Job 5:21
Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
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(21) Shalt thou be afraid.—Comp. the expression in Job 5:15.

Job 5:21-22. Thou shalt be hid — Protected, as in some secret and safe place; from the scourge of the tongue — From false accusations, and virulent slanders and reproaches. Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction — Thou shalt have no cause to fear it, because God will secure thee in it and from it: when it cometh — Namely, upon others, near or round about thee. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase on the verse is, “False accusers shall not be able to hurt thee; and when whole countries are depopulated, thou shalt be secure.” At destruction, &c., thou shalt laugh — With a laughter of joy and triumph; arising from a just security and confidence in God’s watchful and gracious providence. Neither shalt thou be afraid of the beasts of the field — The wild beasts, which were numerous and mischievous in those parts. As no apprehensions of fear shall possess thee in other heavy calamities, so neither shalt thou be under any dreadful consternation, should even the most fierce and savage beasts of the earth rise up against and be ready to devour thee. Perhaps it is not possible for that peace of mind, which arises from a good conscience and a confidence in the divine care and protection, to be expressed more elegantly or poetically than it is in this verse. Thus, leviathan, so far from being terrified, is said to laugh at the shaking of a spear, Job 41:29. And God himself, in the same beautiful style, is represented as disdaining the politic intrigues of kings, and the crafty counsels of the rulers of the earth against his church. He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision, Psalm 2:4.

5:17-27 Eliphaz gives to Job a word of caution and exhortation: Despise not thou the chastening of the Almighty. Call it a chastening, which comes from the Father's love, and is for the child's good; and notice it as a messenger from Heaven. Eliphaz also encourages Job to submit to his condition. A good man is happy though he be afflicted, for he has not lost his enjoyment of God, nor his title to heaven; nay, he is happy because he is afflicted. Correction mortifies his corruptions, weans his heart from the world, draws him nearer to God, brings him to his Bible, brings him to his knees. Though God wounds, yet he supports his people under afflictions, and in due time delivers them. Making a wound is sometimes part of a cure. Eliphaz gives Job precious promises of what God would do for him, if he humbled himself. Whatever troubles good men may be in, they shall do them no real harm. Being kept from sin, they are kept from the evil of trouble. And if the servants of Christ are not delivered from outward troubles, they are delivered by them, and while overcome by one trouble, they conquer all. Whatever is maliciously said against them shall not hurt them. They shall have wisdom and grace to manage their concerns. The greatest blessing, both in our employments and in our enjoyments, is to be kept from sin. They shall finish their course with joy and honour. That man lives long enough who has done his work, and is fit for another world. It is a mercy to die seasonably, as the corn is cut and housed when fully ripe; not till then, but then not suffered to stand any longer. Our times are in God's hands; it is well they are so. Believers are not to expect great wealth, long life, or to be free from trials. But all will be ordered for the best. And remark from Job's history, that steadiness of mind and heart under trial, is one of the highest attainments of faith. There is little exercise for faith when all things go well. But if God raises a storm, permits the enemy to send wave after wave, and seemingly stands aloof from our prayers, then, still to hang on and trust God, when we cannot trace him, this is the patience of the saints. Blessed Saviour! how sweet it is to look unto thee, the Author and Finisher of faith, in such moments!Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue - Margin, Or, "when the tongue scourgeth." The word rendered "scourge" - שׁוט shôṭ - means properly a whip. It is used of God when he scourges people by calamities and punishments; Isaiah 10:26; Job 9:23. See the use of the verb שׁוּט shûṭ in Job 2:7. Here it is used to denote a slanderous tongue, as being that which inflicts a severe wound upon the reputation and peace of an individual. The idea is, that God would guard the reputation of those who commit themselves to him, and that they shall be secure from slander, "whose breath," Shakespeare says, "outvenoms all the worms of Nile."

Neither shalt thou be afraid when destruction cometh - That is, your mind shall be calm in those calamities which threaten destruction. When war rages, when the tempest howls, when the pestilence breathes upon a community, then your mind shall be at peace. A similar thought occurs in Isaiah 26:3 : "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on thee;" and the same sentiment is beautifully illustrated at length in Psalm 91. The Chaldee Paraphrase applies all this to events which had occurred in the history of the Hebrews. Thus, Job 5:20 : "In the famine in Egypt, he redeemed thee from death; and in the war with Amalek, from being slain by the sword;" Job 5:21 : "In the injury inflicted by the tongue of Balaam thou wert hid among the clouds, and thou didst not fear from the desolation of the Midianites when it came;" Job 5:22 : "In the desolation of Sihon, and in the famine of the desert, thou didst laugh; and of the camps of Og, who was like a wild beast of the earth, thou wert not afraid."

21. (Ps 31:20; Jer 18:18). Smite (Psalm 73. 9). Hid, i.e. protected, as in some secret and safe place.

From the scourge of the tongue, i.e. from false accusations and virulent slanders and reproaches, either by diverting their tongues to other persons or things, or by clearing thy integrity.

Neither shalt thou be afraid; thou shalt have no cause to fear it, because God will secure thee in it and from it.

When it cometh, to wit, upon others; near thee, or round about thee.

Thou shall be hid from the scourge of the tongue,.... Of Satan, as Jarchi, the accuser of the brethren; or rather from the evil tongue of wicked men, their slanders, calumnies, and reproaches; the tongue is a small weapon, but it is a cutting one; it is like a scourge or whip, with which wicked men strike hard: the enemies of Jeremiah encouraged one another to smite him with their tongue, Jeremiah 18:18; and a sad thing it is to be under the lash of some men's tongues, and a great mercy it is to be delivered from them: God does sometimes hide his people, and keeps them secretly, as in a pavilion, from the strife of tongues; Psalm 31:20; he either restrains the tongues of men, lays an embargo on them, and will not suffer them to say that evil of his people which Satan and their wicked hearts prompt them to; or, if they are suffered to defame and speak evil of good men, yet they do it in such a romantic way, and so overcharge and load it, that it is not credited by any what they say, even by those of their own party; so that the characters of God's people suffer not by their lies and calumnies: some render it, "when the tongue wanders about" (g); walks through the earth, and spares none, all ranks and degrees of men; God hides his people from being hurt by it, see Psalm 73:9; Aben Ezra interprets the word rendered "tongue" of a nation or people; and so it may be understood of one nation entering into another, passing through it, and making desolations in it; as the Scythians, Gauls, Goths, Huns, and Vandals, have done in different ages; and that, in such a time of calamity, God has his hiding places in Providence for the protection and safety of his people: but the Targum interprets it of an evil tongue, and particularly of the tongue of Balaam:

neither shall thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh: meaning either of pestilence, which is the destruction that wastes at noonday, Psalm 91:6; which, when it comes into a nation or neighbourhood, shall not come nigh the good man, and infect him; or if it does, shall not carry him off; and if it does that, it carries him home to heaven and happiness, and therefore he has no reason to be afraid of it: or of a general calamity; as when there is a complication of judgments in a nation, or in the world in general, as war, famine, pestilence, earthquakes, &c. as if all were just falling to pieces and into ruin; and yet even then the saints have no cause to fear; see Psalm 46:1; or the destruction of the whole world at the last day, when the heavens and earth, and all therein, shall be burnt up: for then good and righteous men will be safe with Christ, and dwell with him in the new heavens and the new earth, which shall be prepared for them; see 2 Peter 3:10; the Targum refers this to the destruction of the Midianites.

(g) "dum pervagabitur", Vatablus; "quum grassatur", Cocceius, Godurcus; "grassabitur", Grotius; so Aben Ezra and Ben Gersom, and R. Jonah, in Ben Melech.

Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue: neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh.
Verse 21. - Thou shalt be hid from the scourge of the tongue (comp. Psalm 31:20). God will also protect his own from "the scourge of the tongue," i.e. from calumny, from abuse, from bitter words (see the comment on ver. 15). Neither shalt thou be afraid of destruction when it cometh; rather, of devastation. "Shod (שׁור) populationes, praedationes, calamitosas tempestates, terrae motus, ruinas, incendia, mala omnia vasti-tatem inducentia, amplectitur" (Schultens). Job 5:2117 Behold, happy is the man whom Eloah correcteth;

So despise not the chastening of the Almighty!

18 For He woundeth, and He also bindeth up;

He bruiseth, and His hands make whole.

19 In six troubles He will rescue thee,

And in seven no evil shall touch thee.

20 In famine He will redeem thee from death,

And in war from the stroke of the sword.

21 When the tongue scourgeth, thou shalt be hidden;

And thou shalt not fear destruction when it cometh.

The speech of Eliphaz now becomes persuasive as it turns towards the conclusion. Since God humbles him who exalts himself, and since He humbles in order to exalt, it is a happy thing when He corrects (הוכיח) us by afflictive dispensations; and His chastisement (מוּסר) is to be received not with a turbulent spirit, but resignedly, yea joyously: the same thought as Proverbs 3:11-13; Psalm 94:12, in both passages borrowed from this; whereas Job 5:18 here, like Hosea 6:1; Lamentations 3:31., refers to Deuteronomy 32:39. רפא, to heal, is here conjugated like a הל verb (Ges. 75, rem. 21). Job 5:19 is formed after the manner of the so-called number-proverbs (Proverbs 6:16; Proverbs 30:15, Proverbs 30:18), as also the roll of the judgment of the nations in Amos 1-2: in six troubles, yea in still more than six. רע is the extremity that is perhaps to be feared. In Job 5:20, the praet. is a kind of prophetic praet. The scourge of the tongue recalls the similar promise, Psalm 31:21, where, instead of scourge, it is: the disputes of the tongue. שׁוד, from שׁדד violence, disaster, is allied in sound with שׁוט. Isaiah has this passage of the book of Job in his memory when he writes Job 28:15. The promises of Eliphaz now continue to rise higher, and sound more delightful and more glorious.

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