Job 22:30
He shall deliver the island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of your hands.
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(30) He shall deliver the island of the innocent is undoubtedly an error for He shall deliver him that is not innocent: that is, either God shall deliver, or the humble person, if that is the subject of the former clause; the humble-minded man would have saved them. “He would have delivered him that is not innocent; yea, even so shall he be delivered by the cleanness of thy hands,” as the ten righteous would have saved Sodom. It is remarkable that this, which is the last word of Eliphaz, has in it the significance of a prophecy, for it is exactly thus that the history of Job closes; and Eliphaz himself exemplified his own promise in being indebted to Job for the act of intercession by which he was pardoned, together with his friends; Job 42:8-9.

Job 22:30. He — Whose prerogative it is to give deliverances; shall deliver — Namely, upon thy request, as the following clause shows; the island of the innocent — Not only thyself, when thou shalt become innocent, or righteous, but, for thy sake, he will deliver the whole island, or country, in which thou dwellest: God will have so great a respect to thy innocence, that for thy sake he will deliver those that belong to thee, or live with thee, or near thee, though, in themselves, they be ripe for destruction. By the pureness of thy hands — By thy prayers, proceeding from a pure heart and conscience. So Eliphaz and his two friends, who, in this matter, were not innocent, were delivered by the pureness of Job’s hands, Job 42:8. 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.He shall deliver the island of the innocent - Margin, "the innocent shall deliver the island." Never was there a more unhappy translation than this; and it is quite clear that our translators had no intelligible idea of the meaning of the passage. What can be meant by "saving the island of the innocent?" The word rendered island (אי 'ı̂y) commonly means, indeed, an island, or a maritime country; see Isaiah 20:6, note. It is, however, used as a "negative" in 1 Samuel 4:21, in the name "I-chabod" - אי־כבוד 'ı̂y-kâbôd. "And she named the child I-chabod (margin, that is, "where is the glory?" or, there is "no glory"), saying, the glory is departed from Israel." This sense is frequent in the Rabbinic Hebrew, where it is used as connected with an adjective in a privative sense, like the English "un." It is probably an abbreviated form of (אין 'ayı̂n) "not, nothing;" and is used here as a "negative" to qualify the following word, "He shall deliver even him that is not innocent."

So it is rendered by the Chaldee, by Le Clerc, Rosenmuller, Gesenius, Noyes, and others. The Vulgate and the Septuagint render it, "He shall deliver the innocent." The sense is, that the man who returns to God, and who is regarded by him as his friend, will be able to intercede for the guilty, and to save them from the punishment which they deserved. His prayers and intercessions will be heard in their behalf, and on his account layouts will be shown to them, even when they did not personally deserve them. This sentiment accords with that expressed in Genesis 18:26, "If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes;" Ezekiel 14:14, "Though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job were in it, they should deliver but their own souls;" compare Ezekiel 22:30; Jeremiah 5:1. The sentiment, also, had a beautiful illustration, though one which Eliphaz did not here think of, in his own case and that of his friends, where this very Job, to whom he was giving this counsel, was directed to intercede for them; Job 42:7-8. The sentiment, indeed, is found every where in the Scriptures, that the righteous are permitted to pray for others, and that they are thus the means of bringing down important blessings on them. In answer to those prayers, multitudes are saved from calamity here, and will be brought to eternal life hereafter.

And it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands - Or, rather, he, i. e., the wicked, for whom you pray, will be delivered by the pureness of thine hands. That is, God will save him in answer to the prayers of a righteous man. Your upright and holy life; your pure hands stretched out in supplication, shall be the means of saving him. No one can tell how many blessings are conferred on wicked people because the righteous pray for them. No one can tell how many a wicked son is spared, and ultimately saved, in answer to the intercessions of a holy parent; nor can the wicked world yet know how much it owes its preservation, and the numberless blessings which it enjoys, to the intercessions of the saints. It is one of the innumerable blessings of being a child of God thus to be permitted to be the means of bringing down blessings on others, and saving sinners from ruin. All the friends of God may thus confer unspeakable benefits to others; and they who have "an interest at the throne of grace" should plead without ceasing for the salvation of guilty and dying people.

30. island—that is, "dwelling." But the Hebrew expresses the negative (1Sa 4:21); translate "Thus He (God) shall deliver him who was not guiltless," namely, one, who like Job himself on conversion shall be saved, but not because he was, as Job so constantly affirms of himself, guiltless, but because he humbles himself (Job 22:29); an oblique attack on Job, even to the last.

and it—Rather, "he (the one not heretofore guiltless) shall be delivered through the purity (acquired since conversion) of thy hands"; by thy intercession (as Ge 18:26, &c.). [Maurer]. The irony is strikingly exhibited in Eliphaz unconsciously uttering words which exactly answer to what happened at last: he and the other two were "delivered" by God accepting the intercession of Job for them (Job 42:7, 8).

He, i.e. God, as Job 22:29, whose prerogative it is to give deliverances.

Shall deliver, to wit, upon thy request, as the following clause showeth: God will hear thy prayers even for others, which is a great honour and comfort; and much more for thyself.

The island of the innocent; not only thyself, when thou shalt become innocent and pure, but for thy sake he will deliver the whole island (or country, that word being oft used not only for such lands or countries as were separated from Canaan by the sea, as is commonly observed, but also for such as were upon the same continent with it, as appears from Genesis 10:5 Psalm 72:10 97:1 Isaiah 41:5) in which thou dwellest. Or, the guilty, or him that is not innocent; for the word here rendered island is sometimes used for not, in Scripture, as 1 Samuel 4:21 Proverbs 31:4. So the sense is, God will have so great a respect to thy innocency and purity, that for thy sake he will deliver those that belong to thee, or live with thee, or near thee, though in themselves they be sinful creatures, and ripe for destruction. See Genesis 18:32.

It is delivered, to wit, the island; or, he, i.e. the guilty person.

By the pureness of thine hands, i.e. by thy prayers proceeding from a pure heart and conscience. When thou shalt lift up pure hands to God in prayer, as it is expressed, 1 Timothy 2:8; whereby as he asserts the prevalency of the righteous man’s prayers with God for mercy, both for himself and others; and by this argument he persuadeth Job to repentance; so withal he allegeth this as an argument or evidence that Job did not stretch out pure hands to God in prayer, as he pretended, because his prayers could not prevail for the preservation of himself or his children, and much less for others at a greater distance. He shall deliver the island of the innocent,.... But where is there such an island, an island of innocent persons? it seems to be better rendered by others, "the innocent shall deliver the island" (s): good men are sometimes, by their counsel and advice, and especially by their prayers, the means of delivering an island or country from ruin and destruction: but the word rendered "island" is a negative particle, as in 1 Samuel 4:21; and signifies "not"; and so in the Targum; which is

"a man that is not innocent shall be delivered:''

in like manner Jarchi interprets it, and so do Noldius (t) and others (u); and the sense is, that Job, for he is the person spoken of, as appears from the following clause, should not only be beneficial by his prayers, to humble and good men, but even to the wicked, such as were not innocent and free from fault and punishment, but guilty, and obnoxious to wrath and ruin; and yet such should escape it, at least for the present, through the prayers and intercession of Job; or God should do this for Job's sake and his prayers:

and it is, or "he is"

delivered by the pureness of thine hands; either by his good works, setting a good example, which, being followed, would be the means of the prevention of present ruin; or by his lifting up pure and holy hands in prayer to God for a sinful people; which God often attends to and hears, and so delivers them from destruction; as the Israelites were delivered through the prayer of Moses, when they had made the golden calf, and worshipped it; see Psalm 106:19; though sometimes God will not admit of an intercessor for such persons, Ezekiel 14:20.

(s) "innocens insulam liberabit", Montanus; so Pagninus, Vatablus. (t) Concordant. Ebr. Part. p. 25. No. 135. (u) "non innocentem", Drusius, Piscator, Michaelis; "non insontem", Schultens; to the same sense Beza, Mercerus, Codurcus, Junius, & Tremellius.

He shall deliver the {x} island of the innocent: and it is delivered by the pureness of thine hands.

(x) God will deliver a whole country from peril, even for the just man's sake.

30. the island of the innocent] Rather, him that is not innocent. Even others who are blameworthy shall be saved through Job’s intercession, because of the cleanness of his hands, for the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. The curious translation “island of the innocent” arose from confounding ’I, an unusual form of the privative particle “not,” with ’I, an island. This form of the privative appears occasionally in proper names as, I-chabod, “not glory” (inglorious). For and it is, better, yea, he shall be.

The charges of unrighteousness (Job 22:5-11) and ungodliness (Job 22:12-17), which Eliphaz allows himself to make against Job, furnish a singular illustration of the length to which good men will suffer their theoretical opinions in religion to carry them. His concluding words, however (Job 22:21-30), are conciliatory and humane, and not unworthy of the very aged and very devout speaker.Verse 30. - He shall deliver the island of the innocent; rather, he shall deliver even him that is not innocent (see the Revised Version). It is now generally admitted that אי in this place is for אין, as in 1 Samuel 4:21; Proverbs 31:4. The meaning seems to be that God will deliver, at Job's prayer, even guilty persons, who will be delivered by the pureness of Job's hands. Eliphaz thus prophesies his own deliverance and that of his two friends from God's wrath at the intercession of Job, as actually came to pass afterwards (see Job 42:7-9).

If he return to the Almighty (שׁוּב עד as freq., e.g., Isaiah 19:22, comp. Isaiah 45:24, instead of the otherwise usual שׁוב אל, of thorough and complete conversion), he will be built up again, by his former prosperity being again raised from its ruins. בּנה, to build, always according to the connection, has at one time the idea of building round about, continuing to build, or finishing building (vid., on Job 20:19); at another of building up again (Job 12:14; Isaiah 58:12), referred to persons, the idea of increasing prosperity (Malachi 3:15), or of the restoration of ruined prosperity (Jeremiah 24:6; Jeremiah 33:7), here in the latter sense. The promissory תּבּנה is surrounded by conditional clauses, for Job 22:23 (comp. Job 11:14) is a second conditional clause still under the government of אם, which is added for embellishment; it opens the statement of that in which penitence must be manifested, if it is to be thorough. The lxx translates ἐὰν δὲ ἐπιστραφῇς καὶ ταπεινώσῃς, i.e., תּענה, which Ewald considers as the original; the omission of the אם (which the poet otherwise in such connections has formerly heaped up, e.g., Job 8:5., Job 11:13) is certainly inconvenient. And yet we should not on that account like to give up the figure indicated in תבנה, which is so beautiful and so suited to our poet. The statement advanced in the latter conditional clause is then continued in Job 22:24 in an independent imperative clause, which the old versions regard as a promise instead of exhortation, and therefore grossly misinterpret. The Targ. translates: and place on the dust a strong city (i.e., thou shalt then, where there is now nothing but dust, raise up such), as if בּצר could be equivalent to בּצּרון or מבצר, - a rendering to which Saadia at least gives a turn which accords with the connection: "regard the stronghold (Arab. 'l-ḥṣn) as dust, and account as the stones of the valleys the gold of Ophir;" better than Eichhorn: "pull down thy stronghold of violence, and demolish (הפיר) the castles of thy valleys." On the other hand, Gecatilia, who understands בצר proportionately more correctly of treasures, translates it as a promise: so shalt thou inherit treasures (Arab. dchâyr) more numerous than dust, and gold ore (Arab. tbr') (more than) the stones of the valleys; and again also Rosenm. (repones prae pulvere argentum) and Welte interpret Job 22:24 as a promise; whereas other expositors, who are true to the imperative שׁית, explain שׁית ni aestimare, and על־עפר pulveris instar (Grot., Cocc., Schult., Dathe, Umbr.), by falsely assigning to על here, as to ל elsewhere, a meaning which it never has anywhere; how blind, on the other hand, since the words in their first meaning, pone super pulverem, furnish an excellent thought which is closely connected with the admonition to rid one's self of unjust possessions. בּצר, like Arab. tibr (by which Abulwalid explains it), is gold and silver ore, i.e., gold and silver as they are broken out of the mine, therefore (since silver is partially pure, gold almost pure, and always containing more or less silver) the most precious metal in its pure natural state before being worked, and consequently also unalloyed (comp. Arab. nḍı̂r and nuḍâr, which likewise signifies aurum argentumve nativum, but not ab excidendo, but a nitore); and "to lay in the dust" is equivalent to, to part with a thing as entirely worthless and devoid of attraction. The meaning is therefore: put away from thee the idol of previous metal with contempt (comp. Isaiah 2:20), which is only somewhat differently expressed in the parallel: lay the Ophir under the quartz (וּבצוּר agreeing with בצר) of the brooks (such as is found in the beds of empty wdys), i.e., place it under the rubble, after it has lost for thee its previous bewitching spell. As cloth woven from the filaments of the nettle is called muslin, from Mossul, and cloth with figures on it "damask, דּמשׁק" (Amos 3:12), from Damascus,

(Note: We leave it undecided whether in a similar manner silk has its name μέταξα (μάταξα), Armenian metaks, Aramaic מטכסא, מטקסין, from Damascus (Ewald and Friedr. Mller).)

and aloes-wood Arab. mndl, from Coromandel; so the gold from Ophir, i.e., from the coast of the Abhra, on the north coast of the Runn (Old Indian Irina, i.e., Salt Sea), east of the mouth of the Indus,

(Note: Thus אופיר has been explained by Lassen in his pamphlet de Pentapotamia, and his Indische Alterthumskunde (i. 539). The lxx (Cod. Vat.) and Theodot. have Σωφείρ, whence Ges. connects Ophir with Arrian's Οὔππαρα and Edrisi's Sufra in Guzerat, especially since Sofir is attested as the Coptic name for India. The matter is still not settled.)

is directly called אופיר. When Job thus casts from him temporal things, by the excessive cherishing of which he has hitherto sinned, then God himself will be his imperishable treasure, his everlasting higher delight. He frees himself from temporal בּצר; and the Almighty, therefore the absolute personality of God himself, will be to him instead of it בּצרים, gold as from the mine, in rich abundance. This is what the contrast of the plur. (בצרך without Jod plur. is a false reading) with the sing. implies; the lxx, Syriac version, Jerome, and Arabic version err here, since they take the בּ of בּצריך as a preposition.

The ancient versions and lexicographers furnish no explanation of תּועפות. The Targ. translates it תּקוף רוּמא, and accordingly it is explained by both חסן (strength) and גבה (height), without any reason being assigned for these significations. In the passage before us the lxx transl. ἀργύριον πεπυρωμένον from עף, in the Targum signification to blow, forge; the Syriac versions, argentum computationum (חושׁבנין), from עף in the Targum-Talmudic signification to double ( equals Hebr. כפל). According to the usage of the language in question, יעף, from the Hiph. of which תועפות is formed, signifies to become feeble, to be wearied; but even if, starting from the primary notion, an available signification is attained for the passage before us (fatigues equals toilsome excitement, synon. יגיע) and Psalm 95:4 (climbings equals heights), the use of the word in the most ancient passages citable, Numbers 23:22; Numbers 24:8, כּתועפת ראם לו, still remains unexplained; for here the notion of being incapable of fatigue, invincibility, or another of the like kind, is required, without any means at hand for rightly deriving it from יעף, to become feeble, especially as the radical signification anhelare supposed by Gesenius (comp. און from the root אן) is unattested. Accordingly, we must go back to the root וף, יף, discussed on Psalm 95:4, which signifies to rise aloft, to be high, and from which יפע, or with a transposition of the consonants יעף (comp. עיף and יעף), acquires the signification of standing out, rising radiantly, shining afar off, since יעף, to become weary, is allied to the Arab. wgf, fut. i; this יעף (יפע), on the other hand, to Arab. yf', ascendere, adolescere, Arab. wf‛, elatum, adultum esse, and Arab. wfâ, eminere, and tropically completum, perfectum esse. Thus we obtain the signification enimentiae for תועפות. In Psalm 95:4, as a numerical plur., it signifies the towerings (tops) of the mountains, and here, as in the passages cited from Numbers, either prominent, eminent attributes, or as an intensive plur. excellence; whence, agreeing with Ewald, we have translated "silver of the brightest lustre" (comp. יפעה, eminentia, splendor, Ezekiel 28:7).

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