Job 19:15
They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 19:15-16. They that dwell in my house — Hebrew, גרי ביתי, garei beethei, peregrini domus meæ, the sojourners of my house, that is, those that formerly were kindly entertained at my house, whether strangers, widows, or the fatherless; nay, the people of my family, even my maids, who, by reason of their sex, have commonly more tender and compassionate hearts than men, count me for a stranger — Have forgotten the respect they owe, and were wont to pay to me, and regard my commands and concerns no more than if I were a stranger to whom they had no relation. I called my servant — To do some servile office; and he gave me no answer — He regarded not what I said; no, not when I besought him, as if he had been my master.

19:8-22 How doleful are Job's complaints! What is the fire of hell but the wrath of God! Seared consciences will feel it hereafter, but do not fear it now: enlightened consciences fear it now, but shall not feel it hereafter. It is a very common mistake to think that those whom God afflicts he treats as his enemies. Every creature is that to us which God makes it to be; yet this does not excuse Job's relations and friends. How uncertain is the friendship of men! but if God be our Friend, he will not fail us in time of need. What little reason we have to indulge the body, which, after all our care, is consumed by diseases it has in itself. Job recommends himself to the compassion of his friends, and justly blames their harshness. It is very distressing to one who loves God, to be bereaved at once of outward comfort and of inward consolation; yet if this, and more, come upon a believer, it does not weaken the proof of his being a child of God and heir of glory.They that dwell in mine house - The trials came to his very dwelling, and produced a sad estrangement there. The word used here גרי gārēy from גוּר gûr means properly those who "sojourn" in a house for a little time. It may refer to guests, strangers, servants, clients, or tenants. The essential idea is, that they were not "permanent" residents, though for a time they were inmates of the family. Jerome renders the place, "Inquilini domus meoe - the tenants of my house." The Septuagint, Γείτονες οἰχιάς Geitones oikias - neighbors. Schultens supposes it means "clients," or those who were taken under the protection of a great man. He quotes from the Arabian poets to show that the word is used in that sense, and particularly a passage from the "Hamasa," which he thus translates:

Descendite sub alas meas, alasque gentis meae.

Ut sim praesidium vobis quum pugna con seritur.

Namque testamento injunxit mihi pater, ut reciperem vos hospites.

Omnemque oppressorem a vobis propulsarem.

There can be no doubt that Job refers to "dependents," but whether in the capacity of servants, tenants, or clients, it is not easy to determine, and is not material. Dr. Good renders it "sojourners," and this is a correct rendering of the word. This would be clearly the sense if the corresponding member of the parallelism were not "maids." or female servants. "That" requires us to understand here persons who were "somehow" engaged in the service of Job. Perhaps his clients, or those who came for protection, were under obligation to some sort of service as the return of his patronage.

And my maids - Female domestics. The Chaldee, however, renders this לחינתי - "my concubines;" but the correct reference is to female female servants.

I am an alien - That is, to them. They cease to treat me as the head of the family.

15. They that dwell, &c.—rather, "sojourn": male servants, sojourning in his house. Mark the contrast. The stranger admitted to sojourn as a dependent treats the master as a stranger in his own house. They that dwell in mine house, Heb. the sojourners of my house, i.e. such as had formerly sojourned with me, whether strangers. widows, and fatherless, whom by the law of charity and hospitality he entertained; or hired servants, who had for a good while their habitation and subsistence in his family.

My maids; who, by reason of their sex, commonly have and should have more tender and compassionate hearts than men. And therefore this is God’s doing, who hath hardened their hearts against me.

Count me for a stranger; regard my commands and concerns no more than a stranger.

I am an alien in their sight; the same thing repeated, through vehemency of passion, because this lay very heavy upon him.

They that dwell in mine house,.... Not his neighbours, as the Septuagint; for though they dwelt near his house, they did not dwell in it; nor inmates and sojourners, lodgers with him, to whom he let out apartments in his house; this cannot be supposed to have been his case, who was the greatest man in all the east; nor even tenants, that hired houses and lands of him; for the phrase is not applicable to them; it designs such who were inhabitants in his house. Job amidst all his calamities had an house to dwell in; it is a tradition mentioned by Jerom (c), that Job's house was in Carnea, a large village in his time, in a corner of Batanea, beyond the floods of Jordan; and he had people dwelling with him in it, who are distinct from his wife, children, and servants after mentioned; and are either "strangers" (d) as the word sometimes signifies, he had taken into his house in a way of hospitality, and had given them lodging, and food, and raiment, as the light of nature and law of God required, Deuteronomy 10:18; or else proselytes, of whom this word (e) is sometimes used, whom he had been the instrument of converting from idolatry, superstition, and profaneness, and of gaining them over to the true religion; and whom he had taken into his house, to instruct them more and more in the ways of God, such as were the trained servants in Abraham's family: these, says he,

and my maids, count me for a stranger; both the one and the other, the strangers he took out of the streets, and the travellers he opened his doors unto, and entertained in a very generous and hospitable manner; the proselytes he had made, and with whom he had taken so much pains, and to whom he had shown so much kindness and goodness, and been the means of saving their souls from death; and his maidens he had hired into his house, to do the business of it, and who ought to have been obedient and respectful to him, and whose cause he had not despised, but had treated them with great humanity and concern; the Targum wrongly renders the word, "my concubines"; yet these one and another looked upon him with an air of the utmost indifference, not as if he was the master of the house, but a stranger in it, as one that did not belong unto it, and they had scarce ever seen with their eyes before; which was very ungrateful, and disrespectful to the last degree; and if they reckoned him a stranger to God, to his grace, to true religion and godliness, this was worse still; and especially in the proselytes of his house, who owed their conversion, their light and knowledge in divine things, to him as an instrument:

I am an alien in their sight; as a foreigner, one of another kingdom and nation, of a different habit, speech, religion, and manners; they stared at him as if they had never seen him before, as some strange object to be looked at, an uncommon spectacle, that had something in him or about him unusual and frightful; at least contemptible and to be disdained, and not to be spoke to and familiarly conversed with, but to be shunned and despised.

(c) De loc. Heb. fol. 89. M. (d) "peregrini", Schmidt, Schultens. (e) Apud Rabbinos, passim.

{h} They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger: I am an alien in their sight.

(h) My household servants by all these losses Job shows that touching the flesh he had great opportunity to be moved.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
15–16. Then those unrelated to him within his house, the menials and slaves. Those who, as Oriental servants, used to be subservient and observant of the slightest sign from their master (Psalm 123:2)—these “ducking observants” now refuse to answer when he calls, and must be besought for their service. Very soon the reflection of one’s fall is thrown from the countenances of those higher in rank down upon the faces of the servants, where it shows itself without any delicacy or reserve. Job 19:16 reads, I call my servant and he giveth me no answer: I must entreat him with my mouth.

Verse 15. - They that dwell in mine house, and my maids, count me for a stranger. Even the inmates of his house, male and female, his servants, guards, retainers, handmaids, and the like, looked on him and treated him as if unknown to them. l am an alien in their sight. Nay, not only as if unknown, but "as an alien," i.e. a foreigner. Job 19:1512 His troops came together,

And threw up their way against me,

And encamped round about my tent.

13 My brethren hath He removed far from me,

And my acquaintance are quite estranged from me.

14 My kinsfolk fail,

And those that knew me have forgotten me.

15 The slaves of my house and my maidens,

They regard me as a stranger,

I am become a perfect stranger in their eyes.

It may seem strange that we do not connect Job 19:12 with the preceding strophe or group of verses; but between Job 19:7 and Job 19:21 there are thirty στίχοι, which, in connection with the arrangement of the rest of this speech in decastichs (accidentally coinciding remarkably with the prominence given to the number ten in Job 19:3), seem intended to be divided into three decastichs, and can be so divided without doing violence to the connection. While in Job 19:12, in connection with Job 19:11, Job describes the course of the wrath, which he has to withstand as if he were an enemy of God, in Job 19:13. he refers back to the degradation complained of in Job 19:9. In Job 19:12 he compares himself to a besieged (perhaps on account of revolt) city. God's גדוּדים (not: bands of marauders, as Dietr. interprets, but: troops, i.e., of regular soldiers, synon. of צבא, Job 10:17, comp. Job 25:3; Job 29:25, from the root גד, to unite, join, therefore prop. the assembled, a heap; vid., Frst's Handwrterbuch) are the bands of outwards and inward sufferings sent forth against him for a combined attack (יחד). Heaping up a way, i.e., by filling up the ramparts, is for the purpose of making the attack upon the city with battering-rams (Job 16:14) and javelins, and then the storm, more effective (on this erection of offensive ramparts (approches), called elsewhere שׁפך סללה, vid., Keil's Archologie, 159). One result of this condition of siege in which God's wrath has placed him is that he is avoided and despised as one smitten of God: neither love and fidelity, nor obedience and dependence, meet him from any quarter. What he has said in Job 17:6, that he is become a byword and an abomination (an object to spit upon), he here describes in detail. There is no ground for understanding אחי in the wider sense of relations; brethren is meant here, as in Psalm 69:9. He calls his relations קרובי, as Psalm 38:12. ידעי are (in accordance with the pregnant biblical use of this word in the sense of nosse cum affectu et effectu) those who know him intimately (with objective suff. as Psalm 87:4), and מידּעי, as Psalm 31:12, and freq., those intimately known to him; both, therefore, so-called heart-or bosom-friends. בּיתי גּרי Jer. well translates inquilinin domus meae; they are, in distinction from those who by birth belong to the nearer and wider circle of the family, persons who are received into this circle as servants, as vassals (comp. Exodus 3:22, and Arabic jâr, an associate, one sojourning in a strange country under the protection of its government, a neighbour), here espec. the domestics. The verb תּחשׁבוּני (Ges. 60) is construed with the nearest feminine subject. These people, who ought to thank him for taking them into his house, regard him as one who does not belong to it (זר); he is looked upon by them as a perfect stranger (נכרי), as an intruder from another country.

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