Job 29:11
When the ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) When the ear heard me, then it blessed me.—This is a direct negative to the charges of Eliphaz in Job 22:6, &c. He has felt them too deeply to pass them by in total silence.

Job 29:11-12. When the ear heard me, then it blessed me — Prayed to God to bless me, and pronounced a blessing upon me, because of the integrity, justice, and wisdom which were observed in all my discourses and actions, and of the satisfaction which I gave to all; as well as on account of the relief which I afforded to the oppressed, by my equitable decrees in all causes which were brought before me. When the eye saw me it gave witness to me — Gave testimony to my pious, and just, and blameless conversation. Because I delivered the poor — From his potent oppressor. Men did not honour me for my great wealth or power, but for my impartial justice and pity to the afflicted, and courage in maintaining their cause and right against their mighty adversaries. The fatherless, and him that had none to help him — None would own or help them, partly because they were poor, and unable to recompense them for it, and partly because their enemies were great, and likely to crush both them and their helpers; which made Job’s virtue more remarkable.29:7-17 All sorts of people paid respect to Job, not only for the dignity of his rank, but for his personal merit, his prudence, integrity, and good management. Happy the men who are blessed with such gifts as these! They have great opportunities of honouring God and doing good, but have great need to watch against pride. Happy the people who are blessed with such men! it is a token for good to them. Here we see what Job valued himself by, in the day of his prosperity. It was by his usefulness. He valued himself by the check he gave to the violence of proud and evil men. Good magistrates must thus be a restraint to evil-doers, and protect the innocent; in order to this, they should arm themselves with zeal and resolution. Such men are public blessings, and resemble Him who rescues poor sinners from Satan. How many who were ready to perish, now are blessing Him! But who can show forth His praises? May we trust in His mercy, and seek to imitate His truth, justice, and love.When the ear heard me. - A personification for "they who heard me speak, blessed me." That is, they commended or praised me.

And when the eye saw me - All who saw me.

It gave witness to me - That is, the fixed attention to what he said and the admiration which was shown by the eyes of the multitudes, were witnesses of the respect and honor in which he was held. Gray has a beautiful expression similar to this when he says,

"He reads his history in a nation's eyes."

Job 29:11-13.See also Jeremiah 7:6; Malachi 3:5; James 1:27. Hence, God is himself represented as the vindicator of the rights of the widow and orphan:

A father of the fatherless,

And a judge of the widows,

continued...

11. blessed—extolled my virtues (Pr 31:28). Omit "me" after "heard"; whoever heard of me (in general, not in the market place, Job 29:7-10) praised me.

gave witness—to my honorable character. Image from a court of justice (Lu 4:22).

the eye—that is, "face to face"; antithesis to

ear—that is, report of me.

It blessed me, i.e. pronounced me to be a man blessed of God with eminent gifts and graces; or heartily prayed for God’s blessing upon me, because of that wisdom and integrity which they saw in all my actions, and of the satisfaction which I gave to all, and the relief which I gave to the oppressed, by my righteous and equitable decrees in all causes which were brought before me.

When the eye saw me, it gave witness to me; when my appearance gave them occasion to speak of me, they gave testimony to my pious, and just, and blameless conversation. So far was I from being, or being thought to be, guilty of those crimes wherewith you charge me; of which see Job 22:9. When the ear heard me, then it blessed me,.... The ear of the common people assembled together to hear causes tried, and how they would go; when they heard Job give his opinion in court, or the definitive sentence passed by him as a judge, they all applauded his wisdom and justice; they highly praised and commended him; in which sense the word "blessed" is used, Proverbs 31:28; or they wished a blessing on him; they prayed for his welfare, as it becomes people to do for those that are in authority, especially wise and faithful magistrates; or they accounted him a blessed man, and called him so, Luke 1:48; as he was, both in a temporal sense, being blessed with a great plenty of earthly things, and also blessed with all spiritual blessings in Christ, with an abundance of grace, and with a title to eternal glory; as well as he was blessed as a magistrate, with great wisdom, and with great integrity and uprightness in the discharge of his office:

and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me: of his gracefulness and gravity, of his honesty and faithfulness, of his good behaviour among his neighbours, and of his wise conduct in the courts of judicature.

When the {g} ear heard me, then it blessed me; and when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me:

(g) All that heard me, praised me.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. This verse may read,

For the ear that heard of me blessed me,

And the eye that saw me gave witness to me.

Those who had only heard of him by report “blessed” him, that is, “called him happy,” as one whom blessing and prosperity must follow because of his benevolence and mercy to the needy; and they who saw him as he lived among men bore testimony to his goodness—as Job 29:12 indicates.

11–17. The ground of this universal reverence—Job’s benevolent care of the poor and his strict justice to their cause.Verse 11. - When the ear heard me, then it blessed me. Job, having described his reception by the nobles and chief men of the city, proceeds to speak of the behaviour of the common people. The former were respectful and attent, the latter rejoiced and made acclamation. Being of the class most exposed to oppression and wrong, they hailed in the patriarch a champion and a protector. They were sure of redress and justice where he was the judge. And when the eye saw me, it gave witness to me. The eye of the poor man lighted up with joy and rejoicing as Job sat down upon the seat of judgment, thus hearing witness to his fairness, candour, and integrity. 1 Then Job continued to take up his proverb, and said:

2 O that I had months like the times of yore,

Like the days when Eloah protected me,

3 When He, when His lamp, shone above my head,

By His light I went about in the darkness;

4 As I was in the days of my vintage,

When the secret of Eloah was over my tent,

5 When the Almighty was still with me,

My children round about me;

6 When my steps were bathed in cream,

And the rock beside me poured forth streams of oil.

Since the optative מי־יתּן (comp. on Job 23:3) is connected with the acc. of the object desired, Job 14:4; Job 31:31, or of that respecting which anything is desired, Job 11:5, it is in itself possible to explain: who gives (makes) me like the months of yore; but since, when מי־יתּנני occurs elsewhere, Isaiah 27:4; Jeremiah 9:1, the suff. is meant as the dative ( equals מי־יתן לי, Job 31:35), it is also here to be explained: who gives me ( equals O that one would give me, O that I had) like (instar) the months of yore, i.e., months like those of the past, and indeed those that lie far back in the past; for ירחי־קדם means more than עברוּ (אשׁר) ירחים. Job begins to describe the olden times, that he wishes back, with the virtually genitive relative clause: "when Eloah protected me" (Ges. 116, 3). It is impossible to take בּהלּו as Hiph.: when He caused to shine (Targ. בּאנהרוּתיהּ); either בּההלּו (Olsh.) or even בּהלּו (Ew. in his Comm.) ought to be read then. On the other hand, הלּו can be justified as the form for inf. Kal of הלל (to shine, vid., Job 25:5) with a weakening of the a to i((Ew. 255, a), and the suff. may, according to the syntax, be taken as an anticipatory statement of the object: when it, viz., His light, shone above my head; comp. Exodus 2:6 (him, the boy), Isaiah 17:6 (its, the fruit-tree's, branches), also Isaiah 29:23 (he, his children); and Ew. 309, c, also decides in its favour. Nevertheless it commends itself still more to refer the suff. of בהלו to אלוהּ (comp. Isaiah 60:2; Psalm 50:2), and to take נרו as a corrective, explanatory permutative: when He, His lamp, shone above my head, as we have translated. One is at any rate reminded of Isaiah 60 in connection with Job 29:3; for as בהלו corresponds to יזרח there, so לאורו corresponds to לאורך in the Job 29:3 of the same: by His light I walked in darkness (חשׁך locative equals בּחשׁך), i.e., rejoicing in His light, which preserved me from its dangers (straying and falling).

In Job 29:4 כּאשׁר is not a particle of time, but of comparison, which was obliged here to stand in the place of the כּ, which is used only as a preposition. And חרפּי (to be written thus, not חרפי with an aspirated )פ may not be translated "(in the days) of my spring," as Symm. ἐν ἡμέραις νεότητός μου, Jer. diebus adolescentiae meae, and Targ. בּיומי חריפוּתי, whether it be that חריפות here signifies the point, ἀκμή (from חרף, Arab. ḥrf, acuere), or the early time (spring time, from חרף, Arab. chrf, carpere). For in reference to agriculture חרף can certainly signify the early half of the year (on this, vid., Genesis, S. 270), inasmuch as sowing and ploughing time in Palestine and Syria is in November and December; wherefore Arab. chrı̂f signifies the early rain or autumn rain; and in Talmudic, חרף, premature (ripe too early), is the opposite of אפל, late, but the derivatives of חרף only obtain this signification connotative, for, according to its proper signification, חרף (Arab. chrı̂f with other forms) is the gathering time, i.e., the time of the fruit harvest (syn. אסיף), while the Hebr. אביב (אב) corresponds to the spring in our sense. If Job meant his youth, he would have said בּימי אבּי, or something similar; but as Job 29:5 shows, he meant his manhood, and this he calls his autumn as the season of maturity, or rather of the abundance of fruits (Schult.: aetatem virilem suis fructibus faetum et exuberantum),

(Note: The fresh vegetation, indeed, in hotter districts (e.g., in the valley of the Jordan and Euphrates) begins with the arrival of the autumnal rains, but the real spring (comp. Sol 2:11-13) only begins about the vernal equinox, and still later on the mountains. On the contrary, the late summer, קיץ, which passes over into the autumn, חרף, is the season for gathering the fruit. The produce of the fields, garden fruit, and grapes ripen before the commencement of the proper autumn; some (when the land can be irrigated) summer fruits, e.g., Dhura (maize) and melons, in like manner olives and dates, ripen in autumn. Therefore the translation, in the days of my autumn ("of my harvest"), is the only correct one. If חרפּי were intended here in a sense not used elsewhere, it might signify, according to the Arabic with h, "(in the days) of my prosperity," or "my power," or even with Arab. ch, "(in the days) of my youthful vigour;" for charâfât are rash words and deeds, charfân one who says or does anything rash from lightness, the feebleness of old age, etc. (according to Wetzst., very common words in Syria): חרף or חרף, therefore the thoughtlessness of youth, Arab. jahl, i.e., the rash desire of doing something great, which חרף הנפש למות (Judges 5:18). But it is most secure to go back to חרף, Arab. chrf, carpere, viz., fructus.)

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