Job 30:22
You lift me up to the wind; you cause me to ride on it, and dissolve my substance.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(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.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
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). 16 And now my soul is poured out within me,

Days of suffering hold me fast.

17 The night rendeth my bones from me,

And my gnawers sleep not.

18 By great force my garment is distorted,

As the collar of my shirt it encompasseth me.

19 He hath cast me into the mire,

And I am in appearance as dust and ashes.

With this third ועתּה (Job 30:1, Job 30:9) the elegiac lament over the harsh contrast between the present and the past begins for the third time. The dash after our translation of the second and fourth strophes will indicate that a division of the elegy ends there, after which it begins as it were anew. The soul is poured out within a man (עלי as Job 10:1, Psychol. S. 152), when, "yielding itself without resistance to sadness, it is dejected to the very bottom, and all its organization flows together, and it is dissolved in the one condition of sorrow" - a figure which is not, however, come about by water being regarded as the symbol of the soul (thus Hitzig on Psalm 42:5), but rather by the intimate resemblance of the representation of a flood of tears (Lamentations 2:19): the life of the soul flows in the blood, and the anguish of the soul in tears and lamentations; and since the outward man is as it were dissolved in the gently flowing tears (Isaiah 15:3), his soul flows away as it were in itself, for the outward incident is but the manifestation and result of an inward action. ימי־עני we have translated days of suffering, for עני, with its verb and the rest of its derivatives, is the proper word for suffering, and especially the passion of the Servant of Jehovah. Days of suffering - Job complains - hold him fast; עחז unites in itself, like החזיק, the significations prehendere and prehensum tenere. In Job 30:17 we must not, with Arnh. and others, translate: by night it (affliction) pierces ... , for עני does not stand sufficiently in the foreground to be the subject of what follows; it might sooner be rendered: by night it is pierced through (Targ., Rosenm., Hahn); but why is not לילה to be the subject, and נקּר consequently Piel (not Niph.)? The night has been personified already, Job 3:2; and in general, as Herder once said, Job is the brother of Ossian for personifications: Night (the restless night, Job 7:3, in which every malady, or at least the painful feeling of it, increases) pierces his bones from him, i.e., roots out his limbs (synon. בּדּים, Job 18:13) so inwardly and completely. The lepra Arabica (Arab. 'l-brṣ, el-baras) terminates, like syphilis, with an eating away of the limbs, and the disease has its name Arab. juḏâm from jḏm, truncare, mutilare: it feeds on the bones, and destroys the body in such a manner that single limbs are completely detached.

In Job 30:17, lxx (νεῦρα), Parchon, Kimchi, and others translate ערקי according to the Targum. ערקין ( equals גּידים), and the Arab. ‛rûq, veins, after which Blumenf.: my veins are in constant motion. But ערקי in the sense of Job 30:3 : my gnawers (Jer. qui me comedunt, Targ. דּמעסּן יתי, qui me conculcant, conterunt), is far more in accordance with the predicate and the parallelism, whether it be gnawing pains that are thought of - pains are unnatural to man, they come upon him against his will, he separates them from himself as wild beasts - or, which we prefer, those worms (רמּה, Job 7:5) which were formed in Job's ulcers (comp. Aruch, ערקא, a leech, plur. ערקתא, worms, e.g., in the liver), and which in the extra-biblical tradition of Job's decease are such a standing feature, that the pilgrims to Job's monastery even now-a-days take away with them thence these supposedly petrified worms of Job.

(Note: In Mugir ed-dn's large history of Jerusalem and Hebron (kitâb el-ins el-gelı̂l), in an article on Job, we read: God had so visited him in his body, that he got the disease that devours the limbs (tegedhdhem), and worms were produced (dawwad) in the wounds, while he lay on a dunghill (mezbele), and except his wife, who tended him, no one ventured to come too near him. In a beautiful Kurdic ballad "on the basket dealer" (zembilfrosh), which I have obtained from the Kurds in Salihje, are these words:

Veki Gergis beshara beri

Jusuf veki abdan keri

Bikesr' Ejub kurman deri

continued...

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