Job 3:19
The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
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Job 3:19. The small and great are there — It should rather be rendered, are equal there; persons of all qualities and conditions, whether higher or lower, are in the same circumstances. There is no distinction in the grave, but the meanest and most despised peasant is in a situation equal to that of his rich and powerful neighbour. The man of birth and fortune appears there to no advantage: he commands no place; he usurps no authority; neither does he lord it over the poorest or meanest of the human race. And the servant is free from his master — The most contemptible slave, who was entirely subject to the impositions and exactions of his owner, has got his discharge, and is now free from the power of him that tyrannized over him: a good reason this, why those who have power should use it moderately, and why those that are in subjection should take it patiently.3:11-19 Job complained of those present at his birth, for their tender attention to him. No creature comes into the world so helpless as man. God's power and providence upheld our frail lives, and his pity and patience spared our forfeited lives. Natural affection is put into parents' hearts by God. To desire to die that we may be with Christ, that we may be free from sin, is the effect and evidence of grace; but to desire to die, only that we may be delivered from the troubles of this life, savours of corruption. It is our wisdom and duty to make the best of that which is, be it living or dying; and so to live to the Lord, and die to the Lord, as in both to be his, Ro 14:8. Observe how Job describes the repose of the grave; There the wicked cease from troubling. When persecutors die, they can no longer persecute. There the weary are at rest: in the grave they rest from all their labours. And a rest from sin, temptation, conflict, sorrows, and labours, remains in the presence and enjoyment of God. There believers rest in Jesus, nay, as far as we trust in the Lord Jesus and obey him, we here find rest to our souls, though in the world we have tribulation.The small and the great are there - The old and the young, the high and the low. Death levels all. It shows no respect to age; it spares none because they are vigorous, young, or beautiful. This sentiment has probably been expressed in various forms in all languages, for all people are made deeply sensible of its truth. The Classic reader will recall the ancient proverb,

Mors sceptra ligonibus aequat,

And the language of Horace:

Aequae lege Necessitas

Sortitur insignes et imos.

Omne capax movet urna nomen.

Tristis unda scilicet omnibus,

Quicunque terrae munere vescimur,

Enaviganda, sive reges,

Sive inopes erimus coloni.

Divesne prisco natus ab lnacho

Nil interest, an pauper et infima

De gente sub dio moreris

Victima nil miserantis Orci.


19. servant—The slave is there manumitted from slavery. The small and great, i.e. persons of all qualifies and conditions, whether higher or lower.

Are there, in the same place and state, all those kinds of distinctions and differences being for ever abolished. The small and great are there,.... Both as to age, and with respect to bulk and strength of body, and also to estate and dignity; children and men, or those of low and high stature, or in a mean or more exalted state of life, as to riches and honour, these all come to the grave without any difference, and lie there without any distinction (y) "little and great are there all one"; as Mr. Broughton renders the words, see Revelation 20:12,

and the servant is free from his master; death dissolves all relations among men, and takes away the power that one has legally over another, as the husband over the wife, who at death is loosed from the law and power of her husband, Romans 7:2; and so parents over their children, and masters over their servants; there the master and the servant are together, without any superiority of the one to the other: the consideration of all the above things made death and the state of the dead in the grave appear to Job much more preferable than life in his present circumstances; and therefore, since it had not seized on him sooner, and as soon as he before had wished it had, he desires it might not be long before it came upon him, as in Job 3:20.

(y) "Grandia cum parvis Orcus metit". Horat. Ep. l. 2. ep. 2. ver. 178. "----Mista senum ac juvenum densantur funera". Horat. Carmin. l. 1. Ode. 28.

The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.
19. small and great are there] i. e. are there alike, the same.Verse 19. - The small and great are there; i.e. "all are there, the small and great alike;" for

"Omnes eodem cogimur, cranium
Versatur urna serius ocius
Sors exitura, et nos in aeternum
Exilium impositura cymbae."

(Her., ' Od.') And the servant is free from his master; rather, the slave (עֶבֶד). 13 So should I now have lain and had quiet,

I should have slept, then it would have been well with me,

14 With kings and councillors of the earth,

Who built ruins for themselves,

15 Or with princes possessing gold,

Who filled their houses with silver:

16 Or like a hidden untimely birth I had not been,

And as children that have never seen the light.

The perf. and interchanging fut. have the signification of oriental imperfecta conjunctivi, according to Ges. 126, 5; עתּה כּי is the usual expression after hypothetical clauses, and takes the perf. if the preceding clause specifies a condition which has not occurred in the past (Genesis 31:42; Genesis 43:10; Numbers 22:29, Numbers 22:33; 1 Samuel 14:30), the fut. if a condition is not existing in the present (Job 6:3; Job 8:6; Job 13:19). It is not to be translated: for then; כי rather commences the clause following: so I should now, indeed then I should. Ruins, הרבות, are uninhabited desolate buildings, elsewhere such as have become, here such as are from the first intended to remain, uninhabited and desolate, consequently sepulchres, mausoleums; probably, since the book has Egyptian allusions, in other passages also, a play upon the pyramids, in whose name (III-XPAM, according to Coptic glossaries) III is the Egyptian article (vid., Bunsen, Aeg. ii. 361); Arab. without the art. hirâm or ahrâm (vid., Abdollatf, ed. de Sacy, p. 293, s.).

(Note: We think that חרבות sounds rather like חרמות, the name of the pyramids, as the Arabic haram (instead of hharam), derived from XPAM, recalls harmân (e.g., beith harmân, a house in ruins), the synonym of hhardân (חרבאן).)

Also Renan: Qui se btissent des mausoles. Bttch. de inferis, 298 (who, however, prefers to read רחבות, wide streets), rightly directs attention to the difference between החרבות בנה (to rebuild the ruins) and לו בנה ח (to build ruins for one's self). With או like things are then ranged after one another. Builders of the pyramids, millionaires, abortions (vid., Ecclesiastes 6:3), and the still-born: all these are removed from the sufferings of this life in their quiet of the grave, be their grave a "ruin" gazed upon by their descendants, or a hole dug out in the earth, and again filled in as it was before.

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