Job 21:32
Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.
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(32) And shall remain in the tomb.—The word rendered tomb is rendered shock of corn in Job 5:26, and is not found in the sense of tomb elsewhere. It is doubtful, therefore, whether this is its meaning here. The verse may mean: “He shall be borne to the grave, and men shall watch over his sheaves,” i.e., his possessions; or “He shall be borne to the grave with as much deference as when he used to watch over his sheaves” (to protect them from robbery).

Job 21:32. Yet — Hebrew, And, the pomp of his death shall be suitable to the glory of his life; shall he be brought to the grave — With pomp and state, as the word יובל, jubal, signifies. Hebrew, לקברות, likbaroth, to the graves, that is, to an honourable and eminent grave; the plural number being often used emphatically to denote eminence. He shall not die a violent, but a natural death, and shall lie in the bed of honour. And shall remain in the tomb — Or, watch in the heap. His body shall quietly rest in his grave or monument, where he shall be embalmed and preserved so entire and uncorrupted that he might rather seem to be a living watchman, set there to guard the body, than to be a dead corpse. Hebrew, ישׁקוד

ועל גדישׁ, vegnal gadish jishkod, over the tomb he shall watch. “A stately monument,” says Bishop Patrick, “is raised to preserve his memory, and represent him as if he were still living.”

21:27-34 Job opposes the opinion of his friends, That the wicked are sure to fall into visible and remarkable ruin, and none but the wicked; upon which principle they condemned Job as wicked. Turn to whom you will, you will find that the punishment of sinners is designed more for the other world than for this, Jude 1:14,15. The sinner is here supposed to live in a great deal of power. The sinner shall have a splendid funeral: a poor thing for any man to be proud of the prospect of. He shall have a stately monument. And a valley with springs of water to keep the turf green, was accounted an honourable burial place among eastern people; but such things are vain distinctions. Death closes his prosperity. It is but a poor encouragement to die, that others have died before us. That which makes a man die with true courage, is, with faith to remember that Jesus Christ died and was laid in the grave, not only before us, but for us. That He hath gone before us, and died for us, who is alive and liveth for us, is true consolation in the hour of death.Yet shall he be brought to the grave - Margin, "graves." That is, he is brought with honor and prosperity to the grave. He is not cut down by manifest divine displeasure for his sins. He is conducted to the grave as other people are, not withstanding his enormous wickedness. The "object" of this is clearly to state that he would not be overwhelmed with calamity, as the friends of Job had maintained, and that nothing could be determined in regard to his character from the divine dealings toward him in this life.

And shall remain in the tomb - Margin, "watch in the heap." The marginal reading does not make sense, though it seems to be an exact translation of the Hebrew. Noyes renders it, "Yet he still survives upon his tomb." Prof. Lee, "For the tomb was he watchful;" that is, his anxiety was to have an honored and a splendid burial. Wemyss, "They watch over his tomb;" that is, he is honored in his death, and his friends visit his tomb with affectionate solicitude, and keep watch over his grave. So Dr. Good renders it. Jerome translates it; "et in congerie mortuorum vigilabit." The Septuagint, "And he shall be borne to the graves, and he shall watch over the tombs;" or, he shall cause a watch to be kept over his tomb - ἐπὶ σωρῶν ἠγρύπνησεν epi sōrōn ēgrupnēsen. Amidst this variety of interpretation, it is not easy to determine the true sense of the passage. The "general" meaning is not difficult.

It is, that he should be honored even in his death; that he would live in prosperity, and be buried with magnificence. There would be nothing in his death or burial which would certainly show that God regarded him as a wicked man. But there is considerable difficulty in determining the exact sense of the original words. The word rendered "tomb" in the text and "heap" in the margin (גדישׁ gâdı̂ysh) occurs only in the following places, Exodus 22:6; Job 5:26; Judges 15:5, where it is rendered "a shock of corn," and in this place. The "verb" in the Syriac, Arabic, and in Chaldee, means "to heap up" (see Castell), and the noun may denote, therefore, a stack, or a heap, of grain, or a tomb, that was made by a pile of earth, or stones. The ancient "tumuli" were there heaps of earth or stone, and probably such a pile was made usually over a grave as a monument. On the meaning of the word used here, the reader may consult Bochart, Hieroz. P. i.

L. iii. c. xiii. p. 853. There can be little doubt that it here means a tomb, or a monument raised over a tomb. There is more difficulty about the word rendered "shall remain" (ישׁקוד yı̂shqôd). This properly means, to wake, to be watchful, to be sleepless. So the Chaldee שקד, and the Arabic "dakash" The verb is commonly rendered in the Scriptures, "watch," or "waketh." See Psalm 127:1; Psalm 102:7; Jeremiah 31:28; Jeremiah 1:12; Jeremiah 5:6; Jeremiah 44:27; Isaiah 29:20; Ezra 8:29; Daniel 9:14. There is usually in the word the notion of "watching," with a view to guarding, or protecting, as when one watches a vineyard, a house, or other property. The sense here is, probably, that his tomb should be carefully "watched" by friends, and the verb is probably taken impersonally, or used to denote that "someone" would watch over his grave. This might be either as a proof of affection, or to keep it in repair. One of the most painful ideas might have been then, as it is now among American savages (Bancroft's History of the United States, vol. iii. p. 299), that of having the grave left or violated, and it may have been regarded as a special honor to have had friends, who would come and watch over their sepulchre.

According to this view, the meaning is, that the wicked man was often honorably buried; that a monument was reared to his memory; and that every mark of attention was paid to him after he was dead. Numbers followed him to his burial, and friends came and wept with affection around his tomb. The argument of Job is, that there was no such distinction between the lives and death of the righteous and the wicked as to make it possible to determine the character; and is it not so still? The wicked man often dies in a palace, and with all the comforts that every clime can furnish to alleviate his pain, and to soothe him in his dying moments. He lies upon a bed of down; friends attend him with unwearied care; the skill of medicine is exhausted to restore him, and there is every indication of grief at his death. So, in the place of his burial, a monument of finest marble, sculptured with all the skill of art, is reared over his grave. An inscription, beautiful as taste can make it, proclaims his virtues to the traveler and the stranger. Friends go and plant roses over his grave, that breathe forth their odors around the spot where he lies. Who, from the dying scene, the funeral, the monument, the attendants, would suppose that he was a man whom God abhorred, and whose soul was already in hell? This is the argument of Job, and of its solidity no one can doubt.

32. Yet—rather, "and."

brought—with solemn pomp (Ps 45:15).

grave—literally, "graves"; that is, the place where the graves are.

remain in—rather, watch on the tomb, or sepulchral mound. Even after death he seems still to live and watch (that is, have his "remembrance" preserved) by means of the monument over the grave. In opposition to Bildad (Job 18:17).

Yet, Heb. and. The pomp of his death shall be suitable to the glory of his life.

Shall he be brought, with pomp and state, as the word signifies.

To the grave, Heb. to the graves, i.e. to an honourable and eminent grave; the plural number being oft used emphatically to note eminency, as Job 40:10 Proverbs 1:20 Lamentations 3:22. He shall not die a violent, but a natural death, and shall lie in the bed of honour.

Shall remain in the tomb, Heb. shall watch (i.e. have a constant and fixed abode, as watchmen have in the watching-place) in the heap, i.e. in his grave, which is called a heap, either because the earth is there heaped up, or because it was adorned with some pyramid or other monument raised up to his honour. His body shall quietly rest in his grave or monument, where he shall be embalmed and preserved so entire and uncorrupted, that he might rather seem to be a living watchman, set there to guard the body, than to be a dead corpse.

Yet shall he be brought to the grave,.... Or "and", "or yea he shall be brought", &c. (a); for the meaning is not, that though he is great in life he shall be brought low enough at death; for Job is still describing the grand figure wicked men make, even at death, as well as in life; for he is not only brought to the grave, as all men are, it being the house appointed for all living, and every man's long home; but the wicked rich man is brought thither in great funeral pomp, in great state, as the rich sinner was buried, Ecclesiastes 8:10; or "to the graves" (b), the place where many graves are, the place of the sepulchres of his ancestors; and in the chiefest and choicest of them he is interred, and has an honourable burial; not cast into a ditch, or buried with the burial of an ass, as Jehoiakim was, being cast forth beyond the gates of the city, Jeremiah 22:19; and shall remain in the tomb; quiet and undisturbed, when it has been the lot of others to have their bones taken out of their grave, and spread before the sun, see Jeremiah 8:1; and even some good men, who have had their graves dug up, their bones taken out and burnt, and their ashes scattered about, as was the case of that eminent man, John Wickliff, here in England. The word for "tomb" signifies an "heap" (c), and is sometimes used for an heap of the fruits of the earth; which has led some to think of the place of this man's interment being in the midst of a corn field; but the reason why a grave or tomb is so called is, because a grave, through a body or bodies being laid in it, rises up higher than the common ground; and if it has a tomb erected over it, that is no other than an heap of stones artificially put together; or it may be so called from the heaps of bodies one upon another in a grave, or vault, over which the tomb is, or where every part of the body is gathered and heaped (d); from this sense of the word some have given this interpretation of the passage, that the wicked man shall be brought to his grave, and abide there, after he has heaped up a great deal of wealth and riches in this world; which, though a truth, seems not to be intended here, any more than others taken from the different signification of the word translated "remain". It is observed by some to signify to "hasten" (e), from whence the almond tree, which hastens to put forth its bloom, has its name, Jeremiah 1:10; and so give this as the sense, that such a man, being of full age, is ripe for death, and, comes to his grave, or heap, like a shock of corn in its season. Others observe, that it signifies to "watch"; and so in the margin of our Bibles the clause is put, "he shall watch in the heap" (f), which is differently interpreted; by some, that he early and carefully provides himself a tomb, as Absalom in his lifetime set up a sepulchral pillar for himself, 2 Samuel 18:18; and Shebna the scribe, and Joseph of Arimathea, hewed themselves sepulchres out of the rock, Isaiah 22:15; and others think the allusion is either to statues upon tombs, as are still in use in our days, where they are placed as if they were watching over the tombs; or to bodies embalmed, according to the custom of the eastern countries, especially the Egyptians, which were set up erect in their vaults, and seemed as if they were alive, and there set to watch the places they were in, rather than as if buried there; or, according to others, "he shall be watched", or "the keeper shall watch at", or "over the tomb" (g), that the body is not disturbed or taken away; but the sense our version gives is best, and most agrees with the context, and the scope of it, and with what follows.

(a) "et ipse", Pagninus, Montanus, &c. (b) "ad sepulchra", V. L. Montamus, Vatablus, Drusius, Beza, Mercerus, Michaelis, Schultens; "in sepulchra", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator. (c) "super acervo", Montanus, Codurcus; so Bolducius, Mercerus. (d) Vid. David de Pomis Lexic. fol. 14. 3.((e) "festinabit", Pagninus; so some in Vatablus, and Ben Melech. (f) "Vigilabit", V. L. Tigurine version, Montanus; "vigilat", Michaelis, Schultens; "erit tanquam vigil", Bolducius. (g) "Vigilabitur", Beza; "vigilatur", Cocceius; so Calovius.

Yet shall he be brought to the grave, and shall remain in the tomb.
32. Yet shall he be brought] Rather, and he is carried, as above. Comp. ch. Job 10:19, where Job uses the same language of his own burial. The word is that used in Job 21:30 (led forth, cf. reff.), and suggests the pomp and slow solemnity of his interment.

shall remain in the tomb] Rather, as above, keep watch over his tomb, lit. his heap (ch. Job 5:26 of a heap of sheaves), meaning the monument raised over him. This may have been first a heap of stones, but naturally the word might be used in a wider sense of any sepulchral monument. This is watched against desecration. In the Sidonian inscription on the tomb of Eshmun‘azar that monarch utters deep curses against any who shall violate his grave. Instead of “they keep watch” others render “he watches,” considering the reference to be to the effigy of the deceased graven upon his sarcophagus. The practice of making such an effigy was common in Egypt, and the Author of the Book might be familiar with it. But the practice was not unknown elsewhere. The sarcophagus of Eshmun’azar has such an effigy, the inscription of 22 lines being cut upon the breast and body of the figure, and again in part around the head. The Author of the Book is fond of alluding to customs and things not specifically Hebrew. At the same time, whether we render “they watch over,” or “he watches upon,” the words might be used in a less precise sense, meaning in the one case that they looked with respect or reverence to his place of sepulture, and in the other that his memory and life were perpetuated in the monument upon his tomb.

32, 33. The wicked man is buried in honour; and his example followed.

32  And he is carried to the grave,

And they keep watch over his tomb;

33  The clods of the valley are sweet unto him;

And all men draw after him,

As there were innumerable before him.

Verse 32. - Yet shall he be brought to the grave; rather, he moreover is borne (in pomp) to the grave. Even in death the advantage is still with the wicked man. He is borne in procession to the grave - a mausoleum or a family vault - by a long train of mourners, who weep and lament for him, and pay him funeral honours. The poor virtuous man, on the other hand, is hastily thrust under the soil. And shall remain in in the tomb; or shall keep watch over his tomb. The allusion is probably to the custom, common certainly in Egypt and Phoenicia, of carving a figure of the deceased on the lid of his sarcophagus, to keep as it were watch over the remains deposited within. The figure was sometimes accompanied by an inscription, denouncing curses on those who should dare to violate the tomb or disturb the remains (see 'Records of the Past,' vol. 9. pp. 112-114; and compare the author's 'History of Phoenicia,' pp. 393-395). Job 21:3232 And he is brought to the grave,

And over the tomb he still keepeth watch.

33 The clods of the valley are sweet to him,

And all men draw after him,

As they preceded him without number.

. . . . . .

34 And how will ye comfort me so vainly!

Your replies are and remain perfidy.

During life removed at the time of dire calamity, this unapproachable evil-doer is after his death carried to the grave with all honour (יוּבל, comp. Job 10:19), and indeed to a splendid tomb; for, like משׁכנות above, קברות is also an amplificative plural. It is certainly the most natural to refer ישׁקד, like יוּבל, to the deceased. The explanation: and over the tomb one keeps watch (Bttch., Hahn, Rd., Olsh.), is indeed in itself admissible, since that which serves as the efficient subject is often left unexpressed (Genesis 48:2; 2 Kings 9:21; Isaiah 53:9; comp. supra, on Job 18:18); but that, according to the prevalent usage of the language, ישׁקד would denote only a guard of honour at night, not also in the day, and that for clearness it would have required גּדישׁו instead of גּדישׁ, are considerations which do not favour this explanation, for שׁקד signifies to watch, to be active, instead of sleeping or resting; and moreover, the placing of guards of honour by graves is an assumed, but not proved, custom of antiquity. Nevertheless, ישׁקד might also in general denote the watchful, careful tending of the grave, and the maqâm (the tomb) of one who is highly honoured has, according to Moslem custom, servants (châdimı̂n) who are appointed for this duty. But though the translation "one watches" should not be objected to on this ground, the preference is to be given to a commendable rendering which makes the deceased the subject of ישׁקד. Raschi's explanation does not, however, commend itself: "buried in his own land, he also in death still keeps watch over the heaps of sheaves." The lxx translates similarly, ἐπὶ σωρῶν, which Jerome improperly, but according to a right sentiment, translates, in congerie mortuorum. For after the preceding mention of the pomp of burial, גּדישׁ, which certainly signifies a heap of sheaves in Job 5:26, is favoured by the assumption of its signifying a sepulchral heap, with reference to which also in that passage (where interment is likewise the subject of discourse) the expression is chosen. Haji Gaon observes that the dome (קבּה, Arab. qbbt, the dome and the sepulchral monument vaulted over by it)

(Note: Vid., Lane's Manners and Customs of the Modern Egyptians (translated by Zenker).)

erected over graves according to Arab custom is intended; and Aben-Ezra says, that not exactly this, but in general the grave-mound formed of earth, etc., is to be understood. In reality, גדישׁ (from the verb גדשׁ, cumulare, commonly used in the Talmud and Aramaic) signifies cumulus, in the most diversified connections, which in Arabic are distributed among the verbs jds, kds, and jdš, especially tumulus, Arab. jadatun (broader pronunciation jadafun). If by grave-mound a mound with the grave upon it can be understood, a beautiful explanation is presented which accords with the preference of the Beduin for being buried on an eminence, in order that even in death he may be surrounded by his relations, and as it were be able still to overlook their encampment: the one who should have had a better lot is buried in the best place of the plain, in an insignificant grave; the rich man, however, is brought up to an eminence and keeps watch on his elevated tomb, since from this eminence as from a watch-tower he even in death, as it were, enjoys the wide prospect which delighted him so while living.

(Note: "Take my bones," says an Arabian poem, "and carry them with you, wherever you go; and if ye bury them, bury them opposite your encampment! And bury me not under a vine, which would shade me, but upon a hill, so that my eye can see you!" Vid., Ausland, 1863, Nr. 15 (Ein Ritt nach Transjordanien).)

But the signification collis cannot be supported; גדישׁ signifies the hill which is formed by the grave itself, and Job 21:33 indeed directs us to the wady as the place of burial, not to the hill. But if גדישׁ is the grave-mound, it is also not possible with Schlottm. to think of the pictures on the wall and images of the deceased, as they are found in the Egyptian vaults (although in Job 3:14 we recognised an allusion to the pyramids), for it cannot then be a גדישׁ in the strict sense that is spoken of; the word ought, like the Arabic jdṯ (which the Arab. translation of the New Testament in the London Polyglott uses of the μνημεῖον of Jesus), with a mingling of its original signification, to have been used in the general signification sepulcrum. This would be possible, but it need not be supposed. Job's words are the pictorial antithesis to Bildad's assertion, Job 18:17, that the godless man dies away without trace or memorial; it is not so, but as may be heard from the mouth of people who have experience in the world: he keeps watch over his tomb, he continues to watch although asleep, since he is continually brought to remembrance by the monument built over his tomb. A keeping watch that no one approaches the tomb disrespectfully (Ew.), is not to be thought of. שׁקד is a relative negation of the sleep of death: he is dead, but in a certain manner he continues to live, viz., in the monument planting forward his memory, which it remains for the imagination to conceive of as a mausoleum, or weapons, or other votive offerings hung upon the walls, etc. In connection with such honour, which follows him even to and beyond death, the clods of the valley (est ei terra levis) are sweet (מתקוּ is accentuated with Mercha, and לו without Makkeph with little-Rebia) to him; and if death in itself ought to be accounted an evil, he has shared the common fate which all men after him will meet, and which all before him have met; it is the common end of all made sweet to him by the pageantry of his burial and his after-fame. Most modern expositors (Ew., Hirz., Umbr., Hlgst., Welte) understand the ימשׁך, which is used, certainly, not in the transitive signification: to draw after one's self, but in the intransitive: to draw towards (lxx απελεύσεται), as Judges 4:6 (vid., Ges. Thes.), of an imitative treading of the same way; but כּל־אדם would then be an untrue hyperbole, by which Job would expose himself to the attack of his adversaries.

In Job 21:34 Job concludes his speech; the Waw of ואיך, according to the idea (as e.g., the Waw in ואני, Isaiah 43:12), is an inferential ergo. Their consolation, which is only available on condition of penitence, is useless; and their replies, which are intended to make him an evil-doer against the testimony of his conscience, remain מעל. It is not necessary to construe: and as to your answers, only מעל remains. The predicate stands per attractionem in the sing.: their answers, reduced to their true value, leave nothing behind but מעל, end in מעל, viz., באלהים, Joshua 22:22, perfidious sinning against God, i.e., on account of the sanctimonious injustice and uncharitableness with which they look suspiciously on him.


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