Job 30:7
Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(7) Among the bushes they brayed.—Herodotus says their language was like the screeching of bats, others say it was like the whistling of birds. This whole description is of the mockers of Job, and therefore should be in the present tense in Job 30:5; Job 30:7-8, as it may be in the Authorised Version of Job 30:4.

Job 30:7. Among the bushes they brayed — Like the wild asses, (Job 6:5,) for hunger or thirst. They brayed, seems to be an improper translation here; because, though נהק, nahak, signifies to bray, when applied to an ass, yet when spoken of men in difficult circumstances, as in this verse, we should rather say with the Targum and LXX., they sighed, cried out, or made their moan. So Heath and Houbigant render it. Under the nettles they were gathered — The word חרול, charul, here rendered nettles, is by some translated thorns, or thistles, the nettle being too small a plant, as Bochart observes, for men to gather themselves under. Dr. Waterland, however, renders it, Among the nettles were they tormented, or burned. The meaning is, that they hid themselves under the thorns, or among the nettles, that they might not be discovered when they were sought out for justice.

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.Among the bushes - Coverdale, "Upon the dry heath went they about crying." The Hebrew word is the same which occurs in Job 30:4, and means bushes in general. They were heard in the shrubbery that grew in the desert.

They brayed - ינהקו yinâhaqû. The Vulgate renders this, "They were concealed." The Septuagint, "Amidst sweet sounds they cry out." Noyes, "They utter their cries." The Hebrew word properly means to "bray." It occurs only here and in Job 6:5, where it is applied to the ass. The sense here is, that the voices of this vagrant and wretched multitude was heard in the desert like the braying of asses.

Under the nettles - Dr. Good, "Under the briers." Prof. Lee, "Beneath the broom-pea." Noyes, "Under the thorns." The Hebrew word חרול chârûl, occurs only here and in Zephaniah 2:9, and Proverbs 24:31, in each of which places it is rendered "nettles." It is probably derived from חרל equals חרר, to burn, to glow, and is given to nettles from the burning or prickling sensation which they produce. Either the word nettles, thistles, or thorns, would sufficiently answer to its derivation. It does not occur in the Arabic. Castell. Umbreit renders it, "unter Dornen - under thorns."

They were gathered together - Vulgate, "They accounted it a delicacy to be in a thorn-hedge." The word used here (ספח sâphach) means "to add;" and then to be added or assembled together. The idea is, that they were huddled together quite promiscuously in the wild-growing bushes of the desert. They had no home; no separate habitation. This description is interesting, not only as denoting the depth to which Job had been reduced when he was the object of contempt by such vagrants, but as illustrative of a state of society existing then.

7. brayed—like the wild ass (Job 6:5 for food). The inarticulate tones of this uncivilized rabble are but little above those of the beast of the field.

gathered together—rather, sprinkled here and there. Literally, "poured out," graphically picturing their disorderly mode of encampment, lying up and down behind the thorn bushes.

nettles—or brambles [Umbreit].

They brayed, like the wild asses, Job 6:5, for hunger or thirst.

Under the nettles, which seem not proper for that use. This Hebrew word is used but twice in Scripture, and it is acknowledged both by Jewish and Christian writers, that the signification of the Hebrew words which express plants, or beasts, or stones, &c. is very uncertain; and therefore this is by others, and may well be, understood of some kind of thorns; and so this is the same thing with the bushes in the former branch of the verse, under which they hid themselves, that they might not be discovered when they were sought out for justice.

Among the bushes they brayed,.... Like wild asses; so Sephorno, to which wicked men are fitly compared, Job 11:12; or they "cried", or "groaned" (m), and "moaned" among the bushes, where they lay lurking; either they groaned through cold, or want of food; for the wild ass brays not but when in want, Job 6:5;

under the nettles they were gathered together; or "under thistles" (n), as some, or "under thorns", as (o) others; under thorn hedges, where they lay either for shelter, or to hide themselves, or to seize upon a prey that might pass by; and so were such sort of persons as in the parable in Luke 14:23; it not being usual for nettles to grow so high as to cover persons, at least they are not a proper shelter, and much less an eligible one; though some render the words, they were "pricked" (p), blistered and wounded, a word derived from this being used for the scab of leprosy, Leviticus 13:6; and so pustules and blisters are raised by the sting of nettles: the Targum is,

"under thorns they were associated together;''

under thorn hedges, as before observed; and if the juniper tree is meant in Job 30:4, they might be said to be gathered under thorns when under that; since, as Pliny (q) says, it has thorns instead of leaves; and the shadow of it, according to the poet (r), is very noxious and disagreeable.

(m) "clamabant", Vatablus, Mercerus; so Ben Gerson; "gemebant", Michaelis; so Broughton. (n) "sub carduis", Vatablus. (o) "Sub sentibus", V. L. "sub vepreto aliquo", Tigurine version; "sub vepribus", Cocceius; "sub spina", Noldius, p. 193. Schultens. (p) "pungebantur", Junius & Tremellius; "se ulcerant", Gussetius, p. 565. so Ben Gersom; "they smarted", Broughton. (q) Nat. Hist. l. 16. c. 24. (r) "Juniperi gravis umbra----" Virgil. Bucolic. Eclog. 10.

Among the bushes they brayed; under the nettles they were gathered together.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
7. they brayed] Rather, they bray.

were gathered] Better, are gathered, or perhaps rather, stretch themselves, i. e. fling themselves down. Their cries are like those of the wild ass seeking for food (ch. Job 6:5), and they throw themselves down like wild beasts under the bushes in the desert.

Verse 7. - Among the bushes they brayed. The sounds which came from their mouths sounded to Job less like articulate speech than like the braying of asses. Compare what Herodotus says of his Troglodytes: "Their language is unlike that of any other people; it sounds like the screeching of bats." Under the nettles (or, wild vetches) they were gathered together; rather, huddled together. Job 30:7 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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