Job 30:17
My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.
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30:15-31 Job complains a great deal. Harbouring hard thoughts of God was the sin which did, at this time, most easily beset Job. When inward temptations join with outward calamities, the soul is hurried as in a tempest, and is filled with confusion. But woe be to those who really have God for an enemy! Compared with the awful state of ungodly men, what are all outward, or even inward temporal afflictions? There is something with which Job comforts himself, yet it is but a little. He foresees that death will be the end of all his troubles. God's wrath might bring him to death; but his soul would be safe and happy in the world of spirits. If none pity us, yet our God, who corrects, pities us, even as a father pitieth his own children. And let us look more to the things of eternity: then the believer will cease from mourning, and joyfully praise redeeming love.My bones are pierced in me - The bones are often represented in the Scriptures as the seat of acute pain; Psalm 6:2; Psalm 22:14; Psalm 31:10; Psalm 38:3; Psalm 42:10; Proverbs 14:30; compare Job 20:11. The meaning here is, that he had had shooting or piercing pains in the night, which disturbed and prevented his rest. It is mentioned as a special aggravation of his sufferings that they were "in the night" - a time when we expect repose.

And my sinews take no rest - See the word here rendered sinews explained in the note at ver. 3. The word literally means gnawers, and hence, the teeth. The Vulgate renders it, qui me comedunt, non dormiunt, "they who devour me do not slumber." The Septuagint, νευρά μον neura mou - my sinews, or arteries. Schleusner. Luther, "They who gnaw me." Coverdale, Sinews. I see no reason to doubt that the teeth or the jaws are meant, and that Job refers to the violent pain in the tooth, among the acutest pains to which the body is subject. The idea is, that every part of the body was diseased and filled with pain.

17. In the Hebrew, night is poetically personified, as in Job 3:3: "night pierceth my bones (so that they fall) from me" (not as English Version, "in me"; see Job 30:30).

sinews—so the Arabic, "veins," akin to the Hebrew; rather, "gnawers" (see on [529]Job 30:3), namely, my gnawing pains never cease. Effects of elephantiasis.

My bones are pierced: Heb. It, to wit, the terror or affliction last mentioned; or, He, i.e. God, hath pierced my bones. This is no slight and superficial, but a most deep wound, that reacheth to my very heart, and bones, and marrow. Nothing in me is so secret but it reacheth it, nothing so hard and solid but it feels the weight and burden of it.

In me, Heb. from above me, by an arrow shot from Heaven, whence my calamities come, and that in a singular and eminent manner. Or, by that which is upon me: the sores which are upon my skin, or outward flesh, do pierce and pain me even to the bones. For now he is come from describing the terrors of his mind, to express the torments of his body.

In the night season; when others do, and I should, receive some rest and refreshment.

My sinews; and the flesh of my body which covereth the sinews, and is mixed with them, and may seem to be synecdochically expressed by the sinews, which are the strength and support of the flesh. So he signifies that neither his bones nor his flesh resteth. Or, and my veins or arteries, which rest or move slowly when the mind and body are well composed; but in Job did move vehemently and restlessly, by reason of his great heat, and pain, and passion. My bones are pierced in me in the night season,.... Such was the force of his disease, that it pierced and penetrated even into his bones, and the marrow of them; and such the pain that he endured in the muscles and tendons about them, and especially in the joints of them, that it was as if all his bones were piercing and breaking to pieces; he was in a like condition the sick man is described in Job 33:19; and as David and Hezekiah were, Psalm 6:2; and what aggravated his case was, that this was "in the night season", when he should have got some sleep and rest, but could not for his pain: some render the words by supplying them thus; God, or the disease, or the pain, pierced my bones in the night season; or "the night pierced my bones from me"; so Mr. Broughton; but rather they may be rendered, and the sense be,

"in the night season everyone of my bones pierce "the flesh" that is upon me:''

his flesh was almost wasted and consumed, through the boil and ulcers on him, and he was reduced to a mere skeleton; and when he laid himself down on his bed, these pierced through his skin, and stuck out, and gave him exquisite pain:

and my sinews take no rest; being contracted; or his nerves, as the word in the Arabic language signifies, as is observed by Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Donesh, and others; which were loosened, and the animal spirits were sunk, and he so low and dispirited, that he could get no rest: or the pulsatile veins and arteries, as Ben Gersom and Elias Levita (a), in which the pulse beats, and which beats with less strength when persons are asleep than when awake; but such was the force of Job's disease, that it beat even in the night, when on his bed, so strongly, that he could take no rest for it; the pulse beats, as physicians say (b), sixty times in a minute, and double the number in a burning fever, and which might be Job's case. Some take the word in the sense of fleeing or gnawing (c), as it is used Job 30:3; and interpret it either of his enemies, who pursued after him, and had no rest in their beds, but went out in the night to inquire and hear what they could learn concerning him and his illness, whether it was become greater (d); or who devoured him by their calumnies and detractions, and could not sleep unless they did mischief to him; see Proverbs 4:16; or of the worms with which his body was covered, and which were continually gnawing, never rested, nor suffered him to take any rest; the Targum is, they that gnash at me rest not.

(a) In Tishbi, p. 67. So Lud. Capellus in loc. (b) Scheuchzer. Physic. Sacr. vol. 4. p 764. (c) "et rodentia mea", Schultens; "fugientia membra mea", so some in Michaelis. (d) Vid. Bar Tzemach in loc.

{m} My bones are pierced in me in the night season: and my sinews take no rest.

(m) Meaning sorrow.

17. His tormenting pains.

In the night season my bones are pierced (and fall) off from me,

And my gnawing pains take no rest.

The first clause refers to his tormenting pains, severest in the night, under which his bones seem pierced and his limbs to be wrenched from him. “My gnawing pains” is lit. my gnawers.Verse 17. - My bones are pierced in me in the night season. In Elephantiasis anaesthetics says Dr. Erasmus Wilson, "when the integument is insensible, there are deep-seated burning pains, sometimes of a bone or joint, and sometimes of the vertebral column. These pains are greatest at night; they prevent sleep, and give rise to restless,less and frightful dreams" (Quain's 'Dictionary of Medicine,' vol. 1. p. 817). And my sinews take no rest; rather, my gnawings, or my gnawing pains (see the Revised Version; and comp. ver. 3, where the same word is properly rendered by "gnawing [the wilderness]"). 9 And now I am become their song,

And a by-word to them.

10 They avoid me, they flee far from me,

And spare not my face with spitting.

11 For my cord of life He hath loosed, and afflicted me,

Therefore they let loose the bridle recklessly.

12 The rabble presses upon my right hand,

They thrust my feet away,

And cast up against me their destructive ways.

The men of whom Job complains in this strophe are none other than those in the preceding strophe, described from the side of their coarse and degenerate behaviour, as Job 24:4-8 described them from the side of the wrong which was practised against them. This rabble, constitutionally as well as morally degraded, when it comes upon Job's domain in its marauding expeditions, makes sport of the sufferer, whose former earnest admonitions, given from sympathizing anxiety for them, seemed to them as insults for which they revenge themselves. He is become their song of derision (נגינתם to be understood according to the dependent passage, Lamentations 3:14, and Psalm 69:13), and is למלּה to them, their θρύλλημα (lxx), the subject of their foolish talk (מלּה - Arab. mille, not equals melle, according to which Schultens interprets it, sum iis fastidio). Avoiding him, and standing at a distance from him, they make their remarks upon him; and if they come up to him, it is only for the sake of showing him still deeper scorn: a facie ejus non cohibent sputam. The expositors who explain that, contrary to all decent bearing, they spit in his presence (Eichh., Justi, Hirz., Vaih., Hlgst.), or with Fie! spit out before him (Umbr., Hahn, Schlottm.), overlook the fact of its being מפּני, not לפני. The expression as it stands can only affirm that they do not spare his face with spitting (Jer. correctly: conspuere non veruntur), so that consequently he is become, as he has complained in Job 17:6, a תּפת, an object of spitting (comp. also the declaration of the servant of Jehovah, Isaiah 50:6, which stands in close connection with this declaration of Job, according to previous explanations).

It now becomes a question, Who is the subj. in Job 30:11? The Chethib יתרו demands an attempt to retain the previous subj. Accordingly, most moderns explain: solvit unusquisque eorum funem suum, i.e., frenum suum, quo continebatur antea a me (Rosenm., Umbr., Stick., Vaih., Hlgst., and others), but it is to be doubted whether יתר can mean frenum; it signifies a cord, the string of a bow, and of a harp. The reconciliation of the signification redundantia, Job 22:20, and funis, is, in the idea of the root, to be stretched tight and long.

(Note: The Arab. verb watara shows its sensuous primary signification in Arab. watarun, יתר, cord, bow-string, harp-string (Engl. string): to stretch tight, to extend, so that the thing continues in one line. Hence then Arab. watrun, witrun, separate, unequal, singulus, impar, opp. Arab. šaf‛un, bini, par, just as fard, single, separate, unequal (opp. zaug, a pair, equal number), is derived from farada, properly, so to strain or stretch out, that the thing has no bends or folds; Greek εξαπλοῦν (as in the Shepherd of Hermas: ἐπάνω λεντίου ἐξηπλωμένον λίνον καρπάσινον), an original transitive signification still retained in low Arabic (vid., Bocthor under tendre and Dployer). Then from Arab. watara spring the secondary roots Arab. tatara and tarâ, which proceed from the VIII form (ittatara). The former (tatara) appears only in the Arab. adverb tatran and tatrâ, sigillatim, alii post alios, singly one after another, so that several persons or things form a row interrupted by intervals of space of time; the latter (tara) and its IV form (atra) are equivalent to wâtara, to be active at intervals, with pauses between, as the Arabs explain: "We say Arab. atrâ of a man when he so performs several acts which do not directly follow one another, that there is always a [Arab.] fatrat, intermissio, between two acts." Hence also תּרין, תּרתּין, duals of an assumed sing. תּר, singulus (um), תּרתּ singula, therefore prop. duo singuli (a), duae singulae, altogether parallel to the like meaning thinâni (ithnâni', thinaini (ithnaini), שׁנים; fem. thintâni (ithnatâni), thintaini (ithnataini), שׁתּים instead of שׁנתּים, from an assumed sing. thin-un (ithn-un), thint-un (ithnat-un), from Arab. tanâ, שׁנה, like bin (ibn), bint (ibnat), בּן, בּת ( equals בּנת, hence בּתּי) from Arab. banâ, בּנה.

The significations of watara which Freytag arranges under 1, 2, 3, 4, proceed from the transitive application of יתר, as the Italian soperchiare, soverchiare, from supra, to offend, insult; oltraggiare, outrager, from ultra; ὑβρίζειν from ὑπέρ. Similarly, Arab. tṭâwl ‛lı̂h and ‛stṭâl ‛lı̂h (form VI and X from ṭâl), to act haughtily towards any one, to make him feel one's superiority, properly to stretch one's self out over or against any one.

But in another direction the signif. to be stretched out goes into: overhanging, surpassing, projecting, to be superfluous, and to be left over, περιττὸν εἶναι, to exceed a number or bulk, superare (comp. Italian soperchiare as intrans.), περιεῖναι, ὑπερεῖναι; to prove, as result, gain, etc., περιεῖναι, etc. Similar is the development of the meaning of Arab. faḍala and of ṭâ'l, gain, use, from Arab. ṭâl, to be stretched out. In like manner, the German reich, reichlich rich, abundant, comes from the root reichen, recken to stretch, extend. - Fl.)


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