Job 22:16
Which were cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:
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(16) Which were cut down out of time.—Or, which were snatched away before their time. It is generally supposed that there is an allusion here to the history of the Flood; if so, the reference is of course very important in its bearing on the age of that record, since the Book of Job can hardly fail to be very old itself.

Whose foundation was overflown with a flood.—Or, upon whose foundation a stream was poured out; or, whose foundation became as a flowing stream; or, whose foundation is like a flowing stream: that is, their principles are infectious, and bear all before them.

22:15-20 Eliphaz would have Job mark the old way that wicked men have trodden, and see what the end of their way was. It is good for us to mark it, that we may not walk therein. But if others are consumed, and we are not, instead of blaming them, and lifting up ourselves, as Eliphaz does here, we ought to be thankful to God, and take it for a warning.Which were cut down - Who were suddenly destroyed by a flood. On the word used here (קמט qâmaṭ) see the notes at Job 16:8. It occurs only in that place and this. Its primary notion is that of drawing together or contracting - as the feet of a lamb or calf are drawn together and tied preparatory to being killed; and the meaning here is, probably, "who were huddled together by the waters," or who were driven in heaps by the deluge, so rapidly and suddenly did it come upon them.

Out of time - Hebrew "And there was no time;" that is, it was done in a moment, or suddenly. No time was given them; no delay was granted. The floods rushed over them, and nothing could stay them.

Whose foundation was overflown - Margin, or, "a flood was poured upon their foundation." That is, all on which they relied was swept away. The word "foundation" refers to that on which their happiness and security rested, as a house rests on its foundation, and when that is swept away the house falls.

With a flood - Hebrew (נהר nâhâr) "river." The word is commonly applied to a river; and in the Scriptures, by way of eminence, to the Euphrates; see Isaiah 7:20, note; Isaiah 8:7, note. It may be used, however, to denote a river which is swollen, and then a flood - and it is several times rendered "flood" in the Scriptures; Job 14:11; Jonah 2:3 (where it means the sea); Joshua 24:2-3, Joshua 24:14-15; Psalm 66:6; Job 28:11; Psalm 24:2; Psalm 93:3; Sol 8:7. Prof. Lee supposes that the allusion here is to some overflowing of the Euphrates, but the reference seems to be decidedly to the deluge in the time of Noah. The "language" is such as would be used in referring to that, and the fact is just such an one as would be pertinent to the argument of Eliphaz. The fact was undoubtedly well known to all, so that a bare allusion to it would be enough.

16. cut down—rather, "fettered," as in Job 16:8; that is, arrested by death.

out of time—prematurely, suddenly (Job 15:32; Ec 7:17); literally, "whose foundation was poured out (so as to become) a stream or flood." The solid earth passed from beneath their feet into a flood (Ge 7:11).

Out of time, i.e. before their time; who died a violent and untimely death.

Whose foundation was overflown with a flood; who, together with their foundation, to wit, the earth, and all their supports and enjoyments in it, were destroyed by the general deluge; which doubtless was very well known to them, because they lived not long after it; and which was most proper for this argument. Or,

whose foundation, i.e. all their power, and riches, and policy, upon which they build all their hopes and happiness, was like a flood poured forth; which made a great show and noise for a time, but speedily vanished and came to nothing.

Which were cut down out of time,.... Sent out of time into eternity, time being no more with men, and they no longer in time, when death seizes upon them; or "before time" (a), before the common term of life, which, according to the course of nature, and human probability, they might have arrived unto: as this is spoken of the men of the old world that lived before the flood, when the lives of men were very long, it is highly probable there, were many that were destroyed by the general deluge, who, had it not for that, might have lived many hundreds of years, according to the usual course: or "without time" (b), without any delay suddenly, at once, at an unawares; for, though they had notice of the flood, they did not regard it, but lived careless and secure; and it came upon them without any further warning, and swept them away, when they were "cut down", as trees by the axe laid to the root of them, to which wicked, men in great power and flourishing circumstances are sometimes compared, Psalm 37:35; or like grass by the scythe, which it is not able to resist, and to which all men are like for their numbers and weaknesses, and who are cut down by death as easily as the grass is by the mower, see Psalm 37:1. Some render it "wrinkled" (c), as in Job 16:8; as bodies when dead are, and especially such as are drowned, and have been long floating in the water, as those that perished by the flood were, for to such the words have respect, as appears by what follows:

whose foundation was overflown with a flood; either of water, or of fire and brimstone, as Jarchi observes; the former is most likely to be meant; for by the flood, or universal deluge, all that was thought firm and permanent, and might be called a foundation, was overflown and carried away, as houses, goods, furniture, wealth, and riches, and everything that men had a dependence upon for the support and comfort of life; yea, the earth itself, on which they dwelt, and was reckoned "terra firma", this being founded upon, and over the waters; or, as the Apostle Peter describes it, "it standing out of the water and in the water", 2 Peter 3:5; or "their foundation was a flood poured out" (d); what they thought were solid, and firm, and durable, and built their hopes of happiness upon, were like a flood of water, poured, dissipated, and scattered, and which disappeared and came to nothing: and such is every foundation that a man builds his hope, especially of eternal happiness, upon, short of Christ, the only sure foundation laid in Zion, his person, grace, blood, and righteousness; everything else, let it seem ever so firm, is as sand, yea, as water, as a flood of water that spreads itself, and quickly comes to nothing.

(a) "ante tempus suum", V. L. Mercerus; "ante tempus", Cocceius, Schultens. (b) "Sine mora", Cocceius; "in momento", Codurcus. (c) "corrugati sunt", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Bolducius, Cocceius. (d) "fundamentum eorum ut flumen diffluxit", Tigurine version; "fluvius effusus fundamentum eorum", Codurcus, Beza; to the same sense Drusius, Mercerus, Cocceius, Schultens.

Which were {l} cut down out of time, whose foundation was overflown with a flood:

(l) He proves God's providence by the punishment of the wicked, whom he takes away before they can bring their wicked purposes to pass.

16. out of time] i. e. before their time, prematurely, by the judgment of God for their sin. Comp. Job 15:32.

whose foundation was overthrown] lit. whose foundation was poured away and became a flood—that on which they stood became a flood in which they sank. The reference is probably to the Deluge, though others, e.g. Ewald, think of the Cities of the Plain.

Verse 16. - Which were cut down (rather, swept or snatched away) out of time; i.e. before their time, prematurely. Whose foundation was overflown with a flood. Some suppose an allusion to the general destruction of mankind by the Noachian Deluge; but perhaps no more is meant than that the supports of the wicked are ordinarily loosened and carried away by a flood of calamity. No single event need be referred to. Job 22:1615 Wilt thou observe the way of the ancient world,

Which evil men have trodden,

16 Who were withered up before their time,

Their foundation was poured out as a stream,

17 Who said unto God: Depart from us!

And what can the Almighty do to them?

18 And notwithstanding He had filled their houses with good-

The counsel of the wicked be far from me!

While in Psalm 139:24 דרך עולם prospectively signifies a way of eternal duration (comp. Ezekiel 26:20, עם עולם, of the people who sleep the interminably long sleep of the grave), ארח עולם signifies here retrospectively the way of the ancient world, but not, as in Jeremiah 6:16; Jeremiah 18:15, the way of thinking and acting of the pious forefathers which put their posterity to shame, but of a godless race of the ancient world which stands out as a terrible example to posterity. Eliphaz asks if Job will observe, i.e., keep (שׁמר as in Psalm 18:22), this way trodden by people (מתי, comp. אנשׁי, Job 34:36) of wickedness. Those worthless ones were withered up, i.e., forcibly seized and crushed, ולא־עת, when it was not yet time (ולא after the manner of a circumstantial clause: quum nondum, as Psalm 139:16), i.e., when according to God's creative order their time was not yet come. On קמּטוּ,

(Note: This קמטו, according to the Masora, is the middle word of the book of Job (חצי הספר).)

vid., on Job 16:8; lxx correctly, συνελήφθησαν ἄωροι, nevertheless συλλαμβάνειν is too feeble as a translation of קמט; for as Arab. qbṣ signifies to take with the tip of the finer, whereas Arab. qbḍ signifies to take with the whole bent hand, so קמט, in conformity to the dull, emphatic final consonant, signifies "to bind firmly together." In Job 22:16 יוּצק is not perf. Pual for יצּק (Ew. 83, b), for this exchange, contrary to the law of vowels, of the sharp form with the lengthened form is without example; it must at least have been written יוּצּק (comp. Judges 18:29). It is fut. Hoph., which, according to Job 11:15, might be יצּק; here, however, it is with a resolving, not assimilation, of the Jod, as in Leviticus 21:10. The fut. has the signification of the imperfect which it acquires in an historic connection. It is not to be translated: their place became a stream which has flowed away (Hirz.), for the היה which would be required by such an interpretation could not be omitted; also not: flumen effusum est in fundamentum eorum (Rosenm., Hahn, and others), which would be ליסודם, and would still be very liable to be misunderstood; also not: whose foundation was a poured-out stream (Umbr., Olsh.), for then there would be one attributive clause inserted in the other; but: their solid ground became fluid like a stream (Ew., Hlgst., Schlottm.), so that נהר, after the analogy of the verbs with two accusative, Ges. 139, 2, is a so-called second acc. of the obj. which by the passive becomes a nominative (comp. Job 28:2), although it might also be an apposition of the following subj. placed first: a stream (as such, like such a one) their solid ground was brought into a river; the ground on which they and their habitations stood was placed under water and floated away: without doubt the flood is intended; reference to this perfectly accords with the patriarchal pre-and extra-Israelitish standpoint of the book of Job; and the generation of the time of the flood (דור המבול) is accounted in the holy scriptures of the Old and New Testament as a paragon of godlessness, the contemporaries of Noah are the απειθοῦντες, סוררים, κατ ̓ ἐξοχήν (comp. 1 Peter 3:20 with Psalm 68:19).

Accordingly they are now here also further described (Job 22:17) as those who said to God, "Depart from us," and what could the Almighty do to them (למו instead of לנוּ, which was to be expected, since, as in Job 19:28, there is a change from the oratio directa to obliqua)! Olshausen explains with Hahn: "with respect to what thou sayest: and what then does the Almighty do to them (for it)? He fills their houses with prosperity, while the counsel of the wicked is far from me (notwithstanding I am unfortunate)." But this explanation is as forced (since ומה without a אמרת or תאמר standing with it is taken as the word of Job) as it is contrary to the syntax (since the circumstantial clause with והוא is not recognised, and on the other hand ועצת וגו, instead of which it ought at least to have been וּממּנּי וגו, is regarded as such an one). No indeed, just this is an exceedingly powerful effect, that Eliphaz describes those godless ones who dismiss God with סור ממנו, to whom, according to Job's assertion, Job 21:13., undimmed prosperity is portioned out, by referring to a memorable fact as that which has fallen under the strict judgment of God; and that with the very same words with which Job, Job 21:16, declines communion with such prosperous evil-doers: "the counsel of the wicked be far from me," he will have nothing more to do, not with the wicked alone, but, with a side glance at Job, even with those who place themselves on a level with them by a denial of the just government of God in the world. פּעל ל, as the following circumstantial clause shows, is intended like Psalm 68:29, comp. Job 31:20; Isaiah 26:12 : how can the Almighty then help or profit them? Thus they asked, while He had filled their houses with wealth - Eliphaz will have nothing to do with this contemptible misconstruction of the God who proves himself so kind to those who dwell below on the earth, but who, though He is rewarded with ingratitude, is so just. The truly godly are not terrified like Job 17:8, that retributive justice is not to be found in God's government of the world; on the contrary, they rejoice over its actual manifestation in their own case, which makes them free, and therefore so joyous.

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