Job 16:9
He tears me in his wrath, who hates me: he gnashes on me with his teeth; my enemy sharpens his eyes on me.
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(9) He teareth me in his wrath.—Terrible as the language is that Job has used against God, he seems here almost to exceed it, for he calls Him his adversary. It is hardly possible not to understand the expression of God, for though he immediately speaks of his friends, yet just afterwards he openly mentions God.

Job 16:9. He teareth me in his wrath — Hebrew, אפו שׂר, appo tarap, His wrath teareth me in pieces, properly, as a lion or other savage beast tears his prey, of which the word tarap is peculiarly used; who hateth meוישׂשׂמני, vajistemeni, rather, and hateth me; that is, pursues me with hatred, or as if he hated me. Some render it, adversatus est mihi, is hostile to me; or, acts as mine enemy. He gnasheth upon me with his teeth — A strong figurative expression, denoting extreme anger; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me — That is, looks upon me with a fierce and sparkling eye, as enraged persons are wont to look on those who have provoked them. It is a great question among commentators what enemy Job meant. Sol. Jarchi writes, Hasatan hu hatzar: Satan, he is the enemy. Certainly Satan was Job’s greatest enemy, and, by the divine permission, had brought all his sufferings upon him, and perhaps now frequently terrified him with apparitions. “It is not improbable,” says Henry, “that this is the enemy he means.” Many think that Eliphaz, who spoke last, and to whose speech Job is now replying, is intended. He had showed himself very much exasperated against Job; and might express himself with such marks of indignation as are here mentioned, rending Job’s good name, as Bishop Patrick expresses himself, and preaching nothing but terror against him. His eyes might be said to be sharpened to spy out matter of reproach against him, and very unkindly, yea, cruelly, both he and his friends had used him. Others, however, think that the expressions, though harsh, and apparently unbecoming to be applied to God, were, nevertheless, intended of him by Job, and are capable of being so interpreted as not to imply any reflection on the divine perfections. “The expressions,” says Chappelow, “are really not stronger than those which we read in other places, particularly in the eleventh and four following verses; as also 19:11, 30, 31.” The reader must observe, that the melancholy state of Job’s mind, and his dreadful sufferings under the chastising hand of God, which his friends never ceased to represent as the effects of divine wrath, had caused him to entertain distressing ideas of God’s terrors, and to view him, if not as an enemy, yet as a severe and inexorable judge, who was extreme to mark all his iniquities and failings.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.He teareth me in his wrath - The language here is all taken from the ferocity of wild beasts; and the idea is, that his enemy had come upon him as a lion seizes upon its prey. Rosenmuller, Reiske, and some others suppose that this refers to God. Cocceius refers it to Satan. Schultens, Dr. Good, and some others, to Eliphaz, as the leading man among his adversaries. I have no doubt that this is the true reference. The connection seems to demand this; and we ought not to suppose that Job would charge this upon God, unless there is the clearest evidence. The whole passage is a description of the manner in which Job supposed his friends had come upon him. He says they had attacked him like wild beasts. Yet it must be admitted that he sometimes attributes these feelings to God, and says that he came upon him like a roaring lion see Job 10:16-17.

Who hateth me - Or rather, "and persecutes me, or is become my adversary," for so the word used here (שׂטם śâṭam) means; see the notes at Job 30:21.

He gnasheth upon me with his teeth - As an enraged wild animal does when about to seize upon its prey. A similar figure occurs in Otway, in his "Orphan:"

- For my Castalio's false;

False as the wind, the water, or the weather:

Cruel as tigers o'er their trembling prey:

I feel him in my breast, he tears my heart,

And at each sigh he drinks the gushing blood.

And so Homer, when he describes the wrath of Achilles as he armed himself to avenge the death of Patroclus, mentions among other signs of wrath his gnashing his teeth:

Τοῦ καὶ ὀδόντων μὲν καναχὴ πέλε.

Tou kai odontōn men kanachē pele.

Iliad xix. 364.

So Virgil describes his hero as

furens animis, dentibus infrendens.


9. Image from a wild beast. So God is represented (Job 10:16).

who hateth me—rather, "and pursues me hard." Job would not ascribe "hatred" to God (Ps 50:22).

mine enemy—rather, "he sharpens, &c., as an enemy" (Ps 7:12). Darts wrathful glances at me, like a foe (Job 13:24).

He teareth me in his wrath, Heb. his wrath teareth me in pieces, as a lion doth his prey.

Who hateth me, Heb. and he hateth me, i.e. he pursueth me with a deadly hatred and rage. Or, and he is become mine enemy; or, he sets himself against me with all his might; or, he treats me like an implacable enemy. He gnasheth upon me with his teeth; which is a gesture and sign of extreme anger and fury, as Psalm 35:16 37:12 Lamentations 2:16; as elsewhere of grievous pain, as Luke 13:28.

Mine enemy; either,

1. God, who of a friend is now become my implacable enemy. Or,

2. Eliphaz, who deals with me more like an enemy than a friend.

Sharpeneth his eyes upon me, i.e. looks upon me with a fierce and sparkling eye, as enraged persons uso to do. He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me,.... By whom is meant not Satan, as Jarchi, though he is an enemy to, and an hater of mankind, especially of good men; nor Eliphaz, as others, who had fallen upon Job with a great deal of wrath and fury, tearing his character in pieces, which Job attributed to his hatred of him; but it rather appears from the context that God himself is intended, of whom Job had now a mistaken notion and apprehension; taking him for his enemy, being treated by him, as he thought, as if he had an aversion to him, and an hatred of him; whereas God hates none of his creatures, being his offspring, and the objects of his tender care, and providential regard: indeed sin is hateful to him, and makes men odious in his sight, and he hates all the workers of iniquity, and those whom he passed by, when he chose others; though they are said to be hated by him as Esau was, yet not with a positive but a negative hatred; that is, are not loved by him; and considered as profane and ungodly persons, and as such foreordained to condemnation; for sin may be said to be hated, but good men never are; God's chosen ones, his children and special people, are the objects of his everlasting love; and though he may be angry with them, and show a little seeming wrath towards them, yet never hates them; hatred and love are as opposite as any two things can possibly be; and indeed, strictly and properly speaking, there is no wrath nor fury in God towards his people; though they deserve it, they are not appointed to it, but are delivered from it by Christ; and neither that nor any of the effects of it shall ever light on them; but Job concluded this from the providence he was under, in which God appeared terrible to him, like a lion or any such fierce and furious creature, to which he is sometimes compared, and compares himself, which seizes on its prey, and tears and rends it to pieces; Isaiah 38:13; thus God permitted Job's substance to be taken from him by the Chaldeans and Sabeans; his children by death, which was like tearing off his limbs; and his skin and his flesh to be rent and broken by boils and ulcers: Job was a type of Christ in his sorrows and sufferings; and though he was not now in the best frame of mind, the flesh prevailed, and corruptions worked, and he expressed himself in an unguarded manner, yet perhaps we shall not find, in any part of this book, things expressed, and the language in which they are expressed, more similar and to be accommodated to the case, and sorrows, and sufferings of Christ, than in this context; for though he was the son of God's love, his dear and well beloved son, yet as he was the surety of his people, and bore and suffered punishment in their stead, justice behaved towards him as though there was a resentment unto him, and an aversion of him; yea, he says, "thou hast cast off and abhorred, thou hast been wroth with thine Anointed" or "Messiah", Psalm 89:38; and indeed he did bear the wrath of God, the vengeance of justice or curse of the righteous law; and was suffered to be torn in every sense, his temples with a crown of thorns, his cheeks by those that plucked off the hair, his hands and feet by the nails driven in them, and his side by the spear; and his life was torn, snatched, and taken away from him in a violent manner:

he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; as men do when they are full of wrath and fury: this is one way of showing it, as the enemies of David, a type of Christ, and the slayers of Stephen, his protomartyr, did, Psalm 35:16; and as beasts of prey, such as the lion, wolf, do:

mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me; the Targum adds, as a razor. Here again Job considers God as his enemy, though he was not, misinterpreting his dealings with him; he represents him as looking out sharp after him, inspecting narrowly into all his ways, and works, and actions, strictly observing his failings and infirmities, calling him to an account, and afflicting him for them, and dealing rigidly and severely with him for any small offence: his eyes seemed to him to be like flames of fire, to sparkle with wrath and revenge; his thee, as he imagined, was set against him, and his eyes upon him to destroy him; and thus the eye of vindictive justice was upon Christ his antitype, when he was made sin and a curse for his people, and the sword of justice was awaked against him, and thrust in him.

{k} He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me: he gnasheth upon me with his teeth; mine enemy sharpeneth his eyes upon me.

(k) That is, God by his wrath: and in this diversity of words and high style, he expresses how grievous the hand of God was on him.

9. Picture of God’s hostility to him. The figure is that of a beast of prey.

who hateth me] lit. and hateth me, or, and is hostile to me, i. e. assaileth me. The picture of the lion-like assailant, his rending fury, and gnashing teeth, and flashing eyes, is graphic.Verse 9. - He teareth me in his wrath, who hateth me; literally, his wrath teareth and he hateth me. God treats Job as severely as if he hated him. That he is actually hated of God Job does not believe; otherwise he would long since have ceased to call upon him, and pour out his heart before him. He gnasheth upon me with his teeth (comp. Psalm 35:16; Psalm 37:12). Mine enemy (or rather, adversary) sharpeneth his eyes upon me; i.e. makes me a whetstone on which he sharpens his angry glances. 1 Then began Job, and said:

2 I have now heard such things in abundance,

Troublesome comforters are ye all!

3 Are windy words now at an end,

Or what goadeth thee that thou answerest?

4 I also would speak like you,

If only your soul were in my soul's stead.

I would weave words against you,

And shake my head at you;

5 I would encourage you with my mouth,

And the solace of my lips should soothe you.

The speech of Eliphaz, as of the other two, is meant to be comforting. It is, however, primarily an accusation; it wounds instead of soothing. Of this kind of speech, says Job, one has now heard רבּות, much, i.e., (in a pregnant sense) amply sufficient, although the word might signify elliptically (Psalm 106:43; comp. Nehemiah 9:28) many times (Jer. frequenter); multa (as Job 23:14) is, however, equally suitable, and therefore is to be preferred as the more natural. Job 16:2 shows how כּאלּה is intended; they are altogether עמל מנחמי, consolatores onerosi (Jer.), such as, instead of alleviating, only cause עמל, molestiam (comp. on Job 13:4). In Job 16:3 Job returns their reproach of being windy, i.e., one without any purpose and substance, which they brought against him, Job 15:2.: have windy words an end, or (לו vel equals אם in a disjunctive question, Ges. 155, 2, b) if not, what goads thee on to reply? מרץ has been already discussed on Job 6:25. The Targ. takes it in the sense of מלץ: what makes it sweet to thee, etc.; the Jewish interpreters give it, without any proof, the signification, to be strong; the lxx transl. παρενοχλήσει, which is not transparent. Hirz., Ew., Schlottm., and others, call in the help of the Arabic marida (Aramaic מרע), to be sick, the IV. form of which signifies "to make sick," not "to injure."

(Note: The primary meaning of Arabic marida (root mr, stringere) is maceratum esse, by pressing, rubbing, beating, to be tender, enervated (Germ. dialectic and popul. abmaracht); comp. the nearest related maratsa, then maraza, marasa, maraa, and further, the development of the meaning of morbus and μαλαακία; - originally and first, of bodily sickness, then also of diseased affections and conditions of spirit, as envy, hatred, malice, etc.; vid., Sur. 2, v. 9, and Beidhwi thereon. - Fl.)

We keep to the primary meaning, to pierce, penetrate; Hiph. to goad, bring out, lacessere: what incites thee, that (כי as Job 6:11, quod not quum) thou repliest again? The collective thought of what follows is not that he also, if they were in his place, could do as they have done; that he, however, would not so act (thus e.g., Blumenfeld: with reasons for comfort I would overwhelm you, and sympathizingly shake my head over you, etc.). This rendering is destroyed by the shaking of the head, which is never a gesture of pure compassion, but always of malignant joy, Sir. 12:18; or of mockery at another's fall, Isaiah 37:22; and misfortune, Psalm 22:8; Jeremiah 18:16; Matthew 27:39. Hence Merc. considers the antithesis to begin with Job 16:5, where, however, there is nothing to indicate it: minime id facerem, quin potius vos confirmarem ore meo - rather: that he also could display the same miserable consolation; he represents to them a change of their respective positions, in order that, as in a mirror, they may recognise the hatefulness of their conduct. The negative antecedent clause si essem (with לוּ, according to Ges. 155, 2, f) is surrounded by cohortatives, which (since the interrogative form of interpretation is inadmissible) signify not only loquerer, but loqui possem, or rather loqui vellem (comp. e.g., Psalm 51:18, dare vellem). When he says: I would range together, etc. (Carey: I would combine), he gives them to understand that their speeches are more artificial than natural, more declamations than the outgushings of the heart; instead of מלּים, it is בּמלּים, since the object of the action is thought is as the means, as in Job 16:4 ראשׁי במּו, capite meo (for caput meum, Psalm 22:8), and בּפיהם, Job 16:10, for פּיּהם, comp. Jeremiah 18:16; Lamentations 1:17, Ges. 138† ; Ew. takes חהביר by comparison of the Arabic chbr, to know (the IV. form of which, achbara, however, signifies to cause to know, announce), in a sense that belongs neither to the Heb. nor to the Arab.: to affect wisdom. In Job 16:5 the chief stress is upon "with my mouth," without the heart being there, so also on the word "my lips," solace (ניד ἅπ. λεγ., recalling Isaiah 57:19, ניב שׂפתים, offspring or fruit of the lips) of my lips, i.e., dwelling only on the lips, and not coming from the heart. In ''אאמּצכם (Piel, not Hiph.) the Ssere is shortened to Chirek (Ges. 60, rem. 4). According to Job 16:6, כאבכם is to be supplied to יחשׂך. He also could offer such superficial condolence without the sympathy which places itself in the condition and mood of the sufferer, and desires to afford that relief which it cannot. And yet how urgently did he need right and effectual consolation! He is not able to console himself, as the next strophe says: neither by words nor by silence is his pain assuaged.

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