Job 18:16
His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) His roots shall be dried up.—With tacit allusion to what he had said in Job 8:12, and also to the destruction of Job’s own offspring, which had already been accomplished.

Job 18:16-19. His roots shall be dried up, &c. — That is, he shall be destroyed, both root and branch; both himself and his posterity. His remembrance shall perish — Instead of that honour and renown which he designed and expected to have, both while he lived, and after his death, he shall not be so much as remembered, unless it be with contempt and reproach. He shall be driven from light into darkness, &c. — From a prosperous state to disgrace and misery, and to the grave, the land of darkness. He shall neither have son nor nephew, &c. — But if any such survive, they shall be in the hands and power of strangers, or rather of their enemies, and not among his own people. 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.His roots shall be dried up - Another image of complete desolation - where he is compared to a tree that is dead - a figure whose meaning is obvious, and which often occurs; see Job 15:30, note; Job 8:12-13, notes.

Above his branch - Perhaps referring to his children or family. All shall be swept away - an allusion which Job could not well hesitate to apply to himself.

16. Roots—himself.

branch—his children (Job 8:12; 15:30; Mal 4:1).

i.e. He shall be destroyed, both root and branch, i.e. both himself and his posterity. Compare Malachi 4:1. His roots shall be dried up beneath,.... Wicked men are sometimes compared to trees; to trees of the wood, barren, and unfruitful; to trees without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots; and sometimes to green bay trees, very flourishing for a while, and which on a sudden perish, and come to nothing, see Sol 2:3, Jde 1:12; and such a simile is here used; and by his roots may be meant his family, from whence he sprung, which now should be extinct with him, see Isaiah 11:1; or his substance, which being greatly increased, he seemed to take root in the earth, and not only to be in a prosperous, but in a stable settled condition; but now, like Ephraim, he should be smitten, and his root dried up; all his wealth, and all the resources of it, should be exhausted, be no more, see Jeremiah 12:2;

and above shall his branch be cut off; his children that sprung from him, as branches from a tree, and were his glory and beauty, these should be cut off; referring no doubt in both clauses to Job's present circumstances, whose root in the time of his prosperity was spread out by the waters, but now dried up, and on whose branches the dew lay all night, but now cut off, Job 29:19; so the Targum,

"his children shall be cut off out of the earth, and from heaven his destruction shall be decreed;''

both clauses signify the utter destruction of the family of the wicked man, root and branch, see Malachi 4:1. It is a beautiful description of a tree struck with thunder and lightning, and burnt and shattered to pieces, and agrees with Job 18:15.

His roots shall be dried up beneath, and above shall his branch be cut off.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. shall his branch be cut off] Rather, his branches shall wither, see on ch. Job 14:2. The tree is not a figure for the sinner as a single person, but as the centre of a family, widely ramified and firmly established (his roots), and numerous (his branches). These all perish with him, cf. Bildad’s former plant-life lore, ch. Job 8:11 seq., 16 seq.Verse 16. - His roots shall be dried up beneath. He shall be like a tree whose roots no moisture reaches, and which, therefore, withers and dries up (comp. Job 14:8, 9; Job 29:19). And above shall his branch be cut off; or, be withered (comp. Job 14:2, where the same verb is used). 8 For he is driven into the net by his own feet,

And he walketh over a snare.

9 The trap holdeth his heel fast,

The noose bindeth him.

10 His snare lieth hidden in the earth,

His nets upon the path;

11 Terrors affright him on every side,

And scare him at every step.

The Pual שׁלּח signifies not merely to be betrayed into, but driven into, like the Piel, Job 30:12, to drive away, and as it is to be translated in the similar passage in the song of Deborah, Judges 5:15 : "And as Issachar, Barak was driven (i.e., with desire for fighting) behind him down into the valley (the place of meeting under Mount Tabor);" בּרגליו, which there signifies, according to Judges 4:10; Judges 8:5, "upon his feet equals close behind him," is here intended of the intermediate cause: by his own feet he is hurried into the net, i.e., against his will, and yet with his own feet he runs into destruction. The same thing is said in Job 18:8; the way on which he complacently wanders up and down (which the Hithp. signifies here) is שׂבכה, lattice-work, here a snare (Arab. schabacah, a net, from שׂבך, schabaca, to intertwine, weave), and consequently will suddenly break in and bring him to ruin. This fact of delivering himself over to destruction is established in apocopated futt. (Job 18:9) used as praes., and without the voluntative signification in accordance with the poetic licence: a trap catches a heel (poetic brevity for: the trap catches his heel), a noose seizes upon him, עליו (but with the accompanying notion of overpowering him, which the translation "bind" is intended to express). Such is the meaning of צמּים here, which is not plur., but sing., from צמם (Arab. ḍmm), to tie, and it unites in itself the meanings of snare-layer (Job 5:5) and of snare; the form (as אבּיר, אדּיר) corresponds more to the former, but does not, however, exclude the latter, as תּנּין and לפּיד (λαμπάς) show.

The continuation in Job 18:10 of the figure of the fowler affirms that that issue of his life (Job 18:9) has been preparing long beforehand; the prosperity of the evil-doer from the beginning tends towards ruin. Instead of חבלו we have the pointing חבלו, as it would be in Arab. in a similar sense hhabluhu (from hhabl, a cord, a net). The nearer destruction is now to him, the stronger is the hold which his foreboding has over him, since, as Job 18:11 adds, terrible thoughts (בּלּהות) and terrible apparitions fill him with dismay, and haunt him, following upon his feet. לרגליו, close behind him, as Genesis 30:30; 1 Samuel 25:42; Isaiah 41:2; Habakkuk 3:5. The best authorized pointing of the verb is והפיצהוּ, with Segol (Ges. 104, 2, c), Chateph-Segol, and Kibbutz. Except in Habakkuk 3:14, where the prophet includes himself with his people, הפיץ, diffundere, dissipare (vid., Job 37:11; Job 40:11), never has a person as its obj. elsewhere. It would also probably not be used, but for the idea that the spectres of terror pursue him at every step, and are now here, now there, and his person is as it were multiplied.

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