Job 6:19
The troops of Tema looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.
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(19) The troops of Tema.—Fürst says of Tema that it was a tract in the north of the Arabian Desert, on the borders of the Syrian one, where traffic was carried on from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean by caravans (Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:23; Job 6:19). Sheba, as understood here, was probably a district on the Arabian Gulf (see Job 1:15), where merchants trafficked with the distant cities of the East, as well as enriched themselves with the plunder of their neighbours, as in Job 1:15.

Job 6:19. The troops of Tema looked — This place and Sheba were both parts of the hot and dry country of Arabia; in which waters were very scarce, and therefore precious and desirable, especially to travellers. The word ארחות, orchoth, signifies companies of travellers or merchants, such as that mentioned Genesis 37:25, A company of the Ishmaelites came from Gilead, with their camels, &c., or those spoken of Isaiah 21:13-14, In the forest of Arabia shall ye lodge, O ye travelling companies. The inhabitants of Tema brought water, &c. The Hebrew word, however, properly means ways, or roads; but is here put for travellers in the ways, by a common metonymy. The companies of Sheba waited for them — The Scenitæ, who lived in tents, may here be included, as well as the troops before mentioned, for they removed with their cattle from one place to another for the convenience of pasture and water. It must be observed, men did not there travel singly as we do, but in companies, for their security against wild beasts and robbers. “By a very slight alteration in the pointing, Mr. Heath so translates this verse as to introduce the speaker using a prosopopœia, or addressing himself to the travellers: Look for them, ye troops of Tema, ye travellers of Sheba, expect them earnestly. This gives great life to the poetry, and sets a very beautiful image before the eye: the travellers wasting their time, depending on those torrents for water; but, when they come hither, how great the disappointment!” — Dodd.

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.The troops of Tema looked - That is, looked for the streams of water. On the situation of Tema, see Notes, Job 2:11. This was the country of Eliphaz, and the image would be well understood by him. The figure is one of exquisite beauty. It means that the caravans from Tema, in journeying through the desert, looked for those streams. They came with an expectation of finding the means of allaying their thirst. When they came there they were disappointed, for the waters had disappeared. Reiske, however, renders this, "Their tracks (the branchings of the flood) tend toward Tema;" - a translation which the Hebrew will bear, but the usual version is more correct, and is more elegant.

The companies of Sheba waited for them - The "Sheba" here referred to was probably in the southern part of Arabia; see the notes at Isaiah 45:14. The idea is, that the caravans from that part of Arabia came and looked for a supply of water, and were disappointed.

19. the troops—that is, "caravans."

Tema—north of Arabia-Deserta, near the Syrian desert; called from Tema son of Ishmael (Ge 25:15; Isa 21:14; Jer 25:23), still so called by the Arabs. Job 6:19, 20 give another picture of the mortification of disappointed hopes, namely, those of the caravans on the direct road, anxiously awaiting the return of their companions from the distant valley. The mention of the locality whence the caravans came gives living reality to the picture.

Sheba—refers here not to the marauders in North Arabia-Deserta (Job 1:15), but to the merchants (Eze 27:22) in the south, in Arabia-Felix or Yemen, "afar off" (Jer 6:20; Mt 12:42; Ge 10:28). Caravans are first mentioned in Ge 37:25; men needed to travel thus in companies across the desert, for defense against the roving robbers and for mutual accommodation.

The companies … waited for them—cannot refer to the caravans who had gone in quest of the waters; for Job 6:18 describes their utter destruction.

The troops, as this word is used, Genesis 37:25 Isaiah 21:13. Heb. the ways, put for the travellers in the ways, by a usual metonymy. And so it must needs be meant here, and in the next clause, because the following verse, They were confounded, &c., plainly showeth that he here speaks of persons, not of senseless things. Tema: this place and

Sheba were both parts of the hot and dry country of Arabia, in which waters were very scarce, and therefore precious and desirable, especially to travellers, who by their motion, and the heat to which they were exposed, were more hot and thirsty than other men.

The companies; as before, the troops. And thus he speaks, because men did not there travel singly, as here we do, but in troops and companies, for their greater security against wild beasts and robbers, of which they had great store.

The troops of Tema looked,.... A city in Arabia, so called from Tema a son of Ishmael, Genesis 25:15; these troops or companies were travelling ones, either that travelled to Tema, or that went from thence to other places for merchandise, see Isaiah 21:13; these, as they passed along in their caravans, as the Turks their successors now do, looked at those places where in the wintertime they observed large waters frozen over, and covered with snow, and expected to have been supplied from thence in the summer season, for the extinguishing of their thirst:

the companies of Sheba waited for them: another people in Arabia, which went in companies through the deserts, where being in great want of water for their refreshment, waited patiently till they came to those places, where they hoped to find water to relieve them, which they had before marked in the wintertime.

The troops of Tema {l} looked, the companies of Sheba waited for them.

(l) They who pass by it to go into the hot countries of Arabia, think to find water there to quench their thirst but they are deceived.

19. Tema lies in the northern highlands of Arabia, towards the Syrian desert, Isaiah 21:14; Jeremiah 25:33. On Sheba see Job 1:15.

Verse 19. - The troops of Tema looked. The Tema were an Arab tribe descended from Ishmael (Genesis 25:15). They are generally conjoined with Dedan (Isaiah 21:13, 14; Jeremiah 25:23), another Arab tribe, noted for carry-lug on a caravan trade. Both tribes probably wandered, and occupied at different periods different portions of the desert. The name, Tema, may linger in the modern city and district of Tayma on the confines of Syria, and upon the pilgrim-route between Damascus and Mecca. The "troops of Tema" probably looked for the "caravans" of ver. 18 to arrive in their country; but they looked in vain. The desert had swallowed them up. The companies of Sheba waited for them. (On "Sheba," see the comment upon Job 1:15.) Job 6:1918 The paths of their course are turned about,

They go up in the waste and perish.

19 The travelling bands of Tma looked for them,

The caravans of Saba hoped for them;

20 They were disappointed on account of their trust,

They came thus far, and were red with shame.

As the text is pointed, ארחות, Job 6:18, are the paths of the torrents. Hitz., Ew., and Schlottm., however, correct ארחות, caravans, which Hahn even thinks may be understood without correction, since he translates: the caravans of their way are turned about (which is intended to mean: aside from the way that they are pursuing), march into the desert and perish (i.e., because the streams on which they reckoned are dried up). So, in reality, all modern commentators understand it; but is it likely that the poet would let the caravans perish in Job 6:18, and in Job 6:19. still live? With this explanation, Job 6:19. drag along tautologically, and the feebler figure follows the stronger. Therefore we explain as follows: the mountain streams, נחלים, flow off in shallow serpentine brooks, and the shallow waters completely evaporate by the heat of the sun. בתּהוּ עלה signifies to go up into nothing (comp. Isaiah 40:23), after the analogy of בעשׁן כּלה, to pass away in smoke. Thus e.g., also Mercier: in auras abeunt, in nihilum rediguntur. What next happens is related as a history, Job 6:19., hence the praett. Job compares his friends to the wady swollen by ice and snow water, and even to the travelling bands themselves languishing for water. He thirsts for friendly solace, but the seeming comfort which his friends utter is only as the scattered meandering waters in which the mountain brook leaks out. The sing. בּטח individualizes; it is unnecessary with Olsh. to read בּטחוּ.

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