Job 27:18
He builds his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper makes.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
27:11-23 Job's friends, on the same subject, spoke of the misery of wicked men before death as proportioned to their crimes; Job considered that if it were not so, still the consequences of their death would be dreadful. Job undertook to set this matter in a true light. Death to a godly man, is like a fair gale of wind to convey him to the heavenly country; but, to a wicked man, it is like a storm, that hurries him away to destruction. While he lived, he had the benefit of sparing mercy; but now the day of God's patience is over, and he will pour out upon him his wrath. When God casts down a man, there is no flying from, nor bearing up under his anger. Those who will not now flee to the arms of Divine grace, which are stretched out to receive them, will not be able to flee from the arms of Divine wrath, which will shortly be stretched out to destroy them. And what is a man profited if he gain the whole world, and thus lose his own soul?He buildeth his house as a moth - The house which the moth builds is the slight fabric which it makes for its own dwelling in the garment which it consumes. On this verse compare Job 8:14. The dwelling of the moth is composed of the materials of the garment on which it feeds, and there may be an allusion here not only to the fact that the house which the wicked reared for themselves would be temporary, and that it would soon pass away like the dwelling of the moth, but that it was obtained - like the dwelling of the moth - at the expense of others. The idea of frailty, however, and of its being only a very temporary habitation, is probably the main thought in the passage. The allusion here is to the moth-worm as it proceeds from the egg, before it is changed into the chrysalis, aurelia, or nymph. "The young moth, upon leaving the egg which a papilio has lodged upon a piece of stuff, or a skin well dressed, and commodious for her purpose, immediately finds a habitation and food in the nap of the stuff, or hair of the skin. It gnaws and lives upon the nap, and likewise builds with it its apartment, accommodated both with a front door and a back one: the whole is well fastened to the ground of the stuff, with several cords and a little glue. The moth sometimes thrusts her head out of one opening, and sometimes out of the other, and perpetually demolishes all about her; and when she has cleared the place about her, she draws out all the stakes of the tent, after which she carries it to some little distance, and then fixes it with her slender cords in a new situation."

Burder. It is to the insect in its larvae or caterpillar state that Job refers here, and the slightness of the habitation will be easily understood by anyone who has watched the operations of the silkworm, or of the moths that appear in this country. The idea is, that the habitation which the wicked constructed was temporary and frail, and would soon be left. The Chaldee and Syriac render this "the spider;" and so does Luther - Spinne. The slight gossamer dwelling of the spider would well correspond with the idea here expressed by Job.

And as a booth - A tent, or cottage.

That the keeper maketh - That one who watches vineyards or gardens makes as a temporary shelter from the storm or the cold at night. Such edifices were very frail in their structure, and were designed to be only temporary habitations; see the subject explained in the notes at Isaiah 1:8. Niebuhr, in his description of Arabia, p. 158, says, "In the mountains of Yemen they have a sort of nest on the trees, where the Arabs sit to watch the fields after they have been planted. But in the Kehama, where they have but few trees, they build a light kind of scaffolding for this purpose." Mr. Southey opens the fifth part of his Curse of Kehama with a similar allusion:

"Evening comes on: - arising from the stream

Homeward the tall flamingo wings his flight;

And when hc sails athwart the setting beam,

His scarlet plumage glows with deeper light.

The watchman, at the wish'd approach of night

Gladly forsakes the field, where he all day,

To scare the winged plunderers from their prey,

With shout and sling, on yonder clay-built height,

Hath borne the sultry ray.

18. (Job 8:14; 4:19). The transition is natural from "raiment" (Job 27:16) to the "house" of the "moth" in it, and of it, when in its larva state. The moth worm's house is broken whenever the "raiment" is shaken out, so frail is it.

booth—a bough-formed hut which the guard of a vineyard raises for temporary shelter (Isa 1:8).

As a moth; which settleth itself in a garment, but is quickly and unexpectedly brushed off, and dispossessed of its dwelling, and crushed to death.

That the keeper maketh; which the keeper of a garden or vineyard suddenly rears up in fruit time, and as quickly and easily pulls it down again. See Isaiah 1:8 Lamentations 2:6. He buildeth his house as a moth,.... Which builds its house in a garment by eating into it, and so destroying it, and in time eats itself out of house and home, and however does not continue long in it, but is soon and easily shook out, or brushed off; so a wicked man builds himself an house, a stately palace, like Arcturus (l); so some render the words from Job 9:9, a palace among the stars, an heavenly palace and paradise, and expects it will continue for ever; but as he builds it with the mammon of unrighteousness, and to the prejudice and injury of others, and with their money, or what was due to them, so by his sins and iniquities he brings ruin and destruction upon himself and his family, so that his house soon falls to decay, and at least he and his posterity have but a short lived enjoyment of it. This may be applied in a figurative sense to the hypocrite's hope and confidence, which is like a spider's web, a moth eaten garment, and a house built upon the sand; the Septuagint version here adds, "as a spider", Job 8:13;

and as a booth that the keeper maketh; either a keeper of sheep, who sets up his tent in a certain place for a while, for the sake of pasturage, and then removes it, to which the allusion is, Isaiah 38:12; or a keeper of fruit, as the Targum, of gardens and orchards, that the fruit is not stolen; or of fig trees and vineyards, as Jarchi and Bar Tzemach, which is only a lodge or hut pitched for a season, until the fruit is gathered in, and then is taken down, see Isaiah 1:8; and it signifies here the short continuance of the house of the wicked man, which he imagined would continue for ever, Psalm 49:11.

(l) "quasi Arcturi", Junius & Tremellius; so Aben Ezra.

He buildeth his house as a {m} moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh.

(m) Which breeds in another man's possessions or garment, but is soon shaken out.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
18. The “booth” of the “keeper” referred to is the flimsy hut erected in the vineyard or other gardens as a post for the watchman, who protects the fruit from theft or destruction by wild beasts. As described by Wetzstein (Del. Comm. on Job, Trans, ii. p. 74, 2nd ed. p. 348), it is built of four poles struck into the ground in the form of a square. About eight feet from the ground cross sticks are tied to these poles, over which boards are laid, and thus a couch is formed for the keeper. Some feet higher up other cross pieces of wood are fixed, and over these boughs or matting is thrown to form a roof. Such a booth is called a “lodge” Isaiah 1:8, and its unsubstantial character is indicated when it is said to “swing to and fro,” Isaiah 24:20.Verse 18. - He buildeth his house as a moth. The moth is the symbol of fragility, decay, and weakness. The wicked man's attempt to build himself up a house, and establish a powerful family, is no better than a moth's attempt to make itself a permanent habitation. As moths do not construct dwellings for themselves, it has been proposed (Merx) to read כעכבישׁ, "as a spider," for מעשׁ, "as a moth;" but the change is too great to be at all probable. May not the cocoon, from which the moth issues as. from a house, have been in Job's mind? The hawk-moth buries itself in a neat cave for the pupa stage; and there may have been even better examples in Uz. But we ourselves have not known these facts long, and therefore we need not be surprised to find Job making a mistake in natural history. And as a booth that the keeper maketh. Huts or lodges of boughs were set up in vineyards and orchards by those who had to watch them (see Isaiah 1:8; Lamentations 2:6). They were habitations of the weakest and frailest kind. 8 For what is the hope of the godless, when He cutteth off,

When Eloah taketh away his soul?

9 Will God hear his cry

When distress cometh upon him?

10 Or can he delight himself in the Almighty,

Can he call upon Eloah at all times?

11 I will teach you concerning the hand of God,

I will not conceal the dealings of the Almighty.

12 Behold, ye have all seen it,

Why then do ye cherish foolish notions?

In comparing himself with the רשׁע, Job is conscious that he has a God who does not leave him unheard, in whom he delights himself, and to whom he can at all times draw near; as, in fact, Job's fellowship with God rests upon the freedom of the most intimate confidence. He is not one of the godless; for what is the hope of one who is estranged from God, when he comes to die? He has no God on whom his hope might establish itself, to whom it could cling. The old expositors err in many ways respecting Job 27:8, by taking בצע, abscindere (root בץ), in the sense of (opes) corradere (thus also more recently Rosenm. after the Targ., Syr., and Jer.), and referring ישׁל to שׁלה in the signification tranquillum esse (thus even Blumenfeld after Ralbag and others). נפשׁו is the object to both verbs, and בצע נפשׁ, abscindere animam, to cut off the thread of life, is to be explained according to Job 6:9; Isaiah 38:12. שׁלח נפשׁ, extrahere animam (from שׁלה, whence שׁליח Arab. salan, the after-birth, cogn. שׁלל . Arab. sll, נשׁל Arab. nsl, nṯl, nšl), is of similar signification, according to another figure, wince the body is conceived of as the sheath (נדנה, Daniel 7:15) of the soul

(Note: On the similar idea of the body, as the kosha (sheath) of the soul, among the Hindus, vid., Psychol. S. 227.)

(comp. Arab. sll in the universal signification evaginare ensem). The fut. apoc. Kal ישׁל ( equals ישׁל) is therefore in meaning equivalent to the intrans. ישּׁל, Deuteronomy 28:40 (according to Ew. 235, c, obtained from this by change of vowel), decidere; and Schnurrer's supposition that ישׁל, like the Arab. ysl, is equivalent to ישׁאל (when God demands it), or such a violent correction as De Lagarde's

(Note: Anm. zur griech. Uebers. der Proverbien (1863), S. VI.f., where the first reason given for this improvement of the text is this, that the usual explanation, according to which ישׁל and יבצע have the same subj. and obj. standing after the verb, is altogether contrary to Semitic usage. But this assertion is groundless, as might be supposed from the very beginning. Thus, e.g., the same obj. is found after two verbs in Job 20:19, and the same subj. and obj. in Nehemiah 3:20.)

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