Job 6:16
Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
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Job 6:16. Which are blackish, &c. — Which in winter, when the traveller neither needs nor desires it, are full of water congealed by the frost. Wherein the snow is hid — Under which the water from snow, which formerly fell, and afterward was dissolved, lies hid. So he speaks not of those brooks which are fed by a constant spring, but of them which are filled by accidental falls of water or snow.

6:14-30 In his prosperity Job formed great expectations from his friends, but now was disappointed. This he compares to the failing of brooks in summer. Those who rest their expectations on the creature, will find it fail when it should help them; whereas those who make God their confidence, have help in the time of need, Heb 4:16. Those who make gold their hope, sooner or later will be ashamed of it, and of their confidence in it. It is our wisdom to cease from man. Let us put all our confidence in the Rock of ages, not in broken reeds; in the Fountain of life, not in broken cisterns. The application is very close; for now ye are nothing. It were well for us, if we had always such convictions of the vanity of the creature, as we have had, or shall have, on a sick-bed, a death-bed, or in trouble of conscience. Job upbraids his friends with their hard usage. Though in want, he desired no more from them than a good look and a good word. It often happens that, even when we expect little from man, we have less; but from God, even when we expect much, we have more. Though Job differed from them, yet he was ready to yield as soon as it was made to appear that he was in error. Though Job had been in fault, yet they ought not to have given him such hard usage. His righteousness he holds fast, and will not let it go. He felt that there had not been such iniquity in him as they supposed. But it is best to commit our characters to Him who keeps our souls; in the great day every upright believer shall have praise of God.Which are blackish - Or, rather, which are turbid. The word used here (קדרים qoderı̂ym) means to be turbid, foul, or muddy, spoken of a torrent, and then to be of a dusky color, to be dark-colored, as e. g. the skin scorched by the sun, Job 30:28; or to be dark - as when the sun is obscured; Joel 2:10; Joel 3:15. Jerome renders it, Qui timent pruinam - "which fear the frost, when the snow comes upon them." The Septuagint renders it, "they who had venerated me now rushed upon me like snow or hoar frost, which melting at the approach of heat, it was not known whence it was." The expression in the Hebrew means that they were rendered dark and turbid by the accumulated torrents caused by the dissolving snow and ice.

By reason of the ice - When it melts and swells the streams.

And wherein the snow is hid - That is, says Noyes, melts and flows into them. It refers to the melting of the snow in the spring, when the streams are swelled as a consequence of it. Snow, by melting in the spring and summer, would swell the streams, which at other times were dry. Lucretius mentions the melting of the snows on the mountains of Ethiopia, as one of the causes of the overflowing of the Nile:

Forsitan Aethiopum pentrue de montibus altis

Crescat, ubi in campos albas descendere ningues

Tahificiss subigit radiis sol, omnia lustrans.

vi. 734.

Or, from the Ethiop-mountains, the bright sun,

Now full matured, with deep-dissolving ray,

May melt the agglomerate snows, and down the plains

Drive them, augmenting hence the incipient stream.


A similar description occurs in Homer, Iliad xi. 492:

Ὡς δ ̓ ὁπόε πλήφων ποταμός πεδίνδε κάτεισι


16. blackish—literally, "Go as a mourner in black clothing" (Ps 34:14). A vivid and poetic image to picture the stream turbid and black with melted ice and snow, descending from the mountains into the valley. In the [second] clause, the snow dissolved is, in the poet's view, "hid" in the flood [Umbreit]. Which in winter, when the traveller neither needs nor desires it, are full of water, then congealed by the frost.

Wherein the snow is hid; either,

1. Under which the water, made of snow, which formerly fell, and afterwards was dissolved, lies hid. So he implies that he speaks not of those brooks which are fed by a constant spring, but of them which are filled by accidental and extraordinary falls of water, or snow melted, which run into them. Or,

2. Wherein there is abundance of snow mixed with or covered by the ice; or, in which the snow covers itself, i.e. where is snow upon snow; which gives the traveller hopes, that when he comes that way in summer, he shall find good store of water here for his refreshment.

Which are blackish by reason of the ice,.... When frozen over, they look of a blackish colour, and is what is called a black frost; and these either describe Job and his domestics, as some (h) think whom Eliphaz and his two friends compared to the above streams water passed away from, or passed by and neglected, and showed no friendship to; who were in black, mournful and rueful circumstances, through the severe hand of God upon them. The word is rendered, "those which mourn", Job 5:11; or rather the friends of Job compared to foul and troubled waters frozen over which cannot be so well discerned, or which were black through being frozen, and which describes the inward frame of their minds the foulness of their spirits the blackness of their hearts, though they outwardly appeared otherwise, as follows:

and wherein the snow is hid; or "on whom the snow" falling, and lying on heaps, "hides" (i), or covers; so Job's friends, according to this account, were, though black within as a black frost yet white without as snow; they appeared, in their looks and words at first as candid, kind, and generous, but proved the reverse.

(h) So Michaelis. (i) "super quibus accumulatur nix", Beza, "tegit se, q. d. multa nive teguntur", Drusius; "the frost is hidden by the snow", so Sephorno; or rather "the black and frozen waters".

Which are blackish by reason of the ice, and wherein the snow is hid:
16. are blackish] Rather, are black, that is, turbid.

is hid] lit. hides itself, that is, dissolves.

Pleasures are like poppies spread,

You seize the flower, its bloom is shed;

Or like the snow-falls in the river—

A moment white, then melts for ever.

Verse 16. - Which are blackish by reason of the ice. Job seems to have seen wadys where, in the winter-time, the water was actually frozen into hard black ice. This scarcely occurs now in the countries bordering on Palestine; but may have occurred in the region where Job dwelt, formerly. "Dark, turbid water" can scarcely be intended. And wherein the snow is hid. Some suppose melted snow to be meant; but the deep wadies in the Hauran and elsewhere would easily conceal snowdrifts. Job 6:1614 To him who is consumed gentleness is due from his friend,

Otherwise he might forsake the fear of the Almighty.

15 My brothers are become false as a torrent,

As the bed of torrents which vanish away -

16 They were blackish from ice,

Snow is hidden in them -

17 In the time, when warmth cometh to them, they are destroyed.

It becometh hot, they are extinguished from their place.

Ewald supplies between Job 6:14 and Job 6:14 two lines which have professedly fallen out ("from a brother sympathy is due to the oppressed of God, in order he may not succumb to excessive grief"). Hitzig strongly characterizes this interpolation as a "pure swindle." There is really nothing wanting; but we need not even take חסד, with Hitz., in the signification reproach (like Proverbs 14:34): if reproach cometh to the sufferer from his friend, he forsaketh the fear of God. מס (from מסס, liquefieri) is one who is inwardly melted, the disheartened. Such an one should receive חסד from his friend, i.e., that he should restore him ἐν πνεύματι πραΰ́τητος (Galatians 6:1). The waw (Job 6:14) is equivalent to alioqui with the future subjunctive (vid., Ges. 127, 5). Harshness might precipitate him into the abyss from which love will keep him back. So Schnurrer: Afflicto exhibenda est ab amico ipsius humanitas, alioqui hic reverentiam Dei exuit. Such harshness instead of charity meets him from his brothers, i.e., friends beloved as brothers. In vain he has looked to them for reviving consolation. Theirs is no comfort; it is like the dried-up water of a wady. נחל is a mountain or forest brook, which comes down from the height, and in spring is swollen by melting ice and the snow that thaws on the mountain-tops; χειμάῤῥους, i.e., a torrent swollen by winter water. The melting blocks of ice darken the water of such a wady, and the snow falling together is quickly hidden in its bosom (התעלּם). If they begin to be warmed (Pual זרב, cognate to צרב, Ezekiel 21:3, aduri, and שׂרף, comburere), suddenly they are reduced to nothing (נצמת, exstingui); they vanish away בּחמּו, when it becomes hot. The suffix is, with Ew., Olsh., and others, to be taken as neuter; not with Hirz., to be referred to a suppressed את: when the season grows hot. job bewails the disappointment he has experienced, the "decline" of charity

(Note: Oetinger says that Job 6:15-20 describe those who get "consumption" when they are obliged to extend "the breasts of compassion" to their neighbour.)

still further, by keeping to the figure of the mountain torrent.

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