Job 26:3
How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?
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(3) The thing as it is?—Rather, How hast thou plentifully declared sound knowledge?

Job 26:3. How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? — Me, whom thou takest to be void of understanding, and whom, therefore, thou oughtest to have instructed with wholesome counsels, instead of those impertinent discourses which thou hast delivered. But, as the words, him that hath, are not in the original, the text would be better rendered, Why dost thou counsel without wisdom? And how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? — And the essence, truth, or substance, (so the word ותושׁיה, vethushiah, signifies,) namely, of the thing in question between us, in abundance thou hast made known; thou hast spoken the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and all that can be said in the matter! A most wise and profound discourse thou hast made, and much to the purpose! An ironical expression as before. But the word לרב, la-rob, which we translate, plentifully, or, in abundance, may be read, la-rib, to contention: and then the clause will bear a clearer sense, thus: Why dost thou discover truth or wisdom for the sake of contention?

26:1-4 Job derided Bildad's answer; his words were a mixture of peevishness and self-preference. Bildad ought to have laid before Job the consolations, rather than the terrors of the Almighty. Christ knows how to speak what is proper for the weary, Isa 50:4; and his ministers should not grieve those whom God would not have made sad. We are often disappointed in our expectations from our friends who should comfort us; but the Comforter, the Holy Ghost, never mistakes, nor fails of his end.How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? - As he had undertaken to give counsel to another, and to suggest views that might be adapted to elevate his mind in his depression, and to console him in his sorrows, he had a right to expect more than he had found in his speech.

And how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? - The word rendered "the thing as it is" (תשׁיה tûshı̂yâh) denotes properly a setting upright, uprightness - from ישׁה yāshah; then help, deliverance, Job 6:13; purpose, undertaking, enterprise, Job 5:12; then counsel, wisdom, understanding, Job 11:6; Job 12:16. Here it is synonymous with reason, wisdom, or truth. The word rendered "plentifully" (לרב larôb) means "for multitude," or abundantly, and the sense here is, that Bildad had made extraordinary pretensions to wisdom, and that this was the result. This short, irrelevant speech was all; a speech that communicated nothing new, and that met none of the real difficulties of the case.

3. plentifully … the thing as it is—rather, "abundantly—wisdom." Bildad had made great pretensions to abundant wisdom. How has he shown it? Him that hath no wisdom; either,

1. God: thou hast in effect undertaken to teach God how to govern the world. Or rather,

2. Me, whom you take to be a man void of understanding, Job 11:2,3, whom therefore you should have instructed with wholesome counsels, instead of these impertinent discourses; and who indeed do want wisdom, being perfectly at a loss, and not knowing what to say or do.

The thing as it is, Heb. essence, the truth and substance of the thing in question between us; thou hast spoken the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, and all t can be said in the matter. Or,

wisdom, as this word is used, Proverbs 3:21. A most wise and profound discourse thou hast made, and much to the purpose: an ironical expression, as before.

How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom?.... A man deprived of wisdom has need of counsel, and it should be given him; and he does well both to ask and take it; and be it so, as if Job should say, that I am the foolish and unwise creature you take me to be, what counsel and advice have you given me? what a wise counsellor have you shown yourself to be? or rather, what a miserable part have you acted under this character?

and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is? the thing in controversy, set it forth in a clear light, and in a copious manner, when he had not said one word about it, namely, concerning the afflictions of the godly, and the prosperity of the wicked; thus jeering at him, and laughing at the short reply he had made, and which was nothing to the purpose.

How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? and how hast thou plentifully declared the thing as it is?
3. plentifully declared the thing as it is] Rather, plentifully, or, abundantly, declared knowledge, or, wisdom. The word is that which occurs in ch. Job 5:12; see notes. “Him that is without power,” “that hath no wisdom” &c., is of course Job himself; and he expresses his admiration of the contribution made by Bildad to the clearing up of his perplexities and the solution of the riddle of his life. It is not quite clear whether Job means to say: “I am weak and unnerved, perplexed and ignorant, and how mightily in all this thou hast helped me!” or, whether he is not thinking with Bildad’s mind and giving bitter expression to the thoughts which that speaker doubtless entertained of his own performance, and of the effect it should have on the person whom he addressed: “Doubtless thou hast abundantly instructed and strengthened the weak and ignorant man before thee!” The former sense is the more natural, the other fits better into connexion with Job 26:4.

Verse 3. - How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom? What counsel or advice is there in anything that thou hast said, by following which I might be benefited? Admitting my own want of wisdom, how hast thou bettered my case? And how hast thou plenteously declared the thing as it is? rather, How hast thou plenteously declared sound knowledge? What can there be said to have been in the way of sound knowledge, or good practical common sense (חוּשִׁיָה), in the discourse which thou hast addressed to me? - a discourse made up of truisms. Job 26:3Instead of the appellation מרומיו, which reminds one of Isaiah 24:21, - where a like peacemaking act of judgment on the part of God is promised in reference to the spirit-host of the heights that have been working seductively among the nations on earth, - גּדוּדיו, of similar meaning to צבאיו, used elsewhere, occurs in this verse. The stars, according to biblical representation, are like an army arrayed for battle, but not as after the Persian representation - as an army divided into troops of the Ahuramazd and Angramainyus (Ahriman), but a standing army of the children of light, clad in the armour of light, under the guidance of the one God the Creator (Isaiah 40:26, comp. the anti-dualistic assertion in Isaiah 45:7). The one God is the Lord among these numberless legions, who commands their reverence, and maintains unity among them; and over whom does not His light arise? Umbr. explains: who does not His light, which He communicates to the hosts of heaven, vanquish (קוּם על in the usual warlike meaning: to rise against any one); but this is a thought that is devoid of purpose in this connection. אורהו with the emphatic suff. hu (as Job 24:23, עיניהוּ) at any rate refers directly to God: His light in distinction from the derived light of the hosts of heaven. This distinction is better brought out if we interpret (Merc., Hirz., Hahn, Schlottm., and others): over whom does (would) not His light arise? i.e., all receive their light from His, and do but reflect it back. But יקוּם equals יזרח cannot be justified by Job 11:17. Therefore we interpret with Ew. and Hlgst. thus: whom does not His light surpass, or, literally, over whom (i.e., which of these beings of light) does it not rise, leaving it behind and exceeding it in brightness (יקוּם as synon. of ירוּם)? How then could a mortal be just with God, i.e., at His side or standing up before Him; and how could one of woman born be spotless! How could he (which is hereby indirectly said) enter into a controversy with God, who is infinitely exalted above him, and maintain before Him a moral character faultless, and therefore absolutely free from condemnation! In the heights of heaven God's decision is revered; and should man, the feeble one, and born flesh of flesh (vid., Job 14:1), dare to contend with God? Behold, עד־ירח (עד, as usually when preceded by a negation, adeo, ne ... quidem, e.g., Exodus 14:28, comp. Nahum 1:10, where J. H. Michaelis correctly renders: adeo up spinas perplexitate aequent, and אל used in the same way, Job 5:5, Ew. 219, c), even as to the moon, it does not (ולא with Waw apod., Ges. 145, 2, although there is a reading לא without ו) shine bright, יאחיל equals יהל, from אהל equals הלל.

(Note: It is worthy of observation, that hilâl signifies in Arabic the new moon (comp. Genesis, S. 307); and the Hiphil ahalla, like the Kal halla, is used of the appearing and shining of the new moon.)

Thus lxx, Targ. Jer., and Gecatilia translate; whereas Saadia translates: it turns not in (Arab. lâ ydchl), or properly, it does not pitch its tent, fix its habitation. But to pitch one's tent is אהל or אהל, whence יהל, Isaiah 13:20, equals יאהל; and what is still more decisive, one would naturally expect יאהיל שׁם in connection with this thought. We therefore render אהל as a form for once boldly used in the scriptural language for הלל, as in Isaiah 28:28 אדשׁ once occurs for דּוּשׁ. Even the moon is only a feeble light before God, and the stars are not clean in His eyes; there is a vast distance between Him and His highest and most glorious creatures - how much more between Him and man, the worm of the dust!

The friends, as was to be expected, are unable to furnish any solution of the mystery, why the ungodly often live and die happily; and yet they ought to be able to give this solution, if the language which they employ against Job were authorized. Bildad alone speaks in the above speech, Zophar is silent. But Bildad does not utter a word that affects the question. This designed omission shows the inability of the friends to solve it, as much as the tenacity with which they firmly maintain their dogma; and the breach that has been made in it, either they will not perceive or yet not acknowledge, because they think that thereby they are approaching too near to the honour of God. Moreover, it must be observed with what delicate tact, and how directly to the purpose in the structure of the whole, this short speech of Bildad's closes the opposition of the friends. Two things are manifest from this last speech of the friends: First, that they know nothing new to bring forward against Job, and nothing just to Job's advantage; that all their darts bound back from Job; and that, though not according to their judgment, yet in reality, they are beaten. This is evident from the fact that Bildad is unable to give any answer to Job's questions, but can only take up the one idea in Job's speech, that he confidently and boldly thinks of being able to approach God's throne of judgment; he repeats with slight variation what Eliphaz has said twice already, concerning the infinite distance between man and God, Job 4:17-21; Job 15:14-16, and is not even denied by Job himself, Job 9:2; Job 14:4. But, secondly, the poet cannot allow us to part from the friends with too great repugnance; for they are Job's friends notwithstanding, and at the close we see them willingly obedient to God's instruction, to go to Job that he may pray for them and make sacrifice on their behalf. For this reason he does not make Bildad at last repeat those unjust incriminations which were put prominently forward in the speech of Eliphaz, Job 22:5-11. Bildad only reminds Job of the universal sinfulness of the human race once again, without direct accusation, in order that Job may himself derive from it the admonition to humble himself; and this admonition Job really needs, for his speeches are in many ways contrary to that humility which is still the duty of sinful man, even in connection with the best justified consciousness of right thoughts and actions towards the holy God.

1 Then Job began, and said:

2 How has thou helped him that is without power,

Raised the arm that hath no strength!

3 How hast thou counselled him that hath no wisdom,

And fully declared the essence of the matter!

4 To whom hast thou uttered words,

And whose breath proceeded from thee?

Bildad is the person addressed, and the exclamations in Job 26:2, Job 26:3 are ironical: how thy speech contains nothing whatever that might help me, the supposedly feeble one, in conquering my affliction and my temptation; me, the supposedly ignorant one, in comprehending man's mysterious lot, and mine! ללא־כח, according to the idea, is only equivalent to כח לו (אין) לאשׁר לא, and זרוע לא־עז equivalent to זרוע בלא־עז (לא עז לו); the former is the abstr. pro concreto, the latter the genitival connection - the arm of the no-power, i.e., powerless (Ges. 152, 1). The powerless one is Job himself, not God (Merc., Schlottm.), as even the choice of the verbs, Job 26:2, Job 26:3, shows. Respecting תּוּשׁיּה, which we have translated essentiality, duration, completion, we said, on Job 5:12, that it is formed from ישׁ (vid., Proverbs 8:21), not directly indeed, but by means of a verb ושׁי brev a fo (ושׁה), in the signification subsistere (comp. Arab. kân, and Syriac קום);

(Note: Comp. also Spiegel, Grammatik der Huzvresch-Sprache, S. 103.)

it is a Hophal-formation (like תּוּגה), and signifies, so to speak, durability, subsistentia, substantia, ὑπόστασις, so that the comparison of ושׁי with אשׁשׁ, Arab. 'ss (whence אשׁישׁ, Arab. ası̂s, asâs, etc., fundamentum) is forced upon one, and the relationship to the Sanskrit as (asmi equals εἰμὶ) can remain undecided. The observation of J. D. Michaelis


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