Job 18:4
He teareth himself in his anger: shall the earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?
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(4) He teareth himself in his anger.—As Eliphaz had charged Job (Job 15:4) with the evil tendencies of his speeches, so Bildad here compares him to a maniac, and assumes that the effect of his teaching will be to banish God from the earth, and remove the strength and hope of man. The last clause is a direct quotation from Job in Job 14:18; it looks, therefore, very much like a wilful perversion of Job’s words, for it is clear that he used them very differently. Even if there were no intentional misrepresentation Bildad applies Job’s words to his own purposes. The drift of his question is, “Can you expect the course of God’s providence to be altered for you? On the contrary, the retribution that awaits the wicked is sure and swift; for verily (Job 18:5) the light of the wicked shall be put out.”

18:1-4 Bildad had before given Job good advice and encouragement; here he used nothing but rebukes, and declared his ruin. And he concluded that Job shut out the providence of God from the management of human affairs, because he would not admit himself to be wicked.He teareth himself - More correctly, "thou that tearest thyself in anger!" It is not an affirmation about Job, but it is a direct address to him. The meaning is, that he was in the paryoxysms of a violent rage; he acted like a madman.

Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? - A reproof of his pride and arrogance. "Shall everything be made to give way for you? Are you the only man in the world and of so much importance, that the earth is to be made vacant for you to dwell in? Are the interests of all others to be sacrificed for you, and is everything else to give place for you? Are all the laws of God's government to be made to yield rather than that you should be punished?" Similar modes of expression to denote the insignificance of anyone who is proud and arrogant, are still used among the Arabs. "Since Muhammed died, the Imams govern." "The world will not suffer loss on your account." "The world is not dependent on anyone man." T. Hunt, in Lowth's Lectures on Hebrew Poetry. Rosenmuller's Morgenland, in lec.

And shall the rock be removed out of his place? - "Shall the most firm and immutable things give way for your special accommodation? Shall the most important and settled principles of the divine administration be made to bend on your account?" These were not the principles and feelings of Job; and great injustice was done to him by this supposition. He was disposed to be submissive in the main to the divine arrangement. But this will describe the feelings of many a man of pride, who supposes that the divine arrangements should be made to bend for his special accommodation, and that the great, eternal principles of justice and right should give way rather than that he should be dealt with as common sinners are, and rather than that he should be cast into hell. Such people wish a special place of salvation for themselves. They are too proud to be saved as others are. They complain in their hearts that they are made to suffer, to lose their property, to be sick, to die - as others do. They would wish to be treated with special mercy, and to have special enactments in their favor, and would have the eternal laws of right made to bend for their special accommodation Such is the pride of the human heart!

4. Rather, turning to Job, "thou that tearest thyself in anger" (Job 5:2).

be forsaken?—become desolate. He alludes here to Job's words as to the "rock," crumbling away (Job 14:18, 19); but in a different application. He says bitterly "for thee." Wert thou not punished as thou art, and as thou art unwilling to bear, the eternal order of the universe would be disturbed and the earth become desolate through unavenged wickedness [Umbreit]. Bildad takes it for granted Job is a great sinner (Job 8:3-6; Isa 24:5, 6). "Shall that which stands fast as a rock be removed for your special accommodation?"

He teareth himself, i.e. Job, of whom he speaks in the third person for the second, as Job 12:4 16:7 Obadiah 1:3. Or, O thou that tearest thyself! Thou complainest of us for vexing thee with our speeches, when in truth thou art thy own greatest tormenter by thy own impatience and rage.

Shall the earth be forsaken, to wit, by God? Shall God give over the government of the earth, and men, and things in it, and suffer all things to fall out by chance, and promiscuously to good and bad men, without any regard to his truth, or wisdom, or justice? Shall God forbear to rule the world righteously, as he hath hitherto done, in favouring good men, and destroying the wicked?

For thee, i.e. for thy sake; or to prevent thy complaints and clamours.

Shall the rock be removed out of his place? shall the counsels of God, which are more firm and unmovable than rocks, and the whole course of his providence, be altered to comply with thy fancies or humours?

He teareth himself in his anger,.... Or "his soul" (l), meaning Job, and referring to what he had said in Job 16:9; Now, says Bildad, it is neither God nor man that tears you, it is you yourself; representing Job as a madman, rending his clothes, tearing his flesh, and even his very soul; for by his passion which he expressed, whether to God or his friends, it did himself the most hurt, he broke his peace, and spoiled his comfort, and ruined his health, and made himself the most unhappy of mankind, by giving vent to his passion, to his wrath and anger, which slays and a man, Job 5:2; here a charge of impatience is suggested, contrary to the character even of Job, James 5:11;

shall the earth be forsaken for thee? through fear of thee, because of thy rage and fury; dost thou think that the inhabitants of the earth will flee before thee, at thy storming, rage, and wrath? before God none can stand when he is angry: there is no abiding his indignation when his fury is poured out like fire, and persons of the greatest rank will flee to the rocks and mountains to hide them from his face and fury; but what dost thou think, or make thyself to be, to be as Deity, that the inhabitants of the earth should flee fore thee, and forsake it? or when thou diest, dost thou think that all the inhabitants of the earth will die with thee, and so it will be forsaken for thy sake? taking the hint from what Job had said, Job 17:16; or dost thou think thyself a man of so much importance and consequence in the earth that when thou diest there will not be a man left of any worth and notice, that all might as well die with thee? or will God drop the government of the world on thy account? will he no more employ his care and providence in concerning himself in the affairs of the world, but let all things go as they will, and so the earth, as to his providential regards to it, be forsaken for thy sake? will God neither do good to good men, nor punish bad men? which must be the case according to thy doctrine; but will God counteract this method of his providence, he has always taken in the earth, that thou mayest appear not to be an evil man, as might be concluded from thine afflictions, but a good man notwithstanding them?

and shall the rock be removed out of his place? which is not usual, nor can it be done by man; it may be done by God, who touches the mountains, and they smoke, and at whose presence they drop and move, as Sinai did, and as the mountains and hills will flee away at the presence of the Judge of all the earth, when he appears; but no such phenomenon can be expected upon the presence and sight of a man; much less can God himself, who is often called a Rock, and is immovable, unalterable, and unchangeable in his nature, perfections, purposes, and the counsels of his will, be made to act contrary to either of them, Deuteronomy 32:4; nor will he do it for the sake of any man; he does all things after the counsel of his own will; he takes a constant course in Providence, in the government of the world, canst thou think that he will go out of his usual way for thy sake, in punishing wicked men, and rewarding good men? you may as soon imagine that a rock will be removed out of its place as the ordinary course of Providence will be altered on thy account; to suppose this is presumption, pride, and arrogance, which is what Bildad means to fasten upon Job.

(l) "animam suam", Pagninus, Montanus, &c.

{c} He teareth himself in his anger: shall the {d} earth be forsaken for thee? and shall the rock be removed out of his place?

(c) That is, like a madman.

(d) Shall God change the order of nature for your sake, by dealing with you otherwise than he does with all man?

4. The first clause must be rendered in English,

Thou who tearest thyself in thine anger.

The Heb. uses in preference the objective form, One who teareth himself in his anger, shall the earth be forsaken for thee? See on ch. Job 12:4. The words refer to ch. Job 16:9—it is not God who tears him, it is Job who tears himself in his insensate passion, cf. ch. Job 5:2.

shall the earth be forsaken] i. e. depopulated and made a wilderness, where no man dwells; Leviticus 26:43; Isaiah 6:12; Isaiah 7:16. The desolation of the earth, which God has not created a waste but made to be inhabited (Isaiah 45:18), and the removal of the fixed rock from its place, are figures which mean, overturning the fixed moral order of the universe established by God. Bildad asks if the current of the moral order of the world is to be interrupted or turned back for Job’s sake, that he may escape the imputation of wickedness, or the penalty of it, and that his principles may be accepted? cf. ch. Job 16:18.

Verse 4. - He teareth himself in his anger. The Hebrew idiom, which allows of rapid transitions from the second to the third person, and vice versa, cannot be transferred without harshness to our modern speech. Our Revisers have given the true force of the original by discarding the third person, and translating, "Thou that tearest thyself in thine anger." There is probably an allusion to Job 16:9, where Job had represented God as "tearing him in his wrath." Bildad says it is not God who tests him - he tears himself. Shall the earth be forsaken for thee? i.e. "Shall the course of the world be altered to meet thy wishes, to suit thy case?" Job had wished for all manner of impossible things (Job 3:3-6; Job 9:32-35; Job 13:21, 22; Job 16:21; Job 17:3). Bildad's reproach is thus not wholly unjust. But he makes no allowance for the wild utter-shoes of one who is half distraught. And shall the rock be removed out of his place? Shall that which is most solid and firm give way, and alter its nature? Job 18:4 4 Thou art he who teareth himself in his anger:

Shall the earth become desolate for thy sake,

And a rock remove from its place?

5 Notwithstanding, the light of the wicked shall be put out,

And the glow of his fire shineth not;

6 The light becometh dark in his tent,

And his lamp above him is extinguished;

7 His vigorous steps are straitened,

And his own counsel casteth him down.

The meaning of the strophe is this: Dost thou imagine that, by thy vehement conduct, by which thou art become enraged against thyself, thou canst effect any change in the established divine order of the world? It is a divine law, that sufferings are the punishment of sin; thou canst no more alter this, than that at thy command, or for thy sake, the earth, which is appointed to be the habitation of man (Isaiah 45:18), will become desolate (tê‛âzab with the tone drawn back, according to Ges. 29, 3, b, Arab. with similar signification in intrans. Kal t‛azibu), or a rock remove from its place (on יעתּק, vid., Job 14:18). Bildad here lays to Job's charge what Job, in Job 16:9, has said of God's anger, that it tears him: he himself tears himself in his rage at the inevitable lot under which he ought penitently to bow. The address, Job 18:4, as apud Arabes ubique fere (Schult.), is put objectively (not: Oh thou, who); comp. what is said on כּלּם, Job 17:10, which is influenced by the same syntactic custom. The lxx transl. Job 18:4: Why! will Hades be tenantless if thou diest (ἐὰν σὺ ἀποθάνῃς)? after which Rosenm. explains: tu caus h. e. te cadente. But that ought to be הבמוּתך. The peopling of the earth is only an example of the arrangements of divine omnipotence and wisdom, the continuance of which is exalted over the human power of volition, and does not in the least yield to human self-will, as (Job 18:4) the rock is an example, and at the same time an emblem, of what God has fixed and rendered immoveable. That of which he here treats as fixed by God is the law of retribution. However much Job may rage, this law is and remains the unavoidable power that rules over the evil-doer.

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