The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Job 18:9-10. The gin shall take him by the heel — That is, take fast hold on him, so as to keep him in those distresses. And the robber shall prevail against him — Hebrew, צמים, tsammim, the horrible or terrible man, the huntsman that laid the snare for him shall come upon him, when he is insnared, take and spoil or kill him. The snare is laid for him in the ground — Where he did not discern nor expect it. The former snare he laid for himself, but this was laid for him by another.
By the heel - By the foot.
And the robber shall prevail - He shall be overpowered by the highwayman; or the plunderer shall make a sudden descent upon him, and strip him of his all. The meaning is, that destruction would suddenly overtake him. There can be no doubt that Bildad meant to apply all this to Job.Shall take the by the heel, i.e. take fast hold of him, so as to keep him in those distresses; and when he is insnared the robber shall come upon him, and take, and spoil, or kill him. Or,
the horrible or terrible man; the huntsman, that laid the snare for him. A metaphor from those who hunt for wild beasts, who first lay snares for them, and then seize upon them in the snares. Ezekiel 12:13;
and the robber shall prevail against him; either robbers literally taken, such as the Sabeans and Chaldeans, to whom Bildad may have reference, who prevailed against Job, and plundered him of his substance; and such as these, as the word signifies, are "thirsty ones" (p), who thirst after the wealth and riches of men, and after their blood for the sake thereof, bloodthirsty ones; Mr. Broughton renders it, "the savage", barbarous, wild, and uncivilized, that lived in desert places, and were like wild beasts, let their hair grow long, to make them look more terrible and formidable, which some take to be the signification of the word, and render it "horrid" (q) or terrible; see Gill on Job 5:5; or else the devil may be meant, who is like a roaring lion, terrible and frightful, and who, as he was a murderer from the beginning, so a thief and robber, that comes to kill and destroy, and whom God suffers to prevail over the children of disobedience, and in whom he works powerfully, being the strong man armed, that has possession of them and their goods, and keeps them in peace; and who has his snares, which he lays suited to the tempers and dispositions of men, and in which they are taken alive, as beasts of prey, and are detained by him at his pleasure, 2 Timothy 2:26.The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber shall prevail against him.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)9. the robber shall prevail] Rather, the trap layeth hold of him, as all the verbs in this passage should be put in the present tense. The word is that occurring ch. Job 5:5. The world of God is one network of snares for the wicked man, he walks upon snares, in the field and in the way alike. The idea that the world is a moral constitution is very prominent in the Old Testament, a mere physical constitution of things is an idea unknown to it.Verse 9. - The gin shall take him by the heel, and the robber (rather, the man-trap) shall prevail against him. Fifty years ago man-traps were commonly set at night in gardens and orchards in this country, which held intending thieves until the proprietor came and took them before a magistrate in the morning. (On the employment of such traps in antiquity, see Herod., 2:121. § 2.)
2 How long will ye hunt for words?!
Attend, and afterwards we will speak.
3 Wherefore are we accounted as beasts,
And narrow-minded in your eyes?
Job's speeches are long, and certainly are a trial of patience to the three, and the heaviest trial to Bildad, whose turn now comes on, because he is at pains throughout to be brief. Hence the reproach of endless babbling with which he begins here, as at Job 8:2, when he at last has an opportunity of speaking; in connection with which it must, however, not be forgotten that Job also, Job 16:3, satirically calls upon them to cease. He is indeed more entitled than his opponents to the entreaty not to weary him with long speeches. The question, Job 18:2, if קנצי six derived from קץ, furnishes no sense, unless perhaps it is, with Ralbag, explained: how long do you make close upon close in order, when you seem to have come to an end, to begin continually anew? For to give the thought: how long do you make no end of speaking, it must have been לא עד־אנה, as the lxx (μέχρι τίνος ου ̓ παύσῃ:) involuntarily inserts the negative. And what should the plur. mean by this rendering? The form קנצי equals קצּי would not cause doubt; for though קצּים does not occur elsewhere in the Old Testament, it is nevertheless sufficient that it is good Aramaic (קצּין), and that another Hebr. plural, as קצי, קצוי, קצוות, would have been hardly in accordance with the usage of the language. But the plural would not be suitable here generally, the over-delicate explanation of Ralbag perhaps excepted. Since the book of Job abounds in Arabisms, and in Arabic qanaṣa (as synon. of ṣâd) signifies venari, venando capere, and qanṣun (maqnaṣun) cassis, rete venatorium; since, further, שׂים קנצים (comp. שׂים ארב, Jeremiah 9:7) is an incontrovertible reading, and all the difficulties in connection with the reference to קץ lying in the עד־אנה for עד־אנה לא and in the plur. vanish, we translate with Castell., Schultens, J. D. Mich., and most modern expositors: how long (here not different from Job 8:2; Job 19:2) will ye lay snares (construction, as also by the other rendering, like Job 24:5; Job 36:16, according to Ges. 116, 1) for words; which, however, is not equivalent to hunt for words in order to contradict, but in order to talk on continually.
(Note: In post-bibl. Hebrew, קנצים has become common in the signification, proofs, arguments, as e.g., a Karaitic poet says, ויחוד שׁמך בקנצים הקימותי, the oneness of thy name have I upheld with proofs; vid., Pinsker, Likute Kadmoniot. Zur Gesch. des Karaismus und der karischen Literatur, 1860, S. קסו.)
Job is the person addressed, for Bildad agrees with the two others. It is remarkable, however, that he addresses Job with "you." Some say that he thinks of Job as one of a number; Ewald observes that the controversy becomes more wide and general; and Schlottm. conjectures that Bildad fixes his eye on individuals of his hearers, on whose countenances he believed he saw a certain inclination to side with Job. This conjecture we will leave to itself; but the remark which Schlottm. also makes, that Bildad regards Job as a type of a whole class, is correct, only one must also add, this address in the plur. is a reply to Job's sarcasm by a similar one. As Job has told the friends that they act as if they were mankind in general, and all wisdom were concentrated in them, so Bildad has taken it amiss that Job connects himself with the whole of the truly upright, righteous, and pure; and he addresses him in the plural, because he, the unit, has puffed himself up as such a collective whole. This wrangler - he means - with such a train behind him, cannot accomplish anything: Oh that you would understand (הבין, as e.g., Job 42:3, not causative, as Job 6:24), i.e., come to your senses, and afterward we will speak, i.e., it is only then possible to walk in the way of understanding. That is not now possible, when he, as one who plays the part of their many, treats them, the three who are agreed in opposition to him, as totally void of understanding, and each one of them unwise, in expressions like Job 17:4, Job 17:10. Looking to Psalm 49:13, 21, one might be tempted to regard נטמינוּ (on the vowel instead of , vid., Ges. 75, rem. 7) as an interchange of consonants from נדמינו: be silent, make an end, ye profligati; but the supposition of this interchange of consonants would be arbitrary. On the other hand, there is no suitable thought in "why are we accounted unclean?" (Vulg. sorduimus), from טמה equals טמא, Leviticus 11:43 (Ges. 75, vi.); the complaint would have no right connection, except it were a very slight one, with Job 17:9. On the contrary, if we suppose a verb טמה in the signification opplere, obturare, which is peculiar to this consonant-combination in the whole range of the Semitic languages (comp. א־טם, Arab. 'ṭm, obstruere, Aram. טמּם, טמטם, Arab. ṭmm, e.g., Talm.: transgression stoppeth up, מטמטמת, man's heart), and after which this טמה has been explained by the Jewish expositors (Raschi: נחשׁבנו טמומים), and is interpreted by סתם (Parchon: נסתמה דעתנו), we gain a sense which corresponds both with previous reproaches of Job and the parallelism, and we decide in its favour with the majority of modern expositors. With the interrogative Wherefore, Bildad appeals to Job's conscience. These invectives proceed from an impassioned self-delusion towards the truth, which he wards off from himself, but cannot however alter.
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