As for that night, let darkness seize on it; let it not be joined to the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Let it not be joined.—Rather, let it not rejoice among, as one of the glorious procession of nights.Job 3:6. As for that night, let darkness seize upon it — Constant and extraordinary darkness, without the least glimmering of light from the moon or stars; darkness to the highest degree possible. Thus, as Job had thrown out his resentment against the day in which he was both, so now the severity of his censure falls on his birth-right; and his style, we find, increases and grows stronger. Our translation, indeed, makes no difference in the expression of darkness; namely, “Let that day be darkness; as for that night, let darkness seize upon it.” But the Hebrew is very different: for חשׁךְ, choshec, is applied to the day, and אפל, ophel, to the night, which latter word signifies a much greater degree of darkness than the former. See Joel 2:2; in the Hebrew, where the latter word, אפלה, ophelah, means thick and terrible darkness. Let it not be joined unto the days of the year — Reckoned as one, or a part of one of them. Or rather, Let it not rejoice among the days, &c., for יחד, jechad, from חדה, chadah, lætari, to rejoice, may properly be so rendered. Joy here, and terror Job 3:5, are poetically and figuratively ascribed to the day or night, with respect to men who may either rejoice or be affrighted therein. Let it not rejoice, that is, let it be a sad, and, as it were, a funeral day. Let it not come into the number of the months — May every month be looked upon as perfect and complete without taking that night or day into the number.Job 3:3. This malediction extends to Job 3:9.
Let darkness seize upon it - Hebrew, Let it take it. Let deep and horrid darkness seize it as its own. Let no star arise upon it; let it be unbroken and uninterrupted gloom. The word "darkness," however, does not quite express the force of the original. The word used here אפל 'ôphel is poetic, and denotes darkness more intense than is denoted by the word which is usually rendered "darkness" השׁך chôshek. It is a darkness accompanied with clouds and with a tempest. Herder understands it as meaning, that darkness should seize upon that night and bear it away, so that it should not be joined to the months of the year. So the Chaldee. But the true sense is, that Job wished so deep darkness to possess it, that no star would rise upon it; no light whatever be seen. A night like this Seneca beautifully describes in Agamemnon, verses 465ff:
Nox prima coeltum sparserat stellis,
Cum subito luna conditur, stellae cadunt;
In astra pontus tollitur, et coelum petit.
Nec una nox est, densa tenebras obruit
Caligo, et Omni luce subducta, fretum
Coelumque miscet ...
Premunt tenebrae lumina, et dirae stygis
Inferna nox est.
Let it not be joined unto the days of the year - Margin, "rejoice among." So Good and Noyes render it. The word used here יחד yı̂chad, according to the present pointing, is the apocopated future of חדה chādâh, "to rejoice, to be glad." If the pointing were different יחד yâchad it would be the future of יחד yachad, to be one; to be united, or joined to. The Masoretic points are of no authority, and the interpretation which supposes that the word means here to exult or rejoice, is more poetical and beautiful. It is then a representation of the days of the year as rejoicing together, and a wish is expressed that "that" night might never be allowed to partake of the general joy while the months rolled around. In this interpretation Rosenmuller and Gesenius concur. Dodwell supposes that there is an allusion to a custom among the ancients, by which inauspicious days were stricken from the calendar, and their place supplied by intercalary days. But there is no evidence of the existence of snell a custom in the time of Job.
joined unto the days of the year—rather, by poetic personification, "Let it not rejoice in the circle of days and nights and months, which form the circle of years."Let darkness seize upon it, i. e. constant and extraordinary darkness, without the least glimmering of light from the moon or stars.
Joined unto the days of the year, i.e. reckoned as one, or a part of one, of them. The night is distinguished from the artificial day, but it is a part of the natural day, which consists of twenty-four hours. Or rather, let it not rejoice among the days, &c. Joy here, and terror, Job 3:5, are poetically and figuratively ascribed to the day or night with respect to men, who either rejoice or are affrighted in it. Let it be a sad, and as it were a funeral, day.
Let it not come into the number of the months, i.e. to be one of those nights which go to the making up of the months.
let darkness seize upon it; let it not only he deprived of the light of the moon and stars, but let an horrible darkness seize upon it, that it may be an uncommon and a terrible one:
let it not be joined unto the days of the year; the solar year, and make one of them; or, "let it not be one among them" (c), let it come into no account, and when it is sought for, let it not appear, but be found wanting; "or let it not joy" or "rejoice among the days of the year" (d), as Jarchi, Aben Ezra, and others interpret it, or be a joyful one, or anything joyful done or enjoyed in it:
let it not come into the number of the months; meaning not the intercalated months, as Sephorno, nor the feasts of the new moon, as others, but let it not serve to make up a month, which consists of so many days and nights, according to the course of the moon; the sense both of this and the former clause is, let it be struck out of the calendar.
(c) "non sit una inter dies", Pagninus; "ne adunatur in diebus", Montanus. (d) "Ne fuisset gavisa", Junius & Tremellius; "ne gaudeat", Vatablus, Beza, Mercerus, Piscator, Drusius, Broughton, Cocceius, Schmidt, Schultens, Michaelis.As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)6. let it not be joined unto] Rather, let it not rejoice among. Let it not enter the joyful troop of days, glad in its existence and its beauty. Another way of spelling the word gives the meaning, let it not be joined unto.Verse 6. - As for that night. The night, that is, of Job's conception (see above, ver. 3). Let darkness seize upon it. The Revised Version has thick darkness but this is unnecessary. Let it not be joined unto the days of the year. According to the Massorites' pointing, we should translate, "Let it not rejoice among the days of the year;" and so the Revised Version. But many of the best critics prefer the pointing which is followed by the LXX. and by King James's translators. The succeeding clause strongly supports this interpretation. Let it not come into the number of the months (comp. ver. 3, and the comment on it). Job wishes the day of his birth and the night of his conception to be utterly blotted out from the calendar; but, aware that this is impossible, he subsides into a milder class of imprecations.
13 And they sat with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights; and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his pain was very great.
Ewald erroneously thinks that custom and propriety prescribed this seven days' silence; it was (as Ezekiel 3:15) the force of the impression produced on them, and the fear of annoying the sufferer. But their long silence shows that they had not fully realized the purpose of their visit. Their feeling is overpowered by reflection, their sympathy by dismay. It is a pity that they let Job utter the first word, which they might have prevented by some word of kindly solace; for, becoming first fully conscious of the difference between his present and former position from their conduct, he breaks forth with curses.
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