Job 30:1
But now they that are younger than I have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock.
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(1) Whose fathers I would have disdained.—Rather, whose fathers I disdained to set. The complaint is that the children of those who were so inferior to him should treat him thus.

Job 30:1. But now, &c. — Job having, in the foregoing chapter, described the honour of his former condition, goes on here, by way of contrast, to describe the vileness of his present state. They that are younger than I — Whom both universal custom and the light of nature taught to reverence their elders and betters; have me in derision — Make me the object of their contempt and scoffs: thus my glory is turned into shame. Whose fathers I would have disdained — Or, rather, might have disdained; that is, whose condition was so mean and vile, that in the opinion, and according to the custom of the world, they were unworthy to be my shepherds, and the companions of my dogs, which watch my flocks. This and the seven following verses are an exaggerated description of the vileness of those to whom he was now become a derision, notwithstanding all his former authority.30:1-14 Job contrasts his present condition with his former honour and authority. What little cause have men to be ambitious or proud of that which may be so easily lost, and what little confidence is to be put in it! We should not be cast down if we are despised, reviled, and hated by wicked men. We should look to Jesus, who endured the contradiction of sinners.But now they that are younger than I-- Margin, "of fewer days." It is not probable that Job here refers to his three friends. It is not possible to determine their age with accuracy, but in Job 15:10, they claim that there were with them old and very aged men, much older than the father of Job. Though that place may possibly refer not to themselves but to those who held the same opinions with them, yet none of those who engaged in the discussion, except Ehhu Job 32:6, are represented as young men. They were the contemporaries of Job; men who are ranked as his friends; and men who showed that they had had oppoptunities for long and careful observation. The reference here, therefore, is to the fact that while, in the days of his prosperity, even the aged and the honorable rose up to do him reverence, now he was the object of contempt even by the young and the worthless. The Orientals would feel this much. It was among the chief virtues with them to show respect to the aged, and their sensibilites were especially keen in regard to any indignity shown to them by the young.

Whose fathers I would have disdained - Who are the children of the lowest and most degraded of the community. How deep the calamity to be so fallen as to be the subject of derision by such men!

To have set with the dogs of my flock - To have associated with my dogs in guarding my flock. That is, they were held in less esteem than his dogs. This was the lowest conceivable point of debasement. The Orientals had no language that would express greater contempt of anyone than to call him a dog; compare Deuteronomy 23:18; 1 Samuel 17:43; 1 Samuel 24:14; 2 Samuel 3:8; 2 Samuel 9:8; 2 Samuel 16:9; 2 Kings 8:13; Note Isaiah 66:3.


Job 30:1-31.

1. younger—not the three friends (Job 15:10; 32:4, 6, 7). A general description: Job 30:1-8, the lowness of the persons who derided him; Job 30:9-15, the derision itself. Formerly old men rose to me (Job 29:8). Now not only my juniors, who are bound to reverence me (Le 19:32), but even the mean and base-born actually deride me; opposed to, "smiled upon" (Job 29:24). This goes farther than even the "mockery" of Job by relations and friends (Job 12:4; 16:10, 20; 17:2, 6; 19:22). Orientals feel keenly any indignity shown by the young. Job speaks as a rich Arabian emir, proud of his descent.

dogs—regarded with disgust in the East as unclean (1Sa 17:43; Pr 26:11). They are not allowed to enter a house, but run about wild in the open air, living on offal and chance morsels (Ps 59:14, 15). Here again we are reminded of Jesus Christ (Ps 22:16). "Their fathers, my coevals, were so mean and famished that I would not have associated them with (not to say, set them over) my dogs in guarding my flock."Job’s honour is turned into contempt, Job 30:1-14; his prosperity into calamity, fears, pains, despicableness, Job 30:15-19; notwithstanding his prayer now, and his former charity, and hope, Job 30:20-26. His great sorrow, Job 30:27-31.

But now my condition is sadly changed for the worse.

They that are younger than I; whom both universal custom and the light of nature taught to reverence their elders and betters.

Have me in derision; make me the object of their contempt and scoffs: thus my glory is turned into shame.

I would have disdained; or rather, I might have disdained, i.e. whose condition was so mean and vile, that in the opinion and according to the custom of the world they were unworthy of such an employment.

To have set with the dogs of my flock; to be my shepherds, and the companions of my dogs which watch my flocks. Dogs are every where mentioned with contempt, as filthy, unprofitable, and accursed creatures; as 2 Samuel 16:9 2 Kings 8:13 Philippians 3:2 Revelation 22:15.

But now they that are younger than I have me in derision,.... Meaning not his three friends, who were men in years, and were not, at least all of them, younger than he, see Job 15:10; nor were they of such a mean extraction, and such low-lived creatures, and of such characters as here described; with such Job would never have held a correspondence in the time of his prosperity; both they and their fathers, in all appearance, were both great and good; but these were a set of profligate and abandoned wretches, who, as soon as Job's troubles came upon him, derided him, mocked and jeered at him, both by words and gestures; and which they might do even before his three friends came to him, and during their seven days' silence with him, and while this debate was carrying on between them, encouraged unto it by their behaviour towards him; to be derided by any is disagreeable to flesh and blood, though it is the common lot of good men, especially in poor and afflicted circumstances, and to be bore patiently; but to be so used by junior and inferior persons is an aggravation of it; as Job was, even by young children, as was also the prophet Elisha, 2 Kings 2:23; see Job 19:18;

whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the dogs of my flock; either to have compared them with the dogs that kept his flock from the wolves, having some good qualities in them which they had not; for what more loving or faithful to their masters, or more vigilant and watchful of their affairs? or to set them at meat with the dogs of his flock; they were unworthy of it, though they would have been glad of the food his dogs ate of, they living better than they, whose meat were mallows and juniper roots, Job 30:4; and would have jumped at it; as the prodigal in want and famine, as those men were, would fain have filled his belly with husks that swine did eat; but as no man gave them to him, so Job disdained to give the meat of his dogs to such as those; or to set them "over" (m) the dogs of his flock, to be the keepers of them, to be at the head of his dogs, and to have the command of them; see the phrase in 2 Samuel 3:8; or else to join them with his dogs, to keep his flock with them; they were such worthless faithless wretches, that they were not to be trusted with the care of his flock along with his dogs. It was usual in ancient times, as well as in ours, for dogs to be made use of in keeping flocks of sheep from beasts of prey, as appears from Orpheus (n), Homer (o), Theocritus (p), and other writers: and if the fathers of those that derided Job were such mean, base, worthless creatures, what must their sons be, inferior to them in age and honour, if any degree of honour belonged to them?

(m) "super canes", Noldius, p. 739. No. 1825. (n) De Lapidibus, Hypoth. ver. 53, 54. (o) Iliad. 10. , &c. v. 183. & Iliad 12. v. 303. (p) , &c. Idyll. 5. v. 106. & Idyll. 6. v. 9, 10.

But now they that are younger than I {a} have me in derision, whose fathers I would have disdained to have set with the {b} dogs of my flock.

(a) That is, my estate is changed and while before the ancient men were glad to revere me, the young men now contemn me.

(b) Meaning to be my shepherds or to keep my dogs.

1. younger than I] Comp. what was said of the demeanour of the youths in former days, ch. Job 30:8.

would have disdained to have set] Or, I disdained to set.Verses 1-31. - The contrast is now completed. Having drawn the portrait of himself as he was, rich, honoured, blessed with children, flourishing, in favour with both God and man, Job now presents himself to us as he is, despised of men (vers. 1-10), afflicted of God (ver. 11), a prey to vague terrors (ver. 15), tortured with bodily pains (vers. 17, 18), cast off by God (vers. 19, 20), with nothing but death to look for (vers. 23-31). The chapter is the most touching in the whole book. Verse 1. - But now they that are younger than I have me in derision. As Job had been speaking last of the honour in which he was once held, he beans his contrast by chewing how at present he is disgraced and derided. Men who are outcasts and solitary themselves, poor dwellers in caves (ver. 6), who have much ado to keep body and soul together (vers. 3, 4), and not men only but youths, mere boys, scoff at him, make him a song and a byword (ver. 9). nay, "spare not to spit in his face" (ver. 10). There seem to have been in his vicinity weak and debased tribes, generally contemned and looked down upon, regarded as thieves (ver. 5) by their neighbours, and considered to be of base and vile origin (ver. 8), who saw in Job's calamities a rare opportunity for insulting and triumphing over a member of the superior race which had crushed them, and thus tasting, to a certain extent, the sweetness of revenge. Whose fathers I would have disdained (rather, I disdained) to have set with the dogs of my flock. Job had not thought their fathers worthy of employing even as the lowest class of herdsmen, those reckoned on a par with the sheep-dogs. 18 Then I:thought: With my nest I shall expire,

And like the phoenix, have a long life.

19 My root will be open for water,

And the dew will lodge in my branches.

20 Mine honour will remain ever fresh to me,

And my bow will become young in my hand.

In itself, Job 29:18 might be translated: "and like to the sand I shall live many days" (Targ., Syr., Arab., Saad., Gecat., Luther, and, among moderns, Umbr., Stick., Vaih., Hahn, and others), so that the abundance of days is compared to the multitude of the grains of sand. The calculation of the immense total of grains of sand (atoms) in the world was, as is known, a favourite problem of antiquity; and in the Old Testament Scriptures, the comprehensive knowledge of Solomon is compared to "the sand upon the sea-shore," 1 Kings 5:9, - how much more readily a long life reduced to days! comp. Ovid, Metam. xiv. 136-138; quot haberet corpora pulvis, tot mihi natales contingere vana rogavi. We would willingly decide in favour of this rendering, which is admissible in itself, although a closer definition like היּם is wanting by כחול, if an extensive Jewish tradition did not secure the signification of an immortal bird, or rather one rising ever anew from the dead. The testimony is as follows: (1) b. Sanhedrin 108b, according to which חול is only another name for the bird אורשׁינא,

(Note: The name is a puzzle, and does not accord with any of the mythical birds mentioned in the Zendavesta (vid., Windischmann, Zoroastrische Studien, 1863, S. 93). What Lewysohn, Zoologie des Talmuds, S. 353, brings forward from the Greek by way of explanation is untenable. The name of the bird, Vresha, in an obscure passage of the Bundehesch in Windischmann, ib. S. 80, is similar in sound. Probably, however, אורשׁינא is one and the same word as Simurg, which is composed of si ( equals sin) and murg, a bird (Pehlvi and Parsi mru). This si (sin) corresponds to the Vedic jena, a falcon, and in the Zend form, ana (na), is the name of a miraculous bird; so that consequently Simurg equals Sinmurg, Parsi Cnamru, signifies the Si- or Cna-bird (comp. Kuhn, Herabkunft des Feuers, 1859, S. 125). In אורשינא the two parts of the composition seem to be reversed, and אור to be corrupted from מור. Moreover, the Simurg is like the phoenix only in the length of its life; another mythological bird, Kuknus, on the other hand (vid., the art. Phnix in Ersch u. Gruber), resembles it also in rising out of its own ashes.)

of which the fable is there recorded, that when Noah fed the beasts in the ark, it sat quite still in its compartment, that it might not give more trouble to the patriarch, who had otherwise plenty to do, and that Noah wished it on this account the reward of immortality (יהא רעוא דלא תמות). (2) That this bird חול is none other than the phoenix, is put beyond all doubt by the Midrashim (collected in the Jalkut on Job, 517). There it is said that Eve gave all the beasts to eat of the fruit of the forbidden tree, and that only one bird, the חול by name, avoided this death-food: "it lives a thousand years, at the expiration of which time fire springs up in its nest, and burns it up to about the size of an egg;" or even: that of itself it diminishes to that size, from which it then grows up again and continues to live (וחוזר ומתגדל איברים וחיה). (3) The Masora observes, that כחול occurs in two different significations (בתרי לישׁני), since in the present passage it does not, as elsewhere, signify sand. (4) Kimchi, in his Lex., says: "in a correct Jerusalem MS I found the observation: בשׁורק לנהרדעי ובחלם למערבאי, i.e., וכחוּל according to the Nehardean (Babylonian) reading, וכחול according to the western (Palestine) reading;" according to which, therefore, the Babylonian Masoretic school distinguished וכחול in the present passage from וכחול, Genesis 22:17, even in the pronunciation. A conclusion respecting the great antiquity of this lexical tradition may be drawn (5) from the lxx, which translates ὥσπερ στέλεχος φοίνικος, whence the Italic sicut arbor palmae, Jerome sicut palma.

If we did not know from the testimonies quoted that חול is the name of the phoenix, one might suppose that the lxx has explained וכחול according to the Arab. nachl, the palm, as Schultens does; but by a comparison of those testimonies, it is more probable that the translation was ὥσπερ φοῖνιξ originally, and that ὥσπερ στέλεχος φοίνικος is an interpolation, for φοῖνιξ signifies both the immortal miraculous bird and the inexhaustibly youthful palm.

(Note: According to Ovid, Metam. xv. 396, the phoenix makes its nest in the palm, and according to Pliny, h. n. xiii. 42, it has its name from the palm: Phoenix putatur ex hujus palmae argumento nomen accepisse, iterum mori ac renasci ex se ipsa; vid., A. Hahmann, Die Dattelpalme, ihre Namen und ihre Verehrung in der alten Welt, in the periodical Bonplandia, 1859, Nr. 15, 16. Masius, in his studies of nature, has very beautifully described on what ground "the intelligent Greek gave a like name to the fabulous immortal bird that rises again out of its own ashes, and the palm which ever renews its youth." Also comp. (Heimsdrfer's) Christliche Kunstsymbolik, S. 26, and Augusti, Beitrge zur christl. Kunst-Geschichte und Liturgik, Bd. i. S. 106-108, but especially Piper, Mythologie der christl. Kunst (1847), i.446f.)

We have the reverse case in Tertullian, de resurrectione carnis, c. xiii., which explains the passage in Ps; Psalm 92:13, δίκαιος ὡς φοῖνιξ ἀντηήσει, according to the translation justus velut phoenix florebit, of the ales orientis or avis Arabiae, which symbolizes man's immortality.

(Note: Not without reference to Clemens Romanus, in his I. Ep. ad Corinth. c. xxv., according to which the phoenix is an Arabian bird, which lives five hundred years, then dies in a nest which it builds of incense, myrrh, and spices, and leaves behind it the larva of a young bird, which, when grown up, brings the nest with the bones of its father and places it upon the altar of the sun at the Egyptian Heliopolis. The source of this is Herodotus ii. 73) who, however, has an egg of myrrh instead of a nest of myrrh); and Tacitus, Ann. vi. 28, gives a similar narrative. Lactantius gives a different version in his poem on the phoenix, according to which this, the only one of its race, "built its nest in a country that remained untouched by the deluge." The Jewish tragedy writer, Ezekilos, agrees more nearly with the statement of Arabia being the home of the phoenix. In his drama Ἐξαγωγή, a spy sent forward before the pilgrim band of Israel, he states that among other things the phoenix was also seen; vid., my Gesch. der jd. Poesie, S. 219.)


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