Job 30:11
Because he has loosed my cord, and afflicted me, they have also let loose the bridle before me.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(11) Because he hath loosed my cord.—Better, his: i.e., “God hath loosed the cord of his bow and they have cast off all restraint before me.”

Job 30:11. Because he — That is, God; hath loosed my cord — Hath slackened the string of my bow, and so rendered it and my arrows useless; that is, he hath deprived me of my strength and defence: so understood, this expression is opposed to that used Job 29:20, My bow is renewed, &c. But the phrase may mean, He hath taken away from me that power and authority wherewith, as with a cord, I bound them to their good behaviour, and kept them within proper bounds. A similar expression is used in this sense Job 12:18. As, however, the word יתר, jether, here rendered cord, also means excellence, and is so translated Genesis 49:3; Job 4:21, and in other places, the sense here may be, He hath loosed, broken, or destroyed my excellence: or, as Schultens translates it, He hath stripped me of my glory. And afflicted me — When they perceived that God, who had been my faithful friend and constant defender, had forsaken me and was become mine enemy, they presently took this advantage of showing their malice against me. They have also let loose the bridle — They have cast off all former restraints of law, humanity, or modesty, and have given themselves full liberty to speak or act what they pleased against me: and this before me — For they now dare to do those things before mine eyes which they would formerly have trembled lest they should come to my ears.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.Because he hath loosed my cord - According to this translation, the reference here is to God, and the sense is, that the reason why he was thus derided and contemned by such a worthless race was, that God had unloosened his cord. That is, God had rendered him incapable of vindicating himself, or of inflicting punishment. The figure, according to this interpretation, is taken from a bow, and Job means to say that his bow was relaxed, his vigor was gone, and they now felt that they might insult him with impunity. But instead of the usual reading in the Hebrew text יתרי yithriy - "my nerve," another reading יתרוּ yithriv - "his nerve," is found in the qeri (margin). This reading has been adopted in the text by Jahn, and is regarded as genuine by Rosenmuller, Umbreit, and Noyes. According to this, the meaning is, that the worthless rabble that now treated him with so much contempt, had relaxed all restraint, and they who had hitherto been under some curb, now rushed upon him in the most unbridled manner. They had cast off all restraint arising from respect to his rank, standing, moral worth, and the dread of his power, and now treated him with every kind of indignity.

And afflicted me - By the disrespect and contempt which they have evinced.

They have also let loose the bridle before me - That is, they have cast off all restraint - repeating the idea in the first member of the verse.

11. He—that is, "God"; antithetical to "they"; English Version here follows the marginal reading (Keri).

my cord—image from a bow unstrung; opposed to Job 29:20. The text (Chetib), "His cord" or "reins" is better; "yea, each lets loose his reins" [Umbreit].

Because he, to wit, God, for it follows, he afflicted me, which was God’s work.

Hath loosed my cord; either,

1. He hath slackened the string (as this word sometimes signifies) of my bow, and so rendered my bow and arrows useless, either to offend others, or to defend myself, i.e. he hath deprived me of my strength or defence: so this is opposed to that expression, Job 29:20. Or,

2. He hath taken away from me that power and authority wherewith, as with a cord, I bound them to the good behaviour, and kept them within their bounds. The like expression is used in the same sense Job 15:18.

Afflicted me: when they perceived that God, who had been my faithful friend, and constant defender, had forsaken me, and was become mine enemy, they presently took this advantage of showing their malice against me.

They have also let loose the bridle; they cast off all former restraints of law, or humanity, or modesty, and gave themselves full liberty to speak or act what they pleased against me. Before me; they durst now do those things before mine eyes, which formerly they trembled lest they should come to my ears. Because he hath loosed my cord,.... Not his silver cord, for then he must have died immediately, Ecclesiastes 12:6; though it may be understood of the loosening of his nerves through the force of his disease, and the afflictions he endured from God and man, see Job 30:17; or rather of the shattered state and condition of his family and substance; which, while he enjoyed, he had respect and reverence from men; but now all being loosed, scattered, and destroyed, he was treated with derision and scorn; or, better still, of his power and authority as a civil magistrate, by which, as with a cord, he bound many to subjection and obedience to him, and which commanded reverence of him; but this being now loosed and removed from him, persons of the baser sort behaved in an insolent manner towards him; there is a "Keri", or a marginal reading of this clause, which we follow; but the "Cetib", or written text, is "his cord"; and so Mr. Broughton renders it, "he hath loosed his string"; which he explains of the string or rein of his government, that holdeth base men from striving with the mighty, and which comes to the same sense; for the power and authority Job had as a governor were of God, and which he had now loosened; the allusion may be to the string of a bow, which being loosed, it cannot cast out the arrow; and respect may be had to what Job had said, Job 29:20, "my bow was renewed in my hand"; it then abode in strength, and its strength was renewed; but now he had lost his power and strength, at least it was greatly weakened, that he could not defend himself, nor punish the wicked:

and afflicted me; that is, God, who is also understood in the preceding clause, though not expressed. Job's afflictions were many, and there were second causes of them, who were the movers, instruments, and means of them, as Satan, the Sabeans and Chaldeans, yet they were of God, as the appointer, orderer, and sender of them; and so Job understood them, and always as here ascribed them to him; wherefore there was a just cause for them, and an end to be answered by them, and it became Job patiently to bear them, and to wait the issue of them: now, on this account, the above persons were emboldened and encouraged to use Job in the ill manner they did:

they have also let loose the bridle before me; the restraints that were upon them when Job was in his prosperity, and had the reins of government in his hand; these they now cast off, and showed no manner of reverence of him, nor respect for him; and the bridle that was upon their mouths, which kept them from speaking evil of him while he was in power, now they slipped it from them, and gave themselves an unbounded liberty in deriding, reproaching, and reviling him; see Psalm 39:1; and this they did before him, in his presence and to his face, who before were mute and silent.

Because he hath loosed my {f} cord, and afflicted me, {g} they have also let loose the bridle before me.

(f) God has taken from me the force, credit, and authority with which I kept them in subjection.

(g) He said that the young men when they saw him, hid themselves as in Job 29:8, and now in his misery they were impudent and licentious.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
11. Job 30:11 is very variously understood; it may mean,

For they have loosed their rein and humbled me,

They have cast off the bridle before me.

So taken, the two clauses have much the same meaning, each being a figurative manner of saying that the low rabble have cast off all restraint, and subject the sufferer to painful humiliations. The verb in the first clause is sing., but may distribute to each the conduct of the whole. Others, however, make the subject to be God, rendering: Because he has loosed his rein and humbled me, they also have cast off the bridle before me (A. V.). There is nothing, however, to indicate such an antithesis between two different subjects in the two clauses. Another reading gives my rein or cord (A. V.), but no help comes from adopting this.

11–14. Further description of the outrageous insults of these base outcasts.Verse 11. - Because he hath loosed my cord. "He," in this passage, can only be God; and thus Job turns here to some extent from his human persecutors to his great Afflicter, the Almighty. God has "loosened his cord" i.e. has relaxed his vital fibre, taken away his strength, reduced him to helplessness. Hence, and hence only, do the persecutors dare to crowd around him and insult him. And afflicted me. God has afflicted him with blow after blow - with impoverishment (Job 1:14-17), with bereavement (Job 1:18, 19), with a sore malady (Job 2:7). They have also let loose the bridle before me. This has given his persecutors the courage to east aside all restraint, and lead him with insult after insult (vers. 1, 9, 10). 5 They are driven forth from society,

They cry after them as after a thief.

6 In the most dismal valleys they must dwell,

In holes of the earth and in rocks.

7 Among the bushes they croak,

Under nettles are they poured forth,

8 Sons of fools, yea sons of base men:

They are driven forth out of the land! -

If, coming forth from their lurking-places, they allow themselves to be seen in the villages of the plain or in the towns, they are driven forth from among men, e medio pelluntur (to use a Ciceronian phrase). גּו (Syr. gau, Arab. gaww, guww) is that which is internal, here the circle of social life, the organized human community. This expression also is Hebraeo-Arabic; for if one contrasts a house of district with what is outside, he says in Arabic, jûwâ wa-barrâ, guwwâ wa-berrâ, within and without, or Arab. 'l-jûwâ-nı̂ wa-'l-brrâ-nı̂, el-guwwâni wa'l-berrâni, the inside and the outside. In Job 30:5, כּגּנּב, like the thief, is equivalent to, as after the thief, or since this generic Art. is not usual with us Germ. and Engl.: after a thief; French, on crie aprs eux comme aprs le voleur. In Job 30:6, לשׁכּן is, according to Ges. 132, rem. 1((comp. on Habakkuk 1:17), equivalent to היוּ לשׁכּן, "they are to dwell" equals they must dwell; it might also signify, according to the still more frequent usage of the language, habitaturi sunt; it here, however, signifies habitandum est eis, as לבלום, Psalm 32:9, obturanda sunt. Instead of בּערוּץ with Shurek, the reading בּערוץ with Cholem (after the form סגור, Hosea 13:8) is also found, but without support. ארוּץ is either a substantive after the form גּבוּל (Ges., as Kimchi), or the construct of ערוּץ equals נערץ, feared equals fearful, so that the connection of the words, which we prefer, is a superlative one: in horridissima vallium, in the most terrible valleys, as Job 41:22, acutissimae testarum (Ew., according to 313, c). The further description of the habitation of this race of men: in holes (חרי equals בּחרי) of the earth (עפר, earth with respect to its constituent parts) and rocks (lxx τρῶγλαι πετρῶν), may seem to indicate the aborigines of the mountains of the district of Seir, who are called החרים, τρωγλοδύνται (vid., Genesis, S. 507); but why not, which is equally natural, חורן, Ezekiel 47:16, Ezekiel 47:18, the "district of caverns," the broad country about Bosra, with the two Trachnes (τράχωνες), of which the smaller western, the Leg, is the ancient Trachonitis, and with Ituraea (the mountains of the Druses)?

(Note: Wetzstein also inclines to refer the description to the Ituraeans, who, according to Apuleius, were frugum pauperes, and according to others, freebooters, and are perhaps distinguished from the Arabes Trachonitae (if they were not these themselves), as the troglodytes are from the Arabs who dwell in tents (on the troglodytes in Eastern Hauran, vid., Reisebericht, S. 44, 126). "The troglodyte was very often able to go without nourishment and the necessaries of life. Their habitations are not unfrequently found where no cultivation of the land was possible, e.g., in Safa. They were therefore the rearers of cattle or marauders. The cattle-rearing troglodyte, because he cannot wander about from one pasture to another like the nomads who dwell in tents, often loses his herds by a failure of pasture, heavy falls of snow (which often produce great devastation, e.g., in Hauran), epidemics, etc. Losses may also arise from marauding attacks from the nomads. Still less is this marauding, which is at enmity with all the world, likely to make a race prosperous, which, like the troglodyte, being bound to a fixed habitation, cannot escape the revenge of those whom it has injured." - Wetzst.)

As Job 6:5 shows, there underlies Job 30:7 a comparison of this people with the wild ass. The פּרא, fer, goes about in herds under the guidance of a so-called leader (vid., on Job 39:5), with which the poet in Job 24:5 compares the bands that go forth for forage; here the point of comparison, according to Job 6:5, is their bitter want, which urges from them the cry of pain; for ינהקוּ, although not too strong, would nevertheless be an inadequate expression for their sermo barbarus (Pineda), in favour of which Schlottmann calls to mind Herodotus' (iv. 183) comparison of the language of the Troglodyte Ethiopians with the screech of the night-owl (τετρίγασι κατάπερ αι ̓ νυκτερίδες). Among bushes (especially the bushes of the shih, which affords them some nourishment and shade, and a green resting-place) one hears them, and hears from their words, although he cannot understand them more closely, discontent and lamentation over their desperate condition: there, under nettles (חרוּל, root חר, Arab. ḥrr, as urtica from urere), i.e., useless weeds of the desert, they are poured forth, i.e., spread about in disorder. Thus most moderns take ספח equals שׁפך, Arab. sfḥ, comp. סרוּח, profusus, Amos 6:4, Amos 6:7, although one might also abide by the usual Hebrew meaning of the verb ספח (hardened from ספה), adjungere, associare (vid., Habak. S. 88), and with Hahn explain: under nettles they are united together, i.e., they huddle together. But neither the fut. nor the Pual (instead of which one would expect the Niph. or Hithpa.) is favourable to the latter interpretation; wherefore we decide in favour of the former, and find sufficient support for a Hebr.-Arabic ספח in the signification effundere from a comparison of Job 14:19 and the present passage. Job 30:8, by dividing the hitherto latent subject, tells what sort of people they are: sons of fools, profane, insane persons (vid., on Psalm 14:1); moreover, or of the like kind (גּם, not אף), sons of the nameless, ignobilium or infamium, since בלי־שׁם is here an adj. which stands in dependence, not filii infamiae equals infames (Hirz. and others), by which the second בני is rendered unlike the first. The assertion Job 30:8 may be taken as an attributive clause: who are driven forth ... ; but the shortness of the line and the prominence of the verb are in favour of the independence of the clause like an exclamation in its abrupt and halting form. נכּאוּ is Niph. of נכא equals נכה (נכי), root נך, to hew, pierce, strike.

(Note: The root Arab. nk is developed in Hebr. נכה, הכּה, in Arab. naka'a and nakâ, first to the idea of outward injury by striking, hewing, etc.; but it is then also transferred to other modes of inflicting injury, and in Arab. nawika, to being injured in mind. The root shows itself in its most sensuous development in the reduplicated form Arab. naknaka, to strike one with repeated blows, fig. for: to press any one hard with claims. According to another phase, the obscene Arab. nâka, fut. i, and the decent Arab. nakaḥa, signify properly to pierce. - Fl.)

On הארץ, of arable land in opposition to the steppe, vid., on Job 18:17.

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