Job 29:22
After my words they spake not again; and my speech dropped upon them.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
29:18-25 Being thus honoured and useful, Job had hoped to die in peace and honour, in a good old age. If such an expectation arise from lively faith in the providence and promise of God, it is well; but if from conceit of our own wisdom, and dependence on changeable, earthly things, it is ill grounded, and turns to sin. Every one that has the spirit of wisdom, has not the spirit of government; but Job had both. Yet he had the tenderness of a comforter. This he thought upon with pleasure, when he was himself a mourner. Our Lord Jesus is a King who hates iniquity, and upon whom the blessing of a world ready to perish comes. To Him let us give ear.After my words they spake not again - The highest proof which could be given of deference. So full of respect were they that they did not dare to dispute him; so sagacious and wise was his counsel that they were satisfied with it, and did not presume to suggest any other.

And my speech dropped upon them - That is, like the dew or the gentle rain. So in Deuteronomy 32:2 :

My doctrine shall drop as the rain;

My speech shall distil as the dew,

As the small rain upon the tender herb,

And as the showers upon the grass.

So Homer speaks of the eloquence of Nestor,

Τοῦ καὶ ἀπὸ γλώσσης μέλιτος γλυκίων ῥέεν αὐδή.

Tou kai apo glōssēs melitos glukiōn rēn audē.

"Words sweet as honey from his lips distill'd."

Pope

So Milton, speaking of the eloquence of Belial, says,

- Though his tongue

Dropt manna, and could make the worse appear

continued...

22. not again—did not contradict me.

dropped—affected their minds, as the genial rain does the soil on which it gently drops (Am 7:16; De 32:2; So 4:11).

After my words they spake not again; either to confute them as false, or to add to them as lame and imperfect.

Dropped upon them, to wit, as the rain, as the next verse explains it, which when it comes down gently and droppingly upon the earth, is most acceptable and beneficial to it; not so when it comes in great and violent showers.

After my words they spake not again,.... Did not or would not make any reply to them; they did not attempt to change and alter them, to add unto them, or take from them, or in any wise to correct them, and much less to contradict them, and treat them with contempt; or "differed not", as Mr. Broughton renders it; differed not from them, but agreed to them; and differed not among themselves, but united in what Job said, as being full to the purpose, after which nothing more could be said; see Ecclesiastes 2:12;

and my speech dropped upon them; his prophecy, as Jarchi, prophesying being expressed by dropping, Amos 7:16; his doctrine dropped from his lips like the honeycomb, and was sweet, grateful, and delightful to his hearers, as the church's lips, Sol 4:11; or rather like the rain, as in Deuteronomy 32:2, when it falls and drops gently and easily, and so penetrates and soaks into the earth, and abides and does good: in like manner, when good and sound doctrine drops upon the hearers, so as to enter into their hearts, and work effectually in them, it does them good, and they rejoice at it, and are far from having anything to say against it.

After my words they spake not again; and my speech {o} dropped upon them.

(o) That is, was pleasant to them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
22. dropped upon them] i. e. like a refreshing, quickening rain, when they were wearied and perplexed in counsel.

Verse 22. - After my words they spake not again. When Job had spoken, the debate commonly came to an end. It was felt that all had been said, and that further remark would be superfluous. And my speech dropped upon them (comp. Deuteronomy 32:2, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew"). The silent, penetrating influence of wise counsel is glanced at. Job 29:2221 They hearkened to me and waited,

And remained silent at my decision.

22 After my utterance they spake not again,

And my speech distilled upon them.

23 And they waited for me as for the rain,

And they opened their mouth wide for the latter rain.

24 I smiled to them in their hopelessness,

And the light of my countenance they cast not down.

25 I chose the way for them, and sat as chief,

And dwelt as a king in the army,

As one that comforteth the mourners.

Attentive, patient, and ready to be instructed, they hearkened to him (this is the force of שׁמע ל), and waited, without interrupting, for what he should say. ויחלּוּ, the pausal pronunciation with a reduplication of the last radical, as Judges 5:7, חדלּוּ (according to correct texts), Ges. 20, 2, c; the reading of Kimchi, ויחלוּ, is the reading of Ben-Naphtali, the former the reading of Ben-Ascher (vid., Norzi). If he gave counsel, they waited in strictest silence: this is the meaning of ידּמוּ (fut. Kal of דּמם); למו, poetic for ל, refers the silence to its outward cause (vid., on Habakkuk 3:16). After his words non iterabant, i.e., as Jerome explanatorily translates: addere nihil audebant, and his speech came down upon them relieving, rejoicing, and enlivening them. The figure indicated in תּטּף is expanded in Job 29:23 after Deuteronomy 32:2 : they waited on his word, which penetrated deeply, even to the heart, as for rain, מטר, by which, as Job 29:23, the so-called (autumnal) early rain which moistens the seed is prominently thought of. They open their mouth for the late rain, מלקושׁ (vid., on Job 24:6), i.e., they thirsted after his words, which were like the March or April rain, which helps to bring to maturity the corn that is soon to be reaped; this rain frequently fails, and is therefore the more longed for. פּער פּה is to be understood according to Psalm 119:131, comp. Psalm 81:11; and one must consider, in connection with it, what raptures the beginning of the periodical rains produces everywhere, where, as e.g., in Jerusalem, the people have been obliged for some time to content themselves with cisterns that are almost dried to a marsh, and how the old and young dance for joy at their arrival!

In Job 29:24 a thought as suited to the syntax as to the fact is gained if we translate: "I smiled to them - they believed it not," i.e., they considered such condescension as scarcely possible (Saad., Raschi, Rosenm., De Wette, Schlottm., and others); עשׂחק is then fut. hypotheticum, as Job 10:16; Job 20:24; Job 22:27., Ew. 357, b. But it does not succeed in putting Job 29:24 in a consistent relation to this thought; for, with Aben-Ezra, to explain: they did not esteem my favour the less on that account, my respect suffered thereby no loss among them, is not possible in connection with the biblical idea of "the light of the countenance;" and with Schlottm. to explain: they let not the light of my countenance, i.e., token of my favour, fall away, i.e., be in vain, is contrary to the usage of the language, according to which הפּיל פּנים signifies: to cause the countenance to sink (gloomily, Genesis 4:5), whether one's own, Jeremiah 3:12, or that of another. Instead of פּני we have a more pictorial and poetical expression here, אור פּני: light of my countenance, i.e., my cheerfulness (as Proverbs 16:15). Moreover, the אשׂחק אליהם, therefore, furnishes the thought that he laughed, and did not allow anything to dispossess him of his easy and contented disposition. Thus, therefore, those to whom Job laughed are to be thought of as in a condition and mood which his cheerfulness might easily sadden, but still did not sadden; and this their condition is described by לא יאמינוּ (a various reading in Codd. and editions is ולא), a phrase which occurred before (Job 24:22) in the signification of being without faith or hope, despairing (comp. האמין, to gain faith, Psalm 116:10), - a clause which is not to be taken as attributive (Umbr., Vaih.: who had not confidence), but as a neutral or circumstantial subordinate clause (Ew. 341, a). Therefore translate: I smiled to them, if they believed not, i.e., despaired; and however despondent their position appeared, the cheerfulness of my countenance they could not cause to pass away. However gloomy they were, they could not make me gloomy and off my guard. Thus also Job 29:25 is now suitably attached to the preceding: I chose their way, i.e., I made the way plain, which they should take in order to get out of their hopeless and miserable state, and sat as chief, as a king who is surrounded by an armed host as a defence and as a guard of honour, attentive to the motion of his eye; not, however, as a sovereign ruler, but as one who condescended to the mourners, and comforted them (נחם Piel, properly to cause to breathe freely). This peaceful figure of a king brings to mind the warlike one, Job 15:24. כּאשׁר is not a conj. here, but equivalent to כאישׁ אשׁר, ut (quis) qui; consequently not: as one comforts, but: as he who comforts; lxx correctly: ὃν τρόπον παθεινοὺς παρακαλῶν. The accentuation (כאשׁר Tarcha, אבלים Munach, ינחם Silluk) is erroneous; כאשׁר should be marked with Rebia mugrasch, and אבלים with Mercha-Zinnorith.

From the prosperous and happy past, absolutely passed, Job now turns to the present, which contrasts so harshly with it.

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