Job 18:15
It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.
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(15) It shall dwell in his tabernacle.—Or, “There shall dwell in his tent they that are none of his,” or “which is no longer his”: i.e., terrors shall dwell, or, “which is none of his” may hint that it had been violently taken from some one else. “Brimstone shall be scattered on his dwelling” is probably an allusion to the cities of the plain (Genesis 19).

Job 18:15. It shall dwell in his tabernacle — Destruction, expressed Job 18:12, shall fix its abode with him. Because it is none of his — Because it is none of his own, being got from others by deceit or violence. Brimstone shall be scattered on his habitation — It shall be utterly destroyed, as it were, by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, which happened not long before these times, and to the judgment which befell Job, chap. Job 1:16. When the stranger hath taken and rifled his dwelling, he shall forsake it as an accursed place, and shall burn it with fire and brimstone, that there may be no monument of so vile a person left upon the earth. Heath’s interpretation of this verse is, “They shall take up their habitation in his tent, because he hath no surviver: brimstone shall be sprinkled upon his habitation. As much as to say, ‘Since he hath no one to survive him, his posterity is utterly exterminated: horror takes possession of his habitation, and it is sprinkled with brimstone, that no person may ever after inhabit it; but that it may remain an object of terror to future ages.’ The image is grand, and worthy of the tragic style.”

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.It shall dwell in his tabernacle - It is uncertain what is to be understood as referred to here. Some suppose that the word to be understood is soul, and that the meaning is "his soul," that is, he himself, "shall dwell in his tent." Rosenmuller, Noyes, Wemyss, and others, suppose that the word is terror. "Terror (בלהה ballâhâh) shall dwell in his tent," the same word which is used in the plural in the previous verse. This is undoubtedly the correct sense; and the idea is, that his forsaken tent shall be a place of terror - somewhat, perhaps, as we speak of a forsaken house as "haunted." It may be that Bildad refers to some such superstitious fear as we sometimes, and almost always in childhood, connect with the idea of a house in which nobody lives.

Because it is none of his - It is no longer his. It is a forsaken, tenantless dwelling.

Brimstone shall be scattered - Brimstone has been always the image of desolation. Nothing will grow on a field that is covered with sulphur; and the meaning here is, that his house would be utterly desolate and forsaken. Rosenmuller and Noyes suppose that there is an allusion here to a sudden destruction, such as was that of Sodom and Gomorrha. Grotius doubts whether it refers to that or to lightning. Others suppose that lightning is referred to both here and in Genesis 19:24; Deuteronomy 29:23. I can see no evidence here, however, that there is any reference to Sodom and Gomorrha, or that there is any allusion to lightning. If the allusion had been to Sodom, it would have been more full. That was a case "just in point" in the argument; and the fact that was exactly in point, and would have furnished to the friends of Job such an irrefragalbe proof of the position which they were defending, and that it is not worked into the very texture of their argument, is full demonstration, to my mind, that that remarkable event is not referred to in this place. The only thing necessarily implied in the language before us is, that sulphur, the emblem of desolation, would be scattered on his dwelling, and that his dwelling would be wholly desolate.

15. It—"Terror" shall haunt, &c., and not as Umbreit, "another," which the last clause of the verse disproves.

none of his—It is his no longer.

brimstone—probably comparing the calamity of Job by the "fire of God" (Job 1:16) to the destruction of guilty Sodom by fire and brimstone (Ge 19:24).

It, i.e. destruction, expressed Job 18:12, and designed by this particle it, Job 18:13, shall not come upon him and his for a season, for then there might be some hopes of recovery; but it shall fix his abode with him.

It is none of his: this may be added, either,

1. By way of correction, Did I say

his tabernacle? I must retract the expression; for in truth, it is none of his, it is become another man’s. Or,

2. As a reason of the ruin of his tabernacle, because it is none of his own, but got from others by deceit or violence. But these words are and may be joined with the former, and both thus rendered, A stranger (Heb. one that is not his, that is not descended from him, and hath no relation to him)

shall dwell in his tabernacle, i.e. shall possess his house and goods.

Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; it shall be utterly and prodigiously destroyed, as it were by fire and brimstone. He seems to allude both to the destruction of Sodom, upon which God did scatter brimstone and fire, which happened not long before these times, and could not be unknown to them, who lived near that place, and were diligent observers of God’s works; and to the judgment which befell Job, Job 1:16: when the stranger hath taken and rifled his dwelling, he shall forsake it as an accursed place, and shall burn it with fire and brimstone, that there may be no monument of so vile a person left upon the earth.

It shall dwell in his tabernacle,.... What shall dwell in it is not said; there are various conjectures about it, and different supplements are made; the Targum is,

"his wife shall dwell in a tabernacle not his;''

and to the same purpose Jarchi; as if it was one part of the punishment of a wicked man, that he should leave a widow behind him, and no house of his own for her to dwell in; but this is the case of the widows of many good men, who themselves, in their lifetime, have no houses of their own, and some no certain dwelling places, yea, have lived in caves and dens of the earth; the mother of our Lord, who seems to have been a widow at his death, was taken by one of his disciples to his own home, which shows she had none of her own. The Vulgate Latin version is,

"his neighbours shall dwell in his tabernacle;''

which some understand of their coming into it after his death, to mourn and bewail him; but as such a visit of his family upon his decease cannot be called dwelling, so this is rather a benefit and favour to his family, than a distress: rather it may signify, that such neighbours whom he had oppressed, and who hated him for his tyranny and cruelty, now should dwell in his house; what he had built, strangers should inhabit, which is a punishment of sin and sinners, Deuteronomy 28:30. Aben Ezra supplies it thus, a strange or evil beast shall dwell in it, as they do in desolate places; and it is frequently given as a sign and token of desolation in countries, cities, and palaces, that they are become the habitations of wild and savage creatures, see Isaiah 13:19; but it seems best to supply it from the context, either thus, famine, hunger, want of food, shall dwell in it; poverty and want shall come like an armed man into it, and take possession; there shall appear all the marks and signs of penury and distress; or destruction ready at his side shall take up its abode in it, and it shall be called the house of destruction, as a certain city is called the city of destruction, because devoted to it, Isaiah 19:18; or the firstborn of death, some deadly disease, as the pestilence; or death itself, the king of terrors, who is sometimes represented as a person coming up into the windows of a palace, and entering it, and cutting off great numbers; so that it goes ill with him that is left in a tabernacle, where he has his habitation, Jeremiah 9:21; or terror, as Ben Gersom; everyone of the terrors before mentioned, so that no body will care to dwell in it, but forsake it as an haunted house: in short, from the whole it may be gathered, that the curse of God should alight upon it, and remain in it, as it does in the house of the wicked; the same with the flying roll in the vision of Zechariah, the curse of God's righteous law, which enters into the house of the thief and perjurer, and consumes it, Proverbs 3:33; the reason follows,

because it is none of his; not by right, being bought or built with mammon of unrighteousness, with money not honestly got, and therefore shall not prosper; or because it is no longer his, he being taken from it by death, the king of terrors, and that not knowing or owning him any more as its master or proprietor, and therefore strangers shall dwell in it; or because there is none that shall be after him, because he shall have none left, or he shall have no survivor (h), all his family being taken away by death; and therefore nothing but desolation and destruction shall be seen in it, see Amos 6:9;

brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation; that is, his house should be burnt down by lightning, which is often sulphurous, and sometimes very sensibly has the smell of brimstone in it (i). Bildad may refer either to the fire of heaven that destroyed Job's sheep, which was of this kind; or rather to the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, by a shower of fire and brimstone from heaven, a fact well known in those times. Moreover, brimstone scattered upon the wicked man's dwelling place may denote the desolation of it, that it should lie in ruins, and be unfit to be inhabited; and the desolation of places is sometimes signified by their being salt, brimstone and burning pitch, Deuteronomy 29:23; yea, this may be carried further, and denote the eternal damnation of all in his house, seeing the burning of Sodom with brimstone was an example to ungodly men suffering the vengeance of eternal fire, Jde 1:7; and which is sometimes expressed by brimstone, and a lake burning with fire and brimstone, Revelation 20:10. Some (k) think respect is had to the purifying of houses with sulphur, to drive away demons, and remove impurity, to make them fit to dwell in (l); and others think it refers to the burning of sulphur in houses at funerals, to testify and exaggerate mourning (m).

(h) So Syr. Ar & Schmidt. (i) Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 35. (k) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p. 709, 710. (l) Vid. Plin. Nat. Hist. l. 35. c. 15. Theocrit. Idyll. 25. ver. 95. Homer. Odyss. 22. prope finem. (m) Vid. Menochium de Repub. Heb. l. 8. c. 6. col. 792.

It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his: {l} brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation.

(l) Though all the world would favour him, yet God would destroy him and his.

15. The sense probably is,

There shall dwell in his tent they that are not his,

Brimstone shall be showered upon his habitation.

So Conant excellently. The two clauses of the verse are not to be taken logically together, they describe the destiny awaiting the sinner’s possessions and dwelling under different conceptions—in the one case they pass into the hands of strangers, in the other they are accursed of God, like Sodom, (Genesis 19:24) and Edom (Isaiah 34:9 seq.), and overwhelmed with a rain of brimstone from heaven.

15–17. The extinction of his name and race.

Verse 15. - It shall dwell in his tabernacle, because it is none of his; either, it (i.e. terror) shall dwell in his tabernacle which is no longer his; or, they shall dwell in his tabernacle that are none of his; i.e. strangers st, all inhabit the place where he dwelt heretofore (compare the Revised Version). Brimstone shall be scattered upon his habitation. As God rained fire and brimstone out of heaven upon the cities of the plain (Genesis 19:24), so shall brimstone be scattered upon his habitation to ruin and destroy it (comp. Deuteronomy 29:23; Psalm 11:6). Job 18:1512 His calamity looketh hunger-bitten,

And misfortune is ready for his fall.

13 It devoureth the members of his skin;

The first-born of death devoureth his members.

14 That in which he trusted is torn away out of his tent,

And he must march on to the king of terrors.

15 Beings strange to him dwell in his tent;

Brimstone is strewn over his habitation.

The description of the actual and total destruction of the evil-doer now begins with יהי (as Job 24:14, after the manner of the voluntative forms already used in Job 24:9). Step by step it traces his course to the total destruction, which leaves no trace of him, but still bears evident marks of being the fulfilment of the curse pronounced upon him. In opposition to this explanation, Targ., Raschi, and others, explain אנו according to Genesis 49:3 : the son of his manhood's strength becomes hungry, which sounds comical rather than tragic; another Targ. transl.: he becomes hungry in his mourning, which is indeed inadmissible, because the signif. planctus, luctus, belongs to the derivatives of אנה, אנן, but not to און. But even the translation recently adopted by Ew., Stick., and Schlottm., "his strength becomes hungry," is unsatisfactory; for it is in itself no misfortune to be hungry, and רעב does not in itself signify "exhausted with hunger." It is also an odd metaphor, that strength becomes hungry; we would then rather read with Reiske, רעב באנו, famelicus in media potentia sua. But as און signifies strength (Job 18:7), so און (root אן, to breathe and pant) signifies both wickedness and evil (the latter either as evil equals calamity, or as anhelitus, sorrow, Arab. ain); and the thought that his (i.e., appointed to the evil-doer) calamity is hungry to swallow him up (Syr., Hirz., Hahn, and others), suits the parallelism perfectly: "and misfortune stands ready for his fall."

(Note: If רעב elsewhere corresponds to the Arabic rugb, to be voraciously hungry, the Arab. ra‛b, to be paralyzed with fright, might correspond to it in the present passage: "from all sides spectres alarm him (בעתהו from בעת equals Arab. bgt, to fall suddenly upon any one; or better: equals b‛ṯ, to hunt up, excitare, to cause to rise, to fill with alarm) and urge him forward, seizing on his heels; then his strength becomes a paralyzing fright (רעב), and destruction is ready to overwhelm him." The ro‛b (רעב, thus in Damascus) or ra‛b (רעב, thus in Hauran and among the Beduins) is a state of mind which only occurs among us in a lower degree, but among the Arabs it is worthy of note as a psychological fact. If the wahm (Arab. 'l-whm), or idea of some great and inevitable danger or misfortune, overpowers the Arab, all strength of mind and body suddenly forsakes him, so that he breaks down powerless and defenceless. Thus on July 8, 1860, in Damascus, in a few hours, about 6000 Christian men were slain, without any one raising a hand or uttering a cry for mercy. Both European and native doctors have assured me the ro‛b in Arabia kills, and I have witnessed instances myself. Since it often produces a stiffness of the limbs with chronic paralysis, all kinds of paralysis are called ro‛b, and the paralytics mar‛ûb. - Wetzst.)

איד signifies prop. a weight, burden, then a load of suffering, and gen. calamity (root אד, Arab. âda, e.g., Sur. 2, 256, la jaâduhu, it is not difficult for him, and adda, comp. on Psalm 31:12); and לצלעו not: at his side (Ges., Ew., Schlottm., Hahn), but, according to Psalm 35:15; Psalm 38:18 : for his fall (lxx freely, but correctly: ἐξαίσιοϚ); for instead of "at the side" (Arab. ila ganbi), they no more say in Hebrew than in Germ. "at the ribs."

Job 18:13 figuratively describes how calamity takes possession of him. The members, which are called יצרים in Job 17:7, as parts of the form of the body, are here called בּדּים, as the parts into which the body branches out, or rather, since the word originally signifies a part, as that which is actually split off (vid., on Job 17:16, where it denotes "cross-bars"), or according to appearance that which rises up, and from this primary signification applied to the body and plants, the members (not merely as Farisol interprets: the veins) of which the body consists and into which it is distributed. עור (distinct from גּלד, Job 16:15, similar in meaning to Arab. baschar, but also to the Arab. gild, of which the former signifies rather the epidermis, the latter the skin in the widest sense) is the soluble surface of the naked animal body. בּכור מות devours this, and indeed, as the repetition implies, gradually, but surely and entirely. "The first-born of the poor," Isaiah 14:30, are those not merely who belong (בּני) to the race of the poor, but the poor in the highest sense and first rank. So here diseases are conceived of as children of death, as in the Arabic malignant fevers are called benât el-menı̂jeh, daughters of fate or death; that disease which Bildad has in his mind, as the one more terrible and dangerous than all others, he calls the "first-born of death," as that in which the whole destroying power of death is contained, as in the first-born the whole strength of his parent.

(Note: In Arabic the positive is expressed in the same metonymies with abu, e.g., abû 'l-chêr, the benevolent; on the other hand, e.g., ibn el̇hhâge is much stronger than abu 'l-hhâge: the person who is called ibn is conceived of as a child of these conditions; they belong to his inmost nature, and have not merely affected him slightly and passed off. The Hebrew בכור represents the superlative, because among Semites the power and dignity of the father is transmitted to the first-born. So far as I know, the Arab does not use this superlative; for what is terrible and revolting he uses "mother," e.g., umm el-fâritt, mother of death, a name for the plague (in one of the modern popular poets of Damascus), umm el-quashshâsh, mother of the sweeping death, a name for war (in the same); for that which awakens the emotions of joy and grief he frequently uses "daughter." In an Arabian song of victory the fatal arrows are called benât el-môt, and the heroes (slayers) in the battle benı̂ el-môt, which is similar to the figure used in the book of Job. Moreover, that disease which eats up the limbs could not be described by a more appropriate epithet than בכור מות. Its proper name is shunned in common life; and if it is necessary to mention those who are affected with it, they always say sâdât el-gudhamâ to avoid offending the company, or to escape the curse of the thing mentioned. - Wetzst.)

The Targ. understands the figure similarly, since it transl. מלאך מותא (angel of death); another Targ. has instead שׁרוּי מותא, the firstling of death, which is intended in the sense of the primogenita ( equals praematura) mors of Jerome. Least of all is it to be understood with Ewald as an intensive expression for בן־מות, 1 Samuel 20:31, of the evil-doer as liable to death. While now disease in the most fearful form consumes the body of the evil-doer, מבטחו (with Dag.f. impl., as Job 8:14; Job 31:24, Olsh. 198, b) (a collective word, which signifies everything in which he trusted) is torn away out of his tent; thus also Rosenm., Ew., and Umbr. explain, while Hirz., Hlgst., Schlottm., and Hahn regard מבטחו as in apposition to אהלו, in favour of which Job 8:14 is only a seemingly suitable parallel. It means everything that made the ungodly man happy as head of a household, and gave him the brightest hopes of the future. This is torn away (evellitur) from his household, so that he, who is dying off, alone survives. Thus, therefore, Job 18:14 describes how he also himself dies at last. Several modern expositors, especially Stickel, after the example of Jerome (et calcet super eum quasi rex interitus), and of the Syr. (praecipitem eum reddent terrores regis), take בּלּהות as subj., which is syntactically possible (vid., Job 27:20; Job 30:15): and destruction causes him to march towards itself (Ges.: fugant eum) like a military leader; but since הצעיד signifies to cause to approach, and since no אליו (to itself) stands with it, למלך is to be considered as denoting the goal, especially as ל never directly signifies instar. In the passage advanced in its favour it denotes that which anything becomes, that which one makes a thing by the mode of treatment (Job 39:16), or whither anything extends (e.g., in Schultens on Job 13:12 : they had claws li-machlbi, i.e., "approaching to the claws" of wild beasts).


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