Job 4:4
Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
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Job 4:4. Thy words have upholden him that was falling — That was ready to sink under his pressures, or to fall into sin, or from God, through despondency and distrust of his providence and promise, or through impatience. And thou hast strengthened the feeble knees — Such as were weak-hearted, and fainting under their trials.

4:1-6 Satan undertook to prove Job a hypocrite by afflicting him; and his friends concluded him to be one because he was so afflicted, and showed impatience. This we must keep in mind if we would understand what passed. Eliphaz speaks of Job, and his afflicted condition, with tenderness; but charges him with weakness and faint-heartedness. Men make few allowances for those who have taught others. Even pious friends will count that only a touch which we feel as a wound. Learn from hence to draw off the mind of a sufferer from brooding over the affliction, to look at the God of mercies in the affliction. And how can this be done so well as by looking to Christ Jesus, in whose unequalled sorrows every child of God soonest learns to forget his own?Thy words have upholden him that was falling - That is, either falling into sin, or sinking under calamity and trial. The Hebrew will bear either interpretation, but the connection seems to require us to understand it of one who was sinking under the weight of affliction.

The feeble knees - Margin, "bowing." The knees support the frame. If they fail, we are feeble and helpless. Hence, their being weak, is so often used in the Bible to denote imbecility. The sense is, that Job, in the days of his own prosperity, had exhorted others to submit to God; had counselled them in such a manner as actually to give them support, and that the same views should now have sustained him which he had so successfully employed in comforting others.

3. weak hands—Isa 35:3; 2Sa 4:1. Him that was falling; ready to sink under their pressures, or to fall from God, or into sin, (as that word is used, 1 Corinthians 10:12 Galatians 6:2, and elsewhere,) through despondency and distrust of God’s providence and promise, or through impatience.

The feeble knees; such as were weak-hearted, and fainting under their trials. See Isaiah 35:3 Daniel 5:6 Hebrews 12:12.

Thy words have up, holden him that was falling,.... Or "stumbling" (m); that was stumbling at the providence of God in suffering good men to be afflicted, and wicked men to prosper; which has been the stumbling block of God's people in all ages; see Psalm 73:2; or that was stumbling and falling off from the true religion by reason of the revilings and reproaches of men, and their persecutions for it; which is sometimes the case, not only of nominal professors, Matthew 13:21; but of true believers, though they do not so stumble and fall as to perish: or else being under afflictions themselves, were ready to sink under them, their strength being small; now Job was helped to speak such words of comfort and advice to persons in any and every of these circumstances as to support them and preserve them from failing, and to enable them to keep their place and station among the people of God. The Targum interprets it of such as were falling into sin; the words of good men to stumbling and falling professors, whether into sin, or into affliction by it, are often very seasonable, and very useful, when attended with the power and Spirit of God:

and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees; that were tottering and trembling, and bending, and not able to bear up under the weight of sin, which lay as an heavy burden, too heavy to bear; or of afflictions very grievous and intolerable; to such persons Job had often spoken words that had been useful to alleviate their troubles, and support them under them. It may be observed, that the cases and circumstances of good men in early times were much the same as they are now; that there is no temptation or affliction that befalls the saints but what has been common; and that Job was a man of great gifts, grace, and experience, and had the tongue of the learned, to speak a word in season to every weary soul, in whatsoever condition they were: and all this, so very laudable in him, is not observed to his commendation, but to his reproach; to show that he was not a man of real virtue, that he contradicted himself, and did not act according to his profession and principles, and the doctrines he taught others, and was an hypocrite at heart; though no such conclusion follows, supposing he had not acted according to his principles and former conduct; for it is a difficult thing for any good man to act entirely according to them, or to behave the same in prosperity as in adversity, or to take that advice themselves in affliction, and follow it, they have given to others, and yet not be chargeable with hypocrisy. It would have been much better in Eliphaz and his friends to have made another use of Job's former conduct and behaviour, namely, to have imitated it, and endeavoured to have strengthened, and upheld him in his present distressed circumstances; instead of that, he insults him, as follows.

(m) "offendentem", Cocceius; "impingentem", Drusius, Schmidt, Schultens, Michaelis.

Thy words have upholden him that was falling, and thou hast strengthened the feeble knees.
4. the feeble knees] lit. as margin, the bowing, or tottering, knees; the figure being that of one tottering under a heavy load, which he is ready to sink beneath. See Isaiah 35:3-4; Hebrews 12:12.

Verse 4. - Thy words have upholden him that was falling. Many a man, just on the point of falling, has been stopped in time by thy wise words and good advice to him. This is a strong testimony to Job's kindliness of heart, and active sympathy with sufferers during the period of his prosperity. And thou hast strengthened the feeble knees; literally, the bowing knees - those that were just on the point of collapsing and giving way through exhaustion or feebleness (comp. Isaiah 35:3). Job 4:4 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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