Job 22:11
Or darkness, that you can not see; and abundance of waters cover you.
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22:5-14 Eliphaz brought heavy charges against Job, without reason for his accusations, except that Job was visited as he supposed God always visited every wicked man. He charges him with oppression, and that he did harm with his wealth and power in the time of his prosperity.Or darkness - Darkness and night in the Scriptures are emblems of calamity.

That thou canst not see - Deep and fearful darkness; total night, so that nothing is visible. That is, the heaviest calamities had overwhelmed him.

And abundance of waters - An emblem, also, of calamities; Job 27:20; Psalm 69:1-2; Psalm 73:10.

11. that—so that thou.

abundance—floods. Danger by floods is a less frequent image in this book than in the rest of the Old Testament (Job 11:16; 27:20).

Darkness; either,

1. A darkness and confusion of mind so great that thou canst not discern the true cause and use of all thy sufferings. Or,

2. Grievous calamities, which are oft called darkness, which are such that thou canst see no way nor possibility of escaping. Either thou art troubled with fear of further evils, as it is said, Job 21:10, or with the gross darkness of thy present state of misery.

Abundance of waters, i.e. plenty and variety of sore afflictions, which are frequently compared to waters, as Psalm 18:16 66:12 Isaiah 43:2. Or darkness, that thou canst not see,.... Or darkness is round about thee, thou art enveloped in it; meaning either judicial blindness, and darkness, and stupidity of mind, which must be his case, if he could not see the hand of God upon him, or the snares that were about him, or was not troubled with sudden fear; or else the darkness of affliction and calamity, which is often signified hereby, see Isaiah 8:22; afflictive dispensations of Providence are sometimes so dark, that a man cannot see the cause and reason of them, or why it is he is brought into them; which was Job's case, and therefore desires God would show him wherefore he contended with him, Job 10:9; nor can he see, perceive, or enjoy any light of comfort; he is in inward darkness of soul, deprived of the light of God's countenance, as well as he is in the outward darkness of adversity, which is a most uncomfortable case, as it was this good man's; nor can he see any end of the affliction, or any way to escape out of it, and which were the present circumstances Job was in:

and abundance of waters cover thee; afflictions, which are frequently compared to many waters, and floods of them, because of the multitude of them, their force and strength, the power and rapidity with which they come; and because overflowing, overbearing, and overwhelming, and threaten with utter ruin and destruction, unless stopped by the mighty hand of God, who only can resist and restrain them; Eliphaz represents Job like a man drowning, overflowed with a flood of water, and covered with its waves, and in the most desperate condition, see Psalm 69:1.

Or darkness, that thou canst not see; and {f} abundance of waters cover thee.

(f) That is, manifold afflictions.

Verse 11. - Or darkness, that thou canst not see. Job had complained of the "darkness" that was "set in his paths" (Job 19:8), meaning probably his inability to discover the cause of his afflictions. And abundance of waters cover thee. The comparison of severe affliction to an overwhelming flood is very common in Scripture (see Psalm 42:7; Psalm 69:1-3, 14, 15; Psalm 124:4, 5; Lamentations 3:54, etc.). So Shakespeare speaks of "a sea of troubles." 1 Then began Eliphaz the Temanite, and said:

2 Is a man profitable unto God?

No, indeed! the intelligent man is profitable to himself.

3 Hath the Almighty any profit if thou art righteous,

Or gain if thou strivest to walk uprightly?

4 Will He reprove thee for thy fear of God,

Will He go with thee into judgment?

5 Is not thy wickedness great,

Thine iniquities infinite?

The verb סכן, in the signification to be profitable, is peculiar to the book of Job (although also סכן and סכנת elsewhere, according to its primary signification, does not differ from מועיל, מועילה, by which it is explained by Kimchi); the correct development of the notion of this verb is to be perceived from the Hiph., which occurs in Job 21:21 in this speech of Eliphaz (vid., Ges. Thes.): it signifies originally, like שׁכן, Arab. skn, to rest, dwell, especially to dwell beside one another, then to become accustomed to one another (comp. שׁכן, a neighbour, and Arab. sakanun, a friend, confidant), and to assist one another, to be serviceable, to be profitable; we can say both סכנתּי, I have profit, Job 34:9, and סכן, it is profitable, Job 15:3; Job 35:3, here twice with a personal subj., and first followed by ל, then with the על usual also elsewhere in later prose (e.g., טוב על, 1 Chronicles 13:2, comp. supra, Job 10:3, to be pleasant) and poetry, which gladly adopts Aramaisms (as here and Psalm 16:6, שׁפר על, well-pleased), instead of ל, whence here עלימו, as Job 20:23, pathetic for עליו. The question, which is intended as a negative, is followed by the negative answer (which establishes its negative meaning) with כּי; משׂכּיל is, like Psalm 14:2, the intelligent, who wills and does what is good, with an insight into the nature of the extremes in morality, as in Proverbs 1:3 independent morality which rests not merely on blind custom is called מוסר השׂכל. היה חפץ ל, it is to the interest of any one (different from 1 Samuel 15:22, vid., on Job 21:21), and היה בצע ל, it is to the gain of any one (prop. the act of cutting, cutting off, i.e., what one tears in pieces), follow as synonyms of סכן. On the Aramaizing doubling of the first radical in the Hiph. תתּם (instead of תתם), vid., Ges. 67, rem. 8, comp. 3. It is translated an lucrum (ei) si integras facias vias tuas. The meaning of the whole strophe is mainly determined according to the rendering of המיּראתך (like המבינתך, Job 39:26, with Dech, and as an exception with Munach, not removed to the place of the Metheg; vid., Psalter, ii. 491, Anm. 1). If the suff. is taken objectively (from fear of thee), e.g., Hirz., we have the following line of thought: God is neither benefited by human virtue nor injured by human sin, so that when He corrects the sinner He is turning danger from himself; He neither rewards the godly because He is benefited by his piety, nor punishes the sinner because by his sinning he threatens Him with injury. Since, therefore, if God chastises a man, the reason of it is not to be found in any selfish purpose of God, it must be in the sin of the man, which is on its own account worthy of punishment. But the logical relation in which Job 22:5 stands to Job 22:4 does not suit this: perhaps from fear of thee ... ? no, rather because of thy many and great sins! Hahn is more just to this relation when he explains: "God has no personal profit to expect from man, so that, somewhat from fear, to prevent him from being injurious, He should have any occasion to torment him with sufferings unjustly." But if the personal profit, which is denied, is one that grows out of the piety of the man, the personal harm, which is denied as one which God by punishment will keep far from Himself, is to be thought of as growing out of the sin of the man; and the logical relation of Job 22:5 to Job 22:4 is not suited to this, for. Job 22:5 assigns the reason of the chastisement to the sin, and denies, as it runs, not merely any motive whatever in connection with the sin, but that the reason can lie in the opposite of sin, as it appears according to Job's assertion that, although guiltless, he is still suffering from the wrath of God.

Thus, then, the suff. of המיראתך is to be taken subjectively: on account of thy fear of God, as Eliphaz has used יראתך twice already, Job 4:6; Job 15:4. By this subjective rendering Job 22:4 and Job 22:5 form a true antithesis: Does God perhaps punish thee on account of thy fear of God? Does He go (on that account) with thee into judgment? No (it would be absurd to suppose that); therefore thy wickedness must be great (in proportion to the greatness of thy suffering), and thy misdeeds infinitely many. If we now look at what precedes, we shall have to put aside the thought drawn into Job 22:2 and Job 22:3 by Ewald (and also by Hahn): whether God, perhaps with the purpose of gaining greater advantage from piety, seeks to raise it by unjustly decreed suffering; for this thought has nothing to indicate it, and is indeed certainly false, but on account of the force of truth which lies in it (there is a decreeing of suffering for the godly to raise their piety) is only perplexing.

First of all, we must inquire how it is that Eliphaz begins his speech thus. All the exhortations to penitence in which the three exhaust themselves, rebound from Job without affecting him. Even Eliphaz, the oldest among them, full of a lofty, almost prophetic consciousness, has with the utmost solicitude allured and terrified him, but in vain. And it is the cause of God which he brings against him, or rather his own well-being that he seeks, without making an impression upon him. Then he reminds him that God is in Himself the all-sufficient One; that no advantage accrues to Him from human uprightness, since His nature, existing before and transcending all created things, can suffer neither diminution nor increase from the creature; that Job therefore, since he remains inaccessible to that well-meant call to penitent humiliation, has refused not to benefit Him, but himself; or, what is the reverse side of this thought (which is not, however, expressed), that he does no injury to Him, only to himself. And yet in what except in Job's sin should this decree of suffering have its ground? If it is a self-contradiction that God should chastise a man because he fears Him, there must be sin on the side of Job; and indeed, since the nature of the sin is to be measured according to the nature of the suffering, great and measureless sin. This logical necessity Eliphaz now regards as real, without further investigation, by opening out this bundle of sins in the next strophe, and reproaching Job directly with that which Zophar, Job 20:19-21, aiming at Job, has said of the רשׁע. In the next strophe he continues, with כי explic.:

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