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. Job 29:8When Job came hither to the meeting of the tribunal, or the council of the elders of the city, within which he had a seat and a voice, the young men hid themselves, conscious of his presence (which εἰρομένῃ λέξει, or, is expressed paratactically instead of as a period), i.e., they retired into the background, since they feared his look of salutation;

(Note: Comp. jer. Schekalim ii. 5 (in Pinner's Compendium des Thalmud, S. 58): "R. Jochanan was walking and leaning upon R. Chija bar-Abba, R. Eliezer perceived him and hid himself from him (ומטמר לח מקמי). Then said R. Jochanan: This Babylonian insulted him (R. Chija) by two things; first that he did not salute him, and then that he hid himself. But R. Jakob bar-Idi answered him, it is the custom with them for the less not to salute the greater, - a custom which confirms Job's words: Young men saw me and his themselves.")

and old men (hoary heads) stood up, remained standing (ἀσυνδέτως, as Job 20:19; Job 28:4). קוּם signifies to stand up, עמד to advance towards any one and remain standing. They rose in order not to seat themselves until he was seated. שׂרים are magnates (proceres) of the city. These עצרוּ בּמלּים, cohibebant verba (עצר with Beth of the obj., as Job 4:2; Job 12:15), and keeping a respectful silence, they laid their hand on their mouth (comp. Job 21:5). All stepped back and desisted from speaking before him: The speech of illustrious men (נגידים from נגד, Arab. njd, to be visible, pleasant to the sight, comp. supra, p. 510) hid itself (not daring to be heard), and the tongue of the same clave (motionless) to their palate. We do not translate: as to the voice illustrious men hid themselves, for it is only the appearance produced by the attractional construction Ges. 148, 1 that has led to the rendering of קול־נגידים as an acc. of closer definition (Schult., Hahn: quod ad vocem eminentium, comprimebantur). The verb is construed with the second member of the genitival expression instead of with the first, as with מספר, Job 15:20; Job 21:21; Job 38:21, and with ראשׁ, Job 22:12; a construction which occurs with קול not merely in such exclamatory sentences as Genesis 4:10; Isaiah 52:8, but also under other conditions, 1 Kings 1:41, comp. Job 14:6. This may be best called an attraction of the predicate by the second member of the compound subject, like the reverse instance, Isaiah 2:11; and it is sometimes found even where this second member is not logically the more important. Thus Ew. transl.: "the voice of the nobles hides itself;" whereas Olsh., wrongly denying that the partt. in passages like Genesis 4:10; 1 Kings 1:41, are to be taken as predicative, wishes to read נחבא, which is the more inadmissible, as even the choice of the verb is determined by the attractional construction.

The strophe which follows tells how it came to pass that those in authority among the citizens submitted to him, and that on all sides the people were zealous to show him tokens of respect.

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