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). Job 18:1616 His roots wither beneath,

And above his branch is lopped off.

17 His remembrance is vanished from the land,

And he hath no name far and wide on the plain;

18 They drive him from light into darkness,

And chase him out of the world.

19 He hath neither offspring nor descendant among his people,

Nor is there an escaped one in his dwellings.

The evil-doer is represented under the figure of a plant, Job 18:16, as we have had similar figures already, Job 8:16., Job 15:30, Job 15:32.;

(Note: To such biblical figures taken from plants, according to which root and branch are become familiar in the sense of ancestors and descendants (comp. Sir. 23:25, 40:15; Wisd. 4:3-5; Romans 11:16), the arbor consanguineitatis, which is not Roman, but is become common in the Christian refinement of the Roman right, may be traced back; the first trace of this is found in Isidorus Hispalensis (as also the Cabbalistic tree אילן, which represents the Sephir-genealogy, has its origin in Spain).)

his complete extirpation is like the dying off of the root and of the branch, as Amos 2:9; Isaiah 5:24, and "let him not have a root below and a branch above" in the inscription on the sarcophagus of Eschmunazar. Here we again meet with ימּל, the proper meaning of which is so disputed; it is translated by the Targ. (as by us) as Niph. יתמולל, but the meaning "to wither" is near at hand, which, as we said on Job 14:2, may be gained as well from the primary notion "to fall to pieces" (whence lxx ἐπιπεσεῖται), as from the primary notion "to parch, dry." אמל (whence אמלל, formed after the manner of the Arabic IX. form, usually of failing; vid., Caspari, 59) offers a third possible explanation; it signifies originally to be long and lax, to let anything hang down, and thence in Arab. (amala) to hope, i.e., to look out into the distance. Not the evil-doer's family alone is rooted out, but also his memory. With חוּץ, a very relative notion, both the street outside in front of the house (Job 31:32), and the pasture beyond the dwelling (Job 5:10), are described; here it is to be explained according to Proverbs 8:26 (ארץ וחוצות), where Hitz. remarks: "The lxx translates correctly ἀοικήτους. The districts beyond each persons' land, which also belong to no one else, the desert, whither one goes forth, is meant." So ארץ seems also here (comp. Job 30:8) to denote the land that is regularly inhabited - Job himself is a large proprietor within the range of a city (Job 29:7) - and חוץ the steppe traversed by the wandering tribes which lies out beyond. Thus also the Syr. version transl. 'al apai barito, over the plain of the desert, after which the Arabic version is el-barrı̂je (the synon. of bedw, bâdije, whence the name of the Beduin

(Note: The village with its meadow-land is el-beled wa 'l-berr. The arable land, in distinction from the steppe, is el-ardd el-âmira, and the steppe is el-berrı̂je. If both are intended, ardd can be used alone. Used specially, el-berrı̂je is the proper name for the great Syrian desert; hence the proverb: el-hhurrı̂je fi 'l-berrı̇je, there is freedom in the steppe (not in towns and villages). - Wetzst.)).

What is directly said in Job 18:17 is repeated figuratively in Job 18:18; as also what has been figuratively expressed in Job 18:16 is repeated in Job 18:19 without figure. The subj. of the verbs in Job 18:18 remains in the background, as Job 4:19; Psalm 63:11; Luke 12:20 : they thrust him out of the light (of life, prosperity, and fame) into the darkness (of misfortune, death, and oblivion); so that the illustris becomes not merely ignobilis, but totally ignotus, and they hunt him forth (ינדּהוּ from the Hiph. הנד of the verb נדד, instead of which it might also be ינדהו from נדּה, they banish him) out of the habitable world (for this is the signification of תּבל, the earth as built upon and inhabited). There remains to him in his race neither sprout nor shoot; thus the rhyming alliteration נין and נכד (according to Luzzatto on Isaiah 14:22, used only of the descendants of persons in high rank, and certainly a nobler expression than our rhyming pairs: Germ. Stumpf und Stiel, Mann und Maus, Kind und Kegel). And there is no escaped one (as Deuteronomy 2:34 and freq., Arab. shârid, one fleeing; sharûd, a fugitive) in his abodes (מגוּר, as only besides Psalm 55:16). Thus to die away without descendant and remembrance is still at the present day among the Arab races that profess Dı̂n Ibrâhı̂m (the religion of Abraham) the most unhappy thought, for the point of gravitation of continuance beyond the grave is transferred by them to the immortality of the righteous in the continuance of his posterity and works in this world (vid., supra, p. 386); and where else should it be at the time of Job, since no revelation had as yet drawn the curtain aside from the future world? Now follows the declamatory conclusion of the speech.

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