Job 30:29
I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls.
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(29) Dragons and owls are, according to some moderns, jackals and ostriches.

Job 30:29. I am a brother — By imitation of their cries; to dragons — Which howl and wail mournfully in the deserts, (Micah 1:8,) either through hunger and thirst, or when they fight with, and are beaten by, the elephant. Persons of like qualities are often called brethren. And a companion to owls — Whose doleful noises are well known: or, ostriches, as Dr. Waterland renders the word; the females of which are also remarkable for their mournful cry, and which have their habitation in desolate places.

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.I am a brother to dragons - That is, my loud complaints and cries resemble the doleful screams of wild animals, or of the most frightful monsters. The word "brother" is often used in this sense, to denote similarity in any respect. The word "dragons" here (תנין tannı̂yn), denotes properly a sea-monster, a great fish, a crocodile; or the fancied animal with wings called a dragon; see the notes at Isaiah 13:22. Gesenius, Umbreit, and Noyes, render this word here jackals - an animal between a dog and a fox, or a wolf and a fox; an animal that abounds in deserts and solitudes, and that makes a doleful cry in the night. So the Syriac renders it an animal resembling a dog; a wild dog. Castell. This idea agrees with the scope of the passage better than the common reference to a sea-monster or a crocodile. "The Deeb, or Jackal," says Shaw, "is of a darker color than the fox, and about the same bigness. It yelps every night about the gardens and villages, feeding upon roots, fruit, and carrion." Travels, p. 247, Ed. Oxford, 1738. That some wild animal, distinguished for a mournful noise, or howl, is meant, is evident; and the passage better agrees with the description of a jackal than the hissing of a serpent or the noise of the crocodile. Bochart supposes that the allusion is to dragons, because they erect their heads, and their jaws are drawn open, and they seem to be complaining against God on account of their humble and miserable condition. Taylor (Concord.) supposes it means jackals or thoes, and refers to the following places where the word may be so used; Psalm 44:19; Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 34:13; Isaiah 35:7; Isaiah 43:20; Jeremiah 11:11; Jeremiah 10:22; Jeremiah 49:33; Jeremiah 51:37; Lamentations 4:3; Micah 1:8; Malachi 1:3.

And a companion to owls - Margin, ostriches. The word companion here is used in a sense similar to brother in the other member of the parallelism, to denote resemblance. The Hebrew, here rendered owls, is, literally, daughters of answering, or clamor - יענה בנות benôth ya‛ănâh. The name is given on account of the plaintive and mournful cry which is made. Bochart. Gesenius supposes, however, that it is on account of its greediness and gluttony. The name "daughters of the ostrich." denotes properly the female ostrich. The phrase is, however, put for the ostrich of both sexes in many places; see Gesenius on the word יענה ya‛ănâh; compare the notes at Isaiah 13:21. For a full examination of the meaning of the phrase, see Bochart, Hieroz. P. ii. L. 2. cap. xiv. pp. 218-231; see also Job 39:13-17. There can be little doubt that the ostrich is here intended, and Job means to say that his mourning resembled the doleful noise made by the ostrich in the lonely desert. Shaw, in his Travels, says that during the night "they (the ostriches) make very doleful and hideous noises; which would sometimes be like the roaring of a lion; at other times it would bear a nearer resemblance to the hoarser voice of other quadrupeds, particularly of the bull and the ox. I have often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies."

29. dragons … owls—rather, "jackals," "ostriches," both of which utter dismal screams (Mic 1:8); in which respect, as also in their living amidst solitudes (the emblem of desolation), Job is their brother and companion; that is, resembles them. "Dragon," Hebrew, tannim, usually means the crocodile; so perhaps here, its open jaws lifted towards heaven, and its noise making it seem as if it mourned over its fate [Bochart]. A brother, to wit, by imitation of their cries: persons of like qualities are oft called brethren, as Genesis 49:5 Proverbs 18:9.

To dragons; which howl and wail mournfully in the deserts, Micah 1:8, either through hunger or thirst, or when he fights with and is beaten by the elephant. To owls; whose sad and mournful noises are known. Or, ostriches; which also is noted to make lamentable outcries.

I am a brother to dragons, and a companion to owls. Or ostriches, as the Targum, Septuagint, Vulgate Latin, Syriac, and Arabic versions; either he was obliged to dwell with such persons as were comparable to these creatures for their devouring words, hissing noise, and venomous speeches, or for want of compassion, and for their cruelty, as David is said to be among lions, Psalm 57:4; or also, he was like unto them, being solitary and alone, all his friends and acquaintance standing at a distance from him, as these creatures love lonesome and desolate places; or because of the wailing and howling noise they make, to which his mournful notes bore some resemblance; see Gill on Micah 1:8; or because, when these creatures cry and howl, and make a noise, no mercy is shown to them, none pities or regards them; and so it was with him; though he stood and cried in ever so public a manner, none had any compassion on him. I am a brother to {u} dragons, and a companion to owls.

(u) I am like the wild beasts that desire solitary places.

29. The verse expands the words “I cry” in Job 30:28,

I am a brother to the jackals,

And a companion to the ostriches.

The mournful howl of the jackals is elsewhere referred to, Micah 1:8; the ostrich also sends forth a weird, melancholy cry, particularly by night; hence in ch. Job 39:13 the female ostrich receives the name of “wailer.”

Job 30:2928 I wandered about in mourning without the sun;

I rose in the assembly, I gave free course to my complaint.

29 I am become a brother of the jackals

And a companion of ostriches.

30 My skin having become black, peels off from me,

And my bones are parched with dryness.

31 My harp was turned to mourning,

And my pipe to tones of sorrow.

Several expositors (Umbr., Vaih., Hlgst.) understand קדר of the dirty-black skin of the leper, but contrary to the usage of the language, according to which, in similar utterances (Psalm 35:14; Psalm 38:7; Psalm 42:10; Psalm 43:2, comp. supra, Job 5:11), it rather denotes the dirty-black dress of mourners (comp. Arab. qḏḏr, conspurcare vestem); to understand it of the dirty-black skin as quasi sordida veste (Welte) is inadmissible, since this distortion of the skin which Job bewails in Job 30:30 would hardly be spoken of thus tautologically. קדר therefore means in the black of the שׂק, or mourning-linen, Job 16:15, by which, however, also the interpretation of בּלא חמּה, "without sunburn" (Ew., Hirz.), which has gained ground since Raschi's day (לא שׁשׁזפתני השׁמשׁ), is disposed of; for "one can perhaps say of the blackness of the skin that it does not proceed from the sun, but not of the blackness of mourning attire" (Hahn). קדר also refutes the reading בלא חמה in lxx Complut. (ἄνευ θυμοῦ),

(Note: Whereas Codd. Alex., Vat., and Sinait., ἄνευ φιμοῦ, which is correctly explained by κημοῦ in Zwingli's Aldine, but gives no sense.)

Syr., Jer. (sine furore), which ought to be understood of the deposition of the gall-pigment on the skin, and therefore of jaundice, which turns it (especially in tropical regions) not merely yellow, but a dark-brown. Hahn and a few others render בלא חמה correctly in the sense of בחשׁך, "without the sun having shone on him." Bereft of all his possessions, and finally also of his children, he wanders about in mourning (הלּך as Job 24:10; Psalm 38:7), and even the sun had clothed itself in black to him (which is what קדר השׁמשׁ means, Joel 2:10 and freq.); the celestial light, which otherwise brightened his path, Job 29:3, was become invisible. We must not forget that Job here reviews the whole chain of afflictions which have come upon him, so that by Job 30:28 we have not to think exclusively, and also not prominently, of the leprosy, since הלכתי indeed represents him as still able to move about freely.

In Job 30:28 the accentuation wavers between Dech, Munach, Silluk, according to which בּקּהל אשׁוּע belong together, which is favoured by the Dagesh in the Beth, and Tarcha, Munach, Silluk, according to which (because Munach, according to Psalter ii. 503, 2, is a transformation of Rebia mugrasch) קמתּי בּקּהל belong together. The latter mode of accentuation, according to which בקהל must be written without the Dag. instead of בּקהל (vid., Norzi), is the only correct one (because Dech cannot come in the last member of the sentence before Silluk), and is also more pleasing as to matter: I rose (and stood) in the assembly, crying for help, or more generally: wailing. The assembly is not to be thought of as an assembly of the people, or even tribunal (Ew.: "before the tribunal seeking a judge, with lamentations"), but as the public; for the thought that Job sought help against his unmerited sufferings before a human tribunal is absurd; and, moreover, the thought that he cried for help before an assembly of the people called together to take counsel and pronounce decisions is equally absurd. Welte, however, who interprets: I was as one who, before an assembled tribunal, etc., introduces a quasi of which there is no trace in the text. בּקּהל must therefore, without pressing it further, be taken in the sense of publice, before all the world (Hirz.: comp. בקהל, ἐν φανερῷ, Proverbs 26:26); אשׁוּע, however, is a circumstantial clause declaring the purpose (Ew. 337, b; comp. De Sacy, Gramm. Arabe ii. 357), as is frequently the case after קום, Job 16:8; Psalm 88:11; Psalm 102:14 : surrexi in publico ut lamentarer, or lamentaturus, or lamentando. In this lament, extorted by the most intense pain, which he cannot hold back, however many may surround him, he is become a brother of those תּנּים, jackals (canes aurei), whose dolorous howling produces dejection and shuddering in all who hear it, and a companion of בּנות יענה, whose shrill cry is varied by wailing tones of deep melancholy.

(Note: It is worth while to cite a passage from Shaw's Travels in Barbary, ii. 348 (transl.), here: "When the ostriches are running and fighting, they sometimes make a wild, hideous, hissing noise with their throats distended and beaks open; at another time, if they meet with a slight opposition, they have a clucking or cackling voice like our domestic fowls: they seem to rejoice and laugh at the terror of their adversary. During the loneliness of the night however, as if their voice had a totally different tone, they often set up a dolorous, hideous moan, which at one time resembles the roar of the lion, and at another is more like the hoarser voice of other quadrupeds, especially the bull and cow. I have often heard them groan as if they were in the greatest agonies." In General Doumas' book on the Horse of the Sahara, I have read that the male ostrich (delı̂m), when it is killed, especially if its young ones are near, sends forth a dolorous note, wile the female (remda), on the other hand, does not utter a sound; and so, when the ostrich digs out its nest, one hears a languishing and dolorous tone all day long, and when it has laid its egg, its usual cry is again heard, only about three o'clock in the afternoon.)

The point of comparison is not the insensibility of the hearers (Sforno), but the fellowship of wailing and howling together with the accompanying idea of the desert in which it is heard, which is connected with the idea itself (comp. Micah 1:8).

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