty, avail me before God or man. I am doomed to suffering."

What am I eased? - Margin. "Goeth from me." Literally, "what goeth from me?" The sense is, that it all availed nothing.

6. eased—literally, "What (portion of my sufferings) goes from me?" Though I speak to God by prayer, or to you in way of discourse, I find no relief. Job having reproved his friends for their unkind carriage towards him, and aggravated it by his resolutions to have dealt more friendly with them, if they had been in his case; now he returns to his main business, to describe and aggravate his miseries, if by any means he could move his friends to pity and help him.

What am I eased? or, what part or grain of my grief or misery departeth from me? I receive not one jot of ease. Neither speech nor silence do me any good. Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged,.... Though he spoke to God in prayer, and entreated for some abatement of his sorrows, he got no relief; and though he spoke to himself in soliloquies, his sorrow was not repressed nor lessened; he could not administer comfort to himself in the present case, though he might to others in like circumstances, if his own were changed;

and though I forbear speaking, hold my peace, and say nothing,

what am I eased? or "what goes from me" (t)? not anything of my trouble or grief; sometimes a man speaking of his troubles to his friends gives vent to his grief, and he is somewhat eased; and on the other hand being silent about it, he forgets it, and it goes off; but in neither of those ways could Job be released: or it may be his sense is, that when he spake of his affliction, and attempted to vindicate his character, he was represented as an impatient and passionate man, if not as blasphemous, so that his grief was rather increased than assuaged; and if he was silent, that was interpreted a consciousness of his guilt; so that, let him take what course he would, it was much the same, he could get no ease nor comfort.

(t) "quid a me abit", Junius & Tremellius, Schultens.

Though I speak, my grief is {f} not asswaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased?

(f) If you would say, Why do you not then comfort yourself? he answers that the judgments of God are more heavy than he is able to assuage either by words or silence.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. my grief] i. e. my pain; see on ch. Job 2:13.

what am I eased] lit. as margin, what (of my pain or trouble) goeth from me?

6–17. Job realizes to himself his new condition: God and men combine to pursue him with their enmity, though he is innocent of all wrong

In Job 16:5 Job flung back with scorn the “comforts of God” which the friends proffered him. And now there seems to occur a pause, and the excited sufferer looks about him and realizes both the extremity of the evil in which he is held, and the new and unexpected trial, added to all others, of the judgment of men being against him. And he hardly knows whether he shall speak or be silent, so overcome is he and so unavailing to help him or make men judge truly of him are both speech and silence—if I speak my grief is not assuaged, and if I forbear what am I eased? Job 16:6.

Yet this new condition in which he realizes that he is, which makes speech useless, forces him to speak, and he sets before himself in an excited soliloquy the combined enmity to him of men and God.

First, Job 16:7-11, he realizes to himself the complete estrangement from him of all familiar friends; God’s enmity to him has turned men also into foes (Job 16:7-8). This combined enmity of God and men is represented under what seems the figure of a creature hunted by one great lion-like assailant, leading on a host of minor, ignobler foes. The chief adversary is first described, his rending anger, and gnashing teeth, and flashing eyes (Job 16:9); and then the pell-mell rout of baser foes that howled behind him, their open mouth and shameless gestures, and full cry after the prey, which is flung over into their hands (Job 16:10-11).

Second, Job 16:12-17, then the hostility of God Himself is particularly dwelt upon in graphic figures, which express its unexpected suddenness, its violence and destructiveness. One figure is that of a man suddenly grasped by another of overwhelming strength and tossed about and dashed to pieces (Job 16:12). Then the figure changes, and this shattered frame is set up as a mark, and God’s arrows hiss around him and split his reins and pour out his life to the ground (Job 16:13). Again the figure changes, and this body seems some fair edifice or fort which God dismantles by breach upon breach till it lies a sorrowful ruin (Job 16:14). And finally the condition of humiliation to which the sufferer is brought is described; and all this befell him though he had done no wrong (Job 16:15-17).Verse 6. - Though I speak, my grief is not assuaged: and though I forbear, what am I eased! As it is, nor speech nor silence are of any avail. Neither of them brings me any relief. My sufferings continue as before, whichever course I take. 31 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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