Job 19:16
I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
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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.I called my servant - He lost all respect for me, and paid me no attention.

I entreated him - I ceased to expect "obedience," and tried to see what "persuasion" would do. I ceased to be master in my own house.

16. servant—born in my house (as distinguished from those sojourning in it), and so altogether belonging to the family. Yet even he disobeys my call.

mouth—that is, "calling aloud"; formerly a nod was enough. Now I no longer look for obedience, I try entreaty.

I called my servant, to do some servile office about me, for my case or relief, and he passed by as if he had been deaf, because he loathed and feared to come near to me; although to my commands I added humble and earnest desires.

With my mouth: either,

1. With gentle and moving speeches; or rather,

2. With my own mouth, and not by a proxy.

I called my servant,.... His manservant, whom he had hired into his house, and who waited upon his person, and had been his trusty and faithful servant, and was dear unto him, and he had shown him much respect and kindness in the time of his prosperity; him he called to him, to do this and that and the other thing for him as usual; and of whose assistance and service he might stand in more need, being so greatly afflicted in body as well as in other things; and who ought to have been obedient to his call in all things, and have served him with all readiness and cheerfulness, with all heartiness, sincerity, integrity, and faithfulness; and given him the same honour and reverence as before; but instead of all this, it is observed,

and he gave me no answer; whether he would or would not do what he ordered him to do; he took no notice of him, he turned a deaf ear to him, and his back upon him; he came not near him, but kept his place where he was, or walked off without showing any regard to what he said to him; he neither answered him by words, nor by deeds; neither signified his readiness to do what he was ordered, nor did it. In some cases it is criminal in servants to answer again, when they thwart and contradict their masters, or reply in a saucy, surly, and impudent manner; but when they are spoke to about their master's business, it becomes them to answer in a decent, humble, and respectable way, declaring their readiness to do their master's will and pleasure:

I entreated him with my mouth; which is an aggravation of his insolence and disobedience; such was the low condition Job was reduced unto, and such the humility of his mind under his present circumstances, that he laid aside the authority of a master, and only entreated his servant, and begged it as if it was a favour, to do this or the other for him; nor did he signify this by a look and cast of his eye, or by a nod of his head, or by the direction of his hand; but with his mouth he spake unto him, and let him know what he would have done; and this not in an authoritative, haughty, and imperious manner; but with good words, and in submissive language, as it was something he was beholden to his servant for, rather than obedience to be performed.

I called my servant, and he gave me no answer; I intreated him with my mouth.
Verse 16. - I called my servant, and he gave me no answer. Astounding insolence in an Oriental servant or rather slave (עבד), who should have hung upon his master's words, and striven to anticipate his wishes. I intreated him with my mouth. Begging him probably for some service which was distasteful, and which he declined to render. Job 19:1616 I call to my servant and he answereth not,

I am obliged to entreat him with my mouth.

17 My breath is offensive to my wife,

And my stench to my own brethren.

18 Even boys act contemptuously towards me;

If I will rise up, they speak against me.

19 All my confidential friends abhor me,

And those whom I loved have turned against me.

20 My bone cleaveth to my skin and flesh,

And I am escaped only with the skin of my teeth.

His servant, who otherwise saw every command in his eyes, and was attent upon his wink, now not only does not come at his call, but does not return him any answer. The one of the home-born slaves (vid., on Genesis 14:14),

(Note: The (black) slaves born within the tribe itself are in the present day, from their dependence and bravery, accounted as the stay of the tribe, and are called fadwje, as those who are ready to sacrifice their life for its interest. The body-slave of Job is thought of as such as יליד בית.)

who stood in the same near connection to Job as Eliezer to Abraham, is intended here, in distinction from גרי ביתי, Job 19:15. If he, his master, now in such need of assistance, desires any service from him, he is obliged (fut. with the sense of being compelled, as e.g., Job 15:30, Job 17:2) to entreat him with his mouth. התחנּן, to beg חן of any one for one's self (vid., supra, p. 365), therefore to implore, supplicare; and בּמו־פּי here (as Psalm 89:2; Psalm 109:30) as a more significant expression of that which is loud and intentional (not as Job 16:5, in contrast to that which proceeds from the heart). In Job 19:17, רוּחי signifies neither my vexation (Hirz.) nor my spirit equals I((Umbr., Hahn, with the Syr.), for רוח in the sense of angry humour (as Job 15:13) does not properly suit the predicate, and Arab. rûḥy in the signification ipse may certainly be used in Arabic, where rûḥ (perhaps under the influence of the philosophical usage of the language) signifies the animal spirit-life (Psychol. S. 154), not however in Hebrew, where נפשׁי is the stereotype form in that sense. If one considers that the elephantiasis, although its proper pathological symptom consists in an enormous hypertrophy of the cellular tissue of single distinct portions of the body, still easily, if the bronchia are drawn into sympathy, or if (what is still more natural) putrefaction of the blood with a scorbutic ulcerous formation in the mouth comes on, has difficulty of breathing (Job 7:15) and stinking breath as its result, as also a stinking exhalation and the discharge of a stinking fluid from the decaying limbs is connected with it (vid., the testimony of the Arabian physicians in Stickel, S. 169f.), it cannot be doubted that Jer. has lighted upon the correct thing when he transl. halitum meum exhorruit uxor mea. רוחי is intended as in Job 17:1, and it is unnecessary to derive זרה from a special verb זיר, although in Arab. the notions which are united in the Hebr. זוּר .r, deflectere and abhorrere (to turn one's self away from what is disgusting or horrible), are divided between Arab. zâr med. Wau and Arab. ḏâr med. Je (vid., Frst's Handwrterbuch).

In Job 19:17 the meaning of חנּותי is specially questionable. In Psalm 77:10, חנּות is, like שׁמּות, Ezekiel 36:3, an infinitive from חנן, formed after the manner of the Lamed He verbs. Ges. and Olsh. indeed prefer to regard these forms as plurals of substantives (חנּה, שׁמּה), but the respective passages, regarded syntactically and logically, require infinitives. As regards the accentuation, according to which וחנותי is accented by Rebia mugrasch on the ultima, this does not necessarily decide in favour of its being infin., since in the 1 praet. סבּתי, which, according to rule, has the tone on the penultima, the ultima is also sometimes (apart from the perf. consec.) found accented (on this, vid., on Psalm 17:3, and Ew. 197, a), as סבּוּ, קוּמה, קוּמי, also admit of both accentuations.


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