Job 4:16
It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before my eyes, there was silence, and I heard a voice, saying,
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 4:16. It stood still — Though it passed by me, it did not immediately disappear and vanish, but made a stand, as having some business with me, and designing to address me. But I could not discern the form thereof — Namely, exactly and distinctly, so as to know what or who it was. An image was before my eyes — My eyes could not be deceived. I am thoroughly satisfied there was an image which showed itself to me visibly. There was silence — The spirit stood motionless; all other persons and things about me were entirely silent; and I also kept in my voice and breath as much as I could, that I might distinctly hear what I perceived the spirit was about to speak to me. In the Hebrew it is, Silence, and a voice I heard. Houbigant’s translation of the verse is, It stood still indeed, but I knew not its form; the appearance vanished from before my eyes, but I heard a voice.4:12-21 Eliphaz relates a vision. When we are communing with our own hearts, and are still, Ps 4:4, then is a time for the Holy Spirit to commune with us. This vision put him into very great fear. Ever since man sinned, it has been terrible to him to receive communications from Heaven, conscious that he can expect no good tidings thence. Sinful man! shall he pretend to be more just, more pure, than God, who being his Maker, is his Lord and Owner? How dreadful, then, the pride and presumption of man! How great the patience of God! Look upon man in his life. The very foundation of that cottage of clay in which man dwells, is in the dust, and it will sink with its own weight. We stand but upon the dust. Some have a higher heap of dust to stand upon than others but still it is the earth that stays us up, and will shortly swallow us up. Man is soon crushed; or if some lingering distemper, which consumes like a moth, be sent to destroy him, he cannot resist it. Shall such a creature pretend to blame the appointments of God? Look upon man in his death. Life is short, and in a little time men are cut off. Beauty, strength, learning, not only cannot secure them from death, but these things die with them; nor shall their pomp, their wealth, or power, continue after them. Shall a weak, sinful, dying creature, pretend to be more just than God, and more pure than his Maker? No: instead of quarrelling with his afflictions, let him wonder that he is out of hell. Can a man be cleansed without his Maker? Will God justify sinful mortals, and clear them from guilt? or will he do so without their having an interest in the righteousness and gracious help of their promised Redeemer, when angels, once ministering spirits before his throne, receive the just recompence of their sins? Notwithstanding the seeming impunity of men for a short time, though living without God in the world, their doom is as certain as that of the fallen angels, and is continually overtaking them. Yet careless sinners note it so little, that they expect not the change, nor are wise to consider their latter end.It stood still - It took a fixed position and looked on me. It at first glided by, or toward him, then stood in an immovable position, as if to attract his attention, and to prepare him for the solemn announcement which it was about to make. This was the point in which most horror would be felt. We should be less alarmed at anything which a strange messenger should say, than to have him stand and fix his eyes steadily and silently upon us. Hence, Horatius, in "Hamlet," tortured by the imperturbable silence of the Ghost, earnestly entreated it to give him relief by speaking.

Hor. - What art thou that usurp'st this time of night,

Together with that fair and warlike form

In which the majesty of buried Denmark

Did sometime march? By heaven, I charge thee, speak.

Mar. - It is offended.

Ber. - See: It stalks away.

Hor. - Stay; speak: speak, I charge thee speak.

Act i. Sc. i.

Re-enter Ghost.

Hor. - But, soft; behold! lo, where it comes again!

I'll cross it, though it blast me. - Stay, illusion!

If thou hast any sound, or use of voice,

Speak to me:

continued...

16. It stood still—At first the apparition glides before Eliphaz, then stands still, but with that shadowy indistinctness of form which creates such an impression of awe; a gentle murmur: not (English Version): there was silence; for in 1Ki 19:12, the voice, as opposed to the previous storm, denotes a gentle, still murmur. It stood still; having passed by him to and again he made a stand, as one that had some business with him, and addressed himself to speak to him.

I could not discern the form thereof; to wit, exactly and distinctly, so as to know what or who it was.

An image was before mine eyes; I saw some corporal or visible resemblance, though in a confused manner.

There was silence: the spirit, which possibly had made some noise with his motion, now standing still made no noise; all other persons and things about me were silent, and I also kept in my voice and breath as much as I could, that I might distinctly hear what I perceived the spirit was speaking to me. In the Hebrew the words run thus, silence and a voice (i.e. a silent, or still, or low voice, by a very common figure, called hendiadis) I heard. It stood still,.... That is, the spirit, or the angel in a visible form; it was before going to and fro, but now it stood still right against Eliphaz, as if it had something to say to him, and so preparing him to attend to it; which he might do the better, it standing before him while speaking to him, that he might have the opportunity of taking more notice of it:

but, notwithstanding this advantageous position of it:

I could not discern the form thereof; what it was, whether human or any other:

an image was before mine eyes; he saw something, some appearance and likeness, but could not tell what it was; perhaps the fear and surprise he was in hindered him from taking in any distinct idea of it, or that particular notice of it, so as to be able to form in his own mind any suitable notion of it, or to describe it to others:

there was silence both in the spirit or image, which, standing still, made no rushing noise, and in Eliphaz himself, who kept in his breath, and listened with all the attention he could to it; or a small low voice, as Ben Melech interprets it: so it follows:

and I heard a voice; a distinct articulate voice or sound of words, very audibly delivered by the spirit or image that stood before him:

saying; as follows.

It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof: an image was before mine eyes, there was {k} silence, and I heard a voice, saying,

(k) When all things were quiet or when the fear was relieved as God appeared to Elijah, 1Ki 19:12.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. it stood still] It is the mysterious object in his presence.

there was silence, and I heard a voice] lit. stillness and a voice I heard, i. e. probably, I heard a still voice; cf. “whisper,” Job 4:12.Verse 16. - It stood still, but I could not discern the form thereof. Canon Cook quotes, very appositely, Milton's representation of Death as a fearful shape,

"If shape it could be called that shape had none
Distinguishable in member, joint, or limb,
Or substance might be called that shadow seemed."
An image was before mine eyes; or, on appearance (LXX., μορφή). There was silence; or, a hush - "status aeris nullo motu turbati, et tranquillissimus" (Schulteus). And I heard a voice, saying. After a while the silence was broken by a voice, which whispered in Eliphaz's ear (setup. ver. 12). 6 Is not thy piety thy confidence,

Thy Hope? And the uprightness of thy ways?

7 Think now: who ever perished, being innocent?!

And where have the righteous been cut off?!

8 As often as I saw, those who ploughed evil

And sowed sorrow, - they reaped the same.

9 By the breath of Eloah they perished,

By the breath of His anger they vanished away.

10 The roaring of the lion, and the voice of the shachal,

And the teeth of the young lions, are rooted out.

11 The lion wanders about for want of prey,

And the lioness' whelps are scattered.

In Job 4:6 all recent expositors take the last waw as waw apodosis: And thy hope, is not even this the integrity of thy way? According to our punctuation, there is no occasion for supposing such an application of the waw apodosis, which is an error in a clause consisting only of substantives, and is not supported by the examples, Job 15:17; Job 23:12; 2 Samuel 22:41.

(Note: We will not, however, dispute the possibility, for at least in Arabic one can say, zı̂d f-hkı̂m Zeid, he is wise. Grammarians remark that Arab. zı̂d in this instance is like a hypothetical sentence: If any one asks, etc. 2 Samuel 15:34 is similar.)

continued...

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