Job 27:8
For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?
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(8) What is the hope?—Better, What is the hope of the godless, though he get him gain, when God taketh away his soul?

Job 27:8. What is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained? — There is no reason why I should envy or desire the portion of wicked men: although they ofttimes prosper in the world, and seem to be great gainers; yet death, which hasteneth to all men, and to me especially, will show that they are far greater losers, and die in a most wretched and desperate condition, having no hope either of continuing in this life, which they chiefly desire, or of enjoying a better life, which they never regarded. But I have a firm and well-grounded hope, not of that temporal restitution which you promise, but of a blessed immortality after death; and therefore I am not a hopeless hypocrite, as you think me to be. When God taketh away his soul — When, much against his will, and by an act of violence, (as the word ישׁל, jeshel, here used, signifies,) God, as the Judge, takes his soul out of his body, that it may be tried and determined to its everlasting state. What will his hope be then? It will be vanity and a lie; it will stand him in no stead. The wealth of this world, which he hoped in, he must leave behind him, and the happiness of the other world, which he hoped for, he will certainly fall short of; his hopes, therefore, will disappoint and make him ashamed.

27:7-10 Job looked upon the condition of a hypocrite and a wicked man, to be most miserable. If they gained through life by their profession, and kept up their presumptuous hope till death, what would that avail when God required their souls? The more comfort we find in our religion, the more closely we shall cleave to it. Those who have no delight in God, are easily drawn away by the pleasures, and easily overcome by the crosses of this life.For what is the hope of the hypocrite? - The same sentiment which Job here advances had before been expressed by Bildad; see it explained in the notes at Job 8:13 following It had also been expressed in a similar manner by Zophar (see the notes on Job 20:5, and had been much insisted on in their arguments. Job now says that he fully accords with that belief. He was not disposed to defend hypocrisy; he had no sympathy for it. He knew, as they did, that all the joy of a hypocrite would be temporary, and that when death came it must vanish. He wishes that his remarks should not be construed so as to make him the advocate of hypocrisy or sin, and affirms that he relied on a more solid foundation of peace and joy than the hypocrite could possess. It was by explanations and admissions such as these that the controversy was gradually closed, and when they came fully to understand Job, they felt that they had nothing which they could reply to him.

Though he hath gained - - יבצע yı̂bâtsa‛. The Vulgate renders this, si avare rapiat - "if he avariciously seizes upon." The Septuagint, ὅτι hoti ἐπἐχει epechei that he persisteth. Dr. Good, "That he should prosper;" and so Wemyss. The Hebrew word (בצע bâtsa‛) means properly, to cut or dash in pieces; then to tear in pieces, or to plunder or spoil; then to cut off, to bring to an end, etc. It is applied to the action of a weaver, who, when his web is finished, cuts off the thrum that binds it to the beam. The web is then finished; it is all woven, and is then taken from the loom. Hence, it is elegantly used to denote the close of life, when life is woven or finished - by the rapid passing of days like the weavers shuttle Job 7:6, and when it is then, as it were, taken out of the loom; see this figure explained in the notes at Isaiah 38:12. This is the idea here, that life would be cut off like the weaver's web, and that when that was done the hope of the hypocrite would be of no value.

When God taketh away his soul - When he dies. There has been much perplexity felt in regard to the Hebrew word here rendered "taketh away" - ישׁל yēshel. A full explanation may be seen in Schultens and Rosenmuller. Some suppose it is the future from נשל for ישל - meaning to draw out, and that the idea is, that God draws out this life as a sword is drawn out of a sheath. Others, that it is from שלה - to be secure, or tranquil, or at rest: and that it refers to the time when God shall give rest in the grave, or that the meaning of the word שלה here is the same as שלל or נשל - to draw out; see Gesenius on the word שלה. Schnurrer conjectures that it is derived from שאל - to ask, to demand, and that the form here is contracted from the future ישאל. But the common supposition is, that it means to draw out - in allusion to drawing out a sword from a scabbard - thus drawing life or the soul from the body.

8. "What hope hath the hypocrite, notwithstanding all his gains, when?" &c. "Gained" is antithetic to "taketh away." Umbreit's translation is an unmeaning tautology. "When God cuts off, when He taketh away his life."

taketh away—literally, "draws out" the soul from the body, which is, as it were, its scabbard (Job 4:21; Ps 104:29; Da 7:15). Job says that he admits what Bildad said (Job 8:13) and Zophar (Job 20:5). But he says the very fact of his still calling upon God (Job 27:10) amid all his trials, which a hypocrite would not dare to do, shows he is no "hypocrite."

There is no reason why I should envy or desire the portion of wicked men; for though they ofttimes prosper in the world, as I have said, and seem to be great gainers, yet death, which hasteneth to all men, and to me especially, will show that they are far greater losers, and die in a most wretched and desperate condition; having no hope either of continuing in this life, which they chiefly desire, or of enjoying a better life, which they never regarded. But I have a firm and well-grounded hope, not of that temporal restitution which you promised me, but of a blessed immortality after death, and therefore am none of these hopeless hypocrites, as you account me. Taketh away; or, expelleth, or plucketh up; which notes violence, and that he died unwillingly; compare Luke 12:20; when good men are said freely and cheerfully to give themselves or their souls unto God.

For what is the hope of the hypocrite,.... In religion, who seems to be what he is not, a holy and righteous man; professes to have what he has not, the grace of God; pretends to do what he does not, worship God sincerely and fervently, and does all he does to be seen of men; though such a man may have an hope, as he has, of an interest in the divine layout, and of eternal glory and happiness, what will it signify? what avail will it be unto him? what will it issue in? Job was of the same mind in this with Bildad and Zophar, that such a man's hope is as the spider's web, and as the giving up of the ghost, Job 8:14; however he may please himself with it in this life, it will be of no service to him at death; for it is not like that of the true believer's, that is sure and steadfast, and founded upon the perfect righteousness and sacrifice of Christ; but upon his outward substance, fancying, that because God prospers him in this world, he is highly in his favour, and shall enjoy the happiness of the world to come; and upon his external profession of religion, and found of duties performed by him, but he will find himself mistaken: though he hath gained; great wealth and riches under a guise of religion, and by that means making gain of godliness, and taking the one for the other; so the Targum,

"because he hath gathered the mammon of falsehood;''

and also has great gifts, and a great deal of head knowledge, being able to talk of and dispute about most points of religion, and so has gained a great name among men both for knowledge and holiness, and yet all will not stand him in any stead, or be of any advantage to him:

when God taketh away his soul? out of his body by death, as a sword is drawn out of its scabbard, and which is as easily done by him; or as a shoe is plucked off from the foot, as Aben Ezra, and what he has a right to do, and will do it: and this taking it away seems to be in a violent manner, though not by what is called a violent death, yet against the will of the person; a good man is willing to die, is desirous of it, and gives up the ghost cheerfully; but an hypocrite is not willing to die, being afraid of death, and therefore his life or soul is taken from him without his consent and will, and not in love but in wrath, as the latter part of this chapter shows. Now Job had an hope which bore him up under all his troubles, and which he retained in the most killing and distressed circumstances, and which continued with him, and supported him in the views of death and eternity, so that he could look upon death, and into another world, with pleasure, and therefore could be no hypocrite, see Job 13:15.

For what is the {f} hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained, when God taketh away his soul?

(f) What advantage has the dissembler to gain, seeing he will lose his own soul?

8. The verse most probably means,

For what is the hope of the godless man when God cutteth off,

When he taketh away his soul?

lit. when He cutteth off, when God draweth out his soul. The comfortless state of the ungodly man (A. V. hypocrite, see on ch. Job 8:13), who has no trust in God, is described in three conditions of his history, first, when he is at the moment of death, when God “cutteth (him) off” and “draweth out his soul” (Job 27:8); second, when calamity overtakes him (Job 27:9); and in general, in his whole life (Job 27:10).

Verse 8. - For what is the hope of the hypocrite, though he hath gained. The hypocrite and liar may get advantage in this life by his lies and his hypocrisy. He may deceive men; he may raise himself in their opinion; he may derive worldly advantage from having secured their approval But what will he have to look forward rein the end, when God taketh away (i.e. removeth from earth) his soul? Job evidently regards the soul that is "taken away" or removed from earth as still existing, still conscious, still capable of hope or of despair, and asks what hope of a happy future could the man who had lived a hypocrite entertain, when God required his soul, and he felt under God's judgment. The question reminds us of those words of our blessed Lord "What shall it profit a man, if he gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?" (Mark 8:36, 37). Job 27:8 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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