Job 4:10
The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 4:10. How much less in them — Doth he put trust, &c., or, How much more (as the Hebrew particle אŠ, aph, equally signifies) doth he charge folly on them, &c. One or other of these supplements seems necessary to complete the sense, and they are either of them natural and easy, being fetched from the former verse. The sense then is, If he put no trust in his angels, how much less will he put any in them that dwell in houses of clay; or, If he charged his angels with folly, how much more will he charge frail and mortal men therewith! What strange presumption then is it for a weak, sinful, and dying man to pretend to a higher privilege than the angels can lay claim to, and to make himself more just and pure than God, which all do, in effect, who complain of, or are impatient under, the righteous dispensations of the divine providence. That dwell in houses of clay — Whose immortal spirits dwell in mortal bodies, which are great clogs, encumbrances, and snares to them. These are called houses, because they are the receptacles of the soul, and the places of its settled abode; and houses of clay, because they were made of clay or earth; and to denote their great frailty and mutability; whereas the angels are free spirits, unconfined to such carcasses, and dwell in celestial, glorious, and everlasting mansions; whose foundation — No less than the rest of the building; is in the dust — Who, as they dwell in dust and clay, so they had their original from it, and must return to it. We stand but upon the dust: some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others. But still it is mere earth and dust that stays us up, and will soon swallow us up; which are crushed before the moth — “Which are as subject to be destroyed,” says Bishop Patrick, “as a garment to be fretted with moths;” which, though it be wrought with ever so much art and strength; though it be ever so curious, fine, and beautiful, is soon defaced and spoiled by that subtle and devouring insect. Or, sooner than, or like as, a moth is crushed, which is easily done by a gentle touch of the finger: an hyperbolical expression. Or, as לפני, liphnee, is still more properly rendered, before the face, or, at the presence of a moth. This interpretation, which is approved by Hervey, makes the passage to represent the body of man so exceedingly frail, that even a moth flying against it may dash it to pieces. And, “besides its closer correspondence,” says he, “with the exact import of the Hebrew, presents us with a much finer image of extreme imbecility; for it certainly implies a far greater degree of weakness to be crushed by the feeblest flutter of the feeblest creature, than only to be crushed as easily as that creature by the hand of man.” Certainly no creature is so weak and contemptible, but, one time or other, it may have the body of man in its power.4:7-11 Eliphaz argues, 1. That good men were never thus ruined. But there is one event both to the righteous and to the wicked, Ec 9:2, both in life and death; the great and certain difference is after death. Our worst mistakes are occasioned by drawing wrong views from undeniable truths. 2. That wicked men were often thus ruined: for the proof of this, Eliphaz vouches his own observation. We may see the same every day.The wild ass:

Doth the wild donkey bray in the midst of grass?

Or loweth the ox over his fodder? Job 6:5.

Who hath sent forth the wild donkey free;

Or who hath loosed the bonds of the wild ass?

Whose home I have made the wilderness,

And his dwellings the barren land.

He scorneth the uproar of the city;

The cry of the driver he heedeth not.

The range of the mountains is his pasture:

He searcheth after every green thing.

10, 11. lion—that is, wicked men, upon whom Eliphaz wished to show that calamities come in spite of their various resources, just as destruction comes on the lion in spite of his strength (Ps 58:6; 2Ti 4:17). Five different Hebrew terms here occur for "lion." The raging of the lion (the tearer), and the roaring of the bellowing lion and the teeth of the young lions, not whelps, but grown up enough to hunt for prey. The strong lion, the whelps of the lioness (not the stout lion, as in English Version) [Barnes and Umbreit]. The various phases of wickedness are expressed by this variety of terms: obliquely, Job, his wife, and children, may be hinted at by the lion, lioness, and whelps. The one verb, "are broken," does not suit both subjects; therefore, supply "the roaring of the bellowing lion is silenced." The strong lion dies of want at last, and the whelps, torn from the mother, are scattered, and the race becomes extinct. The voice of the fierce lion; understand vanisheth, or perisheth, out of Job 4:9; or, is restrained, or suppressed, as may be gathered out of the following branch of this verse.

The teeth of the young lions are broken; which is true literally; the lions when taken having most commonly their teeth broken, as ancient and modern writers relate. But this is here mystically meant of wicked and powerful tyrants, who are oft and fitly compared to lions, Ezekiel 32:2 38:13 2 Timothy 4:17, who though for a time they persecute and oppress other men, yet in due time they are restrained, and broken, and crushed in pieces by the mighty power of God appearing against them in some eminent judgments. Possibly he may secretly accuse Job, or his children, or both, that being persons of great wealth and power in those parts, they had wickedly abused it to ruin their neighbours, and therefore were justly cut off. The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion,.... Which Aben Ezra interprets of God himself, who is compared to a lion; who not only by his voice terrifies, but in his wrath tears the wicked in pieces, and destroys them, and so is a continuation of the preceding account; and others, as R. Moses and R. Jonah, whom he mentions, take this to be a continuation of the means and methods by which God destroys wicked men sometimes, namely, by beasts of prey; this being one of his sore judgments he threatens men with, and inflicts upon men, see Leviticus 26:22; and in this they are followed by some Christian interpreters, who render the words "at" or "by the roaring of the lion, and by the voice of the fierce lion, by the teeth of the young lions" (c), they the wicked "are broken", ground to pieces, and utterly destroyed; but it is better, with Jarchi, Ben Gersom, and others, to understand it of kings and princes, of the mighty ones of the earth, tyrannical and oppressive rulers and governors; comparable to lions of different ages; because of their grandeur and greatness, their power and might, their cruelty and oppression in each of their different capacities; signifying, that these do not escape the righteous judgments of God: the Targum interprets the roaring of the lion of Esau, and the voice of the fierce lion of Edom; and another Jewish writer (d) of Nimrod, the first tyrant and oppressor, the mighty hunter before the Lord; but these are too particular; wicked men in power and authority in general are here, and in the following clauses, intended, see Jeremiah 4:7 2 Timothy 4:17; and the sense is, that such ploughers and sowers of iniquity as are like to fierce and roaring lions are easily and quickly destroyed by the Lord:

and the teeth of the young lions are broken: the power of such mighty ones to do mischief is taken away from them, and they and their families are brought to ruin; the teeth of lions are very strong in both jaws; they have fourteen teeth, four incisors or cutters, four canine or dog teeth, six molars or grinders.

(c) "Rugitu leonis et voce ferocis leonis", &c. Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; so some in R. Someon Bar Tzemach. (d) R. Obadiah Sephorno.

The roaring of the {g} lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken.

(g) Though men according to their office do not punish tyrants (whom for their cruelty he compares to lions, and their children to their whelps) yet God is able and his justice will punish them.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
10, 11. The sudden destruction of the wicked is thrown by Eliphaz into another graphic figure, the breaking-up and dispersion of a den of lions. There are five words used for lion in these verses, some of which are epithets taken from the characteristics of the lion; they are: lion, roaring lion (rather than, fierce lion), young lion, Job 4:10, and strong (or, old) lion, and lioness—the whelps of the lioness, Job 4:11. Between the lion and the wicked whom Eliphaz describes there are two points of resemblance; first, their strength or power; and second, their inherent violence of nature. This is the kind of men on whom afflictions fall that are final. The picture of the breaking-up of the lion’s home is very graphic; in the midst of the strong lion’s roaring and tearing of his prey by a sudden stroke his roaring is silenced and his teeth dashed out; thus disabled he perishes for lack of prey; and the whelps having no provider are scattered abroad. The reality of the figure is seen in the breaking-up of the home of the wicked, ch. Job 5:2-5.Verse 10. - The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the fierce lion, and the teeth of the young lions, are broken. Wicked men, especially oppressors, are often compared to lions in Scripture (see Psalm 7:2; Psalm 10:9; Psalm 17:12, etc.; Ezekiel 19:3, 5; Nahum 2:12; Zephaniah 3:3, etc.). The meaning of Eliphaz is that, within his experience, all classes of wicked men, young, or old, or middle-aged, weak or strong, have received in this life the reward of their iniquity. However fiercely they might roar, however greedily they might devour, their roaring has died away, their teeth have been broken in their mouths, vengeance has lighted on them in some shape or other; they have paid the penalty of their transgressions. Five classes of lions seem to be spoken of in this and the following verses:

(1) the whelp (ver. 11);

(2) the half-grown lion, just able to make its voice heard;

(3) the young full-grown lion (cephir);

(4) the lion in full maturity (ariyeh); and

(5) the old lion which is growing decrepit (laish).

To these is joined (ver. 11) labi, "the lioness." Lions are still frequent in the Mesopotamian region ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 1. pp 39, 221), though no longer found in Palestine, nor in Arabia. 2 If one attempts a word with thee, will it grieve thee?

And still to restrain himself from words, who is able?

3 Behold, thou hast instructed many,

And the weak hands thou hast strengthened.

4 The stumbling turned to thy words,

And the sinking knees thou hast strengthened.

5 But now it cometh to thee, thou art grieved;

Now it toucheth thee, thou despondest.

The question with which Eliphaz beings, is certainly one of those in which the tone of interrogation falls on the second of the paratactically connected sentences: Wilt thou, if we speak to thee, feel it unbearable? Similar examples are Job 4:21; Numbers 16:22; Jeremiah 8:4; and with interrogative Wherefore? Isaiah 5:4; Isaiah 50:2 : comp. the similar paratactic union of sentences, Job 2:10; Job 3:11. The question arises here, whether נסּה is an Aramaic form of writing for נשּׂא (as the Masora in distinction from Deuteronomy 4:34 takes it), and also either future, Wilt thou, if we raise, i.e., utter, etc.; or passive, as Ewald formerly,

(Note: In the second edition, comp. Jahrb. ix. 37, he explains it otherwise: "If we attempt a word with thee, will it be grievous to thee quod aegre feras?" But that, however, must be נסּה; the form נסּה can only be third pers. Piel: If any one attempts, etc., which, according to Ewald's construction, gives no suitable rendering.)

If a word is raised, i.e., uttered, דּבר נשׂא, like משׁל נשׂא, Job 27:1; or whether it is third pers. Piel, with the signification, attempt, tentare, Ecclesiastes 7:23. The last is to be preferred, because more admissible and also more expressive. נסּה followed by the fut. is a hypothetic praet., Supposing that, etc., wilt thou, etc., as e.g., Job 23:10. מלּין is the Aramaic plur. of מלּה, which is more frequent in the book of Job than the Hebrew plur. מלּים. The futt., Job 4:3., because following the perf., are like imperfects in the western languages: the expression is like Isaiah 35:3. In עתּה כּי, Job 4:5, כּי has a temporal signification, Now when, Ges. 155, 1, e, (b).

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