Job 22:24
Then shall you lay up gold as dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.
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(24) The gold of Ophir.—And, moreover, that the wealth for which he was so famous among the children of the East was the accumulation of iniquity and wrong-doing. The sense probably is, “Put thy treasure on a level with the dust, and the gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks”: that is, reckon it of no more value than such stones; do not set thine heart upon it. The situation of Ophir has always been a matter of dispute. Josephus placed it in India (Antt. viii. 6, § 4), as do some moderns; others suppose it to have been an Indian colony in Southern Arabia, and others have placed it on the east coast of Africa.

Job 22:24-25. Then shalt thou lay up gold — The word בצר, batzer, here rendered gold, is a word of dubious meaning. R. Levi, indeed, makes it parallel to zahab, gold: Ab. Ezra, to cheseph, silver. “In Arabic,” says Chappelow, “it sometimes signifies some particular stones, diversified with white lines. And this, perhaps, is the true sense of the term.” As dust — In great abundance. Or, as על עפר, gnal gnaphar, rather means, upon the dust, or ground. It shall be so plentiful, and therefore vile, that thou shalt not lock it up in chests, but scatter it anywhere, and suffer it to lie, even upon the ground; as the stones of the brook — As if pieces of gold were but so many pebble-stones, which are to be found in or near every brook. Yea, the Almighty shall be thy defence — Against the incursions of neighbouring spoilers: thy wealth shall not then lie exposed, as it did to Sabeans and Chaldeans; God, by his watchful providence, shall protect thee from all dangers and calamities. And thou shalt have plenty of silver — The Hebrew, כסŠ תועפות, cheseph tognapoth, is literally, argentum virium tibi, or, the strength of silver shall be to thee: that is, shall by God’s blessing be thy defence, Ecclesiastes 7:12; or, as the phrase may be rendered, silver of heights, that is, high and heaped up like a mountain, Henry very properly calls our attention here to the margin, which reads gold instead of defence in the former clause of the verse, the original word being the same with that rendered gold, Job 22:24. Thus interpreted the sense is, The Almighty shall be thy gold, and silver of strength to thee; which translation is perfectly agreeable to the Hebrew. On this the same pious author observes, “Worldlings make gold their god; saints make God their gold: they that are enriched with his favour and grace may truly be said to have abundance of the best gold, and best laid up.”22:21-30 The answer of Eliphaz wrongly implied that Job had hitherto not known God, and that prosperity in this life would follow his sincere conversion. The counsel Eliphaz here gives is good, though, as to Job, it was built upon a false supposition that he was a stranger and enemy to God. Let us beware of slandering our brethren; and if it be our lot to suffer in this manner, let us remember how Job was treated; yea, how Jesus was reviled, that we may be patient. Let us examine whether there may not be some colour for the slander, and walk watchfully, so as to be clear of all appearances of evil.Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust - Margin, or, "on the dust." Dr. Good renders this, "Thou shalt then count thy treasure as dust" - implying that he would have much of it. Noyes, "Cast to the dust thy gold" - implying that he would throw his gold away as of no account, and put his dependence on God alone. Kim-chi, and, after him, Grotius, suppose that it means, "Thy gold thou shalt regard no more than dust, and gold of Ophir no more than the stones of the brook; God shall be to thee better than gold and silver." The editor of the Pictorial Bible supposes that there is here a distinct reference to the sources from which gold was for merly obtained, as being washed down among the stones of the brooks. The word rendered "gold" here בצר betser is from בצר bâtsar - to cut off, Psalm 76:12, and was properly applied to the ore of precious metals in the rude state, as cut or dug out of mines.

Hence, it properly refers to the metals in their crude state, and before they were subjected to the fire. Then it comes to mean precious metals, and is parallel with gold of Ophir in the other hemistich. The word occurs only in the following places; Job 22:24; Job 36:19, where it is rendered "gold," and Job 22:25, where it is rendered "defense." The literal translation here would be, "Cast to the dust the precious metals; on the stones of the brooks (the gold of) Ophir." The Vulgate renders it, "He shall give for earth flint, and for flint golden torrents." The Septuagint, "Thou shalt be placed on a mount in a rock, and as a rock of the torrent of Ophir." Chaldaen: "And thou shalt place upon the dust thy strong tower תקיף כרך, and as a rock of the torrents the gold of Ophir." The word here is probably synonymous with "precious treasure," whether consisting in gold or silver; and the idea is, that he should cast to the dust all that treasure, or regard it as valueless; that he should cease to make it an object of solicitude to gain it, and "then" the Almighty would be to him a treasure of more value than gold. According to this, the idea is, not that he would be recompensed with gold and silver as the consequence of returning to God, but that God would afford him more happiness than he had found in the wealth which he had sought, and on which Eliphaz supposed his heart had been set. He regarded Job as covetous of property, as mourning over that which he had lost, and he entreats him now to cease to grieve on account of that, and to come and put his trust in God.

And the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks - Or, rather, "Cast the gold of Ophir to the stones of the valley, or let it remain in its native valley among the stones of the brook, as of no more value than they are." There is, probably, allusion here to the fact, that gold was then commonly found in such places, as it is often now. It was washed down by mountain torrents, and lodged among the stones of the valley, and was thence collected, and the sand being washed out, the gold remained. Ophir is uniformly mentioned in the Scriptures as a place abounding in gold, and as well known; see 1 Kings 9:28; 2 Chronicles 8:18; 2 Chronicles 9:10; 1 Kings 10:11; 1 Kings 22:48; 1 Chronicles 29:4. Much perplexity has been felt in reference to its situation, and the difficulty has not been entirely removed. In regard to the opinions which have been held on the point, the reader may consult the notes at Isaiah 13:12, the note in the Pictorial Bible on 2 Chronicles 20:36, and the Dissertation of Martin Lipenius "de Ophir," in Ugolin's Thesaur. Sacr. Ant. Tom. vii. pp. 262-387; also, the Dissertation of John C. Wichmanshausen, "de navigatione Ophiritica," and Reland's Dissertation "de Ophir" in the same volume. From the mention of this place at a period so early as the time of Job, it is reasonable to suppose that it was not a very remote region, as there is no evidence that voyages were made then to distant countries, or that the knowledge of geography was very extensive. The presumption would be, that it was in the vicinity of Arabia.

24. Rather, containing the protasis from the last clause of Job 22:23, "If thou regard the glittering metal as dust"; literally, "lay it on on the dust"; to regard it of as little value as the dust on which it lies. The apodosis is at Job 22:25, Then shall the Almighty be, &c. God will take the place of the wealth, in which thou didst formerly trust.

gold—rather, "precious" or "glittering metal," parallel to "(gold) of Ophir," in the second clause [Umbreit and Maurer].

Ophir—derived from a Hebrew word "dust," namely, gold dust. Heeren thinks it a general name for the rich countries of the South, on the African, Indian, and especially the Arabian coast (where was the port Aphar. El Ophir, too, a city of Oman, was formerly the center of Arabian commerce). It is curious that the natives of Malacca still call their mines Ophirs.

stones of the brooks—If thou dost let the gold of Ophir remain in its native valley among the stones of the brooks; that is, regard it as of little worth as the stones, &c. The gold was washed down by mountain torrents and lodged among the stones and sand of the valley.

Gold; solid or choice gold, as the word signifies.

As dust, i.e. in great abundance. Or, upon the dust, or ground; it shall be so plentiful, and therefore vile, that thou shalt not lock it up in chests and treasuries, but scatter it any where, and let it lie even upon the ground.

As the stones of the brook; as plentifully as if the places of gold were but so many pebble stones, which are to be found in and near every brook. Or, for the stones, i.e. instead of them. Or, in the rock, or among the rocks: gold shall be so abundant, that thou mayst lay it any where, even upon or among the rocks. Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust,.... Have such plenty of it, as not to be counted:

and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks; which was reckoned the best, probably in Arabia; not in the East and West Indies, which were not known to Job; though some take this to be an exhortation to despise riches, and as a dissuasion from covetousness, rendering the words, "put gold upon the dust", or earth (i), and trample upon it, as a thing not esteemed by thee, as Sephorno interprets it; make no more account of it than of the dust of the earth; let it be like dirt unto thee, "and among the stones of the brooks", Ophir (k); that is, the gold of Ophir, reckon no more of it, though the choicest gold, than the stones of the brook; or thus, "put gold for dust, and the gold of Ophir for the flint of the brooks" (l); esteem it no more than the dust of the earth, or as flint stones; the latter clause I should choose rather to render, "and for a flint the rivers of Ophir", or the golden rivers, from whence the gold of Ophir was; and it is notorious from historians, as Strabo (m) and others, that gold is taken out of rivers; and especially from the writers of the history of the West Indies (n).

(i) "pone aurum super pulverem", Codurcus; "in pulvere aurum", Cocceius; "abjice humi aurum", Beza; so Grotius. (k) "et inter saxa torrentium Ophir", Codurcus. (l) "Pro rupe aurum Ophirinum", Junius & Tremellius; so Schultens. (m) Geograph. l. 11. p. 344. (n) Pet. Martyr. Decad. 3. l. 4.

Then shalt thou lay up gold as {s} dust, and the gold of Ophir as the stones of the brooks.

(s) Which will be in abundance like dust.

24, 25. These verses read,

24.  And lay thou thy treasure in the dust,

And gold of Ophir among the stones of the brooks;

25.  Then shall the Almighty be thy treasure,

And silver in plenty unto thee.

The word rendered “treasure” means properly ore. The expression “silver in plenty” is obscure, meaning perhaps “silver in bars,” a phrase which may signify “precious” rather than plentiful silver. The word occurs again, Numbers 23:22; Numbers 24:8, of the “horns” of the “unicorn” (wild-ox), and in Psalm 95:4, of something pertaining to mountains, probably the “towering heights.” The Arabic poets compare the glittering peaks of distant mountains suddenly appearing to gleaming swords brandished upright. The word seems to express the idea of rising up in great length. Most interpreters think of bars of silver; the A. V. has uniformly strength, as here in marg.

Eliphaz exhorts Job to fling earthly treasures away from him, making God his treasure. Comp. the reply of Job, ch. Job 31:24-25.Verse 24. - Then shalt thou lay up gold as dust; rather, then shalt thou lay thy treasure in the dust; i.e. hold it in slight esteem, because of its abundance. And the gold of Ophir (literally, and Ophir) shall be to thee as the stones of the brooks, (comp. 2 Chronicles 9:27, "And the king [i.e. Solomon] made silver in Jerusalem as stones"). "Ophir" stands, no doubt, for untold wealth, being the great gold- producing country (see 1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:11; 1 Kings 22:48; 1 Chronicles 29:41; Psalm 45:9; Isaiah 13:12). (On its location, see the article on "Ophir," in Smith's 'Dict. of the Bible,' vol 2. pp. 637-652, and compare the comment on Job 28:16.) 15 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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