Job 5:6
Although affliction comes not forth of the dust, neither does trouble spring out of the ground;
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(6, 7) Although affliction. . . .—These two verses are confessedly very difficult. It is hard to see also the connection between sparks flying upwards and man’s being born to trouble. It seems to give better sense if we understand Eliphaz comparing man’s lot as prepared for him by God with his own pride and presumptuous ambition. Man is born to labour, but, like sparks of fire, he makes high his flight. Trouble and toil is no accidental growth, but a lot appointed by God, which would be beneficial if man did not thwart it by his own pride. They lift themselves up and soar on high like sparks of fire with daring and presumptuous conduct, and so bring on themselves condign punishment. The same word means trouble and toil, and it may be understood in the two consecutive verses in these cognate, but slightly different, senses. It would be no consolation to Job to tell him that man was born to trouble; besides, it is a sentiment more likely to proceed from the patient himself than from the spectator.

Job 5:6. Although affliction cometh not forth out of the dust — The word

און, aven, here rendered affliction, rather signifies iniquity, and the clause is literally, Iniquity cometh not forth out of the dust; neither doth trouble spring out of the ground — That is, says Dr. Dodd, “As the wickedness of men does not proceed from any natural cause, but from their own free-will; so neither are their miseries to be considered as the effects of natural causes, but as the distributions of a free agent likewise, namely, of a just God, who suits men’s punishments to their crimes; and hence man, being prone to sin, is necessarily born to suffer,” as is signified in the next verse.5:6-16 Eliphaz reminds Job, that no affliction comes by chance, nor is to be placed to second causes. The difference between prosperity and adversity is not so exactly observed, as that between day and night, summer and winter; but it is according to the will and counsel of God. We must not attribute our afflictions to fortune, for they are from God; nor our sins to fate, for they are from ourselves. Man is born in sin, and therefore born to trouble. There is nothing in this world we are born to, and can truly call our own, but sin and trouble. Actual transgressions are sparks that fly out of the furnace of original corruption. Such is the frailty of our bodies, and the vanity of all our enjoyments, that our troubles arise thence as the sparks fly upward; so many are they, and so fast does one follow another. Eliphaz reproves Job for not seeking God, instead of quarrelling with him. Is any afflicted? let him pray. It is heart's ease, a salve for every sore. Eliphaz speaks of rain, which we are apt to look upon as a little thing; but if we consider how it is produced, and what is produced by it, we shall see it to be a great work of power and goodness. Too often the great Author of all our comforts, and the manner in which they are conveyed to us, are not noticed, because they are received as things of course. In the ways of Providence, the experiences of some are encouragements to others, to hope the best in the worst of times; for it is the glory of God to send help to the helpless, and hope to the hopeless. And daring sinners are confounded, and forced to acknowledge the justice of God's proceedings.Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust - Margin, "or iniquity." The marginal reading here has been inserted from the different meanings attached to the Hebrew word. That word (און 'âven) properly means nothingness, or vanity; then nothingness as to worth, unworthiness, wickedness, iniquity; and then the consequences of iniquity - adversity, calamity, affliction; Psalm 55:4; Proverbs 22:8; Psalm 90:10; Job 15:35. The Septuagint renders it κόπος kopos, "labor," or "trouble." The Vulgate, Nihil in terra, sine causa - "there is nothing on the earth without a cause." The general sense is plain. It is, that afflictions are not to be ascribed to chance, or that they are not without intelligent design. They do not come up like thistles, brambles, and thorns, from the unconscious earth. They have a cause. They are under the direction of God. The object of Eliphaz in the statement is, to show to Job that it was improper to complain, and that he should commit his cause to a God of infinite power and wisdom; Job 5:8 ff. Afflictions, Eliphaz says, could not be avoided. Man was born unto them. He ought to expect them, and when they come, they should be submitted to as ordered by an intelligent, wise, and good Being. This is one true ground of consolation in afflictions. They do not come from the unconscious earth: they do not spring up of themselves. Though it is true that man is born to them, and must expect them, yet it is also true that they are ordered in infinite wisdom, and that they always have a design.

Neither doth trouble spring out of the ground - The Septuagint renders this, "Nor will affliction spring up from the mountains."

6. Although—rather, "for truly" [Umbreit].

affliction cometh not forth of the dust—like a weed, of its own accord. Eliphaz hints that the cause of it lay with Job himself.

Although, or for, or rather, because. So the following words may contain a reason why he should seek unto God, as he exhorts him, Job 5:8. Or, surely, as that particle is oft used. And so it is a note of his proceeding to another argument.

Affliction, or iniquity, as this word oft signifies; and of this the following sentence is true. And so this first branch speaks of sin, and the next branch of trouble, which is the fruit of sin; and both sin and trouble are said to come from the same spring. But this word signifies also affliction, or misery, or trouble, as Psalm 90:10 Proverbs 12:21; which seems most proper here, both because it is so explained by the following words,

trouble; and again, trouble, Job 5:7, the same thing being repeated in several words, as is usual in Holy Scripture; and because the great thing which troubled Job, and the chief matter of these discourses, was Job’s afflictions, not his sins. Cometh not forth of the dust; it springs not up by chance, as herbs which grow of their own accord out of the earth; or, it comes not from men or creatures here below; but it comes from a certain and a higher cause, even from God, and that for man’s sins; and therefore thou shouldst seek to him for redress, as it follows, Job 5:8. Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust,.... Or rather, "for" or "indeed" (y), this being a reason showing that wicked men are justly afflicted and punished; seeing their afflictions come not from the creatures, though they may be instruments, but from God for the sins of men: the word for affliction also signifies iniquity or sin, the cause of affliction, as well as affliction the fruit of sin; and so does the word in the following clause; and Aben Ezra understands both, not of natural but moral evil, and so do others (z); both senses may be taken in: sin does not come from God, the Maker of the dust of the earth, he is not the author of sin, nor does this spring out of the dust which he has made; good things, as Schmidt observes, come out of the earth for the use of man as well as beasts, bread, and wine, and oil, and all the necessaries of life; the precious things produced by the influence of the sun and moon, the precious things of the everlasting hills, and of the earth, and the fulness of it; indeed, the earth was cursed for the sin of men, but this is taken off; and, however, it is not owing to the soil, or to the air and climate in which a man lives, that he is sinful; for though there may be national vices or some sins peculiar to or more predominant in one nation than in another, yet this is not to be attributed to such causes; for all sin is from a man's self, and proceeds out of his own evil heart, which is desperately wicked and evil continually, and from whence all the impure streams of sin flow, see Matthew 15:19; and so afflictions are not to be ascribed to second causes, such as the things before mentioned, or Job's losses by the Sabeans and Chaldeans; nor did he place them to that account, but to the hand of God; nor to chance and fortune, or to be reckoned fortuitous events, as if they were chance productions, spontaneous things that spring up of themselves, and not under the direction of an all wise Providence; but they are to be considered as of God, and as of his appointment, and directed by his sovereign will and pleasure, and overruled for his glory; who has fixed what they shall be, of what kind and sort, what the measure of them, to what pitch they shall rise, and how long they shall last:

neither doth trouble spring out of the ground; the same thing as before in different words, neither sin, the cause of trouble, the effect of sin; sin may very fitly be expressed by a word (a) which signifies trouble, because it is both troublesome, wearisome, and offensive to God, and brings trouble to the bodies and souls of men here and hereafter. Here Eliphaz begins to lower the tone of his voice, and to speak to Job in a seemingly more kind and friendly manner, observing to him the spring of afflictions, and giving him advice how to behave under them.

(y) "quia", Pagninus, Montanus; "etenim", Beza, Mercerus; "nam", Piscator, Cocceius, Schmidt, Michaelis, Schultens; so Broughton; "sane", Bolducius. (z) "iniquitas", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster, Bolducius, Schmidt, Michaelis; "improbitas", Codurcus. (a) "perversitas", Pagninus; "improbitas", Schultens.

Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, {h} neither doth trouble spring out of the ground;

(h) That is, the earth is not the cause of barrenness and man's misery, but his own sin.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
6. Although affliction] Rather, for affliction. The foregoing examples, the general evil and imperfection of man, ch. Job 4:12 seq., and the particular rebelliousness of the fool, ch. Job 5:2 seq., shew how affliction arises, and Eliphaz confirms the whole with his general maxim, for.… Eliphaz reverts here to his principle already enunciated, They that sow trouble reap the same, ch. Job 4:8. Affliction does not spring out of the earth like weeds, it is not a necessary product of the nature of things, turned out by the friction of the universe, it is due to the evil nature of men.

6, 7. Eliphaz now sums up into an aphorism the great general principle which he seeks to illustrate in this section of his speech, ch. Job 4:12 to Job 5:7. It is that affliction is not accidental, nor a spontaneous growth of the earth, but men acting after the impulses of their evil nature bring it on themselves.Verse 6. - Although affliction cometh not forth of the dust, neither doth trouble spring out of the ground. There is a tacit reference to what was said in Job 4:8. Affliction and trouble are not chance products of spontaneous growth. They only spring up when men have prepared the ground for them, and planted in it an evil seed. אף signifies, like כּי אף, quanto minus, or quanto magis, according as a negative or positive sentence precedes: since Job 4:18 is positive, we translate it here quanto magis, as 2 Samuel 16:11. Men are called dwellers in clay houses: the house of clay is their φθαρτὸν σῶμα, as being taken de limo terrae (Job 33:6; comp. Wis. 9:15); it is a fragile habitation, formed of inferior materials, and destined to destruction. The explanation which follows - those whose יסוד, i.e., foundation of existence, is in dust - shows still more clearly that the poet has Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:19, in his mind. It crushes them (subject, everything that operates destructively on the life of man) לפני־עשׁ, i.e., not: sooner than the moth is crushed (Hahn), or more rapidly than a moth destroys (Oehler, Fries), or even appointed to the moth for destruction (Schlottm.); but לפני signifies, as Job 3:24 (cf. 1 Samuel 1:16), ad instar: as easily as a moth is crushed. They last only from morning until evening: they are broken in pieces (הכּת, from כּתת, for הוּכת); they are therefore as ephemerae. They perish for ever, without any one taking it to heart (suppl. על־לב, Isaiah 42:25; Isaiah 57:1), or directing the heart towards it, animum advertit (suppl. לב, Job 1:8).

In Job 4:21 the soul is compared to the cord of a tent, which stretches out and holds up the body as a tent, like Ecclesiastes 12:6, with a silver cord, which holds the lamp hanging from the covering of the tent. Olshausen is inclined to read יתדם, their tent-pole, instead of יתרם, and at any rate thinks the accompanying בּם superfluous and awkward. But (1) the comparison used here of the soul, and of the life sustained by it, corresponds to its comparison elsewhere with a thread or weft, of which death is the cutting through or loosing (Job 6:9; Job 27:8; Isaiah 38:12); (12) בּם is neither superfluous nor awkward, since it is intended to say, that their duration of life falls in all at once like a tent when that which in them (בם) corresponds to the cord of a tent (i.e., the נפשׁ) is drawn away from it. The relation of the members of the sentence in Job 4:21 is just the same as in Job 4:2 : Will they not die when it is torn away, etc. They then die off in lack of wisdom, i.e., without having acted in accordance with the perishableness of their nature and their distance from God; therefore, rightly considered: unprepared and suddenly, comp. Job 36:12; Proverbs 5:23. Oehler, correctly: without having been made wiser by the afflictions of God. The utterance of the Spirit, the compass of which is unmistakeably manifest by the strophic division, ends here. Eliphaz now, with reference to it, turns to Job.

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