The old lion perishes for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)The old lion perisheth . . .—This means that even though wickedness is joined with strength, it is equally unable to prosper. It is to be observed that no less than five different words are here used for lion, showing that these animals must have been common and of various kinds in Job’s country.Job 4:11. The old lion perisheth for lack of prey — Dares not venture out of his den in search of prey, amidst the roar of thunder, the blaze of lightning, and the violence of the storm, that blast of God, mentioned in the preceding verse. And the young lion’s whelps are scattered abroad — Are so affrighted with the lightning and thunder, that, being separated, they flee different ways, and cannot find the path which leads to the den of the lioness, their dam. Thus do the divine judgments suddenly oppress, scatter, and bring to nothing the fierce and powerful tyrants of the earth, and unexpectedly strip them of all their wealth gotten by injustice and oppression.
Perisheth for lack of prey - Not withstanding his strength and power. That is, such a thing sometimes occurs. Eliphaz could not maintain that it always happened. The meaning seems to be, that as the strength of the lion was no security that he would not perish for want, so it was with men who resembled the lion in the strength of mature age.
And the stout lion's whelps - The word here rendered "stout lion," לביא lâbı̂y', is probably derived from the obsolete root לבא lâbâ', "to roar," and it is given to the lion on account of his roaring. Bochart, Hieroz. P. i. Lib. iii. c. 1. p. 719, supposes that the word means a lioness. These words complete the description of the lion, and the sense is, that the lion in no condition, or whatever name indicative of strength might be given to it, bad power to resist God when he came forth for its destruction. Its roaring, its strength, its teeth, its rage, were all in vain.
Are scattered abroad - That is, when the old lion is destroyed, the young ones flee, and are unable to offer resistance. So it is with men. When the divine judgments come upon them, they have no power to make successful resistance. God has them under control, and he comes forth at his pleasure to restrain and subdue them, as he does the wild beasts of the desert, though so fearful and formidable.The old lion perisheth for lack of prey; because they cannot go abroad to seek it, and their young ones either cannot find or do not bring it to them. See Psalm 49:14,15 119:10.
Are scattered abroad; gone from their dens several ways to hunt for prey, and can find none.
and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad; or "the whelps of the lioness" (k), these are scattered from the lion and lioness, and from one another, to seek for food, but in vain; the Targum applies this to Ishmael, and his posterity; Jarchi, and others, to the builders of Babel, said to be scattered, Genesis 11:8; rather reference may be had to the giants, the men of the old world, who filled the earth with violence, which was the cause of the flood being brought upon the world of the ungodly. Some think that Eliphaz has a regard to Job in all this, and that by the "fierce lion" he designs and describes Job as an oppressor and tyrant, and by the "lioness" his wife, and by the "young lions" and "lion's whelps" his children; and indeed, though he may not directly design him, yet he may obliquely point at him, and suggest that he was like to the men he had in view, and compares to these creatures, and therefore his calamities righteously came upon him.
(e) "leo major", Pagninus, Montanus, Mercerus, Schmidt; "leo strenuns et fortis", Michaelis; "robustior leo", Schultens. (f) Origin. l. 12. c. 3.((g) Geograph. l. 16. p. 533. (h) De Animal. l. 7. c. 47. & l. 17. c. 42. (i) Apud Strabo, l. 15. p. 485. (k) "filii leaenae", Bochart, Schultens.The old lion perisheth for lack of prey, and the stout lion's whelps are scattered abroad.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)Verse 11. - The old lion perisheth for lack of prey. The human counterpart of the "old lion" is the oppressor whose strength and cunning begin to fail him, who can no longer carry things with a high hand, enforce his will on men by bluster and throats, or even set traps for them so skilfully that they blindly walk into them. Political charlatans whose role is played out, bullies whose nerve is beginning to fail, cardsharpers whose manual dexterity has de-sorted them, come under this category. And the stout lion's whelps; rather, the whelps of the lioness (see the Revised Version). Are scattered abroad. Even the seed of ill-doers suffer. They are involved in their parents' punishment (see Exodus 20:5). Eliphaz darkly hints that Job may have been among the class of oppressors, or (at any rate) of transgressors, and that the untimely fate of his children may have been the consequence of his evil-doings.
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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