Job 18:12
His strength shall be extremely hungry, and destruction shall be ready at his side.
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(12) His strength.—By “strength” some understand his firstborn son, as Genesis 49:3, but it is not necessary to take it otherwise than literally.

Destruction shall be ready at his side.—Or, according to some, for his halting; shall lie in wait for his tripping in order to overthrow him.

18:11-21 Bildad describes the destruction wicked people are kept for, in the other world, and which in some degree, often seizes them in this world. The way of sin is the way of fear, and leads to everlasting confusion, of which the present terrors of an impure conscience are earnests, as in Cain and Judas. Miserable indeed is a wicked man's death, how secure soever his life was. See him dying; all that he trusts to for his support shall be taken from him. How happy are the saints, and how indebted to the lord Jesus, by whom death is so far done away and changed, that this king of terrors is become a friend and a servant! See the wicked man's family sunk and cut off. His children shall perish, either with him or after him. Those who consult the true honour of their family, and its welfare, will be afraid of withering all by sin. The judgments of God follow the wicked man after death in this world, as a proof of the misery his soul is in after death, and as an earnest of that everlasting shame and contempt to which he shall rise in the great day. The memory of the just is blessed, but the name of the wicked shall rot, Pr 10:7. It would be well if this report of wicked men would cause any to flee from the wrath to come, from which their power, policy, and riches cannot deliver them. But Jesus ever liveth to deliver all who trust in him. Bear up then, suffering believers. Ye shall for a little time have sorrow, but your Beloved, your Saviour, will see you again; your hearts shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh away.Compare Psalm 140:4-5; Ezekiel 19:6-9.

XI. Methods of Husbandry

The customs of the pastoral life, one of the chief employments of early ages, are often referred to; Job 1:3,Job 1:16; Job 42:12.

He shall never look upon the rivulets -

The streams of the valleys - of honey and butter.

Job 18:12His strength shall be hungerbitten - Shall be exhausted by hunger or famine.

And destruction shall be ready at his side - Hebrew "Shall be fitted" נכוּן nākûn "to his side." Some have supposed that this refers to some disease, like the pleurisy, that would adhere closely to his side. So Jerome understands it. Schultens has quoted some passages from Arabic poets, in which calamities are represented as "breaking the side." Bildad refers probably, to some heavy judgments that would crush a man; such that the ribs, or the human frame, could not bear; and the meaning is, that a wicked man would be certainly crushed by misfortune.

12. The Hebrew is brief and bold, "his strength is hungry."

destruction—that is, a great calamity (Pr 1:27).

ready at his side—close at hand to destroy him (Pr 19:29).

His strength; either,

1. His children, which are, and are called, a man’s strength, as Genesis 49:3 Psalm 127:4,5. Or rather,

2. His wealth, and power, and prosperity. Hunger-bitten, or famished, i.e. utterly consumed.

Shall be ready at his side, i.e. shall follow him at the heels, as a most diligent servant, or constant companion. His strength shall be hungerbitten,.... Or "shall be famine" (u), or hunger, that is, shall be weakened by it; famine is a sore evil, and greatly weakens thee natural strength of men; want of food will soon bring down the strength of the strongest man, when the stay and the staff, the sustenance and support of man's nature is taken from him: many of the Jewish writers, by "his strength", understand his children, who are, as Jacob said of Reuben, his might, and the beginning of his strength, Genesis 49:3; and when grown up are his protection and defence; and for these to be distressed with hunger, or destroyed by famine, is a sore judgment; so the Targum paraphrases it, his firstborn son; Jarchi interprets it, his son; and Ben Gersom, his seed or offspring:

and destruction shall be ready at his side; or "to his rib" (w); that is, his wife, as the Targum and Jarchi explain it, the Jews calling a man's wife his rib, because the woman was originally made out of one of the ribs of man; and if this could be thought to be the sense of the word here, and what is given by them of the former clause, both make up a complete account of the destruction of a wicked man's family, his wife and children: but rather it signifies some calamity, distress, and trouble at hand, ready prepared for wicked men, just going to be inflicted on them; for God has stores of vengeance for them, and has made ready his bow, and prepared instruments and arrows of death and destruction for them, as well as there is everlasting fire prepared, and blackness of darkness reserved for them in the world to come; for it can hardly be thought that this should be understood literally of any disease in the side, as the pleurisy, &c. which is threatening, or any mortal wound or stab there, such as Joab gave Amass under the fifth rib.

(u) "fames", Beza. (w) "costae ejus", Montanus, Vatablus, Grotius, Schultens.

His strength shall be {g} hungerbitten, and destruction shall be ready at his side.

(g) That which should nourish him will be consumed by famine.

12. hunger-bitten] A word formed like “frost-bitten,” “cankerbit” (Lear, 5.3). The word literally means “hungry,” and the figure expresses the idea that his strength shall diminish and become feeble, as one does that is famished; cf. a similar strong figure, Joel 1:12, “Joy is withered away from the sons of men.” On the figure in the second clause cf. ch. Job 15:23.

12–14. The closing scenes in three steps: his strength is weakened; his body consumed by a terrible disease; he is led away to the dark king.Verse 12. - His strength shall be hunger-bitten. (So Dillmann, Cook, and the Revised Version.) To the other sufferings of the wicked man shall be added the pangs of hunger. His bodily strength shall disappear, as destitution and famine come upon him. And destruction shall be ready at his side. Ready to seize on him at any moment. Some translate, "ready for his halting" i.e. ready to seize on him in ease of his tripping or halting (so the Revised Version). גּם is here equivalent to nevertheless, or prop. even, ὅμως, as e.g., Psalm 129:2 (Ew. 354, a). The light of the evil-doer goes out, and the comfortable brightness and warmth which the blaze (שׁביב, only here as a Hebr. word; according to Raschi and others, tincelle, a spark; but according to lxx, Theod., Syr., Jer., a flame; Targ. the brightness of light) of his fire in his dwelling throws out, comes to an end. In one word, as the praet. חשׁך implies, the light in his tent is changed into darkness; and his lamp above him, i.e., the lamp hanging from the covering of his tent (Job 29:3, comp. Job 21:17), goes out. When misfortune breaks in upon him, the Arab says: ed-dahru attfaa es-sirâgi, fate has put out my lamp; this figure of the decline of prosperity receives here a fourfold application. The figure of straitening one's steps is just as Arabic as it is biblical; צעדי אונו, the steps of his strength (און synon. of כּח, Job 40:16) become narrow (comp. Proverbs 4:12, Arab. takâssarat), by the wide space which he could pass over with a self-confident feeling of power becoming more and more contracted; and the purpose formed selfishly and without any recognition of God, the success of which he considered infallible, becomes his overthrow.
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