Job 29:8
The young men saw me, and hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 29:8-10. The young men saw me and hid themselves — Out of reverence to my person and dignity, or out of a consciousness of their guilt and folly, which they supposed I might understand either by information from others, or discover by their countenances, and for which they knew I would reprove them, and bring them to shame or other punishment. And the aged arose and stood up — While I either passed by them, or was present with them: so great was the veneration which they had for me, although you treat me with such contempt and scorn. The princes refrained talking — A general silence immediately ensued when I appeared, the great men themselves, who were high in office, breaking off their discourses, and not taking the liberty to speak a word till I had first given my opinion, which they readily approved of, and to which they fully assented. The nobles held their peace — Those who were distinguished by their birth and quality, and were superior to others in honour and dignity, could not have heard me with greater attention and stillness, if they had quite lost their voices, or their tongues had been tied to the roof of their mouths.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.The young men saw me, and hid themselves - That is, they retired as if awed at my presence. They gave place to me, or reverently withdrew as I passed along.

And the aged arose, and stood up - They not merely rose, but they continued to stand still until I had passed by. "This is a most elegant description, and exhibits most correctly the great reverence and respect which was paid, even by the old and the decrepit, to the holy man, in passing along the streets, or when he sat in public. They not only rose, which in men so old was a great mark of distinction, but they stood; and they continued to do it, though the attempt was so difficult." Lowth. The whole image presents a beautiful illustration of Oriental manners, and of the respect paid to a man of known excellence of character and distinction.

8. hid—not literally; rather, "stepped backwards," reverentially. The aged, who were already seated, arose and remained standing (Hebrew) until Job seated himself. Oriental manners. Hid themselves; either out of a profound reverence to my person and dignity, or out of a conscience of their own guilt or folly, which they supposed I might either understand by information from others, or discover by their countenances or carriages in my presence, for which they knew I would reprove them, and bring them to shame, or other punishment.

Stood up, whilst I either passed by them, or as present with them. See Leviticus 19:32 1 Kings 2:19. So great a veneration they had for my person, in regard of that wisdom, and justice, and faithfulness which they discerned in me, and in all my proceedings. And therefore they judged quite otherwise of me than you now do. The young men saw me, and hid themselves,.... Through a veneration of him; which was much, since young men, through a vain conceit and opinion of themselves, are apt to treat their superiors in age with slight, neglect, and contempt; or through fear, lest he should spy them, and call them to him, and examine them closely concerning their conduct and behaviour, and reprove them for their youthful follies he might have knowledge of:

and the aged arose and stood up; as he passed by them, to show their respect unto him; or when he came into court, they rose up, and continued standing until he had took his seat; and even then kept the same posture, attending to his counsel and instruction, to his definitive sentence and decision of matters in debate; though they were venerable persons themselves, and such as before whom young men were to arise, Leviticus 19:32; and were also men of wisdom and prudence, Job 12:12; yet these men rose and stood up, paying a deference to Job's superior sense and judgment.

The young men saw me, and {e} hid themselves: and the aged arose, and stood up.

(e) Being ashamed of their lightness and afraid of my gravity.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. hid themselves] The young men withdrew out of reverence, not knowing perhaps how to meet and rightly salute one so great as Job was.

arose, and stood up] The aged are supposed already met in the gate and seated; on Job’s approach they rise and remain standing till he has sat down.Verse 8. - The young men saw me, and hid themselves; retired, i.e. withdrew to corners, that they might not obtrude themselves on one so much their superior. Compare the respect paid to age by the Spartans. And the aged arose, and stood up. Here the respect paid was not to age so much as to dignity. Men as old as himself, or older, paid Job the compliment of standing up until he was seated, in consideration of his rank and high office. So. in many assemblies, as in our own courts of justice, in Convocation, and elsewhere, when the president enters, all rise. 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.)

continued...

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