Job 30:22
Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.
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(22) Thou liftest me up to the wind.—Some render this verse, “Thou liftest me up to the wind, and causest me to ride upon it; Thou dissolvest me in thy blast;” others understand him to express the contrast between his former prosperous state and his present low condition: “Thou usedst to raise me and make me ride upon the wind, and now Thou dissolvest my substance, my very being.” (Comp. Psalm 102:10 : “Thou hast lifted me up and cast me down.”)

Job 30:22-23. Thou liftest me up to the wind — Thou exposest me to all sorts of storms and calamities, so that I am like chaff or stubble lifted up to the wind, and violently tossed hither and thither in the air. And dissolvest my substance — By which my body is almost consumed, and my heart is melted within me. I know that thou wilt bring me to death — Rather, I verily know, or am persuaded, that by these lingering and painful disorders thou art gradually bringing me to death; the house appointed for all living — The grave, to which all living men are hastening. The grave is a narrow, dark, cold house, but there we shall rest and be safe. It is our home, for it is our mother’s lap, and in it we are gathered to our fathers. It is a house appointed for us by him that has appointed the bounds of all our habitations. And it is appointed for all living. It is the common receptacle for rich and poor; we must all be brought thither, and that shortly.

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.Thou liftest me up to the wind - The sense here is, that he was lifted up as stubble is by a tempest, and driven mercilessly along. The figure of riding upon the wind or the whirlwind, is common in Oriental writers, and indeed elsewhere. So Milton says,

"They ride the air in whirlwind."

So Addison, speaking of the angel that executes the commands of the Almighty, says,

"Rides in the whirlwind, and directs the storm."

Coverdale renders this verse, "In times past thou didst set me up on high, as it were above the wind, but now hast thou given me a very sore fall." Rosenmuller thinks that the image here is not taken from straw or chaff that is driven by the wind, but that the meaning of Job is, that he is lifted up and borne aloft like a cloud. But the image of chaff or straw taken up by the whirlwind and driven about, seems best to accord with the scope of the passage. The idea is, that the tempest of calamity had swept everything away, and had driven him about as a worthless object, until he was wasted away and ruined. It is possible that Job refers in this passage to the sand-storm which occurs sometimes in the deserts of Arabia. The following description of such a storm by Mr. Bruce (vol. 4:pp. 553, 554), will furnish an illustration of the force and sublimity of the passage. It is copied from Taylor's Fragments, in Calmet's Dictionary, vol. 3:235: "On the fourteenth," says Bruce, "at seven in the morning, we left Assa Nagga, our course being due north. At one o'clock we alighted among some acacia trees at Waadiel Halboub, having gone twenty-one miles. We were here at once surprised and terrified by a sight, surely one of the most magnificent in the world. In that vast expanse of desert from west and to northwest of us, we saw a number of prodigious pillars of sand at different distances, at times moving with qreat celerity, at others stalking on with a majestic slowness; at intervals we thought they were coming in a very few minutes to overwhelm us, and small quantities of sand did actually more than once reach us. Again they would retreat so as to be almost out of sight - their tops reaching to the very clouds. There the tops often separated from the bodies; and these, once disjoined, dispersed in the air, and did not appear more.

Sometimes they were broken near the middle, as if struck with a large cannon shot. About noon they began to advance with considerable swiftness upon us, the wind being very strong at north. Eleven of them ranged alongside of us about the distance of three miles. The greatest diameter of the largest appeared to me at that distance as if it would measure two feet. They retired from us with a wind at southeast, leaving an im pression upon my mind to which I can give no name, though surely one ingredient in it was fear, with a considerable deal of wonder and astonishment. It was in vain to think of flying; the swiftest horse, or fastest sailing ship, could be of no use to carry us out of this danger, and the full persuasion of this riveted me as if to the spot where I stood, and let the camels gain on me so much in my state of lameness, that it was with some difficulty I could overtake them.

"The whole of our company were much disheartened, except Idris, and imagined that they were advancing into whirlwinds of moving sand, from which they should never be able to extricate themselves; but before four o'clock in the afternoon these phantoms of the plain had all of them fallen to the ground and disappeared. In the evening we came to Waadi Dimokea, where we passed the night, much disheartened, and our fear more increased, when we found, upon wakening in the morning, that one side was perfectly buried in the sand that the wind had blown above us in the night.

"The sun shining through the pillars, which were thicker, and contained more sand, apparently, than any of the preceding days, seemed to give those nearest us an appearance as if spotted with stars of gold. I do not think at any time they seemed to be nearer than two miles. The most remarkable circumstance was, that the sand seemed to keep in that vast circular space, surrounded by the Nile on our left, in going round by Chaigie toward Dougola, and seldom was observed much to the eastward of a meridian, passing along the Nile through the Magizan, before it takes that turn; whereas the simoom was always on the opposite side of our course, coming upon us from the southeast.

"The same appearance of moving pillars of sand presented themselves to us this day in form and disposition like those we had seen at Waadi Halboub, only they seemed to be more in number, and less in size. They came several times in a direction close upon us, that is, I believe, within less than two miles. They began, immediately after sunrise, like a thick wood, and almost darkened the sun; his rays shining through them for near an hour, gave them an appearance of pillars of fire."

"If my conjecture," says Taylor, "be admissible, we now see a magnificence in this imagery, not apparent before: we see how Job's dignity might be exalted in the air; might rise to great grandeur, importance, and even terror, in the sight of beholders; might ride upon the wind, which bears it about, causing it to advance or to recede; and, after all, when the wind diminishes, might disperse, dissipate, melt this pillar of sand into the undistinguished level of the desert. This comparison seems to be precisely adapted to the mind of an Arab; who must have seen, or have been informed of, similar phenomena in the countries around him."

And dissolvest my substance - Margin, or wisdom. The word rendered "dissolvest," means to melt, to flow down, and then to cause to melt, to cause to pine away and perish; Isaiah 64:7. It is applied to a host or army that appears to melt away; 1 Samuel 14:16. It is also applied to one who seems to melt away with fear and terror; Exodus 15:15; Joshua 2:9, Joshua 2:24. Here the meaning probably is, that God caused Job to melt away, as it were, with terrors and alarms. He was like one caught up in a whirlwind, and driven along with the storm, and who, in such circumstances, would be dissolved with fear. The word rendered "substance" (תשׁיה tûshı̂yâh) has been very variously interpreted. The word, as it is written in the text, means help, deliverance, purpose, enterprise, counsel, or understanding; see Job 5:12; Job 6:13; Job 11:6. But by some, and among others. Gesenius, Umbreit, and Noyes, it is supposed that it should be read as a verb, תשוה from שוה - to fear. According to this, the meaning is, "thou terrifiest me." This agrees better with the connection; is more abrupt and emphatic, and is probably the true interpretation.

22. liftest … to wind—as a "leaf" or "stubble" (Job 13:25). The moving pillars of sand, raised by the wind to the clouds, as described by travellers, would happily depict Job's agitated spirit, if it be to them that he alludes.

dissolvest … substance—The marginal Hebrew reading (Keri), "my wealth," or else "wisdom," that is, sense and spirit, or "my hope of deliverance." But the text (Chetib) is better: Thou dissolvest me (with fear, Ex 15:15) in the crash (of the whirlwind; see on [530]Job 30:14) [Maurer]. Umbreit translates as a verb, "Thou terrifiest me."

Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou dost not suffer me to rest or lie still for a moment, but disquietest me, and exposest me to all sorts of storms and calamities; so that I am like chaff or stubble lifted up to the wind, and violently tossed hither and thither in the air, without the least stop or hinderance.

To ride upon it, i.e. to be carried and hurried about by it. By this restlessness, and the vehemency of these winds, my body is almost consumed and wasted, and my heart is melted within me.

Thou liftest me up to the wind,.... Of affliction and adversity, to be carried up with it, and tossed about by it, as chaff or stubble, or a dry leaf, being no more able to stand up against it than such things are to oppose the wind; though some interpret this of God's lifting him up in his state of prosperity, in which he was very visible and conspicuous to all, and enjoyed much light and comfort; but then he raised him to such an estate, with a view to cast him down, and that his fall and ruin might be the greater; and so this is observed as a proof of his being become cruel to him:

thou causest me to ride upon it; seemingly in great pomp and state, but in great uncertainty and danger, being at best in a slippery place, in very fickle circumstances, as the event showed; or rather the sense is, that he was swiftly carried into destruction, as if he rode on the wings of the wind to it, and was hurried thither at once, as soon as he was taken up with the tempest of adversity:

and dissolvest my substance; his outward substance, his wealth and riches, his family, and the health of his body, all which as it were melted away, or were carried away as with a flood; and so as the metaphor of a tempestuous wind is used in the former clause, here that of an overflowing flood, which removed from him what seemed to be the most solid and substantial: the word is sometimes used for wisdom, and even sound wisdom, Proverbs 2:7; wherefore some have interpreted it of his being at his wits' end, of losing his reason and understanding, and which were at least disturbed and confounded by his afflictions; but his discourses and speeches show the contrary, and he himself denies that wisdom was driven from him, Job 6:13.

Thou liftest me up to the {p} wind; thou causest me to ride upon it, and dissolvest my substance.

(p) He compares his afflictions to a tempest or whirlwind.

22. dissolvest my substance] Rather, dissolvest me in the tempest; lit. in the roar of the storm. He is carried away and dissolved or dissipated, that is, destroyed in the whirlwind.

Verse 22. - Thou liftest me up to the wind; thou tensest me to ride upon it; i.e. thou makest me to be storm-tossed. I am as it were a straw caught up by a whirlwind, and borne hither and thither in the wide regions of space, unknowing whither I go. I am treated as I have described the wicked man to be treated (Job 27:20, 21). And dissolvest my substance. "Dissolvest me entirely" (Professor Lee); dissolvest me in the storms (Revised Version). Job 30:2220 I cry to Thee for help, and Thou answerest not;

I stand there, and Thou lookest fixedly at me.

21 Thou changest Thyself to a cruel being towards me,

With the strength of Thy hand Thou makest war upon me.

22 Thou raisest me upon the stormy wind,

Thou causest me to drive along And vanish in the roaring of the storm.

23 For I:know: Thou wilt bring me back to death,

Into the house of assembly for all living.

If he cries for help, his cry remains unanswered; if he stands there looking up reverentially to God (perhaps עמד, with משּׁוּע to be supplied, has the sense of desisting or restraining, as Genesis 29:35; Genesis 30:9), the troubling, fixed look of God, who looks fixedly and hostilely upon him, anything but ready to help (comp. Job 7:20; Job 16:9), meets his upturned eye. התבּנן, to look consideringly upon anything, is elsewhere joined with אל, על, עד, or even with the acc; here, where a motionless fixed look is intended, with בּ ( equals fi). It is impossible to draw the לא, Job 30:20, over to ותּתבּנן (Jer., Saad., Umbr., Welte, and others), both on account of the Waw consec. (Ew. 351a), and on account of the separation by the new antecedent עמדתּי. On the reading of two Codd. ותתכנן ("Thou settest Thyself against me"), which Houbigant and Ew. prefer, Rosenm. has correctly pronounced judgment: est potius pro mendo habenda. Instead of consolingly answering his prayer, and instead of showing Himself willing to help, God, who was formerly so kind towards him, changes towards him, His creature, into a cruel being, saevum (אכזר in the book of Job only here and Job 41:2, where it signifies "foolhardy;" comp. לאויב in the dependent passage, Isaiah 63:10), and makes war upon him (שׂטם as Job 16:9) by causing him to feel the strength of His omnipotent hand (עצם יד as Deuteronomy 8:17, synon. חזק).

It is not necessary in Job 30:22 to forsake the accentuation, and to translate: Thou raisest me up, Thou causest me go in the wind (Ew., Hirz., and others); the accentuation of רוח is indeed not a disjunctive Dech, but a conjunctive Tarcha, but preceded by Munach, which, according to the rule, Psalter ii. 500, 5, here, where two conjunctives come together, has a smaller conjunctive value. Therefore: elevas me in ventum, equitare facis me, viz., super ventum (Dachselt), for one does not only say הרכּיב על, 1 Chronicles 13:7, or ל, Psalm 66:12, but also אל, 2 Samuel 6:3; and accordingly תּשּׂאני אל־רוּח is also not to be translated: Thou snatchest me into the wind or storm (Hahn, Schlottm.), but: Thou raisest me up to the wind or storm, as upon an animal for riding (Umbr., Olsh.). According to Oriental tradition, Solomon rode upon the east wind, and in Arabic they say of one who hurried rapidly by, racab al-genâhai er-rih, he rides upon the wings of the wind; in the present passage, the point of comparison is the being absolutely passively hurried forth from the enjoyment of a healthy and happy life to a dizzy height, whence a sudden overthrow threatens him who is unwillingly removed (comp. Psalm 102:11, Thou hast lifted me up and hurled me forth).

The lot which threatens him from this painful suspense Job expresses (Job 30:22) in the puzzling words: וּתמגגני תשׁיּה. Thus the Keri, after which lxx transl. (if it has not read מישׁוּעה), καὶ ἀπέῤῥηιψάς με ἀπὸ σωτηρίας. The modern expositors who follow the Keri, by taking ותמגגני for ותמגג לי (according to Ges. 121, 4), translate: Thou causest counsel and understanding (Welte), happiness (Blumenf.), and the like, to vanish from me; continuance, existence, duration would be better (vid., Job 6:13, and especially on Job 26:3). The thought it appropriate, but the expression is halting. Jerome, who translates valide, points to the correct thing, and Buxtorf (Lex. col. 2342f.) by interpreting the not less puzzling Targum translation in fundamento equals funditus or in essentia equals essentialiter, has, without intending it, hit upon the idea of the Hebr. Keri; תשׁיּה is intended as a closer defining, or adverbial, accusative: Thou causest me to vanish as to existence, ita ut tota essentia pereat h.e. totaliter et omnino. Perhaps this was really the meaning of the poet: most completely, most thoroughly, altogether, like the Arab. ḥaqqan. But it is unfavourable to this Keri, that תושׁיה (from the verb ושׁי), as might be expected, is always written plene elsewhere; the correction of the תשׁוה is violent, and moreover this form, correctly read, gives a sense far more consistent with the figure, Job 30:22. Ges., Umbr., and Carey falsely read תּשׁוּה, terres me; this verb is unknown in Hebr., and even in Chaldee is only used in Ithpeal, אשׁתּוי ( equals Hebr. חרד); for a similar reason Bttcher's תּשׁוה (which is intended to mean: in despair) is also not to be used. Even Stuhlmann perceived that תשׁוה is equivalent to תּשׁוּאה; it is, with Ew. and Olsh., to be read תּשׁוּה (not with Pareau and Hirz. תּשׁוה without the Dag.), and this form signifies, as תשׁואה, Job 36:29, from שׁוא equals שׁאה, from which it is derived by change of consonants, the crash of thunder, or even the rumbling or roar as of a storm or a falling in (procellae sive ruinae). The meaning is hardly, that he who rides away upon the stormy wind melts and trickles down like drops of rain among the pealing of the thunder, when the thunder-storm, whose harbinger is the stormy wind, gathers; but that in the storm itself, which increases in fury to the howling of a tempest, he dissolves away. תּשׁוּה for בּתּשׁוּה, comp. Psalm 107:26 : their soul melted away (dissolved) בּרעה. The compulsory journey in the air, therefore, passes into nothing or nearly nothing, as Job is well aware, Job 30:23 : "for I:know: (without כּי, as Job 19:25; Psalm 9:21) Thou wilt bring me back to death" (acc. of the goal, or locative without any sign). If תּשׁיבני is taken in its most natural signification reduces, death is represented as essentially one with the dust of death (comp. Job 1:21 with Genesis 3:19), or even with non-existence, out of which man is come into being; nevertheless השׁיב can also, by obliterating the notion of return, like redigere, have only the signification of the turn of destiny and change of condition that is effected. The assertion that שׁוּב always includes an "again," and retains it inexorably (vid., Khler on Zechariah 13:7, S. 239), is untenable. In post-biblical Hebrew, at least, it is certain that שׁוּב signifies not only "to become again," but also "to become," as Arab. ‛âd is used as synon. of jâ'in, devenir.

(Note: Vid., my Anekdota der mittelalterlichen Scholastik unter Juden und Moslemen, S. 347.)

With מות, the designation of the condition, is coupled the designation of the place: Hades (under the notion of which that of the grave is included) is the great involuntary rendezvous of all who live in this world.

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