Job 6:12
Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
Job 6:12. Is my strength the strength of stones? — I am not made of stone or brass, but of flesh and blood, as others are; therefore I am not able to endure these miseries longer, and can neither desire nor hope for the continuance of my life. Bishop Patrick’s paraphrase on this verse is, “God hath not made me insensible; and therefore do not wonder that I desire to be released from these very sharp pains.”

6:8-13 Job had desired death as the happy end of his miseries. For this, Eliphaz had reproved him, but he asks for it again with more vehemence than before. It was very rash to speak thus of God destroying him. Who, for one hour, could endure the wrath of the Almighty, if he let loose his hand against him? Let us rather say with David, O spare me a little. Job grounds his comfort upon the testimony of his conscience, that he had been, in some degree, serviceable to the glory of God. Those who have grace in them, who have the evidence of it, and have it in exercise, have wisdom in them, which will be their help in the worst of times.Is my strength the strength of stones? - That is, like a rampart or fortification made of stones, or like a craggy rock that can endure assaults made upon it. A rock will bear the beatings of the tempest, and resist the floods, but how can frail man do it? The idea of Job is, that he had no strength to bear up against these accumulated trials; that he was afraid that he should be left to sink under them, and to complain of God; and that his friends were not to wonder if his strength gave way, and he uttered the language of complaint.

Or is my flesh of brass? - Margin, "brazen." The comparison used here is not uncommon. So Cicero, Aca. Qu. iv. 31, says, Non enim est e saxo sculptus, ant e robore dolatus homo; habet corpus, habet animum; movetur mente, movetur sensibus: - "for man is not chiselled out of the rock, nor cut from a tree; he has a body, he has a soul; he is actuated by mind, he is swayed by senses." So Theocritus, in his description of Amycus, Idyll. xxii. 47:

Στήθεα δ ̓ ἐσφαίρωτο πελώρια και πλατὺ νῶτον,

Σαρκὶ σιδαρείῃ σφυρήλακος οἷα κολασσός.

Stēthea d' esfairōto pelōria kai platu nōton,

Sarki sidareiē sfurēlakos hoia kolossos.

Round as to his vast breast and broad back, and with iron flesh, he is as if a colossus formed with a hammer - So in Homer the expression frequently occurs - σιδήρειον ἦτορ sidēreion ētor - an iron heart - to denote courage. And so, according to Schultens, it has come to be a proverb, οὐκ ἀπὸ δρυὸς, οὐκ ἀπο πέτρης ouk apo druos, ouk apo petrēs - not from a tree, not from a rock. The meaning of Job is plain. He had flesh like others. His muscles, and nerves, and sinews, could not bear a constant force applied to them, as if they were made of brass or iron. They must give way; and he apprehended that he would sink under these sorrows, and be left to use language that might dishonor God. At all events, he felt that these great sorrows justified the strong expressions which he had already employed.

12. Disease had so attacked him that his strength would need to be hard as a stone, and his flesh like brass, not to sink under it. But he has only flesh, like other men. It must, therefore, give way; so that the hope of restoration suggested by Eliphaz is vain (see on [496]Job 5:11). I am not made of stone or brass, but of flesh and blood, as others are; and therefore I am utterly unable to endure these miseries longer, and can neither hope for nor desire any continuance of my life, or restoration of my former happiness, but only wish for that death which is the common refuge of all miserable persons, as I said, Job 3:17,18.

Is my strength the strength of stones?.... Is it like such especially which are foundation and corner stones that support a building? or like a stone pillar, that will bear a prodigious weight? no, it is not:

or is my flesh of brass? is it made of brass? or is it like to brass for hardness, or for sustaining any weight laid on it? it is not; and, therefore, it cannot bear up under the ponderous load of afflictions on it, but must sink and fail; it is but flesh and blood, and that flesh like grass, weak and feeble; and, therefore, death is better than life laden with such an insupportable burden.

Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass?
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
12. Unless his strength were that of stones or his flesh brass he could not hold out against the exhausting afflictions which he has to bear, or recover from them.

Verse 12. - Is my strength the strength of stones? or is my flesh of brass? It would require a man to have a body of brass, and strength like that of rocks, for him to be able to endure the ravages of such a disease, and yet to recover from it. Job cannot pretend to either. Job 6:1211 What is my strength, that I should wait,

And my end, that I should be patient?

12 Is my strength like the strength of stones?

Or is my flesh brazen?

13 Or am I then not utterly helpless,

And continuance is driven from me?

The meaning of the question (Job 6:11); is: Is not my strength already so wasted away, and an unfortunate end so certain to me, that a long calm waiting is as impossible as it is useless? נפשׁ האריך, to draw out the soul, is to extend and distribute the intensity of the emotion, to be forbearing, to be patient. The question (Job 6:11) is followed by אם, usual in double questions: or is my strength stone, etc. האם, which is so differently explained by commentators, is after all to be explained best from Numbers 17:28, the only other passage in which it occurs. Here it is the same as ה אם, and in Num. הלא אם: or is it not so: we shall perish quickly altogether? Thus we explain the passage before us. The interrogative ה is also sometimes used elsewhere for הלא, Job 20:4; Job 41:1 (Ges. 153, 3); the additional אם stands per inversionem in the second instead of the first place: nonne an equals an nonne, annon: or is it not so: is not my help in me equals or am I not utterly helpless? Ewald explains differently (356, a), according to which אם, from the formula of an oath, is equivalent to לא. The meaning is the same. Continuance, תּוּשׁיּה, i.e., power of endurance, reasonable prospect is driven away, frightened away from him, is lost for him.

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